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Can You Put A Tent In The Dryer?

You’ve just gotten back from a camping trip where it rained the whole time, so here you are at home with a wet tent.

What are you supposed to do with this thing now? Especially if you don’t have the space outside to let it air dry.

Then you remember that you have that clothes dryer in your laundry room. Maybe you can put the tent in the dryer on the gentle low-heat cycle, you think.

But should you really do that?

The answer is no, you can’t put a tent in the dryer.

What Happens When You Put A Tent In The Dryer

tent in woods

Your clothes dryer gets hot – really hot – and that heat is not a friend to your tent. In fact, the heat from the dryer will actually damage your tent.

Before you know it, you’d be on another camping trip where it rains and you’ll actually get wet cause the dryer damaged the waterproofing and the seams and sealant on the tent.

And this is assuming that the hot dryer drum doesn’t actually melt a hole in the tent, which may happen, especially with cheaper tents.

Now, don’t think you’re clever by putting a tent in the dryer on the low heat setting.

Repeat after me, a clothes dryer will kill your tent. Even on the low heat setting.

And think about it like this – tents are not cheap and if you end up damaging your tent because you’re so hell bent on putting in the clothes dryer, then you just have to buy a whole new tent.

The Best Way To Dry A Tent

The right way to dry a tent is to let it air dry. Ideally, you can do this before you even leave the campsite, but if it’s raining when you leave then you have no choice but to pack the tent away wet.

As soon as you get home with a wet tent,  you need to unpack it and let it air dry.

Air drying is the best way to dry a wet tent.

If the weather is not wet at your home, then just pitch the tent outside and let the air and sun work together to air dry your tent.

You can also pitch the tent in your home or garage in order to let it air dry.

Other options for safely drying your tent include hanging it on a clothes line or draping it over some patio furniture to let it air out.

Just be careful where you hang, lay, or drape the tent so that it doesn’t get stuck on anything.

friends breaking down a tent

What if you live in an apartment or condo and don’t have outside space?

I’ve lived in apartments most of my adult life, so I know where you’re coming from if this is your question.

If you don’t have the space to air dry your tent, then you have to improvise – and hope that it doesn’t annoy your roommates or partner.

When you’re not using the dining room table, just drape the tent over it to dry. Of course, you’ll probably need some towels in the floor to catch the water than drips.

Another idea –

If you have a shower curtain rod in your bathroom, then take the shower curtain off and drape the tent over it. This way, you can catch most of the water in the bath tub.

Of course, sometimes a shower rod cannot handle the weight, so it might not hold.

You can also try rigging a clothesline in the bathroom so that you can hang the tent on it in there.

Why You Should Never Put A Tent Away When It’s Wet

You might be wondering why it even matters that your tent it wet when you put it away. It’s outdoor gear that’s designed to get wet and then dry on its own, right?

That’s true, if you enjoy the smell and look of mold and mildew.

But it’s not just the unsightly look and smell of that mold and mildew that are the big problem with putting away a wet tent before it’s completely dry.

Mold actually damages your tent. Sounds crazy, but it’s 100% true.

It eats away at that waterproof coating to the point of weakening the tent’s fabric. This means that you’ll get wet when using the tent in the rain. And you may even get some tears in the tent’s fabric as a result of the mold degrading the tent.

Bottomline: Make sure that tent is bone dry before you put it away.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a quick way to destroy your tent, then just toss it in the clothes dryer and check out the damage once the drying cycle ends.

But if you want to get a completely dry tent that will last you for years to come, then air dry it outside or in the home.

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