How to Re-Treat a Canvas Tent

How to Re-Treat a Canvas TentA tent acts as a home away from home. It protects you from wind and rain, and it gives you a sheltered place to rest your head at night. Just like your home, a tent requires maintenance to continue to function properly--think of maintenance as giving your tent a new roof and shingles. The good news for canvas tent owners is that if you can paint you can re-treat a canvas tent with canvas waterproofing products.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

How to:

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tent
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Paintbrush
  • Canvas waterproofing product
Step 1
Set up your tent in your backyard. Make sure that the pitch is taut, because creases and runs make applying an even coat of waterproofing difficult.
Step 2
Wash your tent with water. Rub as much dirt as possible out of the tent. Watch for mildew and treat any you find with a solution of 80 percent water and 20 percent white vinegar.
Step 3
Allow the tent to dry.
Step 4
Paint one panel of your tent at a time with a coat of canvas waterproofing product, such as Canvak. Complete the entire panel before stopping to ensure an even coverage. The treatment soaks the fabric, so you only need to treat the outside surface.
Step 5
Wait until the tent dries completely before packing it away.

Tips & Warnings

If your canvas tent includes a canvas floor, treat it as you would the walls. For vinyl floors, no treatment is needed.
One gallon of canvas waterproofing is enough to re-treat 100 square feet of your canvas tent.
For heavily used canvas tents, re-treat your canvas once a year.


Article Written By Bryan Hansel

Bryan Hansel is a freelance photographer and kayaking guide who began writing in 1993. His outdoors articles appear on various websites. Hansel holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and religion from the University of Iowa.

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