How to dry your tent at home to ensure it's ready for the Great Outdoors

Mastering the art of tent drying is essential to maintain the durability of your outdoor shelter for longer – here's how

Campers Caught in a Downpour
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Picture this: you've just returned from a wild outdoor adventure, and your trusty tent is in need of some TLC; it's soggy and covered in mud and debris. What should you do? Well, for starters, you can follow our ultimate guide to getting your tent back in tip-top shape below.

After all, even the best tents and backpacking tents will degrade over time if you don't care for them. Alrighty, fellow campers, let's dive into the delightful world of tent drying!

First things first, brush off any dirt, debris, or crumbs from your last camping extravaganza. A quick wipe-down with a damp cloth should do the trick. We prefer using microfibre cloths for this (and many other chores), as they seem to soak up the water as well as move it around, so the tent dries quicker.

If your tent's still sporting a soggy look from your last rain dance after the cloth treatment, let it air dry a bit before moving on to the next step.

Now, let's find the perfect spot for your tent to strut its stuff. Whether it's your backyard, balcony, or even your living room (indoor camping, anyone?), make sure there's plenty of space and airflow. And remember safety first—watch out for any rogue objects that could cause a tear in your tent's fabric.

We have a slightly unusual method of drying the tent: hanging it upside down from various pegs located in the 'drying room'. This allows the different sheets that make up the tent to separate, which speeds up the drying process. Plus, this way, you don't have to use the poles indoors.

It's time to set the stage for your tent's grand drying spectacle! Pop that bad boy up like a pro, making sure all zippers are wide open, and doors are flung wide to welcome the breeze. It's like giving your tent a breath of fresh air after a night of cosy camping.

Ah, airflow—nature's drying secret weapon! If you have one at hand, position a fan nearby to give your tent a gentle breeze massage. And if the weather's on your side, throw open those windows and doors for a natural airflow symphony.

Person folding a Coleman pop-up tent in a field

Pack your drying tent away after a couple hours to ensure it doesn't get more sun damage than required

(Image credit: Coleman)

Here's a camping tip from the seasoned pros. Don't leave your tent out in the scorching sun for too long, even if you're lucky enough to have an area where you can dry the tent outdoors.

Sure, a little sunshine can be rejuvenating, but too much can leave your tent feeling like a crispy critter. Find a shady spot or fashion a makeshift tent canopy for some UV protection.

It's important to keep the tent flip-flopping like a pancake on a Sunday morning brunch. If the tent-drying area is windy, make sure the shelter is tethered or weighed down so it doesn't fly away.

Rotate it every so often to ensure every nook and cranny gets its fair share of drying action. Nobody likes a soggy surprise when you're setting up camp next time.

After a few hours of pampering, poke and prod your tent to check for any lingering dampness. Once you've got the all-clear, pack up shop and store your tent like the precious treasure it is.

And there you have it, folks! We know it can be a chore to dry tents but look at it this way. In today's social media-driven world, you can create content by showing off your bivvy dehydration skills using a GoPro or a small action camera such as the Insta360 GO 3.

Oh, and one more thing. You can make your tent more water-resistant by using products like Nikwax's Tent & Gear Solar Wash and Solar Proof (retailer link). Do this before you set off camping, and watch the water bead off your tent. This particular product also helps reduce solar damage to your tent, which is a real boon. 

Don't forget to check our Spring camping checklist to ensure all your gear is ready for adventure as much as you are.

Matt Kollat
Section Editor | Active

Matt Kollat is a journalist and content creator who works for and its magazine counterpart as an Active Editor. His areas of expertise include wearables, drones, fitness equipment, nutrition and outdoor gear. He joined T3 in 2019. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar and Fit&Well, and more. Matt also collaborated with other content creators (e.g. Garage Gym Reviews) and judged many awards, such as the European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance's ESSNawards. When he isn't working out, running or cycling, you'll find him roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment.