If you only use the tent a few months a year, you might have trouble ever wearing it out. We have left our lightest 14oz tent up 4 years, almost 1500 days and the vinyl was still intact and the tent construction was like new. We left our 18 oz premium tent up for over 12 years (4400 days plus) with same results. They were both closing in on the end of their life, but still no holes in top and construction was like new. We build the strongest, most reliable and longest lived pole tent in America. Check out http://www.gospeltent.com/description/
to see a detailed description of our tents down to the thread.
Our tents will look and perform as though they had a frame because there are seat belts on every seam and steel to steel connections. This enable’s the tent to perform in the worst weather around the world. If you get a frame tent, be sure to get a very good quality. If the frame bends in a storm, it will tear the tent top.
On average, our competitors show it takes at least 3 times longer to set up a frame tent as compared to a pole tent. Also, pole tents will withstand higher wind loads. The hardware for a frame tent is very specialized, including pieces which are either cast aluminum or welded steel. If you lose or damage one of these pieces, your frame tent is useless until you find a replacement part from the manufacturer.
Following is how we would clean a tent: For initial cleaning, spread tent out on grass, get wide nylon bristle brooms, take your shoes off and spread non concentrated laundry detergent out and water and get to work. That will take most of the dirt off.
You can experiment with different spot cleaners for bad areas. Always test small area first. We like “Mean Green Super Strength Cleaner” available at Dollar General Stores. WD 40 will take off tar and other odd marks. For other tough areas you can use 3 parts water 1 part Clorox to scrub with. Do one panel at a time and then wash off immediately, otherwise it will take gloss off top of tent. You can use this same mix of Clorox and water on underside, where seatbelts show, and actually let it dry without washing off. This will help fight mildew in the future.
Mystery stains: Use melamine “erasing foam” such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Good for cleaning resin chairs too.
Rust, leaf, hard-water and mineral stains: Use CLR (Calcium, lime, rust remover). It is an acid but is safe for vinyl. It dissolves any mineral deposits that are on the surface. If your clear wall or windows have hard water residue or look foggy, a weak dilution of the acid can remove those deposits as well.
Mildew: A chlorine cleaner must be used. Use Blitz mildew remover and X-14 Mildew Stain Remover. (Blitz is a Shipp Chemical product that can be purchased at hardware and grocery stores). These calcium hypochlorite solutions do a better job of killing the roots or spores of the mildew. Always apply any chlorine to a dry fabric. Only use chlorine when the tent has mildew stains. Chlorine does not whiten tent fabric, and extended use of bleach on vinyl fabric will rob the plasticizer and make the fabric stiff. Chlorine cleaners can also dry rot the polyester stitching on the seams with the help of ultraviolet sunlight.
Black pole stains: Black stains from aluminum poles are tent eyesores. Some have discovered that liquid sliver polish removes the aluminum dust and does not damage the vinyl.
Duct tape, tar, paint, grease and oil stains: These can be removed with pure organic citrus solvent. Do not use mineral spirits, products such as Goof Off or paint removers because these are made with petroleum. Do not use any products containing petroleum.
Crepe paper or confetti stains: Some companies put their tent up in the sun for a few days, the ultraviolet light from the sun can bleach out dye stains. Others have tried using the infrared heating lamps used at the meat carving stations. Place the lamp the normal distance from the surface and let it sit for 20 minutes. Infrared light has also removed old set-in yellow mildew stains and leaf stains. This is a new remedy, so be careful not to let the vinyl overheat.
If you decide to leave it up, following are a few tips for preparing your tent for bad weather, winds, etc.: It is vital that the tent be as tight as possible. Use a ratchet to really tighten down each staking point and then re-tie your rope. If you expect high wind, at your discretion, you can either remove sidewall from tent, or 1/2 it up. You 1/2 it up by lifting bottom edge (with grommets) up and tying off to rope that your snap hooks clip to. By doing this, or removing your sidewall, you will allow the wind to move through the tent and not have the wind push the sidewall so hard that it knocks out the wall poles.
A good tip for all of your poles is to put plywood squares underneath them. You can use
4″ x 4″ for the wall poles and 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 12″ for center pole depending on the size of base plate. For the larger tents you would need to use several layers of plywood for your center poles. The plywood will keep the poles from sinking on grass, making impressions in asphalt or sliding on concrete.
This is a good start to preparing your tent for a storm. Of course, it is your decision whether to leave the tent up or take it down. Even though our tents are designed to be the strongest, it still wears on a tent with each storm it goes through.