Questions and answers tents

1. How do I pick the right tent?

Our website contains all the information you need to pick the tent that’s right for you. We have created a product filter that makes it easier to find the tent that best suits your needs.

Before buying a tent, it’s a good idea to have a think about what those needs are. Will you be using the tent all year round, or only when the weather is good in summer? Will you need to carry the tent for long distances, or will you be camping close to transport links? Do you like having plenty of space, or are you willing to sacrifice some comfort for a lighter pack?

Here you’ll find advice on choosing summer and winter tents, and heaps of tips on choosing the right teepee.

2. Do I need a ‘footprint’ for my tent?

Helsport tent groundsheets are made from the very best materials, but a footprint provides additional protection for the groundsheet and increases the product’s lifespan. If you already have an older tent that has lost some of its water-resistance, the footprint can help increase comfort and prevent moisture inside the tent.

By using a footprint, you minimise condensation inside the tent, thereby protecting it from moisture. If you are going to be travelling in humid climates or know for certain that you will experience major swings in temperature between daytime and night, we recommend using a footprint.

You do need to be careful, however, that sand does not get in between the footprint and the groundsheet, as this can increase product wear.

3. Why doesn’t Helsport tape all tent seams?

The fabric of our Pro and X-Trem tents have a silicon coating on both sides to ensure optimum tear-strength. The silicon coating does not provide enough grip for taping (it doesn’t hold at low temperatures). Instead, we use a continuous filament polyester thread with a water repellent coating. This allows us to use a very fine needle, which again creates very small holes. This, combined with water-repelling thread, means that water does not penetrate the outer material.

4. What is a 3-season tent?

A 3-season tent is, first and foremost, made to be used in spring, summer and autumn. This is, however, not quite the full story, as most tents (such as those in our Pro range) are perfectly suited to winter adventures too. If you are going on a longer winter excursion, however, you will be better off with a winter tent (X-Trem tent) which give you additional guy lines, more robust poles, storm/snow flaps and guy line skirts. This enhances safety and ensures that the tent will be capable of withstanding a sudden winter storm.

But, as we said, a 3-season tent will work just fine for a shorter winter trip. Just remember that in winter, it’s even more important to use all the guy lines, dig the tent well into the snow and build a shelter wall for extra safety.

And, perhaps most importantly of all, check the weather forecast before you set off!

5. Why is there a seam in the bottom of my tent?

Tent groundsheets come in a limited range of sizes, which is why the groundsheet of tents wider than 130 cm will have a seam. This ensures that the groundsheet can come up the side a bit, in order to ensure the best possible protection against water and moisture.

6. Why do the X-Trem tents feature storm flaps? Do I really need them?

Yes! A proper winter or expedition tent needs to have storm flaps. When it comes to stabilising your tent on snow and in very windy conditions, storm flaps are unbeatable. The storm flaps ‘seal’ your tent to the ground and stop snow from entering. In locations with little snow, the storm flaps block wind from entering the tent, stop it lifting off the ground and the pegs being pulled out.

Snow pegs are also essential in order to secure your tent in winter. Once you have experienced securing a tent in a winter storm using storm flaps and snow pegs, you’ll never question the need for storm flaps again!

7. Can I use a burner inside the tent?

It is important to take great care when using burners and stoves inside your tent. All our tents feature a warning advising you not to, but we know that many use the porch or ‘living area’ for cooking in winter or in bad weather. If you choose to light a flame inside the tent, there are some rules you need to follow.

A burner with a pressurised container, multi-fuel burner, etc. can easily flame up as it’s heating up. You can reduce the risk by lighting the burner outside the tent, to ensure that it is hot and burning evenly before it is brought inside the tent.

A camping stove with a spirit burner often causes flames to rise when the pot or pan is removed. If this is what you’re using, it’s safest to do your cooking outside the tent. Perhaps most importantly, we recommend taking the time to get to grips with your burner under relaxed circumstances. Don’t try to use your burner for the first time in a closed tent in winter! You should also make sure to have a sharp knife to hand to allow you to cut your way out through the canvas in the event of a fire (it may sound dramatic, but tent fires are dramatic, and the alternative is worse!).

Finally, regardless of what time a year it is and how you choose to cook inside your tent, make sure that the area is well ventilated!

8. How should I store my tent?

The best way to store your tent is to hang it in a cool and dry spot. It is important to make sure that the tent is completely dry before you put it away. This applies both if you will be storing it hanging up, or in the cover. One effective way of drying the tent is to drape it over a few chairs until completely dry.

Before you put the tent away you should also make sure that it’s undamaged. This way, if you identify any damage you can make sure to get it fixed before your next trip.

Remember to check the poles for loose parts and cracks that could damage the tent fabric. Replace or repair damaged equipment right away.

9. How should I pack my tent away?

If you will be pitching your tent in inclement weather conditions, it helps to have packed it away properly. This will help you find the peg loops and pole channel openings easily, even when the wind gets hold of the tent. If you have a polyester Trek tent, the tent will fit into the bag better if you fold and roll it first, as polyester with a PU coating is stiffer and harder to bunch up.

Having said that, go ahead and bunch it up — that works too! Doing so won’t damage the tent. You are allowed to take a few shortcuts when out and about!

10. How do I clean my tent?

There are various things you can do to look after your tent but putting it in the washing machine is not one of them! If the tent needs to be cleaned, you should pitch it and use a cloth or sponge and lukewarm water to do so. Don’t use harsh soaps, and don’t put the tent in the washing machine. You’ll end up doing more harm than good. If the tent has become very muddy or sandy, the best thing to do is to let it dry, then brush or shake most of the dirt off to prevent fine sand rubbing against the fabric and causing wear.

Using a footprint will protect your tent. A footprint is also far easier to clean than the tent itself, and it protects against condensation, which again reduces the need to dry the tent once you get back home.

A water-repelling tent will, as a natural side-effect, also be dirt-repelling. There will therefore rarely be a need for more thorough cleaning beyond simply sweeping up any debris that has collected inside the inner tent. Tents have similar non-stick properties to your standard Teflon frying pan. If you use harsh soap and steel wool on a pan like that you are likely to end up doing more harm than good.

If you’ve used your tent by the sea, deposits may form at the pole joints, so make sure that you clean and dry the poles before putting them away. Remember to clean the pegs too, if there is a lot of soil left on them.

11. What do I do if my tent has gone mouldy?

If there’s a smell coming off a tent that’s been stored for too long without having the chance to dry, it’s probably caused by mould. Mould spores are practically all around us, all the time. The only way to prevent mould from forming is to make sure you air and dry the tent after use. So, remember: air and dry your tent as soon as you get home, every single time!

If the smell is there, then the damage is probably done already. Airing it well will help, as will drying it out, but if it’s been too long, there’s little you can do. There are strong cleaning products that can kill and remove mould, but you’ll end up destroying the tent as well. Mould shows up as small black spots on the tent. A few spots here and there is generally not a big deal, but if there’s a lot of them you’ll have to consider replacing the tent.

So, remember: always air and dry your tent as soon as you get home!

12. Can tents be re-waterproofed?

Our Trek tents have an exterior fabric made from polyester with a polyurethane (PU) coating on the inside and a waterproofed exterior. The external waterproofing treatment will wear off with use over time, and you can certainly re-treat it as needed.

You can purchase waterproofing products designed for synthetic fabrics without membranes in most sporting goods stores. Some such products will also help protect the fabric from what is perhaps the polyester tent’s greatest enemy — UV radiation.

Our Pro and X-Trem tents are made from silicon-treated nylon. These materials cannot be waterproofed, as doing so would strip off the silicon. However, this is not a problem since silicon-treated nylon isn’t affected by wear and UV radiation in the same way as PU-treated polyester, and the tent will remain waterproof for many years without needing to be retreated.

If you wish to replace a broken or worn bottom sheet or inner tent, we can help. Bring your tent to your local stockist or send it to us by post.

13. Does Helsport repair tents?

Of course! A product that lasts a long time is good for the environment, and we want to keep our products ‘alive’ for as long as possible. All service and repair work is performed at our premises in Melhus, Trøndelag.

Check out our service pages to learn more about our prices, repairs and other product adaptation possibilities.

14. Is it safe to light a fire inside a teepee?

It is, and it’s super cosy, but you do need to be careful and make the fire as small as possible. The flame-retardant material we use in our teepees is excellent, but it’s designed to stop the tent from catching fire, not to allow you to celebrate Bonfire Night in your tent!

A stove is still the ideal heat source for teepees. Read more about fires and teepees here.