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6 Tips for Looking After Your Canvas Tent: A Guide to Maintaining Your Tent’s Longevity

Elk Mountain Tents is a company that specializes in manufacturing high-quality canvas tents for sale on Amazon, eBay, or through their website at A canvas tent is an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, and campers. However, maintaining the tent is essential to prolong its lifespan and ensure that it remains in good condition. In this article, we will provide six top tips for looking after your canvas tent.

Tip 1: Clean Your Tent Regularly

Regular cleaning is crucial for maintaining your canvas tent’s longevity. Dirt, dust, and debris can damage the tent’s fabric, and it is essential to clean it after every use. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt and debris from the tent’s surface. Avoid using detergents or harsh chemicals as they can damage the canvas. Instead, use mild soap and water to clean the tent. After cleaning, make sure the tent is dry before packing it away. Obviously, your tent isn’t going to get completely soaked in mudd every time you use it, so cleaning it can also just mean spot cleaning. If you have a floor, that will likely be the first to get dirty. If you’ve got a sewn-in floor, that means you’ll have to assemble to tent in order to clean it which is one reason we recommend a tie-in floor instead.

Tip 2: Store Your Tent Correctly

Always make sure your tent is dry before storing it. If the tent is wet, it can promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can damage the fabric. Store your tent in a cool and dry place. Avoid storing it in a damp or humid area or in direct sunlight. Additionally, make sure the tent is folded correctly and packed away in a storage bag.

Tip 3: Waterproof Your Tent

Start by weathering the tent. This is the process of assembling your tent, getting it wet, and then letting it dry. This will shrink the fabric slightly to tighten up the gaps between the fibers. Then, even though canvas tents are made from a water-resistant material, you’ll want to apply a waterproofing solution. Before applying the waterproofing spray, make sure the tent is clean and dry. Follow the instructions on the spray can and apply it evenly on the tent’s surface. This spray should be reapplied annually for maximum effect. If you purchase a 100% polyester tent, then you won’t need to worry about waterproofing as polyester is naturally waterproof.

Tip 4: Avoid Pitching Your Tent Under Trees

Pitching your canvas tent under trees can be tempting, especially in hot weather or for those considering UV damage. However, it is not advisable as tree sap can damage the tent’s fabric. Tree sap is sticky and difficult to remove from the canvas. Additionally, falling branches or debris can damage the tent. Lastly, birds have been known to enjoy a tree or two, so to avoid the droppings of an unwelcome raven, we recommend avoiding the trees.

It is advisable to pitch your tent in an open area away from trees. However, regardless of where you set up your tent, it is recommended that you use a rainfly, even if your tent has been treated, even if your tent is already waterproof. A rainfly will create an added layer of protection that will go a long way to keeping your tent in tip top shape.

Tip 5: Use a Groundsheet

Using a groundsheet is an excellent way of protecting your canvas tent’s floor, assuming you’d like to protect your floor. I add that last part there because perhaps you are already using a simple tarp or ground sheet as your floor. However, some canvas tent floors are made of expensive materials worth protecting, so an added layer is smart as a groundsheet acts as a barrier between the tent’s floor and the ground. It prevents the tent’s floor from getting dirty and damaged. Additionally, it can help to insulate the tent from cold ground temperatures. When choosing a groundsheet, make sure it fits the dimensions of your tent.

Tip 6: Repair Any Damage Immediately

Finally, it is essential to repair any damage to your canvas tent immediately. Small tears or holes can quickly escalate into larger problems if left untreated. Repair any damage as soon as you notice it. You can use canvas repair tape to fix small tears or holes. For larger damages, it is advisable to take the tent to a professional canvas repair shop.

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Q: How often should I waterproof my tent?

A: It is advisable to waterproof your canvas tent at least once a year. However, if you use your tent frequently, you may need to waterproof it more often. Polyester tents do not require waterproofing but can still benefit from it if you are using the correct waterproofing solution for polyester.

Q: How can I remove tree sap from my canvas tent?

A: Tree sap can be challenging to remove from canvas material. You can use a solvent-based cleaner or rubbing alcohol to remove the sap. Apply the cleaner to a cloth and gently rub the affected area. Be careful not to rub too hard as it can damage the canvas material.

Q: How can I prevent mold and mildew from growing on my canvas tent?

A: To prevent mold and mildew from growing on your canvas tent, make sure the tent is dry before storing it. Also, avoid storing the tent in a damp or humid area. If you notice any mold or mildew on your tent, clean it immediately using a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water. Polyester tents are incapable of rotting like cotton canvas, but that doesn’t mean that mold can’t grow on the surface and have some impact since mold can grow on any surface in as little as 24 hours.


Maintaining your canvas tent is essential for its longevity and ensuring that it remains in good condition. Regular cleaning, proper storage, waterproofing, avoiding pitching under trees, using a groundsheet, and repairing any damage immediately are some of the top tips for looking after your canvas tent. By following these tips, you can prolong your tent’s lifespan and enjoy your outdoor adventures for years to come. Remember, a canvas tent is an investment, and taking care of it is crucial.