MAKE YOUR OLD TENT LIKE NEW

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It’s never easy to let go of a favorite tent when it’s near­ing the end of its life—especially when you don’t have the time or money to invest in a new one just yet. While you still will need to spend a lit­tle bit of time and money, you can put off the big-ticket expense with these five easy fixes and upgrades to your old one.

REVIVE IT
Despite what many peo­ple claim, it’s pos­si­ble to get stink out of old tents using enzyme-based clean­ers. If your tent has only a mild odor, re-coating it will also likely ban­ish that musty smell. You’ll still want to wash your tent in a sink (not a wash­ing machine) first with a spe­cialty cleaner. If you don’t see a lot of cracks and peel­ing in the water­proof­ing, you can revive your tent by fol­low­ing that pre-wash with a wash-in, brush-on, or spray-on product.

If it’s peel­ing, scrub off as much of the flakey coat­ing as you can using a stiff brush and then throw it in the wash machine with hot water to try to remove the rest. Set the tent up and use a seam sealer to coat all the seams. Then apply two coats (let the first dry 24 hours) of a polyurethane (PU) sealant. The flex­i­ble fin­ish will make your tent look very close to new.

RE-CORD IT
If the ten­sion on the shock cords in your tent poles are too slack, you run the risk of the tent pole fer­rules not fully seat­ing when you set the thing up (espe­cially in the dark). This is one of the clas­sic ways poles break. If the pole seg­ments that make up the pole don’t auto­mat­i­cally snap in place or stay together any­more, one option is to com­pletely replace the shock cords in them. The other, which is a much eas­ier fix, is to sim­ply shorten the exist­ing cords. Both options will still give your poles five to 10 more years of func­tional life.

To replace the entire shock-cord, you’ll need to tie a stiff leader cord on each new shock cord to get the thing to thread through the pole. Oth­ers sug­gest adding a length of Spec­tra or Dyneema cord to each end of new shock cords. Appar­ently, this improves the abil­ity of seg­mented poles to “snap together” and increases the cord durability.

To shorten exist­ing shock cords, pull (care­fully, using an extra strong grip plier) the alu­minum end caps off each pole. Hold­ing onto the slack cord, pull it until it’s taught (on the open end), keep­ing all the pole seg­ments together. Cut the cord and tie a small knot. The cord should be about 65 to 75% of the length of the pole. Slip the lit­tle knot inside the last pole seg­ment and replace the end caps. That’s all there is to it.

REPLACE TIE-DOWN (GUY) CORDS
The only thing more impor­tant than a proper taut stake out is being able to see where the guy lines are in the dark. This is an easy fix. Install new light­weight reflec­tive guy cords on your tent.

UPGRADE YOUR STAKES
Chances are your old ones are flimsy and bent. Ditch ‘em: Today’s stakes are way lighter and more effec­tive. You can even get stakes spe­cific to a cli­mate or soil com­po­si­tion. Both Y-beam, hex or three-sided alu­minum stakes are the most ver­sa­tile and will work for a diver­sity of envi­ron­ments. Spi­ral stakes are good for secur­ing tents in sand, while con­cave (spooned) alu­minum stakes are a good way to nail down a tent in snow or sand. Back­pack­ers obsessed with ultra­light travel covet tita­nium or car­bon fiber-core alu­minum stakes in bolt, nee­dle or peg styles. Think twice about ultra-ultra light­weight tita­nium shep­herd hooks, how­ever. Even when the tips are coated or painted, they have a ten­dency to van­ish into thin air. Some peo­ple solve this by per­ma­nently attach­ing them to their tent loops with tiny Zip ties, but that options car­ries the risk of the stakes pierc­ing tent fabric.

UPGRADE THE INTE­RIOR
LED tent lights are not only fun but help you nav­i­gate your tent inte­rior with­out dis­turb­ing the hik­ers in the tent next door. The best mod­els ide­ally have 6 lumen bulbs with a min­i­mum of 10 hours of bat­tery power, and attach directly to tent fab­ric via mag­nets with red, high, low, strobe, and sig­nal mode options. By adding a stor­age crib or gear line to your tent’s inte­rior you get quick unclut­tered access to gear, gad­gets, or cloth­ing. Lines with hooks and S-biners allow you to attach the line ver­ti­cally to max­i­mize stor­age and save wall space, or you can set them up hor­i­zon­tally if you want fast, eye-level access to your gear.

Originally found on the Clymb.

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