As part of my spring preparations, I typically perform serviceability checks on all of my outdoor gear. Prior to our backyard camping trip, I completed the PMCS on all of my (and one that’s not) tents.
Prior to starting, all of my tents were in complete disarray. The only tent kept in meticulous detail is one that I have on loan (Thank you Brent!). The other three were unfolded, put away dirty, scattered throughout the rest of my gear and in general disrepair.
If you read my previous post, I won’t go into much detail about the experience of the day and ensuing night. However, I will give a brief description of what you should be doing instead of letting your tents get in such a sad state of affairs.
With the help of my wife and “help” of my children, we set up all four tents. After they were set up, we went through the process of visually looking for any tears, snags, rips or holes anywhere on each tent – including rainflies. Tents are of little use if they are damaged. I will point out that I’ve never had to repair a tent that has been damaged and would love for someone with this experience to provide a guest post here on SmoothingIt.com.
After the initial once over, I thoroughly checked each tent. Do all of the zippers work? Do they snag or stick? Are all of the roll ties (my untechnical term for the knob and loops used to tie rolled doors and windows) present and functioning properly? Are there any other issues that need addressed?
Next, I checked each tent’s rain fly to make sure that the tie-downs were present and functional. I also checked the tie-downs for the tents themselves. While checking the tie-downs, I completed an inventory of tent stakes to ensure that they were all present.
After making sure that all of the tents were good-to-go, we cleaned each tent with a broom and pan. All of them were in pretty good shape except for my Ozark Trail 4-person tent. It was still full of sand from a New River catfishing adventure and required the most effort.
Finally, all tents were properly folded and packed away in their respective carrying bags.
As it turned out, I was lucky. All four tents were in fine working order. Regardless, I am glad that we went ahead and performed this PMCS. I’d much rather find out that a tent was in disrepair at home as opposed to on an outing when I need it to function properly.
I highly recommend that every woodsman perform some type of yearly or pre-trip inspection of their tents as well as their other gear. However, I recommend that you get it done earlier in the year so that you don’t miss any short-notice opportunities for outdoor adventures.
If I missed anything or if you have anything that you would like to add, I’d love to hear from you! And if you have completed any tent repairs, send me a comment and we can discuss a possible guest post exchange.