What Happens When You Pack Away a Tent Wet?

Jul 21, 2023

In the camping industry, one common issue that arises every season is the improper storage of tents after use. Whether it's due to lack of space at home or simply forgetting about it, many campers make the mistake of packing their tents away damp or wet, assuming it'll be alright after a brief exposure to rain or bad weather.

Admittedly, we all fall prey to unexpected weather conditions at times, and a short period of packing a slightly damp tent might not cause immediate damage. However, it is crucial to grasp the significance of thoroughly drying and airing out your tent, especially before long-term storage, as failing to do so can lead to severe repercussions.

What Happens When You Pack Away a Tent Wet?

Packing away a tent while it's still wet allows mould and mildew to gradually accumulate throughout the fabric. This can lead to various problems, including fabric degradation and the development of unpleasant odours. In my experience, if a tent is left in this state for an extended period, it can take on a distinct smell akin to cat urine, and sadly, it often signifies that the tent is beyond saving and destined for the landfill.

Why is it Crucial to Return Your Tent Dry?

If you find yourself needing to return your tent for repair, replacement, or a refund, it's essential to ensure it's completely dry before doing so. Manufacturers and retailers inspect returned tents to assess the possibility of repairs and determine the nature of faults. Even if you're seeking a refund due to a defect, most tents can be salvaged through proper maintenance.

On the other hand, if you return a tent that has been packed away wet, it risks permanent damage, rendering it unsalvageable and harmful to the environment, as it will end up as waste. Wet tents that develop mould during the inspection period are not covered under warranty. Consequently, the tent will be returned to you without any attention, as the warranty becomes void in such instances. In some cases, manufacturers may even charge for dealing with such issues.

The Dangers of Packing a Tent Away Wet

When a tent is packed away wet, mould starts to grow on the taped seams and fabric. This continuous exposure degrades the fabric to the point where it becomes irreparable. The strong, unpleasant smell that accompanies this process can be overwhelming, making it challenging to pitch the tent indoors or anywhere else.


In conclusion, the consequences of packing your tent away wet should not be underestimated. Mould, fabric degradation, and foul odors are just the beginning of the problems that can arise. To protect your investment and ensure the longevity of your tent, it is imperative to take the time to thoroughly dry and air out your tent after each use, especially before storing it for an extended period. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy many more camping adventures with a tent that remains in excellent condition for years to come.