Can You Tumble Dry A Tent? (expert advice)

YOU SHOULD NEVER TUMBLE DRY A TENT. Tents might be designed to withstand the rigours of outdoors living. 

Including high winds and extremes in temperature but putting a tent in a tumble dryer can cause serious damage.

If you tumble dry a tent it could;

  • Cause the tent to lose its waterproofing 
  • Destroy the seams
  • Cause the tent to lose its shape
  • Rip the tent
  • Cause the tent to melt (in extreme cases)

However, it is important that the tent is completely dry before it is packed away for any length of time. 

Which means you’re going to need to find a way to get your tent dry without tumble drying it if you want it to last.

Keep reading for the safest and best ways of drying a tent without the use of a tumble dryer.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On A Tent

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

Due to the manufacture and design of tents, the only symbol you’re likely to find on a tent is the do not tumble dry symbol (Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top).

We have included all of the symbols relating to tumble dryers for your reference.

  • Square With White Circle ~ This is the symbol that indicates that the item can be tumble dried. It is highly unlikely that you’ll ever find this on a tent.
  • Square With White Circle, With One Black Dot In Circle ~ This indicates you can dry on a low heat setting and you should never usually find this on a tent.
  • Square With White Circle, With Two Black Dots In Circle ~ This indicates you can dry using the medium heat setting and you’ll never find this on a tent.
  • Square With White Circle, With Three Black Dots In Circle ~ This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried on the high heat setting. You will never find this on a tent.
  • Square With Black Circle ~ This indicates that the item can be tumble dried on the no heat setting. Don’t be tempted to dry your tent even with no heat. You could still cause major damage to your tent just due to the mechanical rotation of the drum.
  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top ~ This is the only symbol you’re likely to find on a tent. It is the symbol that indicates that the item can not be tumble dried.

How To Dry A Tent Without A Tumble Dryer

It is important that your tent is completely dry before you put it in storage. Sometimes it is necessary to break camp when it is raining which means packing your tent away wet.

Once you get home, you’ll need to dry your tent out. We have found the following methods to be the most successful.

Air Drying Your Tent

We all know that the best way to get a tent dry is leaving it set up on a warm sunny day with a slight breeze. And this will work well for your tent except it leaves the bottom wet.

Line Drying Your Tent

Hanging your tent on a washing line will work well as long as you make sure there are no creases in the tent as it dries.

Creases can cause mould growth which will damage the tent’s fabric.

You can use a washing line, rotary line or retractable clothesline to dry your tent.

In the right conditions a tent could be dry within 45-60 minutes.

Fence Drying Your Tent

If you don’t have a clothesline, you can drape your tent over a fence to dry.

This will take longer as the tent can only dry one side at a time on a fence. Plus you will need to turn it to dry the opposite side of the tent.

Air Drying Your Tent In Your Garage

If the weather is too bad for outdoor drying, you can set the tent up in your garage if there’s room or, suspend a line in the garage.

This is where retractable clotheslines are invaluable. The line is extended from one side of the garage to the other. 

Once the tent is dry, the line is retracted into the wall mounted box freeing up the space in your garage.

Air Drying Your Tent In The Bathroom

You can drape the tent over the shower curtain rod or the side of the shower cubicle.

The bathroom’s exhaust fan should be turned on to remove excess moisture. 

To speed up the drying process you could place an electric fan in the room to create a through breeze with the exhaust fan.

SEE ALSO: The Greatest Bladeless Electric Fans On The Market Today

Using An Airer (Clothes Horse) To Air Dry Your Tent

Airers are a great way to dry your laundry outside in the fresh air, or indoors when the weather’s too bad.

To use an airer to dry a tent, simply place the tent over the airer ensuring there are no creases and allow it to dry.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Best Clothes Airers (Clothes Horses Reviewed)

Indoor Drying Times Can Be Decreased By Using A Dehumidifier

Just like the bathroom exhaust fan, a dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air.

This allows the tent to dry at a faster rate than it would naturally. As dehumidifiers produce no heat they can be safely used with tents made from any fabric.

What Happens If You Tumble Dry A Tent?

Always check the wash care labels

Tents should be air dried to ensure they are dried correctly. Tumble drying a tent could cause serious damage including;

The Tent Could Become Ripped

Most tents are designed to withstand rough weather conditions. However, they are not designed to withstand the rigours of a tumble dryer.

The harsh tumbling action is likely to rip the fabric of the tent especially if your tent has an inner mesh.

Plus even nylon zips can get caught on the tent’s fabric and cause it to tear.

The Tent Could Lose Its Waterproofing

The coating that was applied to your tent to make it water resistant or waterproof could be removed during a session in a tumble dryer.

The first you would know of this would be the next time you went camping and it started to rain.

The Tent Seams Could Part

The glue used to seal the seams of your tent could melt due to the high heat of the tumble dryer.

In many cases, these seams might not be repairable. Which would mean buying a new tent.

The Tent Could Warp

The heat and tumbling action of a tumble dryer could warp the shape of your tent. 

Some materials are more likely to warp than others, but it’s really not worth taking a chance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put a tent in a tumble dryer?

It is not safe to put a tent in a tumble dryer. You run the risk of seriously damaging your tent. You could cause it to warp, rip, lose its waterproofing and become damaged beyond repair.

How do you dry a tent in the winter?

Drying a tent in winter can be difficult, we recommend hanging it up in your garage or air drying your tent indoors on an airer (clothes horse).

How can I dry a tent without a tumble dryer?

The best way to dry a tent without using a tumble dryer is to air dry it on a clothesline. Or you could drape it over a fence. If you have to dry it indoors you have the options of either hanging your tent in a garage, over a shower curtain rod or on an airer.

How long does it take for a tent to dry out?

Given the right climatic conditions, some tents can be dry in 30-60 minutes. It really depends on the temperature, humidity, wind speed and the material the tent is made from.

How long before a wet tent goes Mouldy?

Mould can begin to form within 24-48 hours which is why it is important to dry your tent thoroughly before packing it away.

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