Should You Air Out A New Tent? (Explained)

Do you have a new tent that you’re looking for an excuse to use? If so, I’ve got one for you: air out your tent before taking it out into the wild. 

This will not only help get rid of any odors that might be lingering from manufacturing or packing, but it can also help prevent mildew from building up in the fabric over time.

Do you need to reproof a tent and if so how often? – YouTube
Air out a new tent to remove any lingering odors or off-gassing from the manufacturing process.
Unpacking the tent and setting it up outside allows fresh air to circulate and helps eliminate any potential chemical smells.
Airing out the tent also gives you an opportunity to inspect it for any defects or damage before your camping trip.
If weather conditions don’t permit outdoor airing, you can set up the tent in a well-ventilated area indoors, like a garage or basement.
Be sure to follow the tent manufacturer’s instructions regarding care and maintenance to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

What to Do With a New Tent?

New tents are typically stored in factory packaging or a box. The packaging is designed to keep the tent dry, clean, and free of dust while it is being transported from one place to another. 

You should remove the tent from its packaging as soon as you get home and store it in an area that meets all of these conditions:

Dry – Your tent should not be stored in areas where moisture may collect on it. Moisture can lead to mildew and mold growth, which will damage the fabric of your tent and make it unsafe for use.

Clean – If there is any debris left over from manufacturing or shipment, be sure that this debris has been removed from all surfaces before storing your new tent indoors (the same goes for dirt). Doing so will prevent any unwanted stains from appearing on your gear later down the line when you’re using it outdoors!

Dark – Make sure that there’s little light present when you’re storing your new piece of camping gear inside somewhere dark; otherwise, UV rays will cause cosmetic changes like fading or even discoloration over time.

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Does the Tent Smell Like Plastic?

If your tent smells like plastic, it could be because of the waterproofing treatment. Some tents have a TPU coating that can give off a strong odor when heated; others use PVC fabric, which also has an industrial smell. You can usually air out these types of tents in a few days to get rid of the smell.

If you stored your tent in its unopened box for an extended period or if it was packed with packing materials or other items that might contribute to a plastic scent (like scented candles), then airing out might be enough on its own to get rid of the musty odor.

Does Your New Tent Smell Like Mildew?

If your new tent smells like mildew, you should air it out before putting up. Mildew is the result of dampness and dirt, so keeping your tent clean will help keep it from getting smelly over time. If your tent does not smell like mildew, however, there is no need to air it out before using.

If you have a tent that smells like mildew (or any other type of bad odor), there are some things you can do before considering buying new:

Take some time to dry out the inside of the tent by leaving it in direct sunlight for several hours after washing down with water and soap. The sun’s UV rays will kill off any remaining mold spores and leave behind only freshness!

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Is the Tent Fresh Out of the Box?

If you’re new to camping and have never used a tent before, it can be tempting to just open up the box and set it up in your backyard. But it’s much better for your tent if you wait until you’re ready to use it.

If you don’t open the tent: When a new tent comes in an airtight package even though there is no moisture inside, don’t open that package until you need to use it! 

If its contents are dry, they’ll stay dry as long as they don’t come into contact with moisture or humidity outside of their packaging.

If you do open the tent: Be sure that when your new pup-tent arrives at your doorstep that all surfaces are covered with plastic so none of its contents become exposed to outdoor elements (including sunlight). 

Indications of a Fresh Tent
Minimal or no noticeable odors upon opening the packaging.
No signs of dirt, stains, or debris on the tent fabric.
All components, including poles, stakes, and guy lines, are neatly packed and undamaged.
Clear and legible instruction manual and accompanying accessories.
Manufacture date within a reasonable timeframe, ensuring the tent is relatively new.

What about Odors from Packing Materials?

If you’ve ever purchased a new tent, you know that they come packaged in quite a bit of plastic. This can be pretty annoying and wasteful. 

While it’s not possible to avoid this entirely, there are ways to minimize the amount of packaging material your tent comes with. 

The number one way is to choose an inflatable tent over one that requires assembly—inflatable tents typically require much less assembly.

Another thing you’ll want to do is check out reviews to see what other people have said about their tents’ odor (or lack thereof). 

If someone reports their tent smells like chemicals or plastic, then that means it probably does and should be aired out before you use it!

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Should You Put a New Tent Away Wet?

It’s also important to keep your tent dry while you own it. Should you put a new tent away wet? Don’t do that it could lead to mildew or mold, which will ruin the material and make it smell bad. 

Instead, either hang the tent up outside in the sun (but not in direct sunlight) or let it air out for several days before putting it away for good. 

If you have no other option than to store your tent wet, consider using a large plastic tarp over the top of it so that moisture doesn’t seep into the fabric from above.

Air out a tent before you take it out for the first time

In addition to airing out your tent before using it for the first time, you should also air it out after taking it out. 

Camping is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature, but the elements can wreak havoc on your gear. The more often you can keep your tent dry and clean, the longer it will last.

Air out a tent after each time you use it by opening all of its windows and letting fresh air in. This will help prevent mold growth inside of your tent as well as remove any unwanted smells that have accumulated since your last trip into the woods.

Steps for Air Out Before First Use
Remove the tent from its packaging and unfold it in a well-ventilated area.
Open all doors and windows of the tent to promote airflow.
Allow the tent to air out for at least 24 hours to eliminate any odors or fumes from the manufacturing process.
Check for any defects or damages during this time and address them accordingly.
Once the tent has been properly aired out, it’s ready for your first camping adventure.

Is the Tent Stored After Every Use?

If you have a tent, you may have noticed that it needs to dry out after every use. You might even see this as an inconvenience, since storing your tent wet means that mildew can grow on it and mold can start to form, or at least get musty smelling. 

Mold and mildew are bad news in general, but they can also make it much harder to set up your tent later on because they’ll discolor the fabric and make holes in it.

So why should you air out your new tent after each use? Well for starters: if you don’t take care of it properly now, then there’s no way your investment will last forever!

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When is The Best Time to Air Out Your Tent?

The best time to air out your tent is in the morning. The sun has not yet risen and the humidity is lower than at other times of day. 

If you choose to air out your tent in the morning, make sure that you don’t set up your campsite too close to trees or other objects that might trap moisture and create mold or mildew inside.

For optimal results, try setting up a makeshift clothesline outside your campsite and draping wet clothes over it during the morning airing period (this will prevent them from getting dirty). 

You can also use this time to hang wet towels on racks while they dry out.

Best Time to Air Out Your Tent
Before your camping trip to ensure it’s fresh and ready for use.
After a camping trip to remove any moisture or odors accumulated during use.
When the weather is dry and sunny, providing optimal conditions for airing and drying.
In a well-ventilated area, preferably outdoors, to allow for maximum airflow.
Periodically throughout the year to prevent any potential mold or mildew buildup.

How Can I Air Out My Tent?

If you’re wondering how to air out your tent, here are some tips:

Open the tent and let it air out in a dry place. Leaving your tent open will help with air circulation, which will help prevent mold from forming.

Use fans or space heaters to help with air circulation if weather permits.

Leave the tent open for a few days, depending on how strong of a smell there is to begin with (I personally put mine outside on my front porch). 

This can be hard when you have pets that might try to sneak inside! But don’t worry it’s not like they’re going anywhere else but right back outside again once they realize they’ve done so much better at home than camping! 

Just keep an eye out in case one tries sneaking through the doggy door behind them and gets stuck inside…

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What Is Your Goal In Airing Out Your New Tent?

Before you start airing out your tent, you should have a goal in mind. Do you want to prevent mold and mildew from forming? Do you want to eliminate odors? Or are there other reasons why it’s important for your tent to be aired out?

If keeping things dry is your main concern, then airing out might not be necessary as most tents are designed with water-resistant materials and barriers like Gore-Tex or Polyurethane. 

However, if odor control is important for camping trips especially if people will be visiting from other locations—then air circulation could go a long way toward making sure everyone has a pleasant experience while they’re outdoors.

The best way to get the most benefit from airing out a new tent is by using it frequently until the smell dissipates completely (or at least until it’s unnoticeable). 

If possible, use an attached rainfly whenever possible so that any moisture inside will evaporate quickly rather than build up on the fabric itself over time.


We hope that this article has helped you understand what it means to air out a tent and the different ways to do it. 

If you have anymore questions about airing out your tent, please reach out to us at our customer service center. We will be happy to answer any questions!

Further Reading

REI: Caring for Your Tent: REI provides expert advice on tent care, including tips on cleaning, storage, and repairs.

Millets: The Millets Tent After Care Guide: Millets offers a comprehensive guide on post-use tent care, covering cleaning, maintenance, and storage techniques.

Mortons on the Move: Tent Rainfly – What Is It and How to Use It: Mortons on the Move explains the purpose and proper usage of tent rainflies, providing valuable insights for campers.

And here’s the FAQs section:


What are some essential tent care tips?

Regularly clean your tent, avoid storing it when damp, and set it up properly to prevent damage.

How do I clean my tent?

Use mild soap, lukewarm water, and a soft brush to gently clean the tent’s fabric. Avoid using harsh chemicals or machine washing.

Can I machine wash my tent?

It’s generally not recommended to machine wash tents, as it can damage the waterproof coatings and seams. Handwashing is the preferred method.

How should I store my tent?

Store your tent in a cool, dry place, preferably in a breathable storage bag or loosely rolled with a cotton sheet to prevent mold and mildew.

How can I repair a tent if it gets damaged?

Minor tears and punctures can be repaired using tent repair kits or adhesive patches designed specifically for tent fabric. Larger damages may require professional repairs.