How Long Should a Good Tent Last?


As a camping enthusiast, you may have bought a camping tent or plan to purchase one. Have you ever wondered how long a good tent should last? We provide you detailed information on factors that determine your tent’s lifespan, and how best to ensure that your outdoor comforter serves you longer and stronger!

how long should a tent last?

Camping Tents from different manufacturers come with different qualities and warranties. While some have a lifetime warranty covering manufacturer’s defects, others have very limited warranties. The duration that a tent can last during use is determined by many factors. A standard high-quality tent can last approximately 5 years. However, depending on prevailing weather conditions, and the level of care provided, this period can be shorter or much longer.

Why Is It Hard to Tell How Long Your Tent Last?

There is a diverse range of tents made from both synthetic and organic fabrics. They are made of different fabrics and require different maintenance requirements. While some camping tents target backpackers and hikers,

Further, they can be used under different conditions, and users can handle them differently. All these are factors that can determine their lifespan. While some factors may not be under your control, others are determined by your personal effects.

Therefore, to reap the full benefit from your camping tents, it’s prudent that you select the most suitable, and then care for it accordingly

Factors That Determine How Long a Camp Tent Should Last

The lifespan of your tents is determined by factors beyond your control and those you can influence. Some of the main factors are:

  1. Weather Condition
  2. Frequency of Use
  3. How you handle, maintain, and care for your tents.
  4. Material

Let’s dig deeper on how the above can color or discolor our tent’s lifespan

#1. Weather Condition

Weather will always have a unique taste of “de-featheringeverything… even those with no feathers like your tents! Yes, with time, the unquestionable weather will bring your tents to their camping knees!

To ensure that your tents serve you longer, it’s important that you undertake the necessary care or maintain initiative anytime it’s exposed to certain elements of weather.

Here are some of the weather conditions that can affect how long your tent will last, and corrective measures you can take:

a. Extreme sunlight

protected tent in the sun | how long should a tent last?

Extreme exposure to sunlight or winds can choke and strangle your tent! Wild winds can hijack or physically disorient your tent pole forcing you to undertake repair works.

If you don’t set up your tent under a shade, UV rays from the sun can deform its delicate fabric especially the rain fly and canopy sections.

If you notice that your tents are receiving an intense beating from an unrelenting hot sun, you can liberate them by removing or unsetting them up, and putting them back at a suitable time later when the excess sun heat is no longer a threat!

b. Rainwater-Affects How Long a Tent Lasts

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is summer-tent.jpg

Tents are made to be waterproof. However, the more your tents are exposed to the rainwater and stay wet for long, the more their fabric gets damaged. Wet tents encourage mold and mildew to develop and which will quickly degrade your tent’s fabric.

A heavy downpour during your camping trips can expose your tent to water. As you leave the campsite, you may be forced to pack it when still wet. It’s however important that you dry it fully as soon as possible upon your arrival from your camping trip.

There are methods and tips for drying camping tents, that should guide to ensure that your tent is completely dry before you finally store it. It’s further important that you store your tent in a dry and cool place.

Avoid storing your tents in warm and humid locations. Such conditions facilitate the growth of mold and mildew. Their activities will adversely affect both the integrity and the lifespan of your camping tents.

#2. How Frequently You Use Your Tents

The more frequently you use your tent; the more it will be exposed to harsh weather conditions. This will result in enhanced tear and wear.

As a result, your tent will not last for long. However, if you undertake the necessary care and maintenance that your tent needs, its durability can be greatly improved.

If on the other hand you only use your tent during the summer season for just one week or two, it will serve you for longer.

Irrespective of how frequently you go camping with your tents, it’s important that you limit their exposure to extreme elements such as sunlight or water.

#3. Level of Tents Care & Maintenance

3.1. Care While Handling Your Tents

How you physically handle your tents and the location where you set up your tents is a key factor in determining how long your tents will last.

If for instance, you drag it in rough stony surfaces, and always set it up in areas with extreme sunlight, it will easily get damaged. Its lifespan will be shorter.

3.2. Care When Setting Up Your Tents

Tub of Tent pegs.

It’s very important that when setting up your tent, you are extremely careful and not disrupted. This is to ensure that you don’t cause any physical damage to the tent.  

To set it perfectly without causing any damage to your tent, it’s important that you select a suitable flat ground that’s not exposed to undesirable weather elements. A footprint has to be set under your tent to ensure that the tent stays clean and well secured at the bottom.

It also helps in protecting your tent against tear and wear and thereby, ensuring that your tent lasts longer.

After you successfully set up your rent, you need to operate the windows or doors’ zipper carefully and smoothly.

3.3. Keeping the Tents Clean-Leaving shoe Outside

When entering your tent ensure that you leave your shoes outside. Why?

Apart from its potential of causing damage to your tent or groundsheet, your camping shoes will be having dirt, mud or other organic materials that you must keep away from your tent.

 If your tent’s material is made of synthetic fabric such as nylon, if it gets stained by your dirty shoes, molds will be encouraged to grow on it.

Ensuring that your tent is clean will limit the following:

  1. Frequent washing of your tent which affects the durability
  2. Frequent brushing to remove stain which increases tear and wear
  3. Keeping away particles or objects that may cause physical damage to your tent.

3.4. Care When Packing Your Tents

When you pack your tents haphazardly, damage can occur which can affect their durability.

When tents are packed when wet or with dirt, mold and mildews will begin to develop and damage their fabrics. This will reduce both their performance and lifespan.

Key Steps to Mitigate Packing and Storage Damages:
  1. Carefully unzip the tent windows or doors to avoid any possible damage to its zippers.
  2. Flip the tent outside and ensure that any trapped dirt or particles are released outside. Note: Dirt or articles on your tents can encourage the growth of mold which will cause damage their fabric and adversely affect their durability
  3. Ensure the tents is clean and free from dirt and stains before packing
  4. If clean but wet, ensure that you dry it fully as soon as possible (
  5. When its both wet and dirty, wash it or rinse in clean water as per manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Dry it thoroughly ( Tent drying tips)
  7. Loosely store it in a dry cool place. DO NOT STORE in its closed carry case or in a warm humid place. This is to avoid the growth of mold

4. Tent Material

The nature of fabric or material that is used to make a tent has a bearing on how long a particular tent can last. The most common tents are made of Canvas which is an organic material and Nylon which is synthetic.

Nylon tents are known to deteriorate much faster compared to canvas tents that are more durable and hardy. However, each of the tents has its unique features with both pros and cons.

How each is cared for and the condition under which they are used, determines how long they can last or their lifespan.

Tips To Make Your Tents Last Longer

Proper care of your tents is the main secret in ensuring that they serve you better and longer. This can be achieved if you focus on the following:

  1. Not Exposing your tents to Sunlight UV-rays
  2. Stopping the Formation of Molds and Mildews
  3. Effective & Regular Cleaning of You Tents
  4. Ensuring Your Tents Are Free From Mud
  5. Look after your zipper
  6. Prevent broken poles
  7. Ensure you re-waterproof your tents
  8. Using the right repair kit
  9. Repairing Leaking Tents Seams

#1. Stop Mold and Mildew From Forming

Immediately you return from your camping trip remove your camping tent and spread it in a sunny location to dry up.

 Do not store it when still wet as they will develop molds and mildews that will damage its fabric. When not addressed in time, the bacteria will damage the tent’s waterproofing property making. If not stopped, the mold will affect how long your tent last

#2. Do Not Expose Your Tents to UV Rays

Your camping tents are very sensitive to Sunlight UV rays. When exposed to sunlight for long, your tent’s material will be damaged making it less effective. It’s recommended that you consider setting up your tents in the shade. It will be well protected to serve you longer and better.

Alternatively, to protect your tents from direct sunlight, you can cover your them with tarps to keep the harmful rays away.

 #3. Cleaning Off Mud or Dirt From Your Tents

When you camp in a muddy location, your tent may get stained by the wet mud within the campsite. Ensure that you clean the wet mud off your tent before they dry up.

 When your tent’s seams get covered by wet mud, they are bound to get damaged as the clay begins to dry. When this happens and later it begins to rain, your tent will begin to leak through the affected dry-mud seams.

#4. Regular Cleaning of Your Tents

It’s important to note that it’s not advisable to put your camping tents into a washing machine. This will damage their fabric making them less efficient.

However, keeping your tents clean will ensure that they serve you longer and better.

If it’s covered by dirt or wet mud, simply rinse it or just wash it in clean water without soap. Do not use any detergents as they may ruin your fabric

Before you use any detergent to clean your tents, ensure that it’s the most appropriate one recommended by the manufacturer. This is because using an inappropriate detergent can damage your tents’ fabrics.

#5. Water-Proofing New Tents

As a camper, it’s important that you only purchase high-quality waterproof tents for your peace of mind.

To ensure that your tents remain in good condition, it’s recommended that you spray them with suitable tent waterproof spray before you leave for your camping trip. The spray provides enhanced protection to your tents for increased performance and lifespan.

To protect your new tent against harmful UV-rays, you should spray it with any suitable UV-rays spray such as Fabric Spray Sun Protector

#5. Fixing The Leaking Tent Seams

A leaking tent can surely ruin your camping joy.

While this may be a result of tear and wear, you can use a water-proof sealant such as a tent Seam Sealer to bring your tent back to life and strength!.

The more your camping tent’s seams begin to leak, the more worried you should be.

#6. Maintaining Your Tent’s Zipper

When out in the wild and especially on a wet rainy night, your tent’s faulty zipper can kill your camping spirit. While most tent zippers are robust and designed to last, due to tear and wear, they can fail when you least expect.

When your zipper fails in rainy weather, water can easily get into your tent and cause great damages. To fix this and bring peace and calm in your tent, all you need to carry is an affordable zipper Rescue & Repair Kit. You just never know when your zippers may choose to misbehave when you’re in the wilderness.

#7. Care To Avoid Bending/Broken Tent Poles

Sometimes when trying to quickly set up your tent when it’s raining, you may find yourself in a rush. In the process, your tent poles can get bent or broken.

Being extra careful and not rushing, you’ll always be in the right state of mind. There will no damages to your tent and its accessories as you set it up. Because of good care, your tent will serve you longer!

#8. Having and Using Only The Right Tent Repair Kit

Your tents like any other purchased materials will at some point call for repairs.

If the repair is done well, your tents can continue serving you for a longer period. However, when not equipped with the right repair kits, the damages can worsen.

In order to get all your tents’ repairs right and to improve on their lifespan, it’s prudent that you invest in tents repair kits that are suitable for your tents.

Some of the camping kits you need to have include:

  1. Waterproof Tent Repair kit Self-adhesive Tape
  2.  Tent Pole Repair Kit
  3. Coleman Tent Repair Kit
  4. Complete Repair Kit For Canvas

When Should You Replace Your Old Tent?

When times comes for you to start thinking of replacing your old tent with a new one, it must be for a good reason. While maintenance and taking care of your tent can improve its durability, a time comes when it’s no longer worth trying to repair your camping shelter.

Some of the reasons why you may consider replacing your old tent with a new one include:

  • Wide rips on the fabric with wide holes that cannot be easily patched
  • Tent fabric fails to be stretched effectively by the poles
  • Excessive leakages that are beyond repair
  • The tent is no longer waterproof and does not provide the desired shelter.
  • Extensive general damages on the fabric and accessories that cannot be fixed or are no longer worth the trouble

Other Related Links

Meshack Sewe

MESHACK IS A VERSATILE WRITER, BLOGGER, AND POET WHO ENJOYS HIKING AT HIS FREE TIME.

Recent Content