When a new canvas product is manufactured, the sewing is not initially water-tight. Basically the needle is slightly thicker than the thread, and when the needle punches through the canvas, the thread is left behind in the larger hole. This join has a chance of leaking initially, if fact for the 1000’s of needle holes in a tent only one or two might leak, sometimes more, sometimes none. The use of Poly/Cotton Corespun thread and Cotton or Poly/Cotton Blend canvas will resolve this situation buy sealing the join itself. The thread will swell and the canvas will shrink so that the thread has tightly filled the hole.
Weathering your tent
To do this, the tent needs to be weathered, which means it needs to be repetitively wet and dried. There are two options, hosing it down with a garden hose, or waiting for rain. Hosing down the tent with a regular garden hose may do the job, especially on the joins with minimal layers of canvas or zips. However it may not, especially in areas where there are be 8-10 layers canvas, such as corners where the edges are folded over 2-3 times and reinforcing patches are used. You are better off hosing down your tent than not getting it wet at all before its first trip. The best way to ensure the tent will seal properly is to set the tent up and allow it to get thoroughly soaked in constant rain. The join will continue to leak until the tent has been dried, that it when the shrinking/swelling will occur. Ideally this process should be followed 2-3 times to ensure that is properly sealed.
If the tent is exposed to prolonged hot and dry conditions over many years, and it not wet in any way over this time, it is possible for the tent to become “un-weathered”, and the weathering process will need to be taken.
After many years of constant used, say 10 years of heavy use, the tent may require re-waterproofing. This will be evident when water is leaking through the actual canvas, not just the joins. Outback Campers recommend the used of a quality Water Proofing agent such as Brell Proof, it is a water based sealant, which is painted on and dries clear.
Ideally a canvas tent should be allowed to dry before it is packed up, unfortunately this isn’t always possible. If you are forced to pack up a wet or damp wet, you must ensure that it is either setup, hung or laid out within 24 -48 hours so that it is allowed to dry. It is acceptable to set the tent up in the rain again if you haven’t the adequate space, simply pack the dry tent at the next dry opportunity. Damp PVC floors should always be wiped dry with an old towel or rag. Any canvas product should never be stored wet, this will allow mould to grow. If mould has developed you should set up the tent and hose/wipe any mould or mildew off as soon as possible. If the mould has grown into the canvas contact us for further assistance.
In cleaning a tent from general dust, dirt and other stains, be careful not to be too rough on the canvas as the tent could be easily damaged.
- Try to clean down the tent before packing at the campsite. Use a soft broom or brush to remove all excess dust, both inside and out.
- For further cleaning, set up the tent in a clean location and hose down the canvas with cold water.
- For more stubborn stains such as bird droppings, use hot water (hotter the better, hot water will relax the weave in the canvas) and use a soft brush like an old tooth brush to brush the dropping off. Do not scrub the canvas firmly, simply lightly brush the canvas.
- Never use soaps, detergents, bleach or any other cleaning products on the canvas as this could damage the waterproofing and colour of the canvas.
- Never use high pressure washers as they can literally blast a snaking trail where the waterproofing and colour of the canvas has been blasted out of the canvas.
- Never store any canvas directly on concrete.
- Never store a wet or even damp tent
Zips should be treated with care at all times and never force anywhere they will not easily slide. To ensure hassle free use, keep all zips clean and zipped close when erecting and dismantling your tent.
The use of a silicon spray on zips to keep them lubricated for easy use is recommended. A product such as Selleys Ezy Glide should be used, it will provide a slick dry coating that will not effect the surrounding canvas.
In the case of a damaged zip, generally the slider will wear out before the zip itself. This is the case when the zip opens up behind the slider after it has been zipped. Basically, the slider is worn and is no longer closing the zip adequately. For a temporary mid-trip repair, use a pair of pliers to give the slider a gentle squeeze on the butt of the slider, so that it will close the zip “tighter”, this repair will only last so long, so be sure to get the slider changed over as soon as possible.