Canvas Care

Pre-Shrinking Tents

A new canvas tent may "mist" or feel damp in heavy rain which is normal and beneficial for a new tent. When the cotton fibres shrink, the weave tightens, increasing the water-resistance of the canvas. We recommend pre-shrinking your tent before your first adventure (but it’s not a must).

Pitching your Tent

The proper setup and maintenance of your tent — especially in less-than-ideal conditions (think damp and windy) — is critical to maximize tent performance and safety.

You will receive detailed pitch instructions with your purchase, but here are our quick tips:

  1. Before setting up your tent, find a stable, firm, and flat spot. Always secure the ground pegs before putting the centre pole in the tent.
  2. Once you get the centre pole in, make sure it’s vertical and centered, with the rubber foot making full contact with the groundsheet.
  3. Start putting the stakes in the ground, ensuring the guylines are aligned to the tent seams.
  4. Put the door frame in before staking around the door(s).
  5. Last — but certainly not least — use the tensioners on the guylines to achieve a taut tent. Adjust as needed when the tent loses tautness.

Maintaining your Tent (keep that baby taught!)

We recommend adjusting the guylines, using the tensioners, daily or as needed in windy conditions or unstable/rocky earth. This also helps in keeping your tent clean, as debris, water, snow, etc. will roll off a taut tent, versus accumulating on a loose, flappy tent.

If you’re using your tent in the winter months, it’s important to stay on top of snow and ice as it can accumulate and damage the poles and canvas (it’s best to keep your stove running!). If you experience any leaks, it’s most likely because your tent is not taught.

And remember, the great Canadian outdoors are no joke. Stay on top of weather forecasts, never leave your tent unattended, and use common sense.

If inclement weather is on the horizon take down your tent completely; we do not recommend just taking out the centre pole as high winds or snow could rip the canvas if pressed against furniture within the interior. It is your responsibility to protect yourself and your gear against the elements.

Cleaning your Tent

Cleaning and re-treating your canvas tent regularly will keep your tent looking new by fending off both UV damage and the potential for any mold.

We recommend cleaning (and re-treating) your tent after 10 to 12 weeks of use; the harsher the environment, the more frequent we recommend cleaning and re-treating.

Here’s how to clean your canvas tent (when pitched):

  1. Clear any debris from the interior and exterior of the tent
  2. Hose down the tent
  3. Apply a 4:1 water:vinegar solution, or a canvas cleaning product – like Esker – (following their instructions). We do not recommend any household detergents or bleaches as they could ruin the cotton fabric. High pressure washers and washing machines are also out of the question! That said, using a lower setting on a pressure washer (with vinegar or a canvas-friendly cleaner added to the machine) can be an efficient way to clean the tent. Make sure to spot check on the fabric to prevent damaging the tent. The groundsheet and poles can be cleaned with any cleaner or disinfectant.
  4. Gently clean the fabric with a soft sponge and rinse as you go.
  5. Let dry, then re-treat immediately (see below).

Re-treating your Tent

Not so fast — now it’s time to re-treat your canvas tent to maintain water, mold, and UV resistance. We recommend using DryGuy Waterproofing. DryGuys’ spray bottle covers 50–60 square feet, so you may need a couple bottles.

Alternatively, the DryGuy concentration covers 240–300 square feet.

Here's how to re-treat your canvas tent (when pitched):

  1. Let the tent dry out completely after cleaning it (per above).
  2. Follow the instructions on the re-treatment product. You may have to dilute it if it’s a concentration.
  3. Apply the re-treatment with a spray bottle or a soft washer (a pressure washer with a nozzle that minimizes the pressure). Let it dry out.
If you’re using a tent stove, reapply a fire retardant (see above).

Got Mold?

It doesn’t have to come to this. But we get it, life gets busy and you can forget to take care of your tent — we’re not here to shame you.

It is important to immediately address any mold and mildew, though, to kill the spores and prevent it from spreading.

How to Take Care of Tent Zippers
Our manufacturing partner’s quality control does everything it can to catch any zipper defects, so we’re confident in their high quality. Even so, it is important to handle zippers with care.

Here’s how to avoid wear on tent zippers over time:

  • Close all zippers before pitching your tent to avoid undue tension once pitched
  • Gently handle all zippers with care – no need to force it
  • Clean the zipper from time to time to get rid of any dust/dirt
  • Lubricate the zippers with a zipper wax
Before using the tent, please verify that all zippers are working seamlessly by testing each one, confirming ‘teeth’ are aligned, and ‘stops’ are in place. The warranty on zippers is only valid if the tent is unused.

Storing your Tent

Tips for safely packing up your tent:

  • NEVER pack your tent wet — this includes the canvas tent, groundsheet, and guylines
  • If you’re in a bind and take the tent down while wet, loosely fold it for transport and dry out within 24 hours
  • Brush off any dirt on the exterior of the canvas and sweep or wide the inside of the tent

Tips for safely storing your tents to prevent mold and critter infestations:

  • Store it off the ground (to avoid potential water damage) in a cool, dry place
  • Store in a plastic bin with a lid if mice and insects are a concern

Repairing your Tent

Small rips and tears from pets, gear, furniture, or environmental causes can typically be repaired with a simple needle and thread or patches. If you have a tent in need of professional repair, please send us an email with pictures, and we will work with you to provide the best possible solution for your specific situation. 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. If you are looking for something not listed, get in touch, and we will assist you.

Reach Out

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at any time. Have fun and stay safe, Citizens.