Tent camping is a fun and exhilarating experience…
But, it can also be a disorganized messy one if you’re not prepared!
So, to ensure you have a mess-free (and stress-free) trip, we’ve compiled the best tips from camping pros to keep your tent clean and tidy.
Plus, we’ll quickly cover how to properly wash and clean your tent when you’re done camping.
Camping Tips & Hacks For A Clean Tent
1. Choose a tent with a vestibule
What is a vestibule? Think of a tent vestibule as a mudroom or porch for your tent. It’s a great place to store your shoes and other camping gear that would otherwise just bring dirt and debris along with them into your tent. It’s also a great place to remove wet gear when it’s raining to help keep the inside of your tent dry.
2. Pitch your tent near a tree
The tree will shade you from the sun (extending the life of your tent) and provide somewhere to hang clothes, lanterns, and other gear.
3. Use a tree as storage
If you managed to pitch up under a tree, tie a string or belt around the trunk and attach “S” hooks. This creates a reliable storage solution, allowing you to hang everything from pots and pans to clothes and utensils.
4. Pitch your tent away from water
While we are keeping dirt and debris out of our tent, we should also try to keep bugs and insects out.
To avoid mosquitoes and other bugs from entering your tent, make sure your tent’s fly net is closed at all times. Avoid using perfumed toiletries because they attract certain bugs (and bears). If permitted, build a campfire and light a mosquito-repellent candle in the evening to deter mosquitoes.
5. Bring a dustpan and brush
You can use these simple household tools to deal with spills right away. If you’re camping in a sandy area, it will come in handy for cleaning the tent floor. A handheld vac will work too on shorter trips or if you have a way to charge it.
6. Bring a cooler box
This is needed for storing your food and drinks. Freeze large bottles of water and keep them in the box to keep it cool. The bottled water can act as your water supply when it melts, and the box can double as a seat.
7. Use your rubber car mats
Lay down your rubber car mats at the entrance of your tent. This will help to catch some of the dirt you might otherwise track in the tent. And you can quickly shake them out before putting them back in your vehicle.
8. Don’t leave open food in your tent
Or around your campsite! Store it away in a sealed freezer box or in the car to avoid attracting unwanted visitors. Sealable sandwich bags can come in handy for storing leftover food.
9. Bring some coconut oil
You can use it as cooking oil, hair oil, skin moisturizer, and even a mosquito repellant. Utilizing items that have multiple uses, like coconut oil, can help declutter your tent.
10. Use reusable dishes
This will help limit the amount of trash you create while camping. Set up a daily dishwashing station by filling one tub with warm water, along with a few squeezes of dishwashing liquid, and another tub with clean water. This will encourage your camping party to clean their dishes as they go.
11. Bring a foldable table and chairs
This will provide you with a comfortable place to eat outside of your tent, thus avoiding spilled food and crumbs inside your tent. Plus, they can serve as extra surfaces to keep items you may need to access quickly, such as sunscreen, books, and jackets.
12. Bring plenty of bags
And by bags, we mean trash bags, resealable food bags, and storage bags to keep things organized. You can even throw your dirty laundry in a bag.
13. Utilize your tent’s mesh pockets
Many tents come with mesh pockets in the tent’s interior, which can be great for storing small items like keys, toiletries, and flashlights. If your tent doesn’t have them, consider sewing them in yourself.
14. Bring a soft collapsible box
And have a dedicated box for each camper. They can use them to keep belongings tidy and avoid mix-ups.
15. Bring microfiber towels
They’re light, they dry quickly, and you can use them as cleaning towels, beach towels, bath towels, or tea towels.
16. A foldable camping cart
A foldable camping cart can transport everything from kids to camping equipment and heavy water bottles. It can also double as useful storage, freeing up room in your tent and helping to keep it clean.
17. Use a tent footprint
A tent footprint is essentially a groundsheet that goes under your tent. It not only helps keep your tent dry and clean, but it can also help protect your tent from sharp objects and insulate your tent in cold weather camping!
18. Place a tarp over your tent
By strategically placing a tarp over your tent, you can help protect it from the sun and outside elements, keep it clean from debris and rain and add additional waterproofing to your tent. You can also extend the tarp over the tent door to act as a make-shift vestibule.
Check out our guide titled how to put a tarp over a tent for step-by-step instructions (with or without trees) and some important tips.
How Do You Wash A Tent After Camping?
No matter how clean you try to keep your tent while camping, it will inevitably get dirty. Luckily, cleaning your tent is a fairly simple process.
- Start by filling a sink or large bucket with lukewarm water and a mild soap (think dish soap) solution.
- Use a soft sponge or cloth to scrub the tent gently, focusing on soiled areas.
- Once you’re done with those, immerse the entire tent in the bath of soapy, lukewarm water.
- Finally, make sure to rinse the tent completely.
But, you’re not done yet! Drying your tent properly is just as important as cleaning it. So, be sure to hang it up somewhere out of the sun to dry completely before storing it.
Tip: Do not wash your tent in a washing machine, or dry a tent in a dryer. And don’t use strong detergents or harsh cleaning chemicals, as these can damage the tent’s protective seams and coating.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to clean a tent for more tps and tricks.
What Happens If You Put A Tent Away Before It Dries?
Putting away a wet tent is a no-go. If you must, however, be sure to keep it packed away for no more than a day. It only takes about a day or two for mold to start noticeably growing on your tent’s fabric.
Once the tent gets mold or mildew, the material can rot, and at the very least, your tent will start to give off a foul odor.
If this happens, then check out our detailed guide on how clean a tent with mold to ensure it doesn’t keep growing back and potentially cause health issues!