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Is Your Canvas Bell Tent Flame Resistant? CPAI-84 Explained
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April 14, 2021 2 min read

Many people overlook the flame resistance of their bell tent while they search for the perfect outdoor shelter.  However, this topic is has gained a bit more awareness due to the unfortunate devastation that forest fires have caused over the last several years.  Canvas tent suppliers with that meet CPAI-84 fire retardancy standards will have documentation on-hand that shows compliance. We suggest making a confirming that your tent meets these standards if you plan on using an internal wood burning stove or will be camped out next to an open flame.

CPAI-84 is a testing method used specifically for confirming the flame resistance of fabric used in manufacturing camping tents.  Suppliers must submit the various tent materials (ceiling, walls, and floor) to a third-party organization licensed to perform the required CPAI-84 flame retardancy testing.  Suppliers of the tent materials that meet these standards are then awarded an official laboratory approved certificate that can be shared with their customers.

Life inTents CPAI-84 Compliant BELL Tent

Life inTents CPAI-84 Compliant BELL Tent

HISTORY OF THE TEST

In 1976, the CPAI (Canvas Products Association International), now known as the International Fabrics Association International, set the flammability standards for camping tents as means to help protect consumers by limiting accidents caused by flames near the vicinity of camping tents. The test does not declare that the material if fire proof if exposed to a continuous flame.  Rather the CPAI-84 test confirms fire resistance after the material is exposed to a flame.

While not Federally mandated, several states in the U.S. have enacted their own laws that require camping tents sold and used within them have pass the CPAI-84 flammability standard.  These states include California, New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota.  Fire Marshalls in other states also require CPAI-84 validation if camping tents are used in and around public and private buildings. 

THE TESTING PROCESS

A laboratory will perform flammability tests on tent material that is in following three conditions:

  1. In its original state (new)

  2. Weathered

  3. After leaching

The specimens then have a flame applied to them for 4 seconds.  The damage length from the flame is then measured.  In order to pass the test, the damaged length of the material must not exceed 255 mm. 

Here is a link to learn more information about the details of the CPAI-84 standards.

If flame retardancy is a need for you, then make sure that the manufacturing company is able to provide you with their CPAI-84 documentation.


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