How to Dry a Tent Fast: The Quick Dry Guide

By: Ashley Vitiello | Last Updated on May 2, 2024

Drying a tent quickly is essential to prevent mildew and maintain its longevity. Start by shaking off any loose debris and then find a sunny and breezy spot to set up your tent. If you’re indoors, open all the doors and windows, and use towels or a mop to absorb excess moisture. Utilize fans or natural airflow to expedite the drying process, and soon your tent will be ready for storage.

Whether you’re an experienced backpacker or a family camper, one thing is universal – the struggle of drying out a wet tent. Maybe the weather turned on you during your adventure, or perhaps your tent has been stored damp after your last trip. Whatever the scenario, a wet tent is an invitation to mildew, foul smells, and a deterioration of the material’s integrity.

We’re here to provide step-by-step instructions, expert tips, and insightful methods to swiftly dry your tent, ensuring that it remains in top condition for many camping trips to come. Say goodbye to those damp, dreary mornings with a tent that’s dewy to the touch and hello to a dry, ready-to-go camping shelter! Let’s dive in and explore the efficient ways to dry a wet tent fast.

Why It’s Important to Dry Your Tent

Drying your tent is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Preventing mold and mildew: A damp tent is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can damage the tent’s fabric, reduce the tent’s water-resistance, and create unpleasant odors.
  2. Maintaining tent durability: Properly drying and storing your tent helps extend its lifespan and ensures it remains functional for your future camping adventures.
  3. Avoiding additional weight: A soaking wet tent is heavier and more challenging to pack than a dry one, making it more cumbersome to transport during your camping trip.

How to Dry a Tent Fast Outdoors

If you’re drying your tent outdoors, follow these simple steps to get the job done quickly:

1. Set it up

First, begin by setting up your tent, including the rainfly. If you don’t have the space to set it up, or if you need to focus on drying the tent floor, you can hang it over a line, branch, or pole to dry. If you use a footprint, hang it separately.

Once the tent is set up, open all doors, windows, and vents to ensure maximum airflow. If the fabric on the windows are doors are wet, set aside time to air dry them closed.

2. Wipe off excess water

Use a microfiber towel to wipe off any water on the tent floor, walls, and rainfly. You can also shake off the tent to remove excess moisture.

3. Position the tent in the sun

If possible, position your tent where it will get maximum exposure to sunlight and wind. The sun’s heat will evaporate the moisture, and the wind will carry it away. Airflow is key to drying your tent fast. Make sure doors, windows, and vents are open to allow air to circulate, and consider using a portable fan to speed up the process.

4. Repack the tent once it’s completely dry

Before packing your tent for storage, make sure it’s entirely dry to prevent mold and mildew growth during storage. Never store a tent wet.

How to Dry a Tent Fast Indoors

If you need to dry your tent indoors, follow these steps:

1. Set up the tent in a well-ventilated area

Find a spacious area in your home to set up your tent, such as a garage, basement, or living room. Make sure there’s enough room for airflow around the tent.

2. Wipe off excess water

As with outdoor drying, set up your tent and use a microfiber towel to remove any water from the tent floor, walls, and rainfly.

3. Open all doors, windows, and vents

Ensure maximum airflow by opening all doors, windows, and vents on your tent.

4. Use fans to speed up the drying process

Place one or more fans around your tent to help circulate air and speed up drying. If possible, open windows and doors in the room to create a cross breeze. You could also do this manually with a hair dryer to speed up the process.

5. Repack the tent once it’s completely dry

Dry your tent completely before packing it away to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Can You Put a Tent in the Dryer?

No. Putting a tent in a dryer can cause severe damage to the tent fabric, waterproof coating, and seams. The heat and tumbling action can distort the materials, reduce water-resistance, and even melt the nylon or polyester fabric. Instead, opt for an air-dry method outlined above to ensure your tent dries safely and effectively.

How Long Does It Take to Dry a Tent?

The drying time for a tent depends on various factors, such as the tent material, initial wetness, and environmental conditions. Generally, a tent can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours to dry under different conditions. Remember that patience is essential when drying a tent – rushing the process can lead to damage or incomplete drying, which can result in mold and mildew growth.

Drying a Tent in Different Weather Conditions

Drying a Tent in Rain

Keeping your tent dry while camping in the rain can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. If it’s raining, you’ll need to find a sheltered area, such as under a tarp, gazebo, or covered porch, to hang your tent or set it up. Make sure to wipe off any standing water and open all doors, windows, and vents to promote airflow.

Drying a Tent in Winter

Drying a tent in winter can be tricky due to the cold temperatures and potential snow or ice buildup. Start by brushing off any snow or ice from the tent before attempting to dry it. Then, place the tent in a sunny spot with a breeze, if possible. Keep in mind that drying your tent in winter may take longer than in warmer months.

Additional Tips for Drying a Tent Fast

Here are some more tips to help you dry your tent quickly and efficiently:

  1. Renew the durable water repellent (DWR) coating: Applying a DWR waterproof tent spray to your rainfly can help water bead up and roll off, making the drying process faster.
  2. Use a camp towel: A super-absorbent camp towel can be handy for wiping off excess water from your tent and rainfly.
  3. Give the tent a good shake: Shake off as much water as possible from the rainfly and tent body before hanging them up to dry.
  4. Be mindful of the tent’s orientation: Make sure all parts of the tent are exposed to airflow and sunlight while drying. Rotate or flip the tent if necessary to ensure even drying.
  5. Clean your tent thoroughly between uses: keeping a clean tent will help improve the its longevity, which helps prolong the life of the waterproofing.

How to Prevent a Wet Tent in the First Place

Taking preventive measures can save you time and effort when it comes to drying your tent. Consider the following tips:

  1. Choose a waterproof tent: Invest in a high-quality waterproof tent to minimize the chances of it getting wet in the first place.
  2. Apply a waterproof spray: Use a waterproof spray on your tent’s rainfly to enhance its water-repellent properties.
  3. Seal the seams: Apply seam sealer to your tent’s seams to prevent water from seeping in.
  4. Proper campsite selection: Choose a well-draining, elevated campsite to avoid water pooling under your tent during rain.


Knowing how to dry a tent fast is an essential skill for any camper. By following the tips and methods outlined in this guide, you’ll be better prepared to handle a wet tent situation, whether you’re out in the wilderness or back at home. And remember, never put your tent in the dryer – air drying is the safest and most effective way to dry your tent without causing damage.

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About The Author

Ashley is an adventurous soul who loves all things nature, especially warm sunshine, wildflowers, scenic snacking, and mushrooms. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent years enjoying time outside doing things like hiking, camping, and rock climbing.
Her goal with Know Nothing Nomads is to make these hobbies easily accessible through knowledgeable content and how-to's based on all the stuff she's learned on her journey. If she isn't writing an article, she's probably in a forest looking at big mountain views and tiny pieces of moss on the side of the trail.

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