Canvas wall tent cleaning

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
I recently purchased a 14X16 wall tent made by Yakima tent co. It's a fine pieceof cloth but has some mildew that gives it some smell. I have had it assembled inside out for a week or so, to really air it out (plus my kids love to play in it). Is there any other way to wash it without jeapordizing the fireproofing or waterproofing?

I assume that no fellow fisherman that I take with me and camp with will mind the smell at all, especially after we start the stove but my wife is a bit particular when it comes to camping. She's become a bit more daring, camping wise, and I'd like to be able to utilize the tent with her and my little ladies. Thanks for any help guys.

Go Sox,

Dan Nelson

Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum
This is an old recipe developed by Rainy Pass Repair — I first wrote about it in 1997 in Backpacker magazine — but it still works well on most modern tent materials, and is ideal for canvas wall tents.

The biggest threat to a tent is moisture. If you fail to get all the moisture out of the tent and you store it damp, you are sure to develop mildew. Never wash your tent, no matter how smelly or mildewy it seems, with regular detergent. The folks at Rainy Pass Repair have developed a special recipe to get ride of mildew in your tent (or pack for that matter). Rainy Pass Repair is a Pacific Northwest company that specialized in restoring damaged outdoor gear (and, being based in Seattle, they know a thing or two about rain and mildew).
The formula for mildew removal is as follows: mix 1/2 cup of Lysol in 1 gallon of hot water. Wash the tent with this, scrubbing it in with a soft sponge. Let tent air dry. After it’s dry, mix 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of concentrated lemon juice in 1 gallon of how water. Re-wash the tent with this mixture (again, with soft sponge),. Dry tent thoroughly. Wipe with dry cloth to remove any reside and then let it dry some more. When completely dry, pack away.


Author, Writer, Photographer
I was always taught to never store a canvas wall tent on concrete. I don't know if the canvas will leach chemicals from the concrete or just a condensation issue. I store mine in my shed but on a wooden shelf and have never had a mildew problem. Of course I live in Montana and not on the OP or Seattle area.

I have found that a rainfly is a wall tents best friend. During the fall we tend to get snow here. That snow wants to stick to canvas but will slide off a rainfly. Ice will form on the eves of a wall tent when the snow melts from the heat of the tent's woodstove but then refreezes on the eves and sides. A rainfly will drop the ice a foot or so from the wall tent wall and eve. Folding up a wall tent laced with ice makes it very heavy but also tends to punch holes in it.