How Are Canvas Tents Waterproof?

Canvas Tent

Tents have been a classic sheltering technique used by humans during emergencies or traveling. The reliability of a tent is best evident in the fact that one can accommodate themselves into the tent without having to put too much of their effort. The usage of tents has evolved over sometime and now tents are being utilized for multiple purposes. These days, tents don’t necessarily have to be used when the flags are red. Be it an adventure like camping, hiking or any sort of recreational activity, modern-day tents have radicalized into a versatile version of temporary accommodation.

Since tents are so useful, it’s rather important to choose the right kind of material for the tent to set apt conditions for living. Based on the fabric, there can be different types of tents. A canvas (cotton) tent, nylon tent, felt tent and polyester tent are some examples. Out of these, the canvas tent is the most prevalent fabric for tent types. A canvas tent can be arranged into various styles such as a cabin tent, a bell tent or a wall tent.

Why is a Canvas Tent Preferred Over Other Tent Types?

Canvas (cotton) is a traditional fabric utilized for tents. It’s marvelous properties are what make it a top choice even after the introduction of several other types of fabrics for tents. Earlier, hemp was used in the manufacturing of canvas tents. But it has been replaced by cotton and this change has upgraded the properties of canvas tent for the good. Let’s glance at these properties of the canvas tent that impart it a special place amongst other fabrics.

  1. Insulation- The fabric, canvas, is a poor conductor of heat. Hence it cannot transmit the heat that falls over it to the other parts. This makes it a better insulator than other materials, say plastic.Hence, the canvas tent optimally insulates its inside. So, on a warm day, it won’t feel that warm and on a cold day, the chilliness won’t kill you.
  2. Breathability- The pores in the canvas make the tent extremely breathable and hence the evils of condensation can be put to rest. Also, since the canvas is made of natural materials, it makes the tent easily habitable and breathable.
  3. Quietness- The conditions inside a canvas tent are delightfully calm. This is made possible due to the weight and the top-notch insulation of the canvas. Any turbulence on the outside won’t interfere with your silence inside.
  4. Durability- The canvas fabric is phenomenally tough and can last for several years even after being used in the harshest conditions. In the case of rips and tears, the canvas can be mended by sewing by hand. Complex damages can be fixed using a sewing machine.
  5. UV-ray protection- Due to its higher resistance to harmful UV rays, canvas fabrics are commendably beneficial in protecting people from the dangers of the ultra-violet rays.
  6. Ventilation- Not only is the canvas tent breathable, but also equipped with thousands of mesh-covered vents and windows, and mesh wall. Your airflow requirements can be conveniently suited through canvas tents due to their personalized ventilation.
  7. Environment sustainability- The seed hair of the replete and hardy cotton plant makes the canvas tent eco-friendly.  These canvas tents are treatable and repairable. Along with that, cotton is biodegradable as well, so when it doesn’t harm the environment like plastic.

Why are Canvas Tents Not Waterproof Enough?

Despite all the stupendous properties of the canvas tent, it falls short of one important characteristic. The canvas tents are unable to sufficiently ward off the inconvenience of rainfall.

Here are elaborate explanations of why it is so-

  • Canvas tents absorb a lot of water. Thus, they are supposed to be dried before putting away. Without doing so, the quality of the fabric degrades.
  • The fibers and the seams of the fabric are tightly woven together during its synthesis. Hence multiple micro pinholes are generated throughout the canvas. Since the size of these micro pinholes is enough for water to seep through, the canvas leaks water.

How Can Canvas Tents Be Made Waterproof?

Canvas tents can be easily made waterproof by following a few of the following methods.

  • Seasoning- It is by far the best way to waterproof a canvas tent. It is recommended that you season your canvas at the earliest. The best time to season it would be immediately after you buy it. One has to start by soaking the canvas in water. This procedure lets the canvas to expand to required extents. The expansion minimizes the presence of pinholes on the canvas. Once this is done, the canvas is dried completely. As a result, the fibers will shrink and interlock to yield a waterproof canvas tent.
  • Silicon-based waterproofing solution-  To waterproof the canvas with a silicone-based waterproofing solution, you also need to get your hands on mineral spirits, a chalking gun, a chip brush, protective gloves, mixing cups and sticks. Mix all these materials and make a solution. Apply the silicone-based waterproofing solution on the canvas at least 12 hours before exposing the canvas to water. Use two coats of the silicone solution at the seams of the canvas. Let the canvas dry with the solution and ultimately, it will be waterproofed. According to the manufacturer, you must give this solution 72 hours to cure, so leave the tent in a secured area for 3 full days before packing away.

Thus, a canvas fabric can be easily transformed into a long-lasting waterproof tent that meets your needs at all levels.



Ashley Macdonald
Ashley has recently joined the FeedsPortal content writing team and brings with her a wealth of journalistic experience, which we believe our readers will find extremely useful.

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