How to Save Money on Camp Gear-Purchasing a Tent at a Yard Sale

I am an avid yard sale shopper and sometimes you can really get a deal if you know what to look for.  Camping gear is no exception but before you jump into buying that tent, here are some hints to follow along with solutions to common problems. 

Before buying that tent, always check it out.  If it is not setup, ask if you can set it up.  Once up, check the seams of the tent.  Also, make sure that the poles are not broken or repaired with a camper’s friend (Duct tape).  Then, climb inside and take a look at the fabric.  Are there little pinholes that can be seen through the fabric?  Is the flooring of the tent secured and without tears? 

Once all these questions have been answered and you have felt good about your purchase, your work is not done.  The next step in this process is to set up your tent at home.   Make sure that you place it in the shade and sweep out the inside of the tent.  After that is done, mix up a solution of cold water and detergent soap that is designed for tents.  Do not use a household cleaner, which contains perfumes.  These simple perfumes will attract bugs and critter to your tent, which is something you do not want.  Also, the household detergent will destroy the waterproofing finish, which is also something you do not want. 


After you have the detergent soap and water solution made, apply it to your tent with a non-abrasive sponge.  Clean thoroughly inside and out.  Then, rinse with cool water and allow to dry in the shade. 

Next, address any seams that may be coming loose with a seam sealer.  This sealer is a liquid like glue that is applied to the seams.  If you are applying to the sealer to the rainfly and/or floor, make sure to apply only on the shiny side of the tent. 

If you have had to apply a seam sealer, allow it to dry before moving on to the next step.  Once the sealer has dried, the next step is to waterproof the tent.   This should be done every year and more often if the tent is used heavily.  To do this, simply spray on any waterproofing product sold at outdoor gear stores.  Allow to dry before packing up.

The steps above are for a tent that is perfect but what if you buy a tent that has a mildew problem?  Well the answer is simple and begins with a good cleaning.  If the mildew remains, mix 1 cup of salt and lemon juice into 1 gallon of water.  Rub this solution on the tent until the mildew is gone.  Once that is done, allow to completely dry before applying a coat of a waterproofing product.