After purchasing a new canvas product, be it a swag, tent, awning, etc, it’s recommended to follow a process called “seasoning” before it’s taken out into the field for its first trip. During construction, the canvas material is punctured 1000’s of times along the seams where various pieces are sewn together. This stitching leaves tiny pin holes which are prone to leaking the first few of times they are wet. Seasoning a new canvas product eliminates this leaking by causing the canvas to expand and contract, in turn sealing up the holes. Seasoning is a very simple process done over a couple of days that, when done correctly, will eliminate a damp and disappointing camping experience.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Erect the tent or swag in its entirety on a relatively flat surface. Use every peg loop, guy rope and all the poles that its supplied with to ensure the tent is set up as perfectly and symmetrical as possible (if you have your tent or swag erected unevenly, or slouching in one area, as the canvas expands and contracts it can cause it to permanently favour that position.)
- Grab a small hairspray bottle, fill it with water and on the inside/underside of the canvas, spray water along all accessible seams for their entire length.
- Once the inside is done, exit out, zip up all zips, doors and close all the windows.
- Get a hose and set the nozzle to ‘shower’ (do not use a pressure hose or jet spray, this can damage the waterproofing treatment on the canvas) and begin generously showering down the entire length of the canvas being sure to give each seam a thorough dousing. You will notice at first the canvas will bead the water, but as time goes on it will start to soak in, especially in the seam areas. Continue this for 3-5 minutes or until the canvas is saturated.
- In the erect position allows the tent or swag to completely dry.
- Repeat this process another two times over a couple of days for best results, you should notice less and less leaking each time.
- After wetting for the final time, inspect the inside of the canvas to see if it's watertight. If there is still water coming through, you may need to apply a seam sealing product to completely waterproof that particular area.
Hot tip: When storing your canvas product, never pack it away wet or store it in a damp location. Preferably store it in a cool dry area, off the ground and out of direct sunlight.