Do Canvas Tents Need Waterproofing?

Do Canvas Tents Need Waterproofing

We are here to help if you accidentally dripped water on yourself while camping in the middle of the night. Throughout the internet, I have searched for information about what others have done to prevent leaks in canvas tents.

Waterproofing your canvas tent is necessary when you first get it. Adding waterproofing to your canvas tent is much easier than you might think. To make your tent waterproof, you should soak it in water and then dry it out. There will be at least two repetitions of this process.

This post will give you more details on how to prepare your tent for its first camping trip as well as how to maintain it. It may eventually be necessary to do more than just waterproof or season the tent. Nevertheless, this is also an easy process, which is outlined below.

How to Waterproof a Canvas Tent?

How to Waterproof A Canvas Tent


  • A hose or rainwater can be used.
  • The tent needs to be allowed to dry.


  • Whether you let it sit out in heavy rain or with a hose, get your tent completely wet before setting it up.
  • After the tent has dried completely, remove it.
  • In the same way, repeat steps 1 and 2.
  • You should test your tent before you put it up. Water can be sprayed on it and water will bead off if it is sprayed. In addition to looking at the tent’s fabric, make sure to check the seams as the seams seem to take longer to fully close its tiny holes.
  • It is very important to dry your tent completely before you pack it up. A tent can develop mold even after a few days if it gets even a bit of moisture.

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Waterproofing Canvas Tents By Getting Them Wet

A cotton fiber expands every time it is wet. The gap between the fibers becomes smaller as the fibers expand. In the drying process, the fibers remain expanded, which keeps them closer together as they dry. You can gradually get rid of gabs by getting the tent wet and letting it dry. By doing this, it is waterproof and cannot be penetrated by water. In addition to seasoning your tent, this process is also called “breaking it in”.

Tents Need to be Kept Dry Inside

You shouldn’t put heavy items on the tent’s sides even though it’s waterproofed. A tent that has an object leaning against it will cause water to wick away from the canvas.

How Often Should You Waterproof a Canvas Tent?

How Often Should You Waterproof a Canvas Tent

Keeping your canvas tent in good condition and using it about two to three weeks out of the year will enable you to waterproof it every two to three years. The best way to maintain it is not to leave it out in the sun constantly or store it when it’s damp. Having shade on the tent and not camping when it rains will help make your tent last longer.

Spray on Waterproofing for Canvas Tent Products

As time goes on, the above method of waterproofing your tent may no longer work, so it is time to invest in these products. These can also be used the first year you have a tent if you really want to. To supplement water-based waterproofing, I suggest applying these products over seams and stakehole areas the first year. There is a bit of difficulty in waterproofing these areas.

It’s important to keep in mind that these spray products may need to be reapplied every year since they wear off easily.

How to Use the Waterproofing Products?

  • Tents should be placed in well-ventilated areas, such as on tarps or driveways. The Star brite product has been reviewed on Amazon, and I’ve heard it can kill grass.
  • Tents should be kept clean and dry at all times. The cleaning instructions can be found below.
  • Be sure to wear goggles and gloves when applying the solution.
  • Wet the tent completely with enough water from the bottle. Shake the bottle well before applying. Apply it to all the seams, stitching, and stakehole areas of the tent. Stay away from anything else that might get wet.
  • It is important to allow the tent to dry completely.
  • Keep your hands clean.

How to Properly Clean Your Canvas Tent?

How to Properly Clean Your Canvas Tent

Materials Needed

  • Bucket and hose.
  • Sponge or brush with a soft bristle.
  • This cleaning solution is helpful. Vinegar is a great solution.


  • The ratio of vinegar to water should be 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water if you are using vinegar. Check to see if the cleaning solution is safe for canvas material if you plan to use another.
  • Dust and dirt should be brushed off the tent by laying it on the ground. It is recommended that you use a clean broom or vacuum with its brush attachments for this.
  • Spray the hose on your tent to get it wet.
  • Your cleaning solution should now be applied to your fabric with your sponge or brush. Work your way from one end to the other of the tent. After each cleaning session, rinse thoroughly.
  • Set up the tent once the rinsing has been completed so the tent can be rinsed further. Rinsing too much is not a problem. To ensure the cleaning solution is fully rinsed off, make sure it has been completely drained.
  • After the tent has dried completely, remove it from the rain.

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Taking Care of Others

Now that you’ve read this post, you won’t have to ask, “Do canvas tents need waterproofing? Now, you can ensure that others’ tents remain clean and leak-free. Detailed instructions can be provided to them or this article can be sent to them. This post contains sharing buttons at the beginning.

Hello, my name is James Tinnin and I am an outdoor enthusiast, writer, and avid camper. I have always had a deep appreciation for the great outdoors, and my passion for nature has only grown stronger over the years.