Trailer tent care
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A trailer tent or folding camper can benefit from a little care and attention to make sure you have many years of comfortable camping.
Keeping it on the road
Your trailer tent or folding camper is a road vehicle so you are legally obliged to keep it roadworthy. The best way to do this is to have it serviced annually. The service should cover running gear, brakes and lights.
The service should also include habitation areas of your unit, such as any water, gas, electrical and heating systems, which should be checked and maintained. The dealer who does the service should also check for any damp or leaks in the basic structure of your trailer tent or folding camper.
If possible, it’s worth getting your annual service done at an Approved Workshop. This scheme is run by the Camping and Caravanning Club, the Caravan Club and the National Caravan Council (NCC). Approved Workshops are required to have certain standards of facilities and appropriately-trained technicians.
The NCC now runs the scheme on a day-to-day basis and it has a list of Approved Workshops on its website. If you want a service before your first outing of the season, it’s worth calling early in the year as workshops get booked up quickly in spring.
Caring for the fabric
Most trailer tents and folding campers have fabric tops and many also have awnings. Whether it’s 100 per cent cotton or another fabric, you should always try to keep the fabric clean and in good condition.
Keep the fabric off the ground whenever possible to prevent grass or mud stains. It can be useful to take a sheet of builders’ plastic sheeting to put on the ground underneath an awning while you’re unfolding it, to keep it clean.
Mould and mildew don’t just make a trailer tent or folding camper look grubby and smell bad, in some cases they can make it unusable. Leaving a cotton unit damp for an extended period can lead to the fabric rotting away and it forming holes.
It's best to take down your trailer tent or folding camper when it is as dry as possible. That won’t always be possible – we have all had to take units down in the pouring rain - but avoid it if you can.
If it is raining, shake off as much water as possible and wipe more off with a clean dry cloth or a towel, but not one that has been washed in detergent because this can damage the fabric’s waterproof coating.
If there is any water left, you need to unfold the canvas to dry it properly as soon as possible after your trip.
Don’t put the job off - leaving a damp trailer tent folded for just a few days can ruin your holiday accommodation.
Storing your unit for winter
Some people enjoy their trailer tents and folding campers all year round. However, if you decide to store yours during the winter months, it’s worth taking the time to make sure it’s clean and ready for your next outing before you put it away.
If you have a trailer tent or folding camper with many facilities inside, you’ll find tips on preparing your unit for storage in our Winter Care For Your Caravan Data Sheet on our Data Sheets page. Please don’t be put off by the title, most of the details on the Data Sheet are just as relevant to complex trailer tents and folding campers as to caravans.
On the next page we'll talk about confident towing with some advice to get you started.