A used tent Buyers Checklist

Tent, parts and accessories

Do your research. Is it complete and is the seller telling or showing you each item that should be there ?

Use your senses, does it smell fusty, are the poles rough to the touch ?

Canvas - dirt (mud ok, bird poo maybe ok), mould (black marks - bad), holes/repairs ? stitching/repairs ? guy points ? windows ? fixtures / curtain rails etc ?

Inners and ground sheets - holes ? dirty ? smelly ?brittle ? attachments point ok ?

Curtains, roof linings, wardrobe pole, groundsheet(s) - all there, all the fittings there ?

Poles - rusty/bent ? fittings ? spring clips and buttons ? How does it all go together ? Any missing or bodged bits ? The little fittings are not expensive and most are readily obtainable, but what does it say about the owner ?

Zips - clean, working, stitching. Check they close all the way to the ground properly as that is where they tent to wear first

Rubbers - can give a good idea of how its been used and looked after. Original ones crack after some use so if they have been replaced its seen plenty of use (not neccesarily a bad thing). If they are clean it means someone takes care putting the tent up/down

Bag(s), accessories and manual ? Useful and an indicator of how careful the owner has been

Owner and history

Your not interested in how nice they seem, but how competent and careful they have been in looking after your new baby for you

How long have they owned it and why are they selling it ?

Where and when has it typically been used ? Do they lend it to al their friends ?

Has it been reproofed ? Once reproofed you usually have to keep doing it and it might suggest is has been leaking - Remember, if Canvas is stored for a while (especially in a centrally heated house) it will become bone dry and need re-weathering just as if it were new. Pitch it, not too tightly pegged and get it soaking wet, then let it dry out and it will probably be fine

One owner from new is good but not perfect, lots of owners might be a warning sign (though you probably wont know)

Does the owner smoke or have pets ? A smoked in tent that has had dogs running in and out will maybe not be in such great condition

Does owner know how to pack it properly and where/how has it been stored ?


There is always another bargain out there so if you have any real doubts walk away, it's just a tent

If you do find there are problems with the tent (and you can't take it back) then all is not lost, have a look in the < fixing you tent > section for ideas. If all else fails you can always sell it on, its amazing what people are willing to take on and fix. Or even break it up, keep the frame and bits as spares, cut out the mouldy bits of Canvas and use the rest to make tent bags or similar, its amazing what you can still do with a dead tent

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