First off, I'm new here, so hello! I'm looking forward to getting some great information along with sharing some exciting experiances. One of my less exciting experiances is when I went hiking/camping with the scouts on the AT. The trip was succesful but we did get a good period of rain. I got home unpacked set up my tent and set it up to air out and began with some regular house hold activities. Well I had a bite to eat and sat down on the couch for a couple minutes, two hours later I awake to a torrential down pour. I thought ok it'll be sunny for the rest of the week, I'll leave to dry out. Day after day usually right before I got home it would rain again. Now I finally got my tent dried out but my trees, mostly tulip and black birches, left this lovely black residue all over my fly. Up until now I have babied this tent. I want to clean this off but I do not want to do anything to compromise the fly either, so I figured I'd ask for other peoples experience and opinions in this. Thanks-AJ
My first thought would be to try hosing it off, with a bit of pressure (as opposed to the wide spray setting) from the hose. If it still looks like rain, and the tent is free-standing, set it up in a garage (or even a spare room) to dry.
If that didn't work, I'd try to find out what the manufacturer recommends if you didn't keep the manuals and hang tags that came with the tent, like we anal types do, try their website; if there's nothing there, contact them by email or phone.
If the tent fly is pure silnylon with no urethane, you can use some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a paper towel. I've done that a few times to remove minor stains on my silnylon tents (Tarptent brand and tarps). Don't try this on anything but pure silnylon though, as I think alcohol will damage urethane coatings!
Thanks good stuff so far. I probally could have helped myself a little if I had mention the make, which is a eureeka apex 2xt, and the fabric is Fly75D 190T polyester taffeta, 800 mm coated. Yes I know not the greatest tent for the pack, but through the cub scout years it has served us well. Hopefully it will continue to do so since I had an other cubscout coming up in another year or two. I'll save it for another thread but my next purchase is probally going to be a more pack worthy tent as my first cub has moved along to the boy scoutr and already has his eyes set on Philmont.
So far I have tried scrubbing with warm water and a light detergent, but I do not have much to show for my efforts. Honestly the trees I spoke of are looking more and more like fire wood every day as they have seemed to coat everything with in their reach with this lovely serum, including my truck. So far the only thing that gets this stuff off my truck is my house washing solution (3 parts h20, 1 part bleach and a squirt of dishwashing liquid) but I have a feeling my tent would not like that very much...
I'd try some of the non-caustic tree sap remedies I've seen mentioned - things that are oily. Mayonnaise, for example.
Now we might be getting on to something!! Even though the sarcastic side of me has to wonder after cleaning my tent with mayo, how does a bear not invision me in my tent as a giant ham and cheese wrap!!
Hmmm, oily... what about a bit of murphy's oil soap, any opinions good, bad, indifferent. I guess my main concerns are not to damage the fly, and not to turn it into a bear attractant.