1. Buy a quality shelter—a three-season tent with a minimum waterproof rating of 600mm for the flysheet and 1000mm for the floor. The higher the rating the more waterproof and durable the tent.
2. Opt for tents with stormproof venting systems that keep interior condensation at bay without letting the monsoon in.
3. For wet-coast camping and a longer tent life, splurge on a tent footprint, a tarp that fits under the tent body. It increases the waterproofness and insulation value, while reducing abrasion. Make sure it’s smaller than the tent body, so water won’t pool on it.
4. Seal the seams. Even if the tent has taped seams, it’s worth taking a look—sharp corners and angles are hard to tape and often ignored. Apply enough sealer to saturate all exposed stitching, including around webbing and zippers.
5. Choose your campsite carefully and with a gardener’s eye. Avoid depressions and gullies that might become a lake or river during a storm. And avoid full sun—UV rays weaken fly fabric. Look for windbreaks, like trees or big rocks, and set your tent up so the vestibule points away from the wind.
6. All those guyline and peg-attachment points are there for a reason. Stake your tent out as much as possible to prevent pooling on the fly and to keep water away from the tent body. Fully staked tents and flies also stand up better in a strong wind.
7. Repress that obsessive-compulsive need to fold the tent the same way, every time. It weakens the fabric and can lead to leaks. Mix up your origami or just stuff it.
8. Mildew wrecks fabric. Make sure the tent and fly are completely dry before storing them.
9. Periodically seal the seams again. And seal leaks, with plenty of seam sealer, as soon as you can.