How To Store a Tent: Complete Guide (2022)

Learn how to store your tent in between camping trips or during the off season.
Tent Storage

Guides, Tents

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Whether you’re an avid camper who takes their tent on trips regularly throughout the season, or a beginner camper who only goes on an annual trip with your family, storing your tent correctly while it’s not in use is one of the most important things you can do with your camping gear.

Keep reading to learn five easy steps and tips for how to store a tent during the off-season.

The Importance of Proper Tent Storage

There are too many reasons to count for why you’d want to properly store your tent when you’re not using it, but here are a few that stand out:

  • Keeps the tent for getting mold
  • Keeps the tent clean
  • Protects it from harsh environments
  • Helps it preserve it for as long as possible
  • Keeps it out of the way of other things
  • Protects it from pests

The list could go on, but you get the idea. Remember these five steps each time you pack up your tent after a trip.

How To Store a Tent (5 Steps)

Step 1: Clean Your Tent

Before you do anything with your tent after a trip, you should thoroughly clean it to be sure you removed any dirt or debris that you may have collected while out in the wilderness. This includes:

  • Setting it up and sweeping out the floor of it
  • Using cold water, mild soap, and a sponge to spot clean any sap, dirt stains, or other marks in the fabric
  • You can use wet wipes or sanitizers if needed
  • Gently scrubbing zippers with a toothbrush
  • Rinsing with more cold water

Related reading: How To Clean a Tent with Mold

Step 2: Dry Your Tent

Once you’ve given your tent a good clean, you should hang it out to dry. If you skip this step and store your tent while it’s wet or damp, you could end up with mold or mildew and an annoying stench. Hang your tent in a shady area outside if possible.

Step 3: Find a Storage Spot

While your tent dries, you should find the right location for your tent’s storage. You’ll want a dry area to prevent mold and mildew and to protect your tent’s waterproofing and materials. 

Ideally, you should store it inside your home such as a closet, since the area will likely have better ventilation than a garage or storage shed.

Step 4: Keep Storage Loose

Whether you have a large 8 person tent or a small solo tent, you don’t want to pack your tent too tightly when storing it to allow your tent’s materials to get air flow and ventilation.

This means the typical packaged bag may not be sufficient for storage for long periods of time, since they’re typically more compact without much breathing room for your tent.

Remove the tent from the carry bag and place it in a large bag with holes to allow it to get proper ventilation for the best storage.

Step 5: Store Poles Separately

We recommend storing the tent poles separately from the tent itself to keep them from unnecessary tension or strain. This will also help give the tent more room for air flow while stored in your home.

A Few Additional Tips

Here are a few extra tips to consider when storing your tent:

  • Take your tent out and assemble it once or twice during the off season, to ensure it hasn’t acquired any strange odors, mildew, or mold.
  • For regular campers, clean and dry the tent during the season, even if you don’t plan on putting it into storage yet to ensure no dirt, sap, or other substance builds up and stains the fabric.
  • Invest in a mesh bag to store your tent in, since it will have the best breathability and ventilation.

Don’t stress too much about your tent during the off-season, but following these easy steps can help ensure it lasts as long as it was designed to.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tent Storage

How do you store a tent in a backpack?

During a camping or backpacking trip, you can store your tent and tent poles tightly in a carrying bag and fit it into your hiking pack or backpack. Ideally, you want your lightler gear toward the bottom of your hiking pack to relieve stress and pressure from your back, so fit your tent into your bag accordingly.

Where should I store my tent at home?

We recommend storing your tent inside your house where there is good ventilation to ensure your tent stays cool and dry. This could be in a closet or under a bed.

Do tents expire?

Tent’s don’t have a precise expiration date—their life can depend on the quality of the materials it was made with. While some tents can last a lifetime if stored and handled properly, some only last a few years of heavy use.

What do you do with a wet tent?

If your tent is wet, hang dry it in a shady area with ventilation to ensure it’s fully dry before placing into storage.


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