Seasoning Your Canvas Bell Tent

by | Jun 13, 2022

So what is “seasoning” anyway?

Seasoning (sometimes called “weathering”) your tent is simply another way to describe the process of making your canvas tent water-proof. A bell tent is made by sewing panels of canvas together. The holes left behind by the needle are often larger than the thread used to sew the panels. For some tent manufacturers, this creates hundreds of tiny holes that can let in water (a no-go for rainy weather). However, when canvas gets wet, it swells up and expands, filling in those tiny little holes. Thus, many tent manufacturers recommend that their customers season their tent before taking it out into the wilderness to avoid this first-time-use leakage from occurring during a rainy camping trip. In other words, customers need to set their tent up at home and soak it with hose water to make the canvas expand and fill in the holes. Who knew, right?

Do I need to season my Stout bell tent?

The short answer is no. Generally, Stout Tent customers do not need to worry about seasoning their Ultimate and Pro model bell tents. That is because we custom sew our tents using the smallest gauge needle possible for the job, and extra-thick thread, to prevent those holes from ever being a problem.

Custom Sewn

That’s great, but what about the Stargazer tent?

If you have or are planning on purchasing the Stargazer, however, we recommend you go through the additional step of seasoning your tent before use. The transparent PVC panels at the top of this tent (adding extra magic to falling asleep under the stars) also require a heavier gauge needle. We’ve found that the holes left behind from this larger needle are prone to leaking at the tent’s first exposure to water. This won’t be a problem once the tent has been seasoned.
Stout Tent Stargazer

Stout Tent Stargazer is holding up like a champ in the rain!

If I decide I want to, how do I season my tent?

Seasoning your tent is simple. All you need to do is set it up in your yard or somewhere with access to a hose and give the outside a thorough spray down. Let it dry overnight (or until it’s completely dry), and you’re done! Pack it up, and you’re ready to go. If you want to read more about the benefits of seasoning your tent and a detailed step-by-step process, we recommend heading to the Hiking Authority’s blog.

TLDR: You don’t need to season/weather most Stout bell tents (except the Stargazer). However, if you want to be extra cautious and give seasoning a go, the process is simple.


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