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How to Protect your Tent Flysheet

The fabric on flysheets, like any other material that is exposed to the elements, will degrade over time. Sunlight (UV), wind, rain, poor storage and so on all play a part.
There are however measures you can take to prolong the life of your flysheet and delay the fabric’s natural aging process.

Exposure to strong sunlight causes damage to all tent fabrics, resulting in the fabric losing strength. This is normal wear and tear. The lighter fabrics are often more susceptible to UV damage. High altitude exposure causes much more rapid degradation. Preventing early deterioration from UV exposure depends entirely on how the tent is used. Where possible, pack the tent away to reduce exposure and use tents with heavier fabrics in base camp situations.

During prolonged heavy rain the nylon fibres in the flysheet fabric will absorb some of the water and expand. This will give the flysheet a wet appearance in places – wetting out – and may cause it to sag slightly. If this occurs it is important to re-tension the flysheet by adjusting the pole feet from the outermost to the innermost eyelet on the webbing tapes. After the rain has stopped and the flysheet starts to dry out, the nylon fibres will contract. It is important to loosen the flysheet tension by re-adjusting the pole feet to the outermost eyelets on the webbing tapes. If the tension is not released, in some cases, the force of the contracting flysheet can damage the poles.

Cleaning and reproofing the outer surface can help stop water from building up in the fibres and causing the effects of wetting out.