The lifespan of your bell tent depends on it's exposure and the way you look after it. Air pollution, ultraviolet radiation, natural and domestic dirt, heavy rain, bee pollen, bird droppings etc, all limit the lifespan of your canvas bell tent. In short, if you look after your tent it will look after you for many years of happy camping. The nature of canvas means that it can be revived, with a mold killer and reproofing done at home. These points can help you to maintain the lifespan of your canvas tent:
Ensure sure the ground is level and free from sharp objects and debris which could damage the ground sheet.
Pitch well away from potential campfires.
Avoid pitching where water may pool in the case of heavy rain.
Do not pitch under trees where there is a chance of branches falling due to wind.
Draw the groundsheet tight before pegging.
Make sure all guy rope are pulled as tight as possible to reduce flapping in wind.
It is in your interest to keep the canvas as clean as possible and remove stains when they first appear. When dealing with fungus, use a soft brush or sponge and a lot of fresh water and a cleaning agent - and then apply waterproofer if necessary.
Dust and dried mud is better wiped away with a soft brush before a cleaning agent, and then waterproofing agent is applied if necessary.
Only use specialized tent cleaning products to remove difficult stains, as other domestic chemical products can cause the cotton to degrade. We recommend DynaProof products as these won't damage the canvas. This is available at leading canvas stores.
If using your bell tent frequently, or for long periods of time, a cleaning and waterproofing treatment may be applied more frequently.
Moisture and Mold
Due to insufficient ventilation when packed, or the tent being wet longer than intended purpose (permanently erected), moisture can cause fungus and mold to grow. It's really important to store your tent bone dry, to avoid fungus or other stains appearing. If you do not get optimal tent drying weather, open and unroll the packed tent to allow for some breathing until you can dry completely. Either re-pitch the tent with guy ropes pegged and the main centre pole erect, or drape the tent over a large table or the washing line. Even on the warmest and driest days the groundsheet can also pick up moisture from soil beneath.
If you do encounter mold or mildew, we recommend Wet & Forget, or equivalent product that does not contain bleach. Spray on the tent following the directions and watch it take effect. This also inhibits future growth for the fabric, up to 18 months full exposure.
Although our tent's canvas is treated with mildew and mold resistance, over time and usage this will lose it's integrity.
In order to preserve your tent’s water resistance and prolong its lifespan after a considerable amount of use, the outside of the canvas can be treated with a waterproofer. DynaProof is the ideal product as it has been designed especially for cotton canvas. It binds to any gaps in the fabric or stitching.
When new, cotton canvas can sometimes leak around the stitching sites, this is perfectly normal Once the tent has been weathered (soaked then dried) the weave of the canvas will shrink, just slightly, and this will no leaking should continue to occur. This can be simulated at home with a house.
You maybe surprised by the level of repair you can achieve yourself. Small rips in the canvas can literally be stitched closed using a common needle and thread, and the area will remain water resistant once proofed.
Larger rips and tears will need to be patched. just make sure to try and use the same canvas colour, and type, as the original.
If you feel the repair is beyond your capabilities then your bell tent can be taken to a professional canvas fabricator and fixed for a reasonable price.