I recently unpacked a tent and discovered a dead scorpion. It apparently was folded into the tent on the previous hiking trip in Arizona. I always shake the tent to rid it of dirt prior to folding it & putting it in the sack. Apparently that does not always rid the tent of bugs.

I am thinking that from now on to put my tent through the dryer after returning from a hike to kill off any unknown stowaways of the insect variety. I am wondering though, would the average home dryer get hot enough to kill bugs without ruining the tent? Or is there a better method to rid your tent of insects? I would prefer not to spray it with Raid, etc.

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    I would worry that a dryer would damage the waterproofing of the tent (I don't know for sure, hence not posting this as an answer). Is it an option for you to hang up the tent outside your home, like in a garage? If so, it's a matter of figuring out how long you need to leave it before the bugs die or vacate the tent.
    – csk
    Nov 30, 2020 at 20:48
  • I'm kind of amazed that you managed to pack up a tent without noticing a scorpion inside! I've never really had a problem with insect stowaways from any of the camping and backpacking I've done. Nov 30, 2020 at 23:05
  • @fyrepenguin - well, at least live stowaways... I always seem to find a few bug carcasses, even if just a moth or a fly. But never something live after a week or more.
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 30, 2020 at 23:37
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    Had a friend borrow a tent and got sick and pooped in it one time.... just tossed that one
    – Nate W
    Dec 1, 2020 at 0:08
  • @Nate W, that picture will prevent me from ever loaning a tent out.
    – Bookaholic
    Dec 1, 2020 at 10:16

1 Answer 1


I would be worried that high enough heat to kill an insect might damage the tent too - not to mention that with the bulk of material and the impermeable nature of it, you are likely making it a fire risk with heat build-up.

I would instead do the opposite - put your tent in the freezer! Freezing is quite effective at killing many insect pests. Ideally you need a freezer between -30 C (-22 F) and -40 C (-40 F), which most household chest freezers are capable of doing if you turn them right down, but -20 C (-4 F), the most common household freezer temperature is also effective. At -20 C (-4 F) you would to leave the tent in the freezer for at least 1 week (see page 2 here (warning PDF), and fig 1 in same source). Longer times will be more effective, but the 1 week at -20 C (-4 F) seems to be a good compromise between time and temperature.

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    And bonus: if your chest freezer is in the garage, you never have to bring the scorpions into your house at all.
    – csk
    Dec 1, 2020 at 18:41
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    Some caution might be needed with freezing too: many plastics become brittle at low temperatures. It's possible some of the tent components could crack or split, particularly when removing the tent from the freezer. That said, -18°C is not an impossible temp to encounter when camping so one would hope a tent could cope?
    – aucuparia
    Dec 2, 2020 at 19:17

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