How to Store Your Canvas Tent

By February 17, 2020 No Comments
There aren’t many tents we’ve met that we couldn’t fix.


In the rare case a tent is too far gone, many times, we’ve found it was stored improperly.


In the pics below, a Lotus Belle Tent was sent into us for service.


store + camping + gear

Keep your camping gear safe from rodents

This tent had been eaten through by mice! They loved the canvas as a bedding material!

Here are a few of our tried and true tips for storing your canvas tent, but these are good rules of thumb for storing your camping tent, even if it’s not a canvas tent.


1. KEEP IT DRY – If you go out, and come home with a damp tent, maybe due to rain, dew, or on non-breathable synthetic tents – condensation (See our post about Condensation, here – yuck!), you should set your tent up in your yard to dry out when you get home. If you don’t have a yard, some people hang or lay the tent out in their garage or other large outdoor space. When you’re drying your tent post camping, try to get as much ventilation as possible, if in the garage or barn, add a fan if you can.


2. MIND THE FLOOR – Sometimes the canvas or tent material is dry, but the vinyl/PVC groundsheet is wet. This should be toweled off before being wrapped up. Another note about the floor – store your tent OFF of the floor. If the garage, basement, or storage shed floods, your tent will be off the floor and safer.


store + canvas + tent

Store you tent on a shelf


3. PROOF YOUR STORAGE – Consider a Rubbermaid tote (like the ones in the picture above) or large trash can will work too. This is a great to keep rodents, and pests away from your tent.


4. FOR SERIOUS MOISTURE ISSUES – We’ve found some of these dehumidifiers that you can stash with your tent and camping gear. They have a color scale indicator to help determine when they are saturated. Some people use these in their bathrooms to avoid moisture build up, but they’re great to put with your tents and gear!


tent + dehumidifier

Stash these with your tent to know when you’re gathering too much moisture.


If you wanted a DIY option, some homesteaders will use a double set of wool socks, filled with talcum powder (not baby powder), unscented is preferred or you will have a rose smelling campsite.


5. CLEAN YOUR TENT – Make sure that your tent is as clean as possible – remember, dirt is food for mold!


6. HOW LONG CAN YOU STORE A WET TENT? Sometimes it’s time for the trip to end, and your tent isn’t dry yet. It’s a bummer, and people will often ask how long can the tent be stored wet in these cases… the answer is: as little time as possible, however, with our Stout Tents, we’ve often packed up 100+ tents after a music festival, like Bonnaroo, and had to move on to the next location. In these cases, we dry the floors as well as possible, pack them up, and then re-open and set them all up 4-5 days later, and things are still ok. You can usually smell a little musty smell, but with a healthy dose of warm sun, ventilation, and freshening up, they’re all just fine once they’ve dried. This said, there is always a chance that we’ll have a particularly nasty mold strain at a site that could case major issues for us upon re-opening. If we have tents that have to be cleaned and re-treated, we have the team to do that maintenance and get them back on the road. If you’d like us to do your maintenance for you, you can order that through our website, here.


COLD VERSUS WARM: A wet COLD tent will have slower mold growth than a wet WARM tent. We’ve heard of people putting their wet tents in the chest freezer until they can set them up to dry!


PRODUCT RECOMMENDATIONS: We have heard good things about mold blockers. With a synthetic tent, you could spray one on and hope to extend the grace period before mold growth starts. The products we’ve reviewed all have mixed results, but many of them contain bleach which can damage the canvas so we can’t recommend a specific product yet. When we find the right one, we’ll update this post. If you have a suggestion – send it our way!


clean + canvas + tent


7. WHEN IT’S TOO LATE, AND YOUR TENT IS MOLDED: Check with your tent manufacturer for specific instructions about your tent, but know that we have a very high success rate for getting moldy tents looking brand new again! If you’ve purchased your tent from us, shoot us an email and we’ll send you our detailed instructions and product recommendations. If you prefer that we do the work for you, order that through our maintenance page, here.


clean + mold + canvas + tent

It’s worth it to clean your canvas!

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