A GUIDE TO LONGER TENT LIFE
Prepared by PANTHER PRIMITIVES
The life and appearance of your shelter depend a great deal on how much care you give it. Your tent is made of the top grade of cotton duck available, with the best available water repellent and mildew resistant treatments applied, and it deserves to be taken care of.
Even the most durable canvas requires a little attention to maximize life and serviceability, and that’s why we’ve put together these tips to help you.
Keep your tent clean. There is no better protection against mildew than a clean tent. Even on mildew resistant canvas, mildew will grow on dirt that accumulates on the top or bottom surface of the canvas. Mildew is canvasses “worst enemy”. It can eventually stain or damage the canvas and should be protected against vigorously. Mildew in its early stages can be washed off by the method described below.
WASHING YOUR TENT
Wash your tent with a mild soap (such as dish washing liquid). Harsh detergents will adversely affect the water repellency. Use a soft brush and scrub lightly. Hard scrubbing can remove the water repellency from the canvas. IT IS IMPORTANT TO RINSE VERY THOROUGHLY AND IMMEDIATELY!!
When should you wash your tent? Of course, whenever you notice dirt you should clean it off. But just as important is to clean it after a particularly dry and dusty outing. If you’ve been somewhere that rock dust or dirt dust has been kicked up by passing vehicles it is important to wash the tent or at least hose it off when you get home. A layer of dust on the surface of your tent is an open invitation for mildew.
After washing and rinsing, let your tent dry thoroughly by stretching it out in the sun. Do not fold up your tent for storage while it is damp. It is not a good idea to throw a tent over a hedge or group of bushes. Many bushes contain an acid that can be harmful to your canvas.
Store your tent in a dry place. Do not keep it in a bag. Canvas tent bags are great for protecting your tent during transport, but they can trap moisture inside during storage and that promotes mildew. Be careful to avoid rolling up twigs and leaves (especially wet ones) in the canvas before storage. These often will leave permanent stains on the canvas.
From time to time it may be necessary to do a small repair on your tent. We have repair kits available that supply you with all the necessities. However, if you are doing it on the road or with your own materials you will want to use the following:
COTTON THREAD – Cotton thread swells to fill your needle holes when it gets wet, thus it helps shed water more effectively.
NEEDLES – Use as small a needle as will go through the canvas. A small needle hole closes more tightly around the thread and helps water repellency.
CANVAS GLUE – This is a great help. It is waterproof and usually used in conjunction with sewing a patch on. After the glue is spread liberally over the damaged area, the patch is put on and stitched around the edges.
SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
…Some insect spray solutions will dissolve water repellency and causing staining, so don’t spray it directly on the fabric.
…Avoid dragging your tent across abrasive surfaces such as cement.
…Do not allow large puddles of water to stand on the tent for any extended period of time. It will stretch the canvas if it is left standing too long and cause pocketing.
…When setting up your shelter for the first couple of times, (especially tipis) do not attempt to pull wrinkles out by yanking or forcing the canvas. A canvas shelter needs time to loosen up and conform to the shape of the poles. For example, a new tipi cover may have small wrinkles in it until the sun hits it for a day or two to relax the canvas.
…A piece of plastic under your ground cloth helps to keep it clean and mildew free.