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About/FAQs

Q: How does your canvas differ from your competitor's?

A: There is a lot of information on other websites about canvas quality. We won't go into all of the details except to say that double-fill canvas is superior to single-fill canvas (used by Montana Canvas and Cabelas). We use a variety of different canvas brands depending on the tent you purchase. Our MAGNUM line is made from our 12.5oz double-fill canvas. Our Custom line is made with a 10.10oz Sunforger brand double-fill canvas, and our Bighorns and Sportsmans are made from a 10.10oz marine treated double-fill canvas. Each of these canvas types are treated for water and mildew resistance, and some (like our 12.5oz Magnum) also come standard with fire retardant.

We hired an independent lab to test the strength of the 3 canvas types we use in our tents using the ASTM D 5034 Grab Method, which tests the breaking strength in 2 directions (called warp and fill).

The Bottom Line: Our 12.5oz double-fill canvas is 68% stronger than the 10.10oz Sunforger used by most manufacturers. Please see table below for actual results:
 


 

12oz

MAGNUM

10.10oz

Sunforger

10.10oz

Marine

Warp Strength 389 lbs 216 lbs 202 lbs
Fill Strength 241 lbs 153 lbs 140 lbs

The difference between the 10.10oz Sunforger and 10.10oz Marine is so small that it is not worth worrying over. Practically speaking they are equal quality. So, no matter which tent you purchase from us, you can be assured you are getting a high quality tent that will last for years to come.

Click Here to see the original test reports. The name of the lab is blacked out because they do not allow us to use their name for advertising purposes.

Q: Which wall tent is the best one for me?

A: This is a great question that does not have a simple answer. Some of the factors to consider are cost, the options you want on a tent, the number of people that will be using it, and the durability that is necessary.

We think our best all around deal on a wall tent is our MAGNUM line. These tents come with just about everything you need, are made with the most durable fabric available (12.5oz double-fill), and are very affordable (literally $300-$800 less than comparable tents from our competitors).

The next best deal is our Sportsman line. These come standard with a lot of nice features and are made with a 10.10oz water/mildew treated canvas. Again, these are very affordable tents. These tents cannot be customized because they are produced in quantity to keep the price low.

If you want to build a customized tent, we recommend the Custom line. These tents come standard with a 10.10oz double-fill canvas. You can add extra doors, windows, stove jacks, awnings, etc to the Custom.

Q: What size of tent should I buy?

A: We recommend 30 sq ft for each person, wood stove, and/or table. This allows for plenty of room to move around in the tent. If you just want to pack people in for sleeping purposes, you can get away with 20 sq ft per person.

Q: What is the difference between the Sportsman and the Custom tents? Why does the Sportsman come with more features but costs less than the Custom?

A: We have the Sportsman made up in large quantities so that we can keep the prices low. The downside is that it cannot be customized. On the other hand, each Custom tent is made to your specifications. We can customize it all you want! Both tents are made from the same quality materials and craftsmanship.
 

Q: Why don't most wall tents come with floors?

A: A sewn-in floor makes it very difficult to set a tent up with an internal frame. Furthermore, it also makes for a difficult escape should you need to leave your tent in a hurry. Therefore, we normally sell floors that are separate from the tent and can be staked down or snapped to the tent walls. Alternatively, you can buy outdoor carpeting or a tarp from your local hardware store to use as a floor.

Q: What is a sod cloth?

A: A sod cloth is not a floor, but rather is a 10-12" vinyl strip that is sewn onto the bottom of the tent wall. The purpose of the sod cloth is to seal the tent walls to the ground to prevent weather and/or critters from getting in. This is accomplished by either burying the sod cloth or tucking it inside under a floor.

Q: Why don't most wall tents come with poles?

A: Many people still set up wall tents the traditional way by cutting poles in the woods and making an external frame. All of our wall tents are designed to be set up this way. However, many people like the ease and functionality of internal frames. We offer complete internal aluminum frames or steel angle kits to build your own internal frame out of 1" EMT conduit.

Q: Should I get a canvas or synthetic-based wall tent?

A: The answer to this question depends on your needs. All of our wall tents are made from canvas. Canvas is a cotton-based material that breathes well and provides insulation. Ultra-light synthetic materials such as Relite are available if weight is an issue. However these materials rarely breathe as well as canvas, and provide little insulation because they are so thin. Our recommendation is a 10.10oz canvas if you want lightweight, and a 12.5oz if durability is more important than weight.

Q: What is the difference between all of the different types of canvas and canvas treatments?

A: Canvas comes in different weaves, weights, and treatments. It is important to understand the different canvas specifications because each will determine how well your tent will meet your needs.

Weave
The 2 most common weaves used in canvas wall tents are single-fill and double-fill. Single-fill canvas is a looser weave than double-fill. Most single-fill tent canvas is not treated (with the exception of tents made by Montana Canvas and sold by Cabelas). Although single-fill may feel thicker, that is only because it is woven less tightly. Single-fill generally has a lower tear resistance than double-fill, and will shrink up to 10% once it gets wet and dries. Double-fill canvas is stronger, more naturally water repellent due to the tighter weave, and normally shrinks less than 2%. Another way to understand the differences is by using thread count. Double-fill canvas has a higher thread count than single-fill canvas.

Weight
The most popular canvas weight for tent making is 10.10oz canvas. This refers to the weight of the canvas per square yard before any type of treatment is added. Treatment can add 10-40% more weight to the canvas. The 10.10oz canvas is a nice compromise between strength and tent weight. Although the old 17oz army tents were definitely durable, it usually took an army to set one up because they were so heavy! Most people want a lighter tent that is easier to pack and set up. Few companies are making heavier tents these days. However, a 12.5oz canvas provides more durability and insulation than a 10.10oz canvas. Our line of MAGNUMtents are made with 12.5oz double-fill army duck canvas. The downside is that it is 20% heavier than 10oz.

Treatment
There are several types of treatments available to make tents water resistant and/or flame retardant. The only way to make canvas waterPROOF is to use a heavy paraffin wax or PVC coating that also renders the canvas unbreatheable. These types of treatments cause condensation to build up on the inside of the tent. These treatments also add a lot of unnecessary weight to the canvas. Some people prefer to purchase untreated tents and treat the canvas themselves with Thompson's water sealer or Canvak. Although this is possible, it usually costs more to treat the tent yourself than to buy it treated. The best canvas treatment is a dry treatment that is applied to the canvas during the manufacturing process. The result is a lightweight, invisible treatment that has saturated all of the canvas fibers. Many people call this a "Sunforger" treatment. However, Sunforger is a brand of treatment rather than a type of treatment. There are other dry treatments available that achieve the same result. A more generic term for this type of treatment is called "Marine treated". This treatment is designed to last for many years of hard use. Although it may begin to wear off eventually, it is usually not necessary nor advisable to re-treat your tent because the double-fill weave that it is applied to will continue to provide a very high level of water resistance due to its tight weave.

An untreated canvas will still shed water. However, it will be more prone to mildew if it stays damp for extended periods of time. It will also shrink more than a treated canvas. Regardless of whether your canvas is treated or not, if you store it away wet, it will mildew and be ruined!

A tent that is treated with fire retardant does not mean that it is firePROOF. Rather, the fibers are treated so that if exposed to a heat source it will only burn or smolder rather than burst into flames. Once the flame is removed the tent will stop burning. Although not necessary, this treatment does add peace of mind for those using a wood stove, particularly when sleeping.

Before you purchase a tent, be sure and ask which type of weave, weight, and treatment it is you are buying. A 10.10oz or 12.5oz double-fill canvas with a dry treatment is the best canvas available for your wall tent.

Q: How Should I Care for My Canvas Wall Tent?

A: Every year we get a few calls from unhappy campers who have ruined their wall tents. They put them away the season prior, only to unroll them and find that the tent is stained with black mildew, or worse yet that the tent is completely rotten. "I thought my tent was supposed to be mildew proof" is the comment we frequently receive.

Most canvas wall tents are treated with chemicals to make them both water resistant and mildew resistant. The key word is "resistant". No canvas is 100% water proof or rot proof. Canvas is a natural fiber and under the right conditions can become infected with mildew. So although a treated canvas will not mildew as quickly or readily as an untreated canvas, all cotton canvas must be cared for properly to ensure that it won't mildew.

Proper storage of your cotton canvas tent is the most critical way to ensure that your tent is not ruined by mildew. Before you roll your tent up for the winter, you'll need to find a place to completely dry it out. A cold garage may not be the best place to do this, as the tent may not dry completely. Although not popular with your wife, you may need to bring the tent inside your warm, dry house, spread it out, and let it dry completely. You may need to turn it over a couple of times, and be sure there are no pockets of moisture anywhere. Even a small area of moisture can ruin your entire tent.

Once your tent is completely dry, you will need to store it in a place that will remain dry and have low humidity. If you live in an area that is humid, you will want to find a dry place to store your tent. A garage or storage shed may turn out to be a bad place to store your tent if there are times when it will be quite humid. We've heard of instances where tents were stored in "dry" garages on the floor, and the tent rotted. Concrete can hold moisture. And if it does, it will transfer it to your tent!

In addition to protecting from humidity, you will want to ensure that no rodents are able to get into your tent. Mice love to make their homes in cotton canvas products and they will chew on them as well as defecate/urinate in them. Be sure to store your tent in a rodent-proof box, but one that has some ventilation.

A little extra care when storing your tent will ensure you have a great product that will last you a lifetime! I recently spoke to a customer who was just retiring a wall tent that had been in use for 70yrs! He did everything right when it came to caring for his tent. Take note.

Q: Steel or Plastic (resin) Tent Stakes?

A: Steel tent stakes are certainly more durable than the resin stakes currently on the market. We supply steel stakes with all of our tents. However, we've found a circumstance when resin stakes come in really handy. We leave at least one wall tent up all through elk hunting season in Montana (Sep 1 - Nov 25 approx). By the time we take our tent down, the ground is frozen solid and we can't pull our stakes up. We end up having to leave our steel stakes in the ground sometimes. However, the resin stakes are cheap enough that we can use a hammer to just bust the heads off them and leave them buried in the ground if necessary. That's better than having to cut your eave ropes if they're stuck to a steel stake! So it might be wise to keep a few of those cheap stakes around. They might come in handy!

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