Rain, Rain, Go or Stay - Tents and Falling Water

Oh no! It’s raining at your event and the tent is up! Come to think of it, this is kind of why people use tents in the first place. Unless there are strong winds for some reason, you can run under the top and keep dry. Light rain is really of no consequence once your tent is installed, apart from possibly curtailing whatever activity you’ve assembled to do.

Once the rain is over, what happens next? In the best situation, your installation has a few days to dry out before you have to pack everything down for storage or to take to the next event. Unfortunately, there are times when tear-down happens directly after (or, god forbid, during) wet weather. What do you do in that case? Read on!

Experiencing Delays

First and foremost, you should try and do everything you can to delay striking the tent. Wet vinyl is slippery and heavier than normal (though not due to saturation; you’d be surprised how much water sticks to slick surfaces), and difficult to manage once you’ve removed it from supports. If you can wait until your site has dried out somewhat you can make the disassembly and packing much easier on your team.

Waiting also allows the ground to dry out some, and keeps your hardware and fabric from getting coated in an unattractive smear of mud, clay, and grass stains. Even drop cloths can allow muddy water to seep through when the ground is sufficiently wet. Tarps may be used, if available, to minimize the amount of dirt.

Alternately, Go For It

There are a few situations where you would need to immediately remove the tent fabric from the structure – especially if you have scheduled additional rentals. In this case, once the tent fabric is removed and bagged one of two things will need to happen:

  1. The fabric is set up at the new site

    At the new site, the tent can be set up and then either sprayed with tent cleaner or lightly scrubbed with a brush or towels. Regardless of how long the fabric is contained wet, it needs to be lightly cleaned to discourage any kind of mold or mildew contamination.

  2. Tent fabric is removed from bags and cleaned or dried
    So long as the tent fabric hasn’t been stored for very long, it can be taken out of the bags and dried either at a dry location or in a building. All fabric should be cleaned (both sides), and so should the fabric bag in order to make sure no stray dirt is still trapped inside.


Once finished, both the tent top and bag should be completely dried before the fabric is folded and stored.

In Summation

In most cases the easiest way to deal with the rain is to wait it out, since the act of packing the fabric down tends to introduce more work into the whole process through dirtying the tent with mud and possibly causing the fabric to overstress as it is being frantically rolled and packed. If you need to pack wet fabric, always remember to unpack and clean the fabric to make sure there is no dirt or mildew growth before repacking. A dry tent is a happy tent!

Celina Tent has a full library of helpful articles here on our blog, and also at our US based site. Have a specific question? Feel free to email us at [email protected] or peruse our Knowledge Center for more info.