Our tents are built tough to withstand almost anything that Mother Nature may toss at them. Leaving up a canvas tent for weeks on end is possible to do, however it does require a mindful approach of the set-up, care, and maintenance. Below are key considerations when leaving up a canvas tent for more than a couple of weeks at a time.
1. Site Preparation
The ideal tent site will have good sun exposure, natural water drainage away from the tent, is free from foliage, located in a natural breezeway, and is of course flat. Each of these features helps to combat the growth of mold, enemy #1 to canvas. Building a wood platform helps to raise a tent off of the ground, away from standing water and mud. If a platform isn’t an option, then laying down quarter minus gravel is a great affordable base to create good water drainage. We would also suggest a tent fly. A tent fly will extend the life of your canvas by providing protection from long-term exposure UV rays, discourage your canvas from long-term dampness, and also help to insulate your tent during hot or cold temperatures.
2. Anticipate Antagonists
Critters and snow are a couple of foes that you will want to plan on keeping at bay. Racoons, squirrels, mice and bears may be envious of your cozy shelter, but generally will stay away. But they will become curious and attempt to claw their way in if you keep food, beverages, or other appetizing scents inside of your tent.
Bell tents can do well in the snow if you are able to monitor them regularly and keep your tent structurally sound. Just a few inches of snow can add over 2,000 lbs. of snow load to the center pole, which is enough to cause the pole to bend or break. Therefore, we’d recommend periodically cleaning snow from the roof as it accumulates, or heating up the tent to help the snow to melt off. To reduce the concern of snow removal, you could create a custom 4” center pole out of hardwood to give added strength and greater piece of mind. Certainly make sure that your guy lines are tight as well to encourage the snow to slide off the roof.
3. Regular Maintenance
Rain, birds, trees, leaves and a strong breeze will impact the look of your tent after your initial set it up. You will want to monitor and care for your canvas tent regularly to maximize the return on your investment. Retighten guy lines and redrive in the pegs as needed. Clean off any tree sap, dirt, or bird dropping when they appear. Retreat your canvas after every 16 weeks of continuous use (especially in humid climates).
We have had many successful customers keep our tents up year-round by mindfully monitoring them. Some will even take their tents down for a couple of months to help simplify the maintenance process and extend the life of their tents.
Check out our more articles that offer great tips about using a bell tent here.