Thursday, August 03, 2006

Waterproofing a Canvas Wall Tent

It's that time of year. Hunters are getting ready for the season and pulling out all their gear to check it, including their wall tents.

If you feel that you need to retreat your canvas wall tent for waterproofing, there are right ways and wrong ways to approach it. You should purchase a product made specifically for this purpose, such as Canvak. People have used other products in the past, such as Thompsons Water Seal or other types of wood sealants. But these are not intended for waterproofing canvas tents and are consequently, inappropriate products for treating a fiber that should be able to breathe.

To use Canvak, set up your tent on its frame. Make sure it is clean and dry. You can then apply the Canvak like you would paint: roll it on, spray it on or brush it on. Let it dry. The can suggests 1 gallon for each 100 square feet of canvas. It seems to take a little more than this, so be sure to buy more than you think you need to save yourself two trips or two shipping charges.
For those of you who own a Montana Canvas wall tent, you should not have to worry about retreating your tent, as long as you take care of it. Montana Canvas uses only canvas that is pretreated for water resistancy (as well as mildew and fire retardancy) and as long as the tent is taken care of, that treatment should be effective for the life of the tent.

Taking care of your canvas wall tent means making sure that it is absolutely dry before storing it. It also means taking care of it while it’s in use. I recommend using a tent fly with any tent, wall tent or other, made of any material, canvas or nylon. A tent fly does many things that both protect your investment and make your camp more enjoyable:

Why do I need a Wall Tent fly?

  1. It further shields you against rain and snow by protecting the roof of your Wall Tent and extending the dripline an additional 12” from the sides of the Wall Tent so that precipitation will not run down the walls of the tent.
  2. It helps insulate your Wall Tent by preventing heat from escaping through the roof.
  3. It protects the roof of your Wall Tent against damaging ultraviolet rays, debris from the trees, etc., as well as from interior condensation.
  4. A fly can keep a canvas tent much drier. A damp or wet canvas tent weighs more and will take longer to dry out when you get home.
For those of you with a Montana Canvas Wall Tent with Relite, you also should not have to retreat the Relite. A can of All-Dri is sent with your tent simply to spray on the seams to fill in the holes made by sewing the tent together. Once this is done, you should not have to treat your Relite Wall Tent again.


Tom said...

I have not had good results with Canvak. My 12 oz cotton duck tipi grew mold spots about a month after treating with Canvak. I know I live in a wet area in Oregon so I used 3 times the amount recommended by Canvak. Even with three coats I still got the mold. The Tipi has been set up outdoors the whole time in an area that gets partial sun whenever we get sun which is not that often this time of the year (late winter, early spring). Well that i'll do er...


Russ said...

Just to confirm Tom's post: Canvak does not contain mildew inhibitors. It is a water repellent only.

Anonymous said...

Canvak is made to be used to treat canvas to help waterproof the material.

So Tom put on three coats and admits his tent is setup year round outside and doesn't get much Sun..

Gee maybe you should build a shed or a barn in your wet area.. because no tent treated with anything I know will be there year around and not get mold eventually.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Tom's Tipi, but I own a flatbed semi, and when I haul rockets, which is quite often, I find that Canvak works quite well on the tarpaulins I use to cover them.

Alexander said...

I have good experience with Canvak.

Building Preservation Specialist said...

Thanks for sharing your opinion in regards to Canvak guys..

Anonymous said...

I use Canvak on my army tent and had good results. I let the tent set in the sun to warm up before I use it thought (I live in Oregon to). When I was poorer I made my own waterproofing it was easy and worked. I mixed one gal of white gas with one pound canning wax let it set for 3 days and then painted it on with a brush. The tent had to stay up for a week to let the gas evaporate and the smell to go away but it works

HyunChard said...

I am just about to start cleaning our basement - will be lucky to be able to source even one of your products, but if I have a choice, now I know. Thanks for the detailed post!
Hoping that you'll have an article about basement waterproofing systems.

Ash said...

I just got a vintage canvas tant so I might be investing in canvak. However has anyone ever tried DuPont Teflon? It is intended to be a carpet protectant. I used to use it on trench coats and I could turn them inside out and carry several gallons of water at a time in them. The fabric was breathable and didn't have much in the way of fumes either.

Pete Taylor said...

Great article! I had some success using Canvak, it is good for waterproofing your tent, but it does not deal with mildew as others have mentioned before me. For that problem mixing vinegar with water is a cheap solution. Just apply the mix gently to the spots of mildew, and it will disappear.