Family Camping FAQs

For your convenience, our most common customer questions are answered right here as a Frequently Asked Questions or FAQs.

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Q. How do I get the campfire going?
Answer: Build a small teepee of dry twigs or sticks, and ignite it with a match. Alternatively, you can use tinder, like newspapers and birch. Add larger pieces of wood to grow the fire to the size you want.

Q. Can I use gasoline to start my campfire?
Answer: Never use gasoline. It is explosive and can result in accidents and great injury. You can use flammable fluids like kerosene or charcoal lighter fluid. However, ensure you apply the fuel before you light the fire.

Q. How can I be sure my campfire is out, before leaving the area?
Answer: Extinguish all fires completely by pouring water on them. Stir the ashes and pour more water. Ensure the ashes are cool to your touch before you leave the site.

Q. How can I keep the inside of my tent free from mud?
Answer: You can use plastic tarp on the ground beneath the tent. This groundsheet also serves to protect the floor from stones, sticks, and wear and tear. Use a whisk broom to sweep out dirt and leaves. Also remove muddy shoes before entering the tent.

Q. What is the expected lifespan of a tent with average usage?
Answer: The average expected lifespan of a tent is between 7-10 years, when you use it 2-3 times a year, on 3-7 day camping trips at a time. Taking good care of your tent increases its life.

Q. What is the difference between polyester and nylon tents?
Answer: Polyester is more resistant to ultraviolet damage and abrasion compared to nylon fabric. It also has better structural integrity.

Q. What is the difference between 3-season and 4-season tents?
Answer: Four season tents are designed for all seasons including winter, and can withstand wind stress and snow loads. Three season tents cover spring, summer and autumn, and are lighter than the 4-season tents. Read more about different types of tents here: https://www.familycampingcenter.com/a-beginners-guide-to-the-different-types-of-tents/

Q. What are the common things that can damage the tent during a camping trip?
Answer: Chemical contaminants such as insect repellents, fruit juices, stove fuel, hair sprays, and acid from leaky flashlight batteries. Dirt or sand can erode a zipper until it fails to close.

Q. Why does the tent need a rain fly?
Answer: It reduces condensation within the tent and improves ventilation. It’s a water repellent roof cloth that allows water and heat to leave he tent.

Q. How do I stake down my tent?
Answer: Stake it immediately you pitch the tent, and before putting on the fly. You can use a web stake out loop or the ring and pin don’t stake it too tightly, or operating the zippers will become a problem.

Q. How do I stake the tent in special conditions?
Answer: For sandy camping areas, use long, broad sticks. For hard, rocky or frozen soil, you can use steel rakes. For snowy areas, you can tie the tent to buried objects like braches, or ski poles stuck in the snow.

Q. My tent has stuck together. What does this mean?
Answer: Your tent’s waterproofing is getting older. It’s natural portions are breaking down, and that causes the stickiness. All you need to do is re-waterproof the tent.

Q. What do I do with my sleeping bag after a camping trip?
Answer: Completely unzip it, clean it and let it air dry for a day. This will maintain it and keep it smelling fresh.

Q. What temperature rating should I get for my sleeping bag?
Answer: The temperature rating is basically a survival rating. For example, a rating of -10°, means the sleeping bag will keep you breathing for temperatures as low as -10°. For comfort go for a temperature rating that’s about 20° lower that the expected temperature.

Q. Why do I need a footprint?
Answer: It keeps your tent floor clean and dry. It also protects it from abrasion.

Q. How do I clean the tent?
Answer: For quick cleaning tent, all you need is a bucket, some warm water, a sponge, and non-detergent soap. Water pressure from the average garden hose is enough for thorough cleaning. Do not machine wash it.

Q. How do I repair a tear on the tent?
Answer: You can use waterproof, self-adhesive patches for the fabrics and mesh on your tent. Seam sealants can fix small holes. You can use duct tape, but replace it with a permanent patch after the camping trip.

Q. What do the letters “D” and “T” on the tent fabrics mean?
Answer: The “D” stands for Denier, which is a numbering system for filaments, fibers and yarns. The lower the number the finer and lighter they are, the larger it is the heavier and coarser they are. “T” signifies Thread Count. This is the number of warp and fill threads per square inch. Low means lose, high means tight. These two numbers indicate the strength and feel of the fabric.

Q. What do I do if one of my tent breaks?
Answer: You can make a temporary splint using the pole repair sleeve. Simply slide it over the broken section and tape (or wedge) it in place using a stick.

Q. How should I store my tent?
Answer: Ensure that it’s not wet, damp or dirty before storing it. Prolonged exposure causes hydrolysis which damages the waterproof coating. Keep it in a cool, dry area away from direct sunlight.