Here in the Ozarks, most of us consider June, July, and August off-season for backpacking. We continue to do day hikes and check for ticks afterward, but sleeping in the woods doesn’t go well in heat and humidity. Officially, September 22 is the beginning of fall, so it’s time to get ready for backpacking season.
I’m the worst about wearing out a piece of equipment, then replacing it, but when you form an emotional attachment with a tent, you want it to last longer. Such was the case with my Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 2 that I purchased in 2016 for the John Muir trip. Since then, I’ve often used a tarp and will continue that depending on the situation, but sometimes having your own private space is best, and this lightweight tent fills that need.
I inspected the seams, which were still looking good with original tape in place, I remembered from my last time out that the rainfly, while still rainproof, didn’t bead water off as it did when new.
I’d never resealed a rainfly, but it was pretty easy. I set up the tent and washed the rainfly by hand with some mild soap. After a good rinsing, I applied NIKWAX Tent & Gear Solarproof. I don’t recommend products, but read reviews of others in deciding what to use.
I let the tent dry in the sun and then sprayed it with the water hose. The water cascaded off and beaded on the surface as desired. As a bonus, the tent looked a lot better because of the light cleaning I did before applying the sealer. Now I’m excited about getting this tent out into the Ozarks on a rainy backpacking trip!
I still have some NIKWAX left and plan to use some on the bottom of my tent and my lightweight backpacking umbrella. I find it more comfortable to use an umbrella in rain rather than sweating inside of a raincoat.
December, 2021 update
During recent backpacking trips, I realized the shock cord running through my tent poles had lost much its elasticity to the point that I was having to stuff cord back inside the poles when setting up my tent. I ordered new shock cord and used the original cord to string it through the poles. It took a little time since it was something new to me, but the results were worth it.