FAQ | CanvasCamp
Weather and Environment
Pitching a Tent in Variable Soil: What stakes should I use?
A solid pitch requires well set stakes. The stakes included with our tents are excellent all-purpose stakes designed for easy insertion and extraction in average soil: grassy backyards, parks, and fields. Different ground conditions may require specialized stakes or placements. CanvasCamp recommends the following stakes for the following terrain:
- Rocky or frozen Soil: Steel tent pegs or tarzan pegs. These are essentially giant nails with toppers to hold the guy line. D50 nails can be used for the inner ground sheet pegs. Place them and extract them with a claw hammer.
- Sand, Snow, Loose Earth: Wooden stakes or dead-man anchors are a must. Read our blog and check out our YouTube video for an in-depth how-to.
- Hard or clay soil: Our Pro stakes for guy lines and D50 nails for ground sheets set with a rubber mallet.
- Burning Man, Desert, or mud: Long 18” bent rebar stakes. Use a sledge hammer to drive them in all the way.
Always pound takes all the way in to the earth for most secure placement and to prevent toe and ankle injuries in camp.
Hundreds of CanvasCamp tents can be found every year at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The Nevada desert is well known for its wind and dust storms. These storms have little to no effect on a properly pitched Sibley tent, while synthetic tents can be observed flying away.
We have tested and rate properly pitched, staked, and tensioned Sibley 400's to be capable of withstanding winds up to 50mph, Sibley 500's up to 40mph, and Sibley 600's in winds up to 35mph. The Sibley Twin is not wind rated.
In the event of wind speeds exceeding the design capabilities of the Sibley, all Sibley center poles have been designed so that the pole breaks before the fabric tears or the tent becomes airborne. Make sure you have a level pitch, well set stakes, centered poles, and guy lines in line with the seams. A tight tent is a strong tent.
Keep in mind that large canvas tents are similar to the large canvas sails on a ship. Given enough force, something is going to move. Wind is a force that can be considerable and unpredictable.
Shelters, awnings, flex tents, wind screens, and non-conical shaped tents are not wind rated. As with any item used in the outdoors, wind catching a large flat canvas can reasonably be expected to behave like a sail on a ship. Exercise common sense and caution when using these items and please contact us should you have any questions.
Extra long (18”) bent re-bar stakes are recommended for high wind scenarios (Burning Man, Standing Rock, etc.).
Note*: Wind resistance ratings for Sibley Tents are guidelines intended to convey a general concept to a reasonable person that accepts that wind and weather is variable, and weather forecasts are not guarantees. Wind ratings, reports, and forecasts should not be interpreted literally. A 49mph steady wind is different than a 49mph gust; a 49mph and 50mph sustained wind are not much different. Note that both forecasted and historical weather data is reflective of readings from weather reporting stations. Weather, especially wind, can be different even a few feet away from a weather reporting station
*This note was added at the request of a customer who experienced Sibley Connector (an awning that is not wind rated) tear in an unoccupied campsite in the general vicinity of an area with reported winds of 34mph. Never put yourself in a situation where your safety and property is dependent on the accuracy of a weather forecast. Should you have questions, comments, or feedback please do not hesitate to contact us so we can continue to provide all of our customers with the most complete and accurate information possible.
Snowflakes have become widely accepted euphemism for “uniqueness”, as no two snowflakes are alike. A single snowflake contains roughly 10 quintillion water molecules which expand at different rates and adhere to each other in an infinite array of patterns and structures. Each flake is shaped by several atmospheric and environmental conditions the flake is exposed to as it falls to the ground, including temperature, humidity, and water composition.
As it relates to shelter, the diversity of snow makes it impossible to make hard and fast rules about how much snow a tent can hold. A single cubic foot of dry snow can weigh on average 10lbs. The same volume of heavy and wet, or wind compacted snow can weigh more than 30lbs. Thus, a canvas of 50 yards/square with just 2 inches of average snow weighing 20lbs per square foot, would add 1,500 pounds of weight to a tent.
The single center pole and guy lines of a Sibley can withstand a lot of force from wind and rain, but certainly not the weight of a smart car. Considering the weight of the issue, CanvasCamp does not specify any safe amount of accumulation of ice or snow on a Sibley. The larger the canvas, the greater the potential snow load, and thus the greater the possibility for structural collapse.
To mitigate accumulation in winter conditions, CanvasCamp recommends a tent stove which will heat the tent and cause fresh snow falling on the canvas to melt and run off, given an appropriate temperature differential. In heavy snow in which the accumulation exceeds the rate of melt, an extendable car scraper with a soft brush can be used to periodically brush snow off the canvas, or gently beat the snow off from inside so it falls down the slope of the canvas and off the tent.
The tipi with its steep angle canopy angle and conical shape stretching directly to the ground will hold less accumulation than the Sibley and may be the better option for heavy snow conditions. We’ve taken our Sibley’s into the deep stuff and find that using a custom 3-4 inch wood dowel or pole made of hard wood or bamboo would increase the vertical load bearing capacity of the center pole; giving you some additional support and flexibility with the pace at which the snow accumulation must be removed. Ensuring the guy lines remain tensioned and the tent is pitched well on a flat surface is essential to the structural integrity of any tent.
Mold is the biggest killer of canvas; read our blog to learn more about it. Our canvas is treated for mold, mildew, and UV resistance; however, exposure and use work away at these treatments overtime exposing the cotton fibers to the elements and increasing susceptibility to mold.
For the casual camper or glamper, standard cleaning/retreatment and ensuring that you never pack your tent while it is damp or dirty is all that is needed to avoid mold. Follow our cleaning, retreatment, and storage instructions detailed in this FAQ.
If you are pitching the tent for a long period of time or living out of your tent, YOU ARE AWESOME! As a seasoned naturist, you know the importance of maintaining a clean camp and quality equipment. Follow these tips to prevent mold from growing in the first place:
- Regularly inspect the tent for mold growth (a good time to do this is when you retention the guy lines)
- Clean off any dead leaves, bugs, bird poop, etc. that falls on the tent
- Cut back vegetation in the surrounding area so tall grass and weeds are several feet away from the canvas. Keep it up as new growth forms. (This also keeps the windows clear and you more comfortable)
- Keep your tent well ventilated. Mesh covered vents, windows, doors, and even walls on the ProTech make it easy to keep it breezy.
- Clean and retreat your canvas as needed, based on your observations of the impact the environment is having on your tent.
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 a few times a year.
Prevention is key, but mold is everywhere and can happen to anyone.
Identify it: Mold can come in many shapes and colors but generally on canvas it looks like tiny black, blue, or green specks peppered into the canvas.
Kill it: Spray it with distilled white vinegar. Let dry.
Clean it: Scrub it lightly with a soft brush using a mixture of salt, lemon, and hot water. Avoid using detergent soaps or bleach which is harsh on canvas and tough to rinse out. Let dry.
Retreat it: Spray the clean, dry, canvas with a canvas treatment (we like Dry Guy).
CanvasCamp canvas is treated for water resistance. Additionally, the weave of the cotton fibers create a natural waterproofing by swelling and employing the surface tension of water to bead and encourage run off.
In addition to following our recommenced storage, cleaning, and retreatment processes, keep the following tips in mind to maintain waterproofing on your tent.
- Keep greasy hands off the tent. Lotions, oils, and food residue can adversely impact the canvas.
- Maintain a proper pitch to rain and snow can shed quickly.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners or detergents on the tent.
- Keep gear and furniture from touching the inside of the canvas.
- Use rain caps that are included with all tents that require them.
Lightning is not entirely indiscriminate in the targets it chooses but it should be a relief to know that your tent poles do not increase your risk of drawing a lightning strike. Simply put, for small objects on the ground such as a tent, a lightning strike must already be occurring at close range for lightning to be drawn to it. What this means is objects struck by lightning on the top of the mountain were struck by lightning attracted to the mountain and not the object itself. A strike has to "land" within the same distance away from the object as the object is tall for it to be attracted. For example, for a 9' tall tent to draw lightning, the strike will have to occur within 9' of the tent, but the tent itself will not draw the strike; the strike was already going to occur in that area.
If you are in a lightning prone location, camp in a low lying area. away from the tallest geographical feature. Be aware when choosing a campsite that flash floods are responsible for more fatalities than any other thunderstorm related hazard, including lightning. If you are the tallest feature in the area, get in your car. Learn more about lightning safety here.