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Types, Treatments, Strength, Shrinkage and More

Canvas is a heavy, woven fabric that was traditionally made from cotton, but is now also made from man-made fibers like polyester. Canvas construction includes number of threads per square inch and tightness of weave and is important in determining the ability of the fabric to keep heat in and rain out. Canvas is also called Duck, from the Dutch word “doek” and has been used for sails, tarps, wall tent, backpacks and heavy clothing for centuries.

Army Duck fabric, also known as "shelter duck," is a versatile, medium weight multi-purpose duck canvas fabric with a very tight, plied yarn weave construction making it very strong and resistant to tearing. It is a double fill (warp & fill; lengthwise & crosswise) canvas, which means the threads are doubled by twisting two threads into a thicker, stronger single thread and this heavier thread is used in both weave directions, making a stronger and tighter weave canvas. This weave creates a tighter, smoother texture than single fill cotton ducks. It also makes it somewhat more rigid and notably more durable than single fill. Army Duck is loomed using smaller yarns to create an ultra-smooth texture. This dense, tight weave makes it a suitable canvas for many outdoor applications. Cotton Army Duck can be custom finished; marine finish, boat shrunk, mildew repellent, water repellent.

A fabric made from a poly cotton blend combines the strengths of the two fibers; natural cotton and man-made fabric. Combining the breathability of cotton with the durability of polyester, these blended fabrics offer easy care and less wrinkles than cotton-only material. Polyester canvas is lightweight, durable, breathable, tear resistant, less shrinkage, less susceptible to mold and mildew and less likely to absorb water like cotton. Poly-cotton is a hybrid between man-made polyester and cotton. Essentially a poly-cotton fabric is a cotton fabric with some polyester weaved into it and the polyester in the weave makes them slightly more resistant to mildew than pure cotton or canvas, it also helps reduce the risk of large rips.

A new type of canvas used by many manufacturers nowadays, this fabric is fully waterproof from the very first use offering high levels of waterproofing and strong color that won’t fade. The tents made from this fabric are much less prone to mold and mildew. The main problem is that they lose the natural breathability that only a cotton canvas tent can offer.

Nylon material is a synthetic fiber which is a man-made material. The word Nylon describes itself as a group of synthetic polymers which can be transformed into any shape of fiber or into a lot of other shapes by melting them.

Which tent material is the best will depend on your needs. For example, do you need a tent that’s easy to transport, or are you looking for a tent to be your holiday home for a week or more?

Canvas Tent vs Polyester or Nylon Tents

Cons:
• They are not good insulators. This means that tents can get very hot when it is warm, and chilly when it gets cold.
• The material is not naturally breathable. Condensation can build up on the inside of the tent – sometimes enough to cause puddles.
• They can deteriorate and lose color over time through exposure to the sun’s rays.
• The lightweight material means they flap around a bit more in the breeze…which can be a bit noisy if you are trying to sleep.

Pros:
• Cheaper: you can get a lot more affordable tents with man-made fabrics.
• Lighter: from smaller backpacking tents to even larger family tents, these man-made fabrics are a lot lighter and less bulky than natural based fabrics, making tents made from this material a lot easier to get to the campsite.
• Quick to dry out.
• Less maintenance: Can be more resistant to mildew and rips.

Canvas is the traditional tent fabric, and it has lots of great properties for a tent.

Pros:
• Cotton insulates extremely well. You won’t get as hot on a warm day, nor as cold when it is chilly.
• Cotton is a breathable fabric and can absorb water. This means that you are unlikely to have an issue with condensation.
• Due to its weight and insulation properties, canvas/cotton tents can be quieter, and not so noisy if there’s a breeze.
• The fabric can last a long time and is more resistant to harmful UV rays.
• A new canvas tent can smell a lot nicer than the chemical smell you sometimes get with man-made tents.

Cons:
• Cotton and Canvas is very heavy and bulky. This means transporting a large tent to a campsite can be problematic – possibly enough for you to no longer fit it in the boot of your car. It can also make pitching a bit more work and difficult to store, transport, and setup.
• You normally need to ‘weather’ the canvas before using it. This involves leaving a new tent out in the rain (or under the garden hose) so that the canvas expands and fills in the holes in the stitching and fabric. Without doing this, your new canvas tent could leak.
• Cotton and Canvas requires more maintenance. As it absorbs water, you need to dry the material out before putting the tent away, and this can take a lot longer than man-made materials. Without doing so, you will get mildew in your tent.
• It can be easier to snag and cause a tear, which can turn into a big tear.
• Cost – cotton or canvas are a lot more expensive than man-made fabrics.
• Coatings and Treatments on Cotton Tents:
Cotton tents shouldn’t be coated with a waterproof membrane as polyester tents have since the cotton needs to remain breathable and are already UV and water resistant. However, some manufacturers have applied a light waterproofing treatment to the cotton. The cotton still retains its breathability, but the treatment means that water will bead off the tent if there is a light shower or morning dew. Innovations like this make cotton more practical for family camping as it helps reduce the drying out time. It’s extremely important for campsites that insist you leave your pitch early in the morning.

Wall Tent Fabric

Army Duck is loomed using smaller yarns creating an ultra-smooth texture perfect for creating fine portrait details in gallery grade primed and unprimed artists canvas. Army Duck Canvas fabric is also popular in numerous applications and products such as tote bags, tarps, outdoor awnings, tents, linings, outdoor boat covers, upholstery and slipcover fabric.

• Canvas tents can be better suited for long camping trips because of their heavy duty, durable materials. Simply put, they are going to last longer than nylon or other synthetic materials. People that live at campsites during the summer should look at investing in canvas tents.

• Canvas tents generally perform better in winter conditions. Heavy duty canvas fabric will block out the cold and wind better than nylon.

• Canvas style tents- particularly cabin style canvas tents – provide a great design that has more room on the inside – and a lot more headroom for people that don’t like to walk around hunched over.

• Canvas tents are better in the winter, but they are also very functional during the summer – meaning you can have a 4 season tent for all your camping needs.

• Durability – if you buy the right canvas tent, you can go years before you need to replace it. Small holes and ripped seams in a canvas tent are also easier to patch up than holes and damaged seams in synthetic material tents.

• Longevity: You won’t have to replace these tents for a long time if you properly take care of them. They really are made for more serious campers.

Heavier canvas is not always better and the quality of the tent is determined by the weave and by the water, fire resistant and/or anti-mildew treatments. 10.10 oz. has an excellent strength to weight ratio and has proven itself the superior fabric for making tents. The 10.10 oz. canvas we use is the “sweet spot” for being lightweight yet durable. Strength of canvas is based on the quality of the canvas, not the treatment.

Make sure you know how much your canvas is expected to shrink. 3% shrinkage is normal. Canvas made from man-made fabrics; polyester or nylon should not shrink much. If you plan to make your own frame, make sure it’s 1-2 % smaller than the actual size to allow or compensate for tent shrinkage.
It is imperative that when you wet your wall tent you thoroughly soak the seams. There are small needle holes where the seams are sewn together. Thoroughly soaking the seams normally closes the needle holes which will prevent seam leakage. Soak the seams on both the outside and inside of the tent. Wetting down the tent causes the cotton fibers to swell which makes a tighter weave increasing water resistance.

Types of Treatments

Before buying a tent, make sure the fabric is Water Repellent, Mold, Mildew & UV Resistant as a treated canvas tent with proper care and maintenance will easily last our average user a lifetime. Any treatment should ensure the canvas natural ability to breathe and has minimal harmful effects on the canvas itself. TREATMENTS play a huge role in how the canvas performs over the life of the tent. Waterproofing is a paraffin wax treatment which makes the tent impervious to water, however, due to the wax applied- the natural breathability of cotton is severely affected. Water repellent is a dry silicon treatment which ensures canvas natural ability to breathe without contributing to the fabric’s disintegration. Other things to consider are the type of treatment used to make your tent resist the effects of ultra-violet (UV) light from the sun, repel mold and mildew, or retard the spread of fire is a critical factor not only for its impact on breathability, but also on how long your tent will hold up and perform best in terms of strength, ability to breathe, overall integrity, and longevity. Inferior treatments impede breathability and cause more rapid deterioration of the canvas when exposed to the elements, making the tent both less comfortable and reducing its usable life.

Marine Grade Boat shrunk, Sunforger or Paraffin are commonly used terms to describe that the canvas has been treated for water and mildew resistance. Paraffin Finish is an exceptionally heavy finish that treats canvas for water, mildew and fire resistance but it adds significant weight to the tent. Similarly, anti-mildew treatments are important to keep the cotton canvas from mildew damage after it has been wet and will help the canvas last longer.

A word of advice, never go for untreated canvas and try to apply water resistance material as it will close the space between the thread and won’t allow your tent to breathe. This will lead towards condensation forming inside the tent just like a synthetic material tent. Also, untreated canvas tents tend to shrink 10-15% more when it gets wet.

FR finish must comply with the code; CPAI 84.
We strongly recommend to purchase Fire Retardant tents as wall tents are used for extended period of time where stoves for cooking and heaters/AC units are used inside the tent. In order to prevent the tent catching fire, always opt for Fire Water Repellent fabric option. Please keep in mind that the tent is not fireproof and may burn if it is exposed to the flame source for long. Fire resistant canvas will burn as long as flame touches the canvas, but will not burn if external flame is removed. Fire retardant does not prevent sparks from smoke stack from burning “pin holes” in the canvas.

• Water-resistant: able to resist the penetration of water to some degree but not entirely.

• Water-repellent: not easily penetrated by water, especially as a result of being treated for such a purpose with a surface coating.

• Waterproof: impervious to water.

At White Duck Outdoors, we have selected 10.10 Oz, 100% Cotton Army Duck Canvas for all our canvas tent range. Army Duck is essentially manufactured from; double fill or Two ply yarn twisted together for higher yarn strength, combined with a high density thread count per square inch for weaving premium canvas that is robust and creates a tightly woven fabric surface that is ideal to add Water + Mildew & Flame Retardant chemical treatments which is impregnated on to the surface of the fabric and the chemical concentrate sits between the cotton pores of the fabric. The cotton pores swell in humid and rain weather closing the gap and making the canvas highly waterproof and prevents micro-organisms. Our cotton canvas fabric treatment is a technical breathable finish which is the main attribute of using 100% cotton canvas fabric in the first place. Unlike many canvas camping tents manufacturers’ who claim to use 100% cotton canvas but instead their treatment is coated causing the cotton canvas fabric to lose its breathability which usually results in a buildup vapor- condensation inside the cotton canvas tents. Our canvas tents will always be more comfortable for any outdoor application because of our premium finishes.

Our treatment is similar to Sunfoger Boat Shrunk Marine-Finish treatment that customers are familiar with over the last many decades from the camping industry. It is a dry and weightless chemical concentrate that saturates between the core of the cotton yarn fiber evenly for either Water & Mildew Resistance or Water + Mildew and Flame-Retardant finish as per requirement. The finish is highly durable and will last the test of times on your tents as you pass them from generation to another. All of our canvas tents are made from Army Duck Canvas 10.10 Oz, 100% Cotton with a high-density weave structure. Our Canvas Tent fabric has UV, Anti-mildew & Waterproofing agent saturated throughout the canvas before manufacture so even after wear and tear it will still provide a waterproof barrier. We achieve a high value of hydrostatic water head creating a waterproof canvas that minimizes condensation build up. The structure of cotton allows moisture to pass through and at the same time provide a barrier to water droplets. We also offer a range of Flame Retardant finish meeting CPAI 84 USA Outdoor Camping Standard. We strongly recommend to consider flame resistant fabric as it is one of the most asked for features on our tents and a mandatory requirement in California, Minnesota, Michigan, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York. Our treated 10.10oz. per square yard army duck is double filled and is offered for its flame resistant qualities and meet the industry wide flammability standard of CPAI-84.

Wall Tent Frame Types

Choosing the right frame has to be the major consideration where purchasing the canvas wall tent. There are 3 components of a Wall Tent frame;

The frame is made of galvanized steel or aluminum. A lightweight aluminum tent frame can be easily packed. We strongly recommend using internal frame as it provides the most roof support. Other frames like A-frame or lodge poles don’t include angle kits which provides additional support to the tent structure in heavy winds and snow load. Internal frame also prevents the canvas cover from tearing or splitting. Internal frame is the quickest and easiest frame to assemble! We offer heavy duty aluminum frame that comes with the tent and costs 50-75 % more than steel frame. Our wall tent includes aluminum frame, angle kits and PVC floor at very fair price. Our foot poles have a base plate that doesn’t rip the floor or sod cloth while setting up or packing the tent.

We offer free shipping on frames which are very expensive to ship and most companies charge extra shipping cost.

It is recommended to have a rafter angle kit installed every 6' or less to prevent tent roof sagging and to increase snow load carrying capacity.

Normally used by people who are making their glamping sites and want to make their own frame. Or people who want to use this tent as a permanent outdoor shelter.

You may also purchase an angle kit and make your own frame from 1" electrical metal conduit which could be found at local hardware stores. Make sure the frame must be 1-2 % smaller than the actual size to adjust for canvas shrinkage.

Make sure the canvas cover doesn’t fit tight on a tent frame as this will put immense pressure on zippers and seams. Sometimes a canvas tent cover will leak when it touches the frame/side or middle ridge poles. Make sure there is a double layer of canvas on those areas of your wall tent which will prevent the condensation and possible water leakage. This added layer of canvas fabric will provide added protection against rain water coming in. Other solution is to purchase a tent fly. The fly prevents any rain or snow from touching the canvas so no wicking/leaking can occur.

Make sure there is a separate bag to store your tent frame and for easy transport.

Tent Stakes

Stakes are one of the most difficult items to supply to all our customers due to great variations in terrain where they will be setting up tents. It depends on the weather condition; how much snow there will be, how windy the area is where you camp etc. You can expect severe wind, lightning, rain, hail, and dust storms at any time during the year, usually with very little warning. The main purpose of having stakes is to keep the walls of your canvas tent securely attached to the ground and from collapsing down. As most of the people buy wall tents for hunting and long duration camping, it’s best to use reinforced steel; rebar stakes.
A popular and very practical way to stake your tent is to use rebar, which is normally used as reinforcement for poured concrete construction. It is strong and resists pulling out from the ground better than anything you can buy at a camping store.

We have researched, tried and tested many stakes before designing our own and found a much better and secured way to stake down the tent. We provide complete tool kit to go with your tent which includes rubber mallet and stakes. The stakes comes in 3 different types and sizes. The kit includes 6mm 9” long pins to stake down your sod cloth, 10mm 12” long Jpegs to secure foot poles to the ground and 6mm 14” long Vpegs for guy ropes to stake down the tent.

Whatever you buy, DO NOT BUY plastic stakes, they will break when it’s cold, and wood stakes splinter. In addition to our stakes we suggest purchasing some longer rebar stakes and taking them along to stake the corners if you end up setting up in a marshy area. This will help ensure the stability of your tent.
Normally, wall tents include tent ridge and eaves where guy ropes are tied to the grommets or D-rings. We give a better option; our Alpha wall tents have elastic shock absorber bungee cords that provides extra reinforcement while staking the tent. Grommets or D-rings have the tendency to rip off under stress or pressure whereas, these bungee cords are specially designed to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Understanding Standard Features

Floors are a great way to protect you and your gear dirt free and dry if you set up on wet ground and keep bugs, rodents, other insects away from the tent. Always buy a floor that is heavy duty vinyl (not canvas or thin material) to ensure durability. Low quality or thin tarps available at stores will puncture if you have small rocks under your floor. We highly recommend using fire mats under the stove and not put a stove directly on top of a flammable floor for fire safety.

Fold the sod cloth to the inside then place the floor on top of the sod cloth. In this manner, any water is forced under the floor. Also, bugs are forced under the floor reducing the number of insects entering your tent. They set up easier, clean easier, are easier to replace if damaged and can be used in other instances as a tarp. For these reasons, the loose/detached tent flooring is far and away our #1 choice. Our floors are made specific to your tent so that you will not be left a few inches short, or be with unnecessary excess material to manage. A loose/detached wall tent floor would lay on top of the sod cloth that is standard on your canvas wall tent, and the base plate on legs of the foot frame hold it securely in place. It would cover the interior footprint of your canvas wall tent edge to edge and corner to corner.

Sewn-in tent floor keeps insects and water outside of your wall tent, but come with some drawbacks that we think outweigh that benefit. A sewn in floor will add about 25% more weight and bulk to your tent and cleaning will require the wall tent to be set up.

The floor is designed to provide tent flooring to the back ¾ of your Wall Tent, and leave the front ¼ area as bare ground. This bare ground space allows safe use of a camp stove, as well as a “mud room” area for boots, wet clothes, firewood, etc. We always recommend to always use a floor that does not have a stove cut out or zippered area because water and bugs can come in through openings in the floor.

A canvas tent floor will absorb water regardless if it is water and mildew treated. A canvas roof does not absorb water and leak because the roof is at an angle and rain runs down the roofline and side walls quickly. A canvas floor will have pools of water if you are in rain or snow conditions. Additionally, a canvas floor will turn black and have mold on it.

A stove jack is an oval round shaped area made from a fire retardant material, designed to accommodate a stove that can be sewn directly into the wall or roof of any tent. A stove jack allows you to safely extend stovepipe through the roof or wall of your tent.
Ideal place to place your stove jack is the roof of canvas wall tent above the tent ridge as it allows the wind coming from any direction to blow sparks away from the tent roof and prevent the spark holes being burnt in the roof.

Tip: Always have fireproof material underneath the stove with a 2 foot radius, or cut out/zippered floor where stove is located when using a floor. Best way to prevent your canvas wall tent from spark holes is to put a fly sheet above the tent.

Pellet stoves and wood stoves are ideal choice. Avoid propane stoves or propane heaters as they put out a considerable amount of water vapor when they burn and build condensation inside canvas tent. Good ventilation and airflow is an absolute necessity not only to help prevent condensation, but also for safety reasons. The heater should have carbon monoxide detector but try to avoid running it all night while sleeping and it should work okay. You must plan on a stove taking up to 7 feet along a wall in your outfitter canvas tent.

A 10-15 inch material sewn in around the bottom of a tent to provide a seal to the ground and prevent wind and rain from entering the tent. We use heavy duty 16 oz. vinyl which is UV resistant and weatherproof to soil down your tent from all the elements. It is compatible with any terrain and weather condition, also, easier to clean and can go inside or outside of the tent as per your convenience.

Location where roof and side wall meet with a 2"- 4" overhang.

Openings at the end of the eaves that allows connecting a tent internal frame to the porch/awning/cook shack frame.

Elastic shock absorber cords that are placed on eaves to attach and stake the guy lines. Avoid metal grommets or D-rings as they can be easily pulled out requiring replacement at considerable cost and time.

Extra fabric over the front door to protect your zippers from snow and freezing rain.

There is a slight chance that fabric touching the ridge poles might cause condensation and water seeping through the canvas. In order to prevent possible water leaks, double layer of canvas is used on the tent cover. Also, it prevents damage to the frame when eave ropes put pressure on the side and middle ridge poles while staking the tent to the ground.

Awnings carry the roof line out over the front of the tent, sides and front open.

Porches are the roof and walls out in front of the tent, front is open.

Cook shack are the roof walls and another front end sewn in with or without a door.

Important Features to consider before buying a wall tent

If you are planning to purchase a canvas wall tent, make sure it has all the standard features like frame, angle kits, groundsheet, stove jack, sod cloth, screened door & windows, storage bags. Some companies charge extra for the added features. While doing the cost comparison, make a list of items you need in your canvas wall tent and add the cost of those added features to your canvas wall tent price. You will get a clear idea about the pricing.

A standard tent must include:
 10.10 oz. Army Duck double-fill TREATED Cotton Canvas.
 Natural white color as it reflects sunlight better than any other color.
 Treatment: Water Repellent, Fire Water Repellent, Mold, Mildew & UV Resistant.
 Reinforced webbing at all areas of tension and wear (ridge pole, storm flap, end wall corners and eaves).
 Double layer of canvas on the ridge (where poles touch the canvas tent cover) to prevent condensation .
 Reinforced D rings, grommets or bungee cords ( stronger than grommets or D-rings for tie-downs).
 Reinforced eaves to avoid tearing & ripping of canvas tent due to snow load near the eaves and seams.
 Sod Cloth – A flap of canvas or vinyl (ours is vinyl) at the bottom edge of the tent – used to seal the tent edge by overlapping with the floor material, by covering with dirt or weighted down with rocks – keeps wind and insects at bay.
 Groundsheet: heavy duty floor to keep the tent warm inside and for added protection.
 Zippered door with extra storm flap and buckle reinforcement.
 Heavy duty YKK Zippers and buckles on storm door weather flap.
 Window flaps with Velcro closure to keep out the cold wind.
 Ridge pole opening with flap or sleeve to fit tightly to pole and to cover the empty hole when using internal frame.
 Extra windows for cross ventilation on hot days and a canvas flap to close the windows during winters.
 Heat resistant/ Fire proof Stove Jack for stove pipe (5 or 6 inch) in roof or wall. Includes flap for protection against rain when not in use.
 Screen Door and windows (mesh) to helps keep the flies and insects out.
 Waterproof tent and poles carry bag.
 Toolkit with all stakes and rubber mallet to stake down the tent.

Extras:
 Fireproof mats for Stove: stove is likely to burn holes in the floor, it’s always good to buy an additional mat to protect the tent.
 Rain fly – protects tent against weather and dirt, also prevents sparks from stove pipe from burning pin holes in the tent.
 Porch: provides an extra space, or separate vestibule or room located in front of the entrance of the Alpha Canvas Wall tents. It provides a separate area for relaxing, enjoying the view, storage space or cooking/eating area.
 Cook Shack – extra space that attaches to existing wall tent for cooking and storing.
 Hanging Organizers.
 Hanging Shelves

Wall Tent Add-ons

Flysheet is an extra sheet of material stretched over the outside of a tent to keep the rain out. It protects tent against weather and dirt, also prevents sparks from stove pipe from burning pin holes in the tent. It’s important to have a flysheet if you are a hunter or planning to camp outdoors for an extended period of time. Here are some advantages and disadvantages that you might want to consider:

Advantages:
• Prevents sparks from smoke stack from burning small holes in canvas – even fire retardant treated canvas will get pin holes – always use a spark arrestor.
• Helps prevent canvas from leaking and serve as a moister barrier.
• Helps keep canvas clean.
• Small air space between tent and fly helps keep tent warmer in Winter (if wind is calm).
• Reduces the possibility of rain water or snow coming into your tent through side windows or stitching needle holes.
• It protects the canvas roof from harmful UV rays.

Disadvantages:
• Tent fly can block light and make the inside of the tent darker, it helps if fly is lighter color or translucent.
• Tent fly adds more weight, more ropes and more set up time.
• In windy weather, the fly can billow up and actually move the smoke stack – must take care to tie-down the fly properly and to secure the smoke stack.

If you are in windy conditions, we strongly recommend not to have gap between the tent and fly as the wind will get under the fly and cause loud flapping and possibly ruin your fly.

Porch is a continuation of roof and sidewalls of your canvas wall tent. It is a separate vestibule or room located in front of the entrance of a canvas wall tent. There are two kinds of fabric available; PE and canvas porch. It provides an extra space, separate area for relaxing, enjoying the view, storage space or cooking/eating area. The wall tent porch are not attached to tent but overlaps tent and is secured to ground with rope and tension adjusters.

Keep your campsite organized by storing canned and dried foods, cooking supplies and utensils inside the camping cabinet. Made of durable fabric and three spacious shelves covered by a zippered door. When you want to keep the door open, roll it to the side and fasten it together with the attached tie-backs. The three-shelf cabinet is simple to set up and folds up for easy storage when not in use.

It is a multi-pocket folding organizer that can be hanged anywhere. The pocket organizer includes reinforced multi-use pockets that carry all the essentials and are easy to clean after use.

Sleeping Capacity vs Tent Size

Tent size (ft.) Tent size (sq. ft.) Capacity @ 30 sq. ft. Capacity @ 20 sq. ft.
10x12 120 4 6
12x14 168 5 8
14x16 224 7 11
16x20 320 10 16


Cots may be more comfortable than sleeping on the ground, even on sleeping pads, but cots take up more space. The average sized cots range from 72” – 75” long and are about 25” wide (which is 12.5 -13 sq feet) and XL (and larger) sized cots are about 80” – 85” long and 31” - 40” wide (which is 17.2 – 23.6 sq feet).

People usually buy wall tents for camping or hunting during winters. To survive the cold, stove is a must that keep the inside temperature of the wall tent warm. While deciding which stove to buy, you need to consider the space it will take. Wood stove comes in different sizes depending upon your need and requirement. The standard wood stove will require 36 – 40 square feet space. It is recommended that some of the largest (16×20) tents may need two stoves and our new wall tent features two pre-installed stove jacks at NO ADDITIONAL COST. Best way to decide which tent to buy is to draw floor plans to see how many cots, tables and accessories would reasonably fit into different sized tents.

Tent size (ft.) Space for stove (sq. ft.) Number of cots Space required per cot (sq. ft.)
10x12 36 2 42
12x14 36 4-6 33
14x16 38 5-7 37
16x20 38 (small)
76 (large)
8-10 35


Please check our Alpha Wall Tent product page to understand capacity options. If you still can't make up your mind on the tent size, call us and we can discuss your requirements and make recommendations.

Maintenance

Zippers also need to be maintained. Inspect before and after every use to make sure that they are in good working order. Check the seams for any fraying or signs of separation. You should always keep the zippers of your tent dry so the metal parts do not rust. Avoid unnecessary stress on zipper.
When it comes to camping, the quality of tent zippers cannot be compromised. Imagine tucking in for the night after a very rainy day of camping, only to find that the tent zipper refuses to zip close and its teeth has come loose. Without a repair kit and replacement zipper on hand, the campers will soon be in for a very wet, cold, and windy night. It’s important to look for high quality and top grade zippers while choosing your tent. There are some which are simply not stable and can break because of pressure as they start to become rusty and tarnish due to the exposure of light.

There are mainly two types of zippers:
 Coil Zippers
 Tooth zip, which is also known as the Vislon or “chunky” zip.

Always keep the tent and its zippers free from grit and dirt. After using the tent, shake it out to remove the dust and dirt, and wipe the zippers with a piece of cloth.
Don’t force zippers if they refuse to budge. If fabric somehow gets caught in the teeth, gently work it out instead of pulling on it. The slider or coil can be easily damaged if the zipper is pulled too hard.

Use zipper lubes so the tent can be zipped up smoothly and without snags. However, do take note that applying lube or any other grease-based product on the zipper makes it more prone to dirt and dust. Wipe and clean the zippers fairly regularly if lubrication is used.

Here are some quick tips that will not surely prevent your zipper from early damage:

 Never force your zipper: which means don’t over stuff your tent as this will put weight on zipper especially when closing the tent. Never force your zipper that is stuck, instead do it gently, hold the zipper’s track using your one hand and back the slider up. Free the stuck textile by sliding the zipper from one side to the other.
 Regularly clean your zippers: Without proper maintenance your tent zipper will less likely live longer especially when it continuously accumulates dirt and grit between its zippers. Regularly clean your zipper as it takes a very less time to clean it and remove all impurities that accumulate into the teeth which may impede the free movement of your zipper. Sea salt can be one of the destructive elements to your tent zippers, so make sure that you do the cleaning after your tent gets near to the sea. Use cool and fresh water when rinsing your tent zippers.
 Lubricate the zipper: This tip is one of most effective ways of prolonging the lifespan of your tent zipper. Zippers also deserve to have healthy teeth and body, so go an extra mile in taking care of it by applying a dry grease on zipper tracks and post ends. While applying lubricant is generally helpful, it is also important to take the type of lubricant into account if you decide to use one. Manufacturers have come up with several products which they design specifically for outdoor gears, and these items are what typically works best for your tent zippers. Some campers, hikers, and backpackers do not recommend the use of wax as this lubricant may cause dirt to get stuck in the zipper while scented wax has the tendency to attract bugs and other insects. Greasing your tent zippers up is a great way to protect your gears. Greasing up the tent zippers is one effective way to keep them running. Before applying any lubricant, make sure you have cleaned the zipper because you want to avoid catching any dirt in your tent zipper. You may have also come across various zipper lubricant products. You may use pastels or powdered graphite. Others use beeswax which they can soften using a hairdryer or a heat gun to make it quick-to-apply whereas some people prefer using Teflon-Silicone Lubricant which allows easy handling of the tent zipper.

Read more about zipper issues and remedies in our blog: https://whiteduckoutdoors.com/blogs/blog/how-to-take-care-of-your-zippers

If you have bought a new canvas tent/shelter/annex then one of the first things you will hear that you have to do is “season it”. This is not a complicated procedure, and shouldn’t put you off purchasing a canvas product.
When you first buy this shelter, it’s been put through a lot of needlework by the manufacturer, sewing all the seams, attaching separate sections of canvas together, with a lot of thread. That means a lot of little needle holes. Nothing huge, but all those holes are places where water can penetrate. These needle holes are unavoidable. But entirely fixable.
So to ‘season’ your tent, it is about reducing the size of these tiny holes by adding water that will cause the canvas material to contract, but the thread will expand. When both of these things happen, the needle holes minimize.

Follow these simple 5 easy steps for successful seasoning of canvas tents:
 Set up your canvas tent.  Soak your tent with garden hose, you do want to saturate the tent, so allow a good 5 minutes of forceful water from your hose on the tent. It is imperative that when you wet your wall tent you thoroughly soak the seams. There are small needle holes where the seams are sewn together.
 Allow the tent to now dry fully and repeat. A good soaking is a must! The tent should be fully dried between every soaking. Wetting down the tent causes the cotton fibers to swell which makes a tighter weave increasing water resistance. Thoroughly soaking the seams normally closes the needle holes which will prevent seam leakage. Soak the seams on both the outside and inside of the tent.
 Ideally, your tent should now be waterproof after 3 soakings, and subsequent drying out 3 times. The canvas and thread have contracted and expanded to fill the holes – naturally.
 Look for any leakage inside the tent, if there are any leaks despite seasoning your tent, the best way is to get a candle and rub it along the seams. The wax of the candle provides a coating to repel the water.

Seasoning your canvas tent is an important part of the purchase but once complete, it would be able to withstand many a torrential downpour without a problem. If you purchase a fly sheet with your wall tent, it is not necessary to wet down your tent. When wetting your tent for shrinkage, and also when it rains/snows, ensure that you have guy ropes/side ropes and wall stakes on your new wall tent to insure it only shrinks the normal 1-2% shrinkage and that it shrinks evenly. Otherwise. There is a possibility it may shrink more than 3% and unevenly and may not fit your internal frame properly. Allow some looseness in the guy ropes to allow for the roof shrinkage. If you do not allow for guy rope looseness you will weaken the seams. When the tent shrinks against a tight rope, the shrinkage will cause great pressure/strain on the tent roof seams which will eventually weaken the seams.

If you want to leave your tent up in the winter for an extended period of time in heavy snow, no internal frame can withstand heavy snow accumulation. There is no guarantee that your tent will survive a heavy wet snow load and are likely to get damaged and frames getting destroyed. White Duck Outdoors does not specify any safe amount of accumulation of ice or snow on a tent. The larger the canvas, the greater the potential snow load, and thus the greater the possibility for structural collapse. To mitigate accumulation in winter conditions, we always recommend our customers to get an extra pair of snow load poles for added strength and a tent stove which will heat the tent and cause fresh snow falling on the canvas to melt and run off, managing the temperature to some extent. Also, use a soft brush to periodically brush snow off the canvas, or gently beat the snow off from inside.

Canvas Tents normally last 15-30 years depending upon on how well it is taken care of.

The main reasons why canvas tents don’t perform well for longer period are:
 Putting the canvas tent away wet. Regardless of the water & mildew treatment, tents will develop mold.
Tip: Always store your canvas tent bone dry in a cool & ventilated space.
 Holes in the canvas tent roof from stove sparks landing on the roof.
Tip: Always use a fly to protect your roof.
 UV deterioration; Canvas exposed to direct sunlight for lengthy periods will destroy canvas.
Tip: Always use a fly sheet.

Understanding waterproofness: Canvas tents that are made from waterproof and water repellent fabrics cannot be as waterproof as a car, house or other solid structures due to the addition of seams, zips and other desirable features for camping, hunting, recreation. The following are common examples of how water can enter a camping or glamping tent. Hence, corrective actions and notes to consider:

 Condensation - When warm moist air meets cooler air, condensation of water gas into water liquid occurs. The tent walls and roof form an impermeable layer between the inside and outside climatic conditions. The moisture inside the tent condenses on the canvas fabric and water droplets are formed. Sometimes these water droplets build up to appear that the fabric is leaking when in fact the cause is condensation. Condensation can be reduced if the tent is well ventilated to reduce the buildup of warm moist air on the ceiling.
 Zips - All care is taken in the design to cover zips with storm flaps or position them where water will not flow. At times wind driven rain could force water under the flaps and through the zips. To minimize this, ensure all doors and windows are closed with flaps securely covering the zip wherever possible. FLOOR If the ground is very wet or water pools under the floor, then the downward pressure of standing or kneeling on the floor can draw water through minute wear holes in the floor fabric or where there are joins in the floor fabric. To prevent this, do not set up the tent in hollows and make sure water drains away from the tent site.
 Structural Integrity - A well set up tent on level ground is structurally strong and the most waterproof. During periods of prolonged rain and wind it may be necessary to tighten and adjust the frame, pegs and guy ropes as well as making sure any groundwater is flowing away from the campsite. A sagging roof or awning weakens the Tent structure and could allow water to collect on the roof causing leakage, structural damage, and fabric tears.

Wet Tents
Water & Mildew treated canvas tent will definitely survive the test of nature in the great outdoors. However, there is a certain element of extra care a camper needs to undertake to ensure the tent performs over the years. Never pack a soiled or wet tent. Make sure the tent is dry and dusted prior to packing it back. Cotton tents if packed in airtight bags will cause the microorganism to grow on it. Hence, the practice of ensuring the above is mandatory.