FAQ | CanvasCamp

Use, Maintenance, and Care

  • Proper Pitch: How to do I pitch a tent correctly?

    A well-pitched tent is essential to ensuring performance and longevity.  Tent specific assembly instructions for can be found on the tents respective product pages. However, here are some general best practices to obtain a perfect pitch: 

    • Pitch the tent on a firm, flat surface.
    • Ensure the poles are vertical, centered, and pole feet are attached.
    • Set the stakes securely and in line with the tent seams.
    • Tension the guy lines so the canvas is taunt.  Retention periodically as the tent shifts and settles.  A strong tent is a tight tent.
  • Storage: How do I store my tent safely?

    Mold, mice, and mites are the biggest threats to tents in storage.  Follow our tent storage guidelines to protect your tent when you’re not using it. 

    • Never pack your tent wet! EVER!  Your tent, groundsheet, and guy lines must be completely dry before you put it in the bag.  If you must take down camp while damp, loosely fold up the tent for transport and then lay it out to dry within 24 hours.  If outdoor drying isn’t a possibility, bring it inside to dry before packing it up.
    • Pack your tent clean.  Vegetation and dirt hold moisture which will grow mold.  Sweep or wipe down the tent inside and out before packing it up.
    • Keep it High and Dry:  Keep your packed tent in a cool, dry place and avoid storage in damp basements.  Keep the tent off the floor in garages and storage units that can flood or puddle in the rain.
    • Long Term:  If you're storing your tent for a long period, or in an area where mice and bugs are a concern, consider storing the tent in a big clean plastic garbage can with a lid.
  • Cleaning a Tent

    Cleaning and re-treating your tent regularly improves the life of your tent and is a necessary component of maintenance. Our Blog hsa extensive information on cleaning and/or deep cleaning a tent.

    Environmental factors such as humidity, UV exposure, airborne particulate from vegetation, and mold spores can vary drastically in different locations.  We recommend cleaning and retreating your tent after 12-25 weeks of use, however, depending on your environment you may need to clean it more or less often.  Spot clean and retreat problem areas as needed.  It is important to address any mold and mildew immediately to kill the spores and prevent it from spreading.  Once canvas has mold, it is almost impossible to remove the stains.  

    Cleaning is primarily to prepare your tent for retreatment.  Dry mud or dirt can be brushed off with a soft brush.

    To clean and retreat your tent:

    You will need a hose, bucket, soft brush or sponge, cleaning solution and retreatment solution.

    • Mix a 4 part water 1 part vinegar solution to kill mold and/or use a canvas specific cleaning product of your choice.
    • Unroll your tent, peg down the groundsheet and remove all dust, dirt, and particulate with a clean broom or a vacuum with a brush attachment.
    • Hose down the tent.
    • Use a soft brush or sponge to gently clean the fabric with the appropriate solution, rinsing as you go.  Start at the peak and work your way down to the floor.  It may be helpful to pitch the tent after you’ve cleaned the hard to reach areas around the top.
    • Rinse.  Then rinse again.  Making sure to remove any residual cleaning solution.
    • Let the tent dry completely prior to retreating.

    You must retreat the canvas after a cleaning to maintain water, mold, and UV resistance.  You can use a variety of different treatments depending on your personal preference.  Check out our retreatment FAQ.

    Some methods and solutions can permanently damage your tent.  Never use a pressure washer, washing machine, bleach, all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, or dish soap.

    Note: Cleaning and retreating your tent will involve taking the tent down from time to time.  A typical cleaning and retreatment can require a few hours on a sunny day.  If you are living in your tent, be prepared to move your stuff out for a deep cleaning as needed.

  • Repairs and Replacement Parts

    We believe that repairs over replacements and returns is an ethos that everyone should live by to protect our planet. With proper maintenance and pitching, a CanvasCamp tent can last for years without requiring any repairs.

    Small rips and tears from pets, gear, furniture, or environmental causes can typically be repaired with a simple needle and thread or patches and are often a do-it-yourself project.  For those cases in which a tent requires professional repair, we can help point you to a trusted repair shop.

    Have a tent in need of repair?  Send us an email, attach some pictures, and we will work with you to provide the best possible solution for your specific situation.  A custom-tailored solution means we don’t adhere to one-size-fits-all pricing.  You are only responsible for the work completed and shipping to and from the repair shop!

    Replacement parts and patches are available on our website in the Accessories: Tent Care section.  If you are looking for something that is not listed, get in touch and we will assist you.

  • How do you take care of zippers?

    Treat your zippers well and extend the life of your tent. Zippers are high use items that are frequently used and abused.  Zipper abuse is widespread across nations, gear, and industries - zippers failure as a result of normal use is not covered under warranty. Treat 'em well by following these tips:

    • Take the time to line up the zipper correctly and make sure it's closing correctly. If you have poor alignment from the start your going to have a hard time and possibly damage your zippers. 
    • Don't force it.  If there is too much tension on the zipper, you likely need to adjust your guylines to relieve the pressure.  This typically happens on the front door - just move the guy lines on either side of the door closer together and try again.
    • Brush your teeth! Get after 'em with a toothbrush and some soapy water. Floss out dirt and debris that gets stuck in there.  
    • Lube if you MUST.  If you've followed all the steps above your zippers should be working just fine.  If you choose to lube keep in mind: silicone grease, hard wax, chapstick - gets gooped up with dirt and dust and can make a sticky zipper worse over time.  Dry Lube is bad for the environment and generally has PTFE or other undesirable acronyms in it.  Lube works in a pinch but use it sparingly and clean the area regularly.
  • Pre-Shrinking a Canvas Tent

    Canvas tents are like a pair of denim jeans; they shrink a little when you wash them. Shrinkage is beneficial for new tents. When the cotton fibers shrink the weave tightens, increasing the water resistance capabilities of the canvas. A brand new canvas tent when taken into the rain for the first time may "mist" in a driving rain; this is normal.  When you first receive your tent - set it up in the backyard and hose it down, (or leave it up until it gets rained on) to pre-shrink your tent before your first adventure!

  • [CORONA] How do I disinfect a tent?

    Are you concerned about how to disinfect your canvas Sibley tent after someone has used it?

    We don’t have a way to independently lab test the viability of coronavirus on our cotton canvas, so we don’t have a definitive answer. However, this study indicates the virus can survive, under ideal conditions, up to three days on hard metal surfaces and plastic, and up to 24 hours on cardboard. Cotton is more similar to fibrous cardboard than metal or plastic. A 2005 study of SARS found that it took 5 minutes to 24 hours for that virus to become inactive on cotton, "even with a relatively high virus load in the droplet, rapid loss of infectivity was observed for paper and cotton material".

    For more information on cleaning procedures, we would suggest consulting the CDC's cleaning recommendations and referencing the EPA's recommended cleaning products. Note that many of these products are bleach or hydrogen peroxide based and will cause discoloration on that canvas.

    We would suggest the following:

    • Allow the tent to be vacant for 24 hours.
    • Diluted bleach solution on a disposable rag (aka. Clorox wipes) for the high touch hard surfaces such as the center poles and zipper pulls.
    • The ground sheet can be wiped down/mopped with a diluted bleach solution.
    • If the tent has not been vacant for 24 hours, you can try cleaning the canvas itself with something like Lysol Max Cover Disinfectant Mist which is EPA approved and designed specifically for soft surfaces. We can't confirm that this will not cause discoloration as we have not lab tested this.
    • Ask whomever is using your tent to try not to touch the canvas. This is a good practice regardless of coronavirus because of the oils naturally present on greasy, dirty human hands.

    Overall, we personally believe that the tent itself poses a very low risk of spreading the virus. The primary surfaces of contamination to focus on would be furniture, mattresses, linens, towels, decor, rugs, and shared facilities outside of the tent. Good old fashioned fresh air and sunshine goes a long way in preventing the spread of the virus.

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