Preparing a New Tent for Its First Use – Tips From Experts

Camper enjoying sunset after preparing a new tent for its first use

Preparation is crucial for any camping or outdoor adventure. Whether you’re planning your route or learning about your designated camping location, there’s no such thing as too much preparation.

Getting the most out of your equipment is the basic principle of all outdoor experience. The fewer items you have to carry the more mobile you’ll be, and the more ground you’ll cover every day. Besides, having a lighter backpack means you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself when adventuring. The same goes for your tent!

To get the best experience, you’ll need to prepare your tent before you go on a camping adventure. Especially if your tent is new and you are getting it ready for its first use. You’ll need to know how to set it up and moisture-proof it properly.

We’re offering you some very useful tips to help you make sure nothing goes wrong with your tent when you’re using it out there, in the wild. If you also want to learn how to prepare an old tent for camping, make sure to check our blog.

Table of Contents

Why Is It Important to Prepare a New Tent for Its First Use

Preparing a new tent for its first use is crucial if you want to have an interesting and fun camping adventure. Preparation is a vital part of any camping trip, and your tent is no different. Think of it this way: every minute you spend preparing saves two minutes once you’re in the wilderness.

Apart from making sure everything is functioning and that no parts are missing or broken, you’ll get to know your equipment. And, as any experienced camper will tell you – it doesn’t matter how good your equipment is, but what you can do with it. Thus, getting familiar with it is precisely what will make you more adaptable in any unpredictable situations you might come across.

Finally, by prepping your new tent, you’ll get a chance to practice your camping skills, which is something every adventurer appreciates. Whether you’re using the opportunity to practice setting up the tent with your kids, or you’re trying out new assembling techniques, preparing your tent is a great way to do it.

Set up the Tent at Home to Prepare for Your Next Trip

The first you’ll want to do to “break in” a new tent is to set it up in a controlled environment, such as your home or your backyard. This will not only help you prepare your new tent for its first use, but it will also help you overcome some challenges that you could encounter when making your tent in the wild. And also, when you’re setting up the tent in your home for the first time, you don’t have to worry whether you’re setting up your tent at night or not. You can do it any time of day!

See if It’s All There

The first reason people suggest opening your tent before a camping trip and setting it up at home is to check if everything is present and accounted for. You wouldn’t want to realize a tent peg or some ropes are missing when you’re out in the wild, trying to make camp.

First, unpack your tent and sort all of the equipment that came with it. Check whether everything is there and then start assembling your tent. After you decide to disassemble and pack it, make sure that you didn’t misplace any of the parts.

Test It Out

Another important reason why you should set up your tent before its first use is to test it out and see whether it fits your needs. Once you raise the tent in controlled conditions, you can invite your camping buddies over and test it out.

See how many people can actually fit in there before it gets too crowded, or whether it’s easy to air the tent or not.

Additionally, testing out your tent allows you to see whether it has any issues of note. Torn fabric or leakage in a tent can easily ruin any camping trip when the time comes to make camp for the night. It is much easier, not to mention safer, to know about these things before you go to tackle the Great Outdoors.

Practice Assembling It Quickly

Probably the most important reason why you should set up your tent before its first actual use is to practice assembling it before you actually need to assemble it.

Practice making and taking down your tent so that you can do it even in poor conditions. This will make any future camp trip easier, as you will have more time to hike and explore – the time you’d normally spend raising your tent.

If push comes to shove, and you’re caught in a less than ideal situation in the wilderness (such as a blizzard, a storm, or heavy rain), you will be prepared to set up your tent at a moment’s notice and avoid getting wet or cold.

Campers assembling and preparing a new tent for its first use

Waterproof the Tent Before Its First Use

No matter where you’re planning on camping, you’ll want your tent to be waterproofed. There’s nothing worse than waking up in a puddle of water in the morning, especially when you’re miles away from the closest hot shower.

Even though most tents are already waterproof, the reason why they sometimes leak is that the seams let in a little bit of water through their holes. Some tents come with already sealed seams, however, there are a lot of those that don’t have this feature. Luckily, there are a couple of ways you can ensure you stop the leakage.

Spray Your New Tent to Keep the Water Out

The easiest way to waterproof your tent is to spray it with some kind of waterproofing spray. There are many solutions to this problem, and probably the most famous one is Camp Dry, a heavy-duty water repellent in spray form. You don’t have to go for this specific one, but you should still spray your tent with some form of water repellent.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should get the most expensive option out there. There are many cheap but effective ways you can use as a substitution for a waterproofing spray. You can use duct tape to cover the seams of your tent, or even rub mineral oil over them. When using oil to waterproof your tent, make sure you’re not using edible or motor oil.

“Season” Your New Tent to Prepare It for Its First Use

Seasoning a new tent is a complete must before you take it on a camping trip! Of course, this doesn’t involve any salt, pepper, or other spices. Rather, it is a process that involves exposing your tent to the elements and letting it dry naturally in the air.

Seasoning your tent in this manner will improve its resistance to the elements by sealing the seam holes and increasing the girth of the thread.

Which of these ways of waterproofing your tent is better?

The answer is neither, and both. You will need to apply both of these methods to ensure your tent is completely waterproof.

First, season your tent by leaving it outside for a few nights and allow it to dry naturally. Then, use a waterproofing solution (spray, duct tape, or both) on your tent a few days before the camping trip. Leave the tent to dry and pack it once it does.

Other Things You Need to Do to Prepare the Tent for Its First Use

Once you’ve assembled your tent a couple of times, seasoned it in the weather, and made sure it was waterproof, it’s time to get the last few touches in so it is ready for its first actual use in the wild.

Get Necessary Accessories Before the First Use

Before you take your tent out into the wilderness, you’ll want to get all the accessories for it. Some tents come with their own assortment of add-ons and tools, but in most cases, you’ll have to get them yourself.

Tent footprints are basically a must when you’re camping in anything but the perfect weather. They add an extra layer of insulation which makes a world of difference when you’re planning on camping on the cold ground.

Apart from the footprint, here are some other additions you might want to make before taking your tent outside:

  • Hanging lamp (so you can hang it in your tent)
  • Space heater – battery powered and not too powerful, so it doesn’t melt the tent
  • Sleeping bag – make sure your sleeping bag is adequate for the weather conditions you will be facing
  • Some reading material – never underestimate the power of a good book on a camping trip

Prepare Your New Tent for Transport

Once you’re finished with prepping a new tent for its first use, it’s time to get it ready for transport. Make sure your tent is dry both during transport and in your backpack. Moisture during transport can unmake all of the waterproofing you’ve done.

If your tent is dry, pack it as it was when you got it. Make sure that everything is accounted for and you’ll be ready for your next camping trip.

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