Drying your tent out after a camping trip is important for preventing mold growth, but that’s not always as easy as it sounds. You would typically setup your tent outside and let the sun go to work, but that’s not possible in urban apartments.
Usually you would let your tent dry in the sun before bringing it home, but sometimes that’s not possible. You will have to setup the tent in the apartment and let fans blow across the inside/outside surfaces. If there’s no space, you can try draping the tent across your shower rod or a makeshift clothesline in the living room.
Sometimes you need to get creative with limited space. It may take a while, but you should be able to dry out your tent with enough airflow. Keep reading to find out a few more ways to dry your tent with limited space.
Drying A Tent In An Apartment
Drying a tent in a small apartment is easier said than done. It will take much longer than drying the tent outside and you’ll have to deal with a massive tent in your living space. I recommend finding a local park to set the tent up for an hour or 2, but that’s not always possible. Here are a few ways to dry your tent inside your apartment.
- Setup The Tent Inside(2-3 Days): Set your tent up in the apartment and use strategically placed fans to speed up the drying process. This is by far the fastest way to dry a tent inside, but you’ll need a lot of space and 2-3 days for it to completely dry.
- Make An Indoor Clothesline (1+ Weeks): Setting up a clothesline in your house will keep the tent out of the way, but it will take much longer to dry. Use fans to speed up the drying process and rotate sides everyday. Make sure you dry out the inside of the tent.
- On The Balcony/Patio (Fast and Dangerous): Draping your tent over the balcony edge will dry the tent out fast, but be careful with wind. I wouldn’t leave the tent unattended and only use this method on 2-3 story apartment buildings.
- Over The Shower (A Long Time): Hanging your tent up over the shower rod may work, but the tent needs to be small. Honestly, this the worst method for drying a tent indoors. There’s lots of moisture in a bathroom and it’s a pain to move the tent every time you need the shower. You’ll end up stinky in no time.
All of the above options should work with varying degrees of success. Just make sure you give the tent adequate ventilation, and every side gets dry. Mold will destroy a tent faster than you think. Keep reading to find out a few more tips to speed up the drying process.
Working With Minimal Space
Sometimes you need to get creative when dealing with a tiny space. Setting up the tent for a few days and forgetting about may not be an option. Working around a tent for 3-4 days can make you go crazy. Try to keep the tent out of the way, and consider moving furniture around for more room.
When I was in my college apartment, I would pull my couch a few feet into the living room and drape the tent on a clothesline behind it. While I was at school/work/sleeping the couch would be pulled out farther and fans would be used to air it out. I had 90% of my usual space and it only took a minute or 2 to pull it out and setup the fans.
The same thing can be done behind your kitchen table, or in front of a rarely used patio door. Just make sure you remember to rotate the tent so you can dry both sides.
Head Down To Your Nearest Park
Hanging your tent up outside will always be better than drying it in your apartment. I highly recommend heading down to your local park and setting the tent up in the sun for an hour or 2. You might need to drape the tent over a tree branch if there’s limited space. This is easily your best option unless you have a week of bad weather ahead of you.
Obviously, this option requires a lot of time/effort upfront, but it’s well worth it. Make a day of it and try to relax for a few hours. Trying to dry your tent inside will take way longer, but that’s another option if you can’t get outdoors. Keep reading and I’ll go over a few options for setting your tent up inside.
Setup The Tent Inside (Preferably Before Bed or Work)
Draping your tent over a clothesline takes up less space, but it will take a long time to dry. You can end up with a damp tent draped across your living room or shower rod for well over a week. That gets annoying fast!
Speed up the drying process by setting up your tent out of the way(as much as possible) and using fans to increase ventilation. Make sure you open all the windows/doors and hang the rainfly up separately to speed up the drying process. Don’t forget to dry the bottom of the tent!
Opening up windows and screen doors will speed things up. It won’t be as fast as drying the tent outside, but your tent should be dry within 2-3 days.
I recommend setting the tent up before bed and taking it down when you get home from work. That gives you most of the day to relax without dealing with a tent in your living room. Repeat the process for 2-3 days and the tent should be dry before you know it.
Hang The Tent On a Temporary Clothes Line
Hanging an indoor clothes line in a rental can be tricky. You don’t want to damage the walls, but tents are heavy so you need a sturdy hook. Bite the bullet and install 2 screw in hooks to hang a temporary clothes line.
I recommend installing a cheap coat hook (like these) by the door. That way you can use the hook for the rest of the year and your landlord probably won’t mind if you leave it up. You can use a wall mounted light, chair, tall standup light or anything else on the other side.
Personally, I would install another wall hook exactly where you need it and take it down when you’re done. A small screw hole can be patched with a dab of white joint compound. Hopefully you have white walls!
Place It Over Your Shower Rod
Hanging your tent up over your shower rod will work, but it should be used as a last resort. There’s not enough space and ventilation in the typical apartment bathroom. It might work for small tent, but you’ll have to overlap bigger tents and slowly work across the entire tent.
Plus hanging a tent over your shower will make getting ready a serious pain in the butt. Do you really want to move the tent every time you take a shower?
If you decide to go this route, make sure the tent is removed before taking a shower. Turn on the exhaust ventilation fan and wipe down all the surfaces before hanging the tent back up. Expect your tent to stay slightly damp for 2-3 weeks.
Use Your Balcony Or Patio
Using a small balcony or patio to dry your tent will significantly speed up the drying process. Just make sure the tent is secured so it doesn’t blow away in the wind. Your tent is basically like a giant kite so be careful.
A 2nd or 3rd floor balcony is fine, but I wouldn’t even consider this on a high rise. Tents aren’t designed to withstand that much wind and there’s a good chance it will rip.
Consider Throwing Out The Tent!
Think about the cost of your tent for a second before getting mad at me. Obviously you wouldn’t throw away an expensive tent after every camping trip, but Is it really worth draping your $20-30 tent across your tiny apartment living room for a week? Dealing with fans, clotheslines, and the space constraints might not be worth it.
I hate the “throwaway culture” our society is heading towards, but some battles aren’t worth fighting. This is especially true if you need to wash off dirt and other gunk. It’s going to be hard to dry your tent inside after soaking it in a tub. In those cases you’ll need to head to the local park and find a tree branch. Hang out, read a book for a few hours, and let the sun work its magic.