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Cleaning and prepping old canvas tent
Mule Power's Link
Got out our old GP small army tent after many years of storage and set it up for the kids to play in. I'd like to try it out this fall for a long weekend hunt, and maybe this summer for a family camping trip.
Overall, it's in pretty good shape, especially for its age. Few patches that have been there since we bought it, but no tears. There are a few spots where light is coming through the roof. Nothing major, mostly just around stitching, or pin pricks. What's the best way to address these?
It does have a very powerful smell. I don't know that it's mildew, but with the dark color, its tough to say for sure. Kind of a musty, old canvas smell. I'm sure some of it is unavoidable, but I'd like to get rid of as much of the smell as possible, otherwise I'm afraid my wife will never agree to using it. Is there a recommended method for cleaning?
Seam Grip. It’s a sealant/adhesive for tents. Online or REI sells it. It works VERY well.
My experience with old canvas is it is usually far more degraded than it may look. Under stress it will fail badly. Umbrellas awnings tents tarps have been examples of this for me.
I have an old military tent looks about like yours. I haven't opened it up for ...... I bet over 20 years ...... prior to that I used it a couple times and it always had that same smell you mentioned. The few times I did use it, I left it air out but never could get rid of the smell.
I could have written Inshart’s post word for word.... LOL.
Maybe just fire up the Ozonics in there and let it run for a good while ;)
I’d like to figure out how to just get all of the old, accumulated dirt & grit off of mine without wrecking the waterproofing. Don’t think SeamGrip or other adhesive type waterproofers will grab onto the waxed canvas, though....
I think all older gp tents smell like that
I used to use of those tents.
Sell that hot, stinky, heavy damn thing and get a real wall tent.
One thing to avoid is any strong detergent or cleaner. You will lose your water shedding. If you do, there is a product called Canvak (spelling may be wrong) that you can paint on to restore it.
Try some nose jammer for your wife.
Just a quick update. I cleaned the tent with dish soap and water, left it out during a rain storm, and was happy to find that it only leaked in one corner. Still stinks like hell, but it's a dry stink. Kids had a great time "camping" in the yard.
After rekindling the fun of the camp tent, I decided to upgrade and ordered a new 14*16 wall tent. Looking forward to an upcoming fishing trip to test things out.