Thursday, April 27, 2017
It’s finally time to start setting up for summer fun! Once you start to pull your tents and hardware out for another year’s usage, it’s always a good idea to take a brief inventory of your equipment and make sure it’s all fared well through the winter. More than just dusting off a few cobwebs or accumulated dust, one can never be too careful in pre-season tent prep.
Fabrics are the most susceptible to wear during the storing process. From mold and mildew growth to the errant rodent needing a winter home, tent vinyl needs the most attentive care to ensure a respectable product lifespan. When retrieving tent fabric from storage, be sure to:
Once growth spreads to the scrim, the supporting structural weave on the inside of vinyl, the fabric can’t be fixed. Prevention begins prior to tent storage, with each piece being cleaned of any contaminants and then completely dried before folding to create an environment that is the least accommodating to mold. The beginning of the season is also the best time to apply any mold prevention treatment to fabrics.
Whether from mice, poor handling, or age, holes in the fabric are easier to fix prior to the tent’s installation. Any holes should be mended by welding (our hand-held heat sealer is for this application) or gluing a patch to the area. Detailed patching directions can be found here.
No one likes to see a problem with a tent top or sidewall as it’s being installed; wore or shoddy-looking tents are one of the least inviting structures you can see. While checking over your tent inventory, make sure to double check any older fabrics or pieces that have clear vinyl in them (such as window sidewalls). Clear vinyl in most cases doesn’t have any internal scrim, meaning damage can wreak havoc over large amounts of the item if unchecked. Aging vinyl is also more liable to breakdown over time, and requires closer inspection.
The frame tubing and fittings or poles used to keep a tent aloft are compromised by two main types of damage: bent/broken metal and corrosion.
The easier of the two to avoid, most damage to poles that causes bends or breaks is caused by improper handling or accidents. Making sure tubing/poles are secured before transport is the number one way to avoid most problems; tying down hardware and keeping a close eye on shifting pieces will go a long way in making sure they arrive unscathed. When stored over the winter, pieces shouldn’t sustain any kind of bending or breaking unless they are kept in unstable racks (or backed into with machinery).
Breakdown of the actual metal is a far more gradual process, and one that is harder to come back from. Rust and corrosion will weaken structural components, and re-coating pieces is nigh unheard of when replacements are so readily available. Stave off having to junk components and hardware by making sure to flag pieces that have been heavily scratched or sustained damage previously, as this greatly reducing the protective coatings on the metal.
While less prone to wear during storage than fabrics, it’s still best to keep any eye on any moth-balled items. Wooden items especially (thinking mainly about tables) need to be kept in a dry area for long-term storage to reduce any chance of warping that high-humidity can cause. Other items such as installation and maintenance equipment are less likely to weather damage, but are important enough on the day-to-day that they need to be checked over prior to the busy season.
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Whew! This looks like a lot of work, we know – but just imagine how much more work this will all be if you’d found a hole or bent tube when you’re half way through an installation. Taking a day (or two) to assess your inventory keeps you ahead of the game for the entire season. Celina offers tent pieces – individual tops, tent poles and tubing, etc. – to help you keep your inventory up and working without requiring that you buy whole new tents.
We can be reached 24/7 by visiting any of Celina’s websites and chatting with us in the lower right hand corner. Email and calls (419-586-3610) are also welcomed – we can help you with anything you need, from tenting installation advice to step-by-step instructions. Let us know how we can help!