Tips on How To Dry a Roof Top Tent


Going camping with your Roof Top Tent to explore the world ignites excitement. However, during harsh rainy seasons, pregnant clouds dance, and the heavens open! Rogue rainwater begins to explore and hobnob with your innocent camping nest!  What next? You’re faced with a wet and traumatized tent in need of urgent Drying treatment!  Just how do you dry a Roof Top Tent?  Read further for tips on how you can prevent destructive molds and mildew from forming in your Roof Top Tent.

how to dry a roof top tent | Sun drying roof top tent

If your Rooftop tent is packed and stored when still wet, mold or mildew will start growing on it, feeding on it! The fabric will be damaged and the lifespan of your valuable tent will be shortened. You must focus on drying it as soon as possible. Depending on your arrival time from your camping trip, here are the 4 ways you can adopt to dry your Roof Top Tent safely, and effectively:

  1. Setting it up to dry in the sun
  2. Hanging it indoor in a makeshift  clothesline
  3. Using a Box-fan for drying indoor
  4. Hanging It  in the Shower room / Bathroom

The applications of the above-highlighted methods are dictated by prevailing circumstances.  Before we discuss each technique in detail including their limitations, let’s get some more insights on wet Roof Top Tents.

How Long Can You Safely Keep A Wet Roof Top Tent?

Perhaps you went on a long trip and experienced heavy downpour. You left your campsite with a packed wet Roof Top Tent. Maybe you are focusing on a long trip and not sure about when you’ll start drying your rooftop tent.

Or perhaps you intend to dry it during the tour, but the weather proved harsh. Now you’re getting worried and wondering how long it can stay wet and packed.

The bad news is that when conditions are conducive, mildew or mold can begin growing on your wet rooftop tent immediately. This is because the fungi spores that grow into molds or mildew are always present in virtually all places. They are unavoidable.

However, you’ll only notice the growths after 24-48hrs. As time goes by, they’ll grow and spread very fast causing damage to your tent’s fabric.

It’s for this reason that you should never risk storing your tent when wet. When packed wet from a campsite, focus on unpacking it for drying at your next convenient destination or immediately you arrive home. 

Which Tent Fabric Is Vulnerable When Wet?

The two main fabrics for Rooftop Tents are Canvas and Nylon. Whether your wet Rooftop tent is canvas or nylon, it will still develop mold when stored while wet. However, since canvas tents have organic fabrics (cotton and linen), they are more vulnerable to mildew and mold than nylon tents.

Canvas rooftop tent whose quality is superior compared to nylon rooftop tent will require more care and protection against getting wet than nylon tents. Irrespective of your tent material, you must ensure that your tents are absolutely dry before folding them for storage.

Due to their fabric texture and density, drying a wet canvas rooftop tent will take much longer than a nylon tent.

Should You Wash A wet Roof Top Tent Before Drying?

When your rooftop tent gets wet due to harsh or rainy weather conditions your camping trip, it may attract some dirt or mud. It’s important that you first clean the rooftop tent before you dry it.

Dirt on synthetic tents is known to promote the growth of mold since it’s the dirt that provides the mold with the food they need for growth.

To remove dirt or stains, all you need to do is to rinse it accordingly in a large container or tub filled with clean water.

Best Methods of Drying A Roof Top Camping Tent

1.     Setting Up Your Tent To Dry in The Sun:

Setting up your wet rooftop tent to dry in the sun is the most effective drying technique that will free your tent from mold and mildew before storage. This method applies when you arrive home early enough and the weather is conducive for the drying of your packed wet rooftop tent.  

Procedure-How to Dry Roof Top Tent at Home

  1. Upon your arrival from a camping trip, remove the wet rooftop tent either from your camping vehicle’s roof rack or from a trailer
  2. Select a suitable ground with direct sunlight and good wind flow to set up your wet tent. This should be in the same way you set it up at a campsite. Since all you need is have it dry in the sun, do include its rain fly at the top. UV rays from the sun will help in drying the tent and at the same time kill all mold and mildew spores.
  3. Take both your tent’s ground cloth as well as a rain fly. Identify a suitable location or structure with direct sunlight,  and spread them accordingly to dry
  4. After confirming that the sun-facing sides of both the ground fabric and the rain fly are dry, flip them for the lower sides to dry as well.
  5. If sunshine is steady and you’ve confirmed that the rooftop tent fabric with its nooks and other attachments are dry, remove them from the sun
  6. Fold the tent with its accessories and place it in its dry carriage bag for safe storage

Important Note:

  • If your tent is made of synthetic fabric such as nylon, it should not be exposed to sunlight for long since as excess solar heat can damage it. Even-though a canvas tent is more resistant to sunlight and takes much longer to completely dry, it should also be immediately removed from the sun when already dry. 

2. Hanging in a clothesline-How To dry Roof Top Tent Indoor

Sometimes you may arrive home with your wet tent when it’s rainy and messy outside. Sunshine or not, you still have to start drying your wet rooftop tent. You can hang it in a suitable clothesline indoor or improvise a makeshift clothesline.

If the tent is soaked in excess water, just make sure you hang it at a suitable location where it’s dripping water won’t cause a mess or any damage to your floor.

 At times, you may arrive home late at night from your camping trip. Feeling tired, you may be tempted to postpone the drying process until the following day.  If you truly value your hanging nest, don’t!  Molds and mildews never sleep.

Let someone at home help you remove the tent for indoor hanging. If the clothesline location is not suitable and you’ve no time for a makeshift clothesline, look for any secure place in your garage, laundry area, or balcony.

Focus on an area with air movement to facilitate the tent’s drying process and disruption of mildew activities.

3. Using a Box-fan for drying indoor

There are days when the sun may decide not to smile!  Hanging the wet tent to dry indoor may not be effective in harsh and wet weather conditions.  Waiting for your tent to dry indoor can be torture especially when you plan on using them.

You must not let leave your wet rooftop tent in the hands of scheming mildews and molds.  You can box them, and knock them down indoor with a box-fan! Drying your wet rooftop tent indoor requires that you set up your tent in a suitable room or garage with good air circulation.

Unlike in the case of sunlight drying where all you do is wait for the sun’s automatic treatment, this technique will call for your close attention.

You need to position either a standing or a box-fan to blow air into one side of your wet tent and let it come out from the opposite side of the tent. The drying process will be more enhanced if the room has a ceiling fan.

Procedure-How To Dry Roof Top Tent with Box-Fan:

 #1st. Identify a suitable room with good air circulation

#2nd. Unpack your wet tent, and leaving the rainfly, set it up within your chosen indoor room as you would do when at a campsite.

#3rd. In case your tent is very wet after washing off the dirt or mud on your arrival from a camping trip, use a hand towel to dry it or to remove excess water in the best way possible.

4th   Switch on any ceiling fan if available, and open windows or the door to facilitate the movement of air within the room. Drying will be much faster if the air within the room is less humid. When on the other hand the surrounding air within and outside the room is already humid, the drying process would take much longer.

5th. Position a standing or box-fan to blow inside the tent until it’s dry

6th. Attach or clip the tent’s wet rain fly on to the dry tent and stretch it accordingly to expose all its wet surfaces.  Let the fan continue blowing air into the tent until the wet rain fly is dry.

7th. After ensuring that the rooftop tent and all its components are dry, turn off the fans. Fold the tent accordingly for safe storage in a dry place free from moisture. Ensure that its storage bag is completely dry with no trapped moisture.

4. Hanging The Tent in the Shower/Bathroom

A shower may be a good place to hang your wet rooftop tent to dry upon your return from a camping trip. Well, you better rejuvenate yourself in the shower first before addressing your rooftop tent’s wetness problems!

Please note that your consideration of the shower-room will be determined by the rooftop tent size and the available space.  

If your rooftop tent is pretty large, you may have to look for a suitable place to hang it other than your shower room. However, for a 2-person tent, your shower/bathroom may be an ideal place to hang and spread it to dry

Procedure:

1st. Ensure there is an adequate flow of air within your shower. Keep both shower curtains and doors open.

2nd Warm bathroom air using a space heater to create a conducive environment for evaporation while remembering not to direct your heater towards your tent’s delicate fabric. Better still; warm the room first before bringing your tent in.

3rd. carefully hang your wet tent along the shower’s curtain rod and spread it as wide as possible to expose to ensure that its wet surfaces are adequately exposed.

4th. to facilitate the drying process, blow fans in and around the hanging tent. Continue until it gets dry

5th. Remove the dry tent and in its place, hang rain fly and the tent’s ground cloth. Stretch them accordingly to expose their wet surfaces for the drying session. As you did with the tent, use the blow fans to facilitate the drying process. When all are dry, fold your roof tent accordingly in readiness for safe storage in a dry place cool location.

Note: The use of a shower room for drying your wet tent may be determined by the number of people using the shower. If this has to be an option, ensure that it’s at a time when those using the shower are not inconvenienced. You may have to inform the shower users of your plan if necessary

Can You Use a Dryer To Dry Your Roof Top Tent?

Both Hot Hair Dryers and Hot Clothes Dryers are not recommended for drying your wet camping tents. You should avoid using them with hot air as this will damage your tent’s material. The heat produced will cause your tent’s material to warp, shrink or stretch abnormally depending on its fabric components.

It’s, however, safe to use the dryers with cold air. Using a box fan will be more convenient and effective than having to manually hold a cold-air dryer.

Tips on How You Can Prevent Mildew Growth on Your Wet Tent

Truth be told, there may be a circumstance where you may not just have time to dry your wet rooftop tent? Under such conditions, you may need short-term solutions to ensure that mold and mildew do not grow in your wet tent. These solutions include:

#1. Adequately Dry Your Roof Top Tent before Packing

Setup your rooftop in a dry and warm place for a number of days to be fully dry. Confirm that the tent seams are completely dry. You can now safely pack your tent and store. With extremely low moisture conditions, molds and mildews will not be encouraged to develop in your tents.

#2. Storing Your Tent under Low Temperatures | Cold Temperature Storage

Keeping your packed wet rooftop tent under low temperatures will drastically lower the growth rate of molds and mildews on your tent. Depending on space availability, you can place your wet tent inside a freezer or cold cooler. While this is not a lasting solution, you can rest assured that your tent fabric will be much safer from mold and mildew invasions.

#3. Spraying Your Wet Rooftop Tent with Mold Armor FG516 Mold Blocker

If your wet rooftop tent is made of canvas, nylon or polyethylene fabrics, you can prevent mildew or mold spores from invading them by spraying it with Mold Armor FG516 Mold Blocker.

The spray will prevent mold and mildew from developing for a period of 2 months.

 #4. Clean Dirt and Debris off Your Wet Tent.

If your rooftop tent is made of synthetic fabric such as nylon, cleaning it to remove dirt and other debris will limit the growth of molds.

Since such dirt acts as a source of food for the molds, they’ll not be encouraged to grow if they’ve nothing to feed on.

Rinsing the fabric in clean water is an easier way of removing dirt and debris from synthetic rooftop tents.

#5. Provide Adequate Ventilation | Air Circulation

If you have no immediate plans to effectively dry your rooftop tent, it’s better if you leave it exposed to air when it’s wet than packing it in a closed carry bag.

When the rooftop tent is kept in a breathable bag, the growth of mold and mildew will be reduced. If however, the back is fully closed, it may heat up and this will create a warm and suitable condition for mold and mildew growth.

Tips On How Best To Store Your Tent

Clean and Dry Your Tent When Back From Camping Trip. On your return from a camping trip, ensure that your tent is clean and free from debris. If you have to wash it, follow the given instructions. Set it up to dry. Don’t let it overstay in the sun.

Ensure that Your Roof Top Tent is Completely Dry: Ensure that the tent plus all its attached components including seams are completely dry.

Store Loosely in A dry Cool Place: While most tents come with their storage bags, it’s not advisable to store tents in closed and non-breathable cases. Instead, store your tent loosely in dry and cool conditions. Avoid damp warm conditions that might encourage molds and mildews to grow and damage your camping tent.

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Meshack Sewe

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

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