Seasoning Your Canvas

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In this article we will explain step by step how to properly season your canvas. Seasoning canvas is an important part of preparing your camper trailer for use. What it does is wet out the canvas and swell the cotton in the canvas, which allows it to plug any little gaps in the fabric, and to swell around the stitch holes to make the canvas more water resistant. What it will do is prepare the canvas for when you are out camping and you get rain. It’ll give it the best possible chance of getting the water off the canvas before it seeps through.

It’s important to remember when you do this that you don’t have to flood it. You don’t have to put a stream like putting out a fire. Just lightly wet out the canvas, simulate a bit of rainfall on it, and don’t fire the water stream directly at the zippers, because you’ll push water through the zippers. Get plenty of water up on the tropical roof, and work your way around the camper.

You’ll see a slight colour change in the canvas, which will tell you it’s wetting out properly. Grab a pole and lift the tropical roof so you can get water on top of the main roof of the tent.

image 1 Wet the canvas lightly until you see a distinct colour change
image 3 Use a pole to lift the tropical roof and wet the tent main roof

You’ve wet the tent all over, seen a distinct colour change that it tells you that it has wet out properly. Now the water can do its job, swell the cotton and make the canvas more resistant the next time it gets water on it. I suggest you do this process at least three times. Wet it down, let it dry completely, wet it down, dry completely, and then do it a third time. Also remember when canvas is new, like any material, new bedsheets or whatever, it has a finish to it. So it will resist water a little bit more.

It’s not uncommon for people to want to season their canvas every six months depending on the use of the camper trailer. With swags, campers, always do it at least every six months, if you’ve got a big trip coming up, open it up on a sunny day, season it again so you’re not going to have any problems.

Check it out inside once you’ve done this. If you see any drips coming through, any seams after the third wetting, get a wax stick and rub it along that seam and that will seal it up. Also take the opportunity now to walk around your camper, and look for any water puddles, particularly around the skirts or sitting on top of the roof. If there’s water puddles there, you need to consider that in your tent set up, especially when it’s raining. Sometimes it’s just a matter of grabbing it, giving it a stretch, and pulling the skirt down, particularly at the bed ends. If it’s raining, try and avoid having your pillows hard up against the canvas during rain. That’ll help stop any water being wicked through the canvas.

So that’s how you season your canvas. Do it to the tent, and the annex. It doesn’t hurt to do it regularly a couple of times a year. And always carry that wax stick with you in your camping kit.

For more tips like this, head across to our YouTube channel and check out the entire MasterClass, and follow us on Facebook to keep track of each video and when we post it. Happy camping and escape with confidence!


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