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Reviews > Do It Yourself > Grangers Tent and Gear Care Kit > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Granger's Tent + Gear Care Kit

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - January 24, 2019

Long Term Report - May 11, 2019

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 65
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 230 lbs (105 kg)
Email address: kwpapke (at) gmail (dot) com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

I do most of my hiking in the desert Southwest, but occasionally get up into the Pacific Northwest and my old stomping grounds in Northern Minnesota.  I am a comfort-weight guy when it comes to most gear, trying to stay as light as possible but I don't go to extremes.  I rarely clean my gear, but my tent footprints and floors are in desperate need of rehab after numerous Grand Canyon backpacking trips.

Initial Report

Product Facts

This product is designed to clean dirty outdoor gear and renew water repellent properties.  Granger's is a bluesign(r) system approved company, which provides assurance that the products are manufactured in an environmentally-friendly fashion, and should be reasonably safe to use.

Product Information
Manufacturer
Granger's International Ltd
Manufacturer website
https://grangers-usa.com/
Model tested
Tent + Gear Care Kit
Year manufactured
2018
Country of manufacture
United Kingdom
MSRP
USD $29 (Amazon - I was not able to get the price directly from their website)
Warranty
One year limited warranty
Weight/Volume
Tent + Gear Cleaner: 500ml / 16.9 fl.oz, gross weight 558 g (19.7 oz)
Tent + Gear Repel: 500ml / 16.9 fl.oz, gross weight 577 g (20.3 oz)
Sponge: gross weight 31g (1.1 oz)
Materials
Cleaner: contains <5% non-ionic surfactants; preservative (1, 2-benzisothiazol-3(2H)-one, 2-methyl-2H-isothiazol-3-one).

Initial Inspection

gr01

As the name implies, this is a "kit" that contains everything in the box needed to renew camping shelters: cleaning solution, applicator sponge, and a spray bottle of water repellent.  In the above photo, upper-left is the front of the box, upper middle the back of the box, lower left is the box contents.  Upper right is the back of the Cleaner bottle, lower right is the back of the Repel bottle, both showing the instructions for use.

Usage seems pretty straightforward with only the cleaner requiring mixing with water, the Repel solution is used full-strength from the spray bottle.  I will likely use rubber gloves for the cleaning solution to avoid skin contact, and use both products outdoors.  Good thing I live in Arizona where the weather is nice enough to do this outdoors year around!

Testing strategy: I have two tents that I use with "footprints" extensively in the Grand Canyon.  They are pretty filthy with red Canyon sandstone, and one tent is over eleven years old.  I will likely tackle these first, then have a look at my tent floors to see what kind of shape they are in.

I have four hammocks with associated tarps.  Because they hang off the ground they are not too dirty, but I'll inspect them to see if they could use a touch up.

Summary

The Granger's Tent + Gear Care Kit is a complete solution for cleaning up my act.  I have never been much of a "clean freak", but I look forward to seeing what the product can do with my camping shelters.  I have no concerns over the product or its use.

Thanks for reading this Initial Report, stop back in three to four months for the Long Term Report.

Long Term Report

Tent Footprints

As I had planned, my first  project was my two tent footprints.  Since I moved to Tucson in 2009, I primarily use my tents in the Grand Canyon where hammock camping is prohibited.  As can be seen in the following photos, this is a very dusty environment. In particular use in areas such as Boucher, where the ground is mostly red sandstone, result in very dirty gear:

gr03

Note that the two Grand Canyon trips depicted above will not be found in my trip log below.  The occurred prior to the Granger kit test, and are used for illustrative purposes only.

The footprint of my LL Bean tent is barely visible beneath it, but in the photo of the Sierra Designs tent directly above it was quite visible while I was pitching my tent.  I often use this tent in the "fastpack" configuration, i.e. just the footprint without the inner tent.  This saves substantial weight, but as I found the night the picture was taken it allows mice to run all over my face during the night!

I followed the product directions: I mixed up a half-batch of the cleaner (1 capful to 2.5L (2.5 qts) of water), hosed down the gear to get the big chunks off, washed with the supplied sponge and rinsed off the cleaner with the hose.  Next I drained a lot of the water off, sprayed on the Repel and rubbed it in with a clean sponge.  When I was all done I hung the gear up to dry off.

Here are the project photos:

gr02

The dirt on the black LL Bean footprint at upper left is much more visible than it is on the tan-colored Sierra Designs tent at lower left.  The "after" pictures on the right were taken with some water sprayed from the hose to see how well it would bead up.  The results are more obvious on the Sierra Designs footprint because my camera was a little closer so the water droplets are more visible.  What I neglected to take a photo of is the ground beneath the footprints after I picked them up: there was no trace of any water bleed-through.

In summary, this was a very successful project.  I now have clean footprints that will inhibit ground moisture from coming into contact with my tent floors.

Tent Floors

On a sunny Saturday morning in May I set out to wash and treat the tent bathtub floors of the same two tents which I had previously cleaned up the footprints.  The floors were not nearly as dirty because I almost always use the footprints here in Arizona.  The ground here is not only rocky, but often contains sharp objects like cactus thorns, scorpions, etc.  Here's some photographic evidence of my work:

gr06

Cleaning the tent floors was pretty straightforward, though since I wanted to clean both sides it required turning the tent inside-out to clean the inside floor.  I cleaned and rinsed both sides and let them hang for a few minutes for the excess water to drain off before applying the REPEL.  Upon completion of cleaning and waterproofing the floors, I had exhausted the supply of REPEL, and had roughly 1/2 bottle of the Cleaner remaining.

REPEL Spray/Separation Failure

While waterproofing my LL Bean tent the REPEL sprayer failed.  I tried cleaning out the pump, and stuck a toothpick into the output orifice, but nothing worked.  Nothing catastrophic, I was able to continue by pouring the waterproofing solution onto the wet sponge and using that as an applicator.  In fact, this seemed easier than using the spray bottle, at least on the flat surfaces I was using it on.  The pump may have been seriously plugged from separation of the product which became apparent when I poured it out of the bottle after removing the spray head:

gr05

Despite repeated vigorous shaking, I could not get the precipitate to go back into solution.  The product has been stored for several months in a closet at normal room temperature with no exposure to temperature swings nor sunlight.

Tent Floor Results

After the tents were fully dry I set up the Sierra Designs tent on my patio to try it out.  I hadn't washed the rain fly, but when I crawled in I thought the tent smelled better.  I had used the tent extensively in Minnesota over a decade ago so it had some exposure to wet conditions, and it is now about a dozen years old.  I can't say there is such a thing as "new tent smell", but it was improved.

Field Use

Date
Location
Trail
Distance Hiked
Altitude
Weather
February 4-5, 2019
Painted Desert/Petrified Forest National Monument near Holbrook, Arizona
Wilderness Loop
9 miles (14.5 km)
5450-5800 ft
(1660-1770 m)
Partly cloudy, very windy, chilly: 35-55 F
(2-13 C)
February 7-8, 2019
Gila River canyon near Kearny, Arizona
Section 16 of the Arizona Trail
27.5 miles
(41.4 km)
1730-2150 ft
(525-655 m)
Sunny, variable winds, 32-65 F (0-18 C)
May 5-6, 2019 Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains just North of Tucson, Arizona AZT: Gordon Hirabayashi TH to Hutch's Pool
15 miles
(24 km)
3622-4983 ft
(1104-1519 m)
Mostly sunny, slight breeze.  High of around 85 F, low of 46 F (29-8 C)

gr04

My go-to tent is the LL Bean one person ultralight tent.  The Sierra Designs tent was the first shelter I ever bought, and is supposed to be a two person tent, but for me it is just a very roomy and heavy single-person tent.  I only use it when weight is not an issue, typically for car camping, so my field use of the clean gear was restricted to the LL Bean.

The top photo above was my campsite in the Painted Desert, the big "rocks" are petrified logs.  The cleaned footprint got a little dusty and dirty, but did its job.  The lower photo is of my campsite along the Gila River on the Arizona National Scenic Trail. For some reason I had a lot of condensation in my tent that night, including on the floor.  The top of the footprint was soaked, so apparently the condensate seeped through the tent floor (dubious), or perhaps escaped through the netting and condensed on the ground.  The good news is the Granger's Repel worked very well, and the moisture did not penetrate through the footprint.  Good to know the waterproofing was effective!

The bottom photo in the collage above is the tent before I put the rainfly on, during a hike along the Arizona National Scenic trail in the Catalina Mountains.  This was the only use after I cleaned the tent floors.  Everything went smoothly with no condensation on the footprint this time.

Summary

I can honestly say that in all my years of backpacking I have never cleaned and restored my tents so thoroughly.

Positive Outcomes

  • My tents are the cleanest they have been since their first use
  • The REPEL seems effective with condensate, though I didn't experience any rain during the test period
  • The cleaner is easy to mix up, dissolves easily in water, and goes a long way
  • The REPEL is simple to apply to flat surfaces

Concerns

  • Given the REPEL precipitation I don't know how much waterproofing it will add to the tent floors.
  • I ran out of REPEL while still having 1/2 the cleaner remaining.  This may have been pilot error - perhaps I over-applied the REPEL product.


Many thanks to Granger's International and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.


Read more reviews of Granger gear
Read more gear reviews by Kurt Papke

Reviews > Do It Yourself > Grangers Tent and Gear Care Kit > Test Report by Kurt Papke



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