how to waterproof a canvas tent

How to Waterproof a Canvas Tent: Tips for a Dry Camping Experience

Canvas tents are an excellent choice for camping enthusiasts due to their durability, breathability, and resistance to harsh weather conditions. However, like any other fabric, canvas tents can still be prone to water damage, which can result in a miserable camping experience. Fortunately, there are several ways to waterproof a canvas tent, ensuring it stays dry and comfortable during your camping trip.

This article will focus on traditional cotton canvas even though Elk Mountain Tents uses instead a poyester canvas that requires no rain, sun, or mold treatments

Why Waterproofing a Canvas Tent is Important

A cotton canvas tent that has not been waterproofed will not only be uncomfortable to sleep in but can also lead to serious health problems. If water seeps into the tent, it can create a damp environment that encourages the growth of mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause allergies, respiratory problems, and other health issues, making it essential to ensure that your canvas tent is waterproof.

Moreover, a wet tent can also make it challenging to store your gear and clothes, causing them to become damp and smelly. Waterproofing your canvas tent will help keep your camping gear and equipment dry and in good condition, preventing unnecessary wear and tear. Here some steps for how to waterproof a canvas tent?

How to Waterproof a Canvas Tent

Weather your Tent: The first step to waterproofing cotton canvas is weathering the canvas. Set up your tent, wet it down completely with water, and then light it dry completely. This will force the material to shrink a little and tighten up the gaps between the fibers. For maximum protection, we recommend you do this process twice. This one step alone will raise your tent up to the status of water-resistant. However, for maximum protection, you’ll want to continue with the following steps.

Use a Waterproofing Spray: One of the easiest and most effective ways to waterproof a canvas tent is to use a waterproofing spray. Waterproofing sprays are easy to apply and can protect your canvas tent from water damage for an extended period.

To use a waterproofing spray, you will need to:

  • Set up your tent in a well-ventilated area
  • Clean the tent using a damp cloth and let it dry completely
  • Shake the waterproofing spray can well
  • Hold the can about 6-8 inches away from the tent and spray evenly
  • Allow the spray to dry for a few hours before packing your tent

There are a variety of sprays available. The most important aspect of choosing is making sure you select one compatible with your canvas material, so be sure to confirm whether you have cotton, polyester, or a cotton-poly blend. Also, try to find a solution that has added UV protection as well to save you from doing two separate coats.

Seam Seal Your Tent: Seam sealing is another effective way to waterproof your canvas tent. Seams are one of the most common areas where water can penetrate a tent, so sealing them is essential for keeping your tent dry.

To seam seal your tent, you will need:

  • A seam sealer
  • A small brush or applicator

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Set up your tent in a well-ventilated area
  • Identify the seams that need to be sealed
  • Apply a thin layer of seam sealer along the seam using the brush or applicator
  • Allow the seam sealer to dry completely before packing your tent
how to waterproof a canvas tent


Q: How often should I waterproof my canvas tent?

A: It depends on how frequently you use your tent and the weather conditions you expose it to. As a general rule, you should waterproof your canvas tent every year or after several uses, especially if you notice any signs of water penetration.

Q: Can I use regular waterproofing spray on my canvas tent?

A: Regular waterproofing sprays may not be suitable for canvas tents as they can contain chemicals that can damage the fabric. It is essential to use a waterproofing spray that is specifically designed for canvas tents, also taking into account the exact material used in your canvas.

Q: How do I store my canvas tent after use?

A: Before storing your canvas tent, make sure it is completely dry and free of any dirt or debris. Fold it loosely and store it in a dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.


Waterproofing your canvas tent is essential to ensure a comfortable and safe camping experience. By following these simple hacks, you can protect your tent from water damage and prolong its lifespan. Whether you choose to use a waterproofing spray, seam sealer, make sure to follow the instructions carefully and use high-quality products that are specifically designed for canvas tents. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your canvas tent dry and in top condition for your next camping trip.

canvas tent care and maintenance

Keeping Your Canvas Tent in Top Condition: Essential Care and Maintenance Tips

Purchasing a new canvas tent is an exciting investment in outdoor adventure. A quality canvas tent can offer years of outdoor enjoyment, but only with proper care and maintenance. In this article, we will provide information and tips on how to care for and maintain a new canvas tent

Canvas Tent Care Tips

Regular cleaning of your canvas tent is essential for maintaining its lifespan. Use a soft brush or broom to remove dirt, dust, or debris from the canvas. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners that can damage the waterproofing or stain the canvas. If necessary, use mild soap and warm water to clean stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly and allow the tent to dry completely before storing

Canvas tents are naturally water-resistant, especially have being seasoned, but you can improve that water-resistance by adding additional protective coatings. This coating will fade over time so eapplying waterproofing to your tent is an essential step in maintaining its ability to repel water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and apply the waterproofing spray evenly over the entire tent. Allow the tent to dry completely before storing.

However, note that all tents sold by Elk Mountain Tents require no sun, rain, or mold treatments. Their unique canvas material is naturally waterproof and is incapable of rotting like cotton canvas. That said, it is recommended that you have a rainfly for maximum protection.

Proper storage of your canvas tent is another step maintaining its quality and longevity. Store your tent in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Avoid storing your tent in direct sunlight, as this can cause the canvas to fade and degrade. Make sure the tent is completely dry before storing, as any moisture can lead to mold or mildew growth.

Canvas Tent Maintenance Tips

  1. Inspect Regularly

Inspecting your canvas tent regularly is an essential step in maintaining its quality and durability. Check for any signs of wear or damage, such as tears, holes, or frayed seams. Repair any damages immediately to prevent further degradation of the canvas. For cotton canvas, this inspection includes examining the tent before you take it out as it may have been nibbled by creatures while in storage. You won’t have to worry about nibbling creatures with Elk Mountain Tents, though, as their canvas material is synthetic.

  1. Avoid UV Exposure

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can cause the canvas to fade and degrade over time. To protect your canvas tent from UV exposure, set it up in a shaded area or use a tarp or fly to provide additional shade. If storing your tent outside, use a UV-resistant cover to protect it from the sun’s harmful rays. Some waterproofing solutions will include UV protection as well.

  1. Proper Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential for preventing mold and mildew growth on your canvas tent. When setting up your tent, ensure that there is adequate airflow by leaving the windows and doors open. During storage, use a breathable storage bag or container to prevent moisture buildup. All models of tents sold by Elk Mountain Tents come with screened windows and ventilation shafts along the ridge. Although the canvas material used by Elk Mountain Tents is incapable of rot, mold can grow on any surface in as little as 24 hours and this can still impact the appearance and integrity of the material.

  1. Stove Safety

Using a stove or heater inside your canvas tent can be dangerous if not done correctly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe stove or heater use, and make sure that the tent is adequately ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. We also recommend using a stove mat for the floor and heat shields for the walls nearest the stove. Alternatively, you can apply a fire treatment to the canvas as well.

Canvas tent care and maintenance


Q: Can I use bleach to clean my canvas tent?

A: No, it is not recommended because bleach can damage the canvas and weaken the waterproofing, although the damaging effects are less present in a synthetic canvas. Instead, use mild soap and warm water to clean any stains.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my canvas tent?

A: Perhaps on a low setting, but let’s go with “No,” since pressure washers can damage the canvas and waterproofing. Use a soft brush or broom to remove dirt and debris.

Q: Can I use a fire retardant spray on my canvas tent?

A: Yes, fire retardant sprays can be applied to the canvas to increase fire safety. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe application. The most important part here is knowing which kind to apply especially if using a synthetic canvas as cotton canvas fire retardant will dry crusty on the outside and flake off rather than seep into the polyester. For polyester canvas we recommend FPCC Fire Retardant.

Q: Can I use a fan or dehumidifier inside my canvas tent?

A: Yes, a fan or dehumidifier can help to improve ventilation and prevent mold and mildew growth. Your biggest challenge there is generating the electricity.

Q: How do I store my canvas tent long-term?

A: To store your canvas tent long-term, make sure it is completely dry and clean. Fold it loosely and store it in a dry, cool, and well-ventilated area. Do not store your tent in a compression bag or container, as this can damage the canvas.


Proper care and maintenance of a new canvas tent are critical for maximizing its lifespan and performance. Regular inspection, UV protection, proper ventilation, and stove safety are all essential components of canvas tent maintenance. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, waterproofing, and repair. With proper care, your canvas tent can provide years of outdoor enjoyment and adventure.

canvas vs polyester tents

Cotton Canvas Tents vs Polyester Tents: Comparing the Pros and Cons to Determine the Best Tent for Your Needs.


When it comes to choosing the right tent for camping or outdoor activities, there are many factors to consider. One of the most important is the type of material the tent is made of. Cotton canvas and polyester are two popular materials used in tent construction, and each has its pros and cons. In this article, we will compare canvas tents and polyester tents and determine which one comes out on top.

Cotton Canvas Tents

Cotton canvas has been used for centuries to make tents and is a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts. Cotton canvas tents are made from woven cotton, which is a natural and breathable material. Canvas is also durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it a popular choice for camping in extreme conditions.

Advantages of Canvas Tents over Polyester

Honestly, with the advances in modern technology, there really isn’t much of a gap between these two anymore. In fact, in many ways polyester is the super choice, so let’s just look at just two ways in which cotton canvas has some advantages:

  1. Breathability. This one depends entirely on manufactoring. Some polyester is like a thick plastic and traps everything in. Other kinds of polyester canvas is no different from cotton canvas in terms of breathability, so you will want to read reviews and see what customers are saying about condensation. However, cotton will always have that natural breathability no matter what.
  2. Accessories: Most products for rain, sun, and mold treatments are designed for cotton canvas. This isn’t to say you can find all the same great things for your polyester canvas tent but it may take a little extra effort on your part, or you may have to reach out to your tent manufacturer for help rather than just head down to Cabela’s.

Disadvantages of Canvas Tents

  1. Mold and Rot: Natural breathability mixed with organic fibers means that it’s easy for mold to grow from the inside out and destry your tent. If it isn’t 100% dry when you put it away, you can anticipate that nature will do its best to break your tent down.
  2. Shrinkage: Cotton shrinks over time. Usually about 5% but depending on the manufacturing potentially as much as 10%. This is natural, and it’s even part of the weathering process that makes your tent more water-resistant, but it can also be annoying when hooks and loops on your tent don’t seem to align quite right with your frame.
  3. Cost: All sturdy canvas will be expensive, whether it is cotton or polyester, but cotton is always going to be more expensive especially when you factor in the additional treatments required to keep it in excellent condition.

Polyester Tents

Polyester is a synthetic material that is commonly used in tent construction. It can very drastically from manufacturer to manufacturer, so it could be not much better than thin nylon or much, much better than cotton canvas. Therefore, the advantages below are based on the kinds of heavy duty polyester canvas used by companies like Elk Mountain Tents.

Advantages of High Quality Polyester Tents

  1. A Little Lighter: You would think that being synthetic it would be infinitely lighter but that’s not the case. People who want a canvas tent want something that is sturdy and will last, and there’s not a great shortcut to getting there, so the material will always be on the heavy side. That said, you can expect polyester canvas to be about 10-15% lighter.
  2. A Little Stronger: This will always depend on how thick your cotton canvas is (8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, 14oz, etc) and how thick your polyester canvas is, but if you take a cotton canvas and a polyester canvas of the exact same weight, the polyester will likely have the higher strength. Manufacturing is important here, but just for example, the polyester canvas used by Elk Mountain Tents is only 11 oz per yard in weight but has a strength comparable to 13 or 14 oz cotton canvas.
  3. More Water-Resistant: Polyester is naturally waterproof. How it is put together will determine whether your tent is waterproof or water-resistant, but in either case, it will be more so than cotton canvas.
  4. No rot: Although mold can grow on any surface, rot only ocurs when natural fibers are getting eaten up by mother nature. Polyester is synthetic so there’s nothing for little critters to survive on. I’m not suggesting that you store your polyester tent in a swamp for a year as an experiment, but if you threw a traditional cotton canvas tent in a swamp it would break down and become part of the swamp for sure.
  5. Cheaper: The tents themselves are comparable in price, but it’s the treatments that highlight the biggest cost difference. Cotton takes a lot of fancy chemicals to maintain while polyester is very low-maintenance.

Disadvantages of Polyester Tents

  1. Breathability: This depends on how the canvas was manufactured, but breathability can be an issue for some tents. However, if you are concerned about this, just make sure you get a model that has screened windows and ventilation along the ridge.
  2. Appearance: Polyester canvas tents are usually white, like a brand new t-shirt. They don’t have that aged, tan, natural look you expect from a canvas tent.
  3. Accesories: Products like water treatment sprays and fire retardant are usually designed with canvas tent owners in mind. This means you’ll have to do a little extra research to find the right products for your tent.

Elk Mountain Tents

Our goal was to have the best tents at the lowest prices. I know everyone says that, but our tents are the best because we use a unique canvas material that is far superior to traditional cotton canvas. It really is the best. And we strive to include as many extra features as possible for the lowest price possible. We do this by not maintaining a brick and mortar store, by keeping the business family-run, and by focusing on just a handful of models rather than getting bogged down with custom orders. And we can have your tent in the mail tomorrow.

Canvas vs polyester tents


Q: Are cotton canvas tents more expensive than polyester tents?

A: Slightly, but they are about the same. Any canvas material is expensive to produce regardless of whether it is cotton or polyester. c

Q: Can polyester tents withstand harsh weather conditions?

A: Yes, and depending on the manufacturing, they may be better at it too.

Q: Are cotton canvas tents more breathable than polyester tents?

A: It depends on the manufacturing process used in the polyester canvas, but cotton canvas is always breathable.

Q: Are polyester canvas tents easier to transport than canvas tents?

A: No, all canvas tents, regardless of their material, are heavy and difficult to transport.

Which Tent Comes Out On Top?

Unless you are a die-hard traditionalist who loves the classic tan canvas look, go with polyester. Of course, you’ll want to do a little investigating because not just any polyester will do; show the tent manufacturer that you’re a serious shopper by asking for the specific break and tear strengths of the canvas. These numbers should be different for the warp and fill direction. But strenght aside, just knowing that your tent won’t rot away during the off season is a huge perk.

canvas vs nylon tents

Canvas Tent Vs Nylon Tent: Which One Is the Best for Your Camping Needs?

When it comes to camping, choosing the right tent is a crucial decision. The type of tent you choose can affect your overall camping experience. Two popular types of tents are canvas and nylon tents. Canvas tents have been around for a long time, but nylon tents have become increasingly popular in recent years. In this article, we will compare canvas tents and nylon tents to help you decide which one is best for your camping needs.

Introducing Elk Mountain Tents

Before we dive into the comparison, let us introduce you to Elk Mountain Tents, a company that offers high-quality canvas tents. They use premium quality canvas that is more durable and long lasting than traditional cotton canvas. Their tents are perfect for all seasons and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Canvas Tents

Canvas tents have been used for camping for centuries. They are made of cotton, polyester, or cotton-poly canvas, which is a heavy-duty material. Canvas tents are known for their durability and longevity. They are also excellent for keeping you warm during cold nights and cool during hot days. Canvas tents are perfect for camping in all seasons.

Pros of Canvas Tents

  1. Durability: Canvas tents are incredibly durable and long-lasting. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and are perfect for all seasons.
  2. Breathability: Canvas tents are breathable, which means they allow air to flow through them. This makes them ideal for camping in hot weather.
  3. Insulation: Canvas tents provide excellent insulation, keeping you warm during cold nights. You can also hook up a wood stove.
  4. Headroom: The lowest point in many canvas tents is 5ft, meaning that you can walk around with ease.
  5. Space: These beasts are huge and can accommodate tons of people and their gear.

Cons of Canvas Tents

  1. Heavy: Canvas tents are heavier than nylon tents, which can make them challenging to transport and impossible to hike with.
  2. Expensive: Canvas tents are more expensive than nylon tents. They are an investment and worth it if you plan on using your tent frequently.
  3. Require Maintenance: This only true for cotton canvas, but canvas tents require more maintenance than nylon tents. They need to be waterproofed regularly, and the canvas needs to be treated to prevent mildew.
  4. Setup: Best with two people and take an average of 30 minutes but up to 60 minutes for those not familiar.

Nylon Tents

Nylon tents are lightweight and easy to transport. They are made of nylon fabric, which is a synthetic material. Nylon tents have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially among backpackers and hikers.

Pros of Nylon Tents

  1. Lightweight: Nylon tents are lightweight and easy to transport. This makes them ideal for backpacking and hiking trips.
  2. Affordable: Nylon tents are more affordable than canvas tents. They are an excellent option for those on a budget.
  3. Easy to Set up: Nylon tents are easy to set up and take down. This makes them ideal for first-time campers or those who prefer a hassle-free camping experience.

Cons of Nylon Tents

  1. Not as Durable: Nylon tents are not as durable as canvas tents. They can be easily damaged if not taken care of properly. Something as simple as a stray pole or stick can puncture a hole.
  2. Poor Insulation: Nylon tents do not provide as much insulation as canvas tents. They can be uncomfortable to sleep in during cold nights without proper sleeping bags.
  3. Not Breathable: A high-quality nylon tent will have good ventilation built into the design, but many don’t. Condensation can be a serious issue.

Canvas Tents vs. Nylon Tents – Which one is better?

Choosing between a canvas tent and a nylon tent ultimately depends on your camping needs. If you are looking for a tent that will last for years and provide excellent insulation and breathability, a canvas tent is the better option. Canvas tents are more expensive, but they are worth the investment if you plan on using your tent frequently and in different weather conditions. They are the perfect longterm base camp.

On the other hand, if you are a backpacker or hiker looking for a lightweight and affordable tent, a nylon tent is the way to go. Nylon tents are easy to set up and take down, making them perfect for those who prefer a hassle-free camping experience.

canvas vs nylon tents


Q: Are canvas tents better than nylon tents?

A: Canvas tents are better than nylon tents in terms of durability, insulation, and breathability. However, nylon tents are more affordable and lightweight, making them a good option for backpackers and hikers.

Q: How long do canvas tents last?

A: A canvas tent can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance.

Q: Are canvas tents difficult to set up?

A: Canvas tents can be more challenging to set up than nylon tents due to their weight and size.


In conclusion, choosing between a canvas tent and a nylon tent depends on your camping needs. Canvas tents are more durable and provide better insulation and breathability, making them perfect for all seasons. On the other hand, nylon tents are lightweight and affordable, making them ideal for backpackers and hikers. Whichever type of tent you choose, make sure to consider factors such as durability, insulation, breathability, and ease of setup. And if you’re in the market for a high-quality canvas tent, be sure to check out Elk Mountain Tents for their premium options.

what is a canvas wall tent

Canvas Wall Tents: The Ultimate Shelter for the Great Outdoors with Elk Mountain Tents

For anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors, having a durable and reliable shelter is essential. A canvas wall tent is a great option for those who want a spacious and comfortable living space that can withstand the elements. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of canvas wall tents, as well as provide information about Elk Mountain Tents, a company that specializes in producing high-quality canvas wall tents.

What is a Canvas Wall Tent?

What is a canvas wall tent? A canvas wall tent is a type of tent made from durable, heavy-duty canvas fabric that has verticle side walls. It is typically used for hunting, camping, and other outdoor activities. Canvas wall tents are designed to be used in all types of weather conditions, from hot and dry to cold and wet. They come in a range of sizes, from small two-person tents to large family-sized tents that can sleep up to ten people.

Canvas Wall Tents Pros and Cons

There are several pros and cons to using a canvas wall tent. They are certainly perfect for some situations but not ideal for others.


  1. Durability: Canvas wall tents are known for their durability and can withstand extreme weather conditions. They are made from heavy-duty canvas fabric that can last for years if properly maintained.
  2. Breathability: Unlike nylon, canvas is a breathable fabric that allows air to circulate inside the tent. This makes canvas wall tents comfortable to live in, even in hot weather.
  3. Insulation: Canvas is also an excellent insulator, which means it can keep the tent warm in cold weather. This makes canvas wall tents a great option for winter camping. They can also house a wood stove.
  4. Spaciousness: Canvas wall tents are typically much larger than other types of tents, which means they offer more space for people and gear. This is especially useful for families or groups of friends who want to camp together.


  1. Weight: Canvas wall tents are typically much heavier than other types of tents, which can make them more difficult to transport and set up.
  2. Price: Canvas wall tents are generally more expensive than other types of tents due to the high-quality materials used in their construction.
  3. Maintenance: Canvas wall tents, especially ones made with cotton canvas, require more maintenance than other types of tents. They need to be cleaned and dried thoroughly after each use to prevent mold and mildew from forming.

Who Choose Elk Mountain Tents?

  1. Quality: Elk Mountain Tents uses a unique synthetic canvas that is slightly ligher and slighter stronger than traditional cotton canvas but requires no rain, sun, or mold treatments.
  2. Price: By only focusing on a few models they’ve been able to streamline the manufacturing process. Additionally, not maintaining a store front allows them to save a few more dollars. They pass these savings on to the customers while generally still able to include more added features, like screened windows, free of charge.
  3. Shipping: By avoiding customization generally, they are able to keep the model of tent you want ready for when you want it, which means they can have it shipped out the next day.
  4. Customer Service: Elkmountaintents offers excellent customer service and support. They are happy to answer any questions you may have about their products and can provide advice on which tent is best suited for your needs. When you send them an email, they go straight to the owner of the company rather than to a secretary or assistant.
what is a canvas wall tent


  1. What is the difference between a canvas wall tent and a traditional tent? A canvas wall tent is made from heavy-duty canvas fabric and is typically much larger than traditional tents. Canvas wall tents are also more durable and offer better insulation than traditional tents.
  2. How long does a canvas wall tent last? A canvas wall tent can last for many years if properly maintained. With regular cleaning and proper storage, a canvas wall tent can last for decades.
  3. How do you clean a canvas wall tent? To clean a wall tent, you will need to use a mild soap and warm water. Scrub the tent with a soft brush and then rinse thoroughly with clean water. Allow the tent to air dry completely before storing.
  4. Are canvas wall tents suitable for winter camping? Yes, canvas wall tents are great for winter camping. The heavy-duty canvas fabric provides excellent insulation and can keep the tent warm in cold weather. Many canvas wall tents also come with stove jacks, which allow you to use a wood stove inside the tent for additional warmth.


Canvas wall tents are a great option for anyone who loves spending time in the great outdoors. They are durable, spacious, and offer excellent insulation, making them ideal for camping in all types of weather conditions. Elk Mountain Tents is a company that specializes in producing high-quality canvas wall tents and offers a range of products to suit different needs and preferences. While there are some drawbacks to using a canvas wall tent, the benefits far outweigh them, making it a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants a reliable and comfortable shelter for their outdoor adventures.