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CanvasCamp FAQ

CanvasCamp FAQ


Cotton canvas has been the standard in quality tent fabrics for thousands of years. Unlike it's synthetic counterparts such as nylon and polyester, canvas is both waterproof and breathable. Regardless of material, a tent is a trap for humidity. As temperatures move farther toward either end of the spectrum, and more people crowd into the tent, this problem becomes exponentially worse. A synthetic tent creates a damp, stuffy environment that gets worse the longer you are in the tent. Canvas naturally allows this moisture to pass through and evaporate instead of building up inside. Conversely, when it rains, the fibers of canvas swell to create a waterproof fabric by utilizing water surface tension on the outer side. Note that quality canvas will not wick water into the tent if you leave something touching the canvas!

Though considerably heavier than synthetic materials, canvas is also stronger and more abrasion resistant than synthetic materials. Canvas is easily cleaned, repaired, treated and re-treated. Canvas also transmits sunlight in a way that synthetic materials cannot, creating a soft, diffused lighting while providing superior shade from the sun. Advancements in canvas manufacturing techniques, combined with environmentally-friendly treatments have made this time-honored fabric even better.

Unlike disposable synthetic tents, whose lifespans are literally rated in number of “uses” (look it up!) a cotton canvas tent is an investment that when properly cared is rated for “years”.


Mold, mice, and mites are the biggest threats to tents in storage.  Follow our tent storage guidelines to protect your tent when you’re not using it. 

Never pack your tent wet! EVER!  Your tent, groundsheet, and guy lines must be completely dry before you put it in the bag.  If you must take down camp while damp, loosely fold up the tent for transport and then lay it out to dry within 24 hours.  If outdoor drying isn’t a possibility, bring it inside to dry before packing it up.

Pack your tent clean.  Vegetation and dirt hold moisture which will grow mold.  Sweep or wipe down the tent inside and out before packing it up.

Keep it High and Dry:  Keep your packed tent in a cool, dry place and avoid storage in damp basements.  Keep the tent off the floor in garages and storage units that can flood or puddle in the rain.

Long Term:  If your storing your tent for a long period of time, or in an area where mice and bugs are a concern, consider storing the tent in a big plastic garbage can with a lid.


Cotton canvas tent fabric comes in a variety of weights measured in “ounces per square yard”, or “grams per square meter” in metric. Modern tent canvas weights are usually between 7.5oz/yd² and 13oz/yd² (250g/m² to 440g/m²). Lighter weight canvas provides easier portability and dries faster at the expense of being somewhat less durable than heavier canvas. Lighter weight canvas is better for leisure, short-term, and light use in fair weather.

Heavy weight canvas provides superior durability and lifespan, but dries slower, and is less portable. Heavier canvas is best suited for, semi-permanent shelter, inclement weather conditions, and rugged or commercial use. CanvasCamp's wide range of Sibley tents are made in canvas weights from 9.4oz/yd² to 13oz/yd² (320-440g/m²), enabling you to find the perfect tent for your application.


Free shipping is included in the purchase price for all of our tents and stoves sold in the continental US and parts of Canada.  Orders ship Monday to Friday and delivery typically takes 3-5 business days for the United States and Canada.  Shipping to Alaska and Hawaii may take 5-7 business days and may incur additional shipping charges.  CanvasCamp ships most orders via FedEx or UPS.  Once a shipping label has been created a tracking number will be sent to you.  It may take 24 hours for the tracking number to become active.  A signature is required to accept the package, however, if you would like to waive this requirement and are just shoot us an email! 


Upward of 60% of the humidity inside of a tent enters through the ground if there is no vapor barrier in between. For this reason, in high humidity conditions a tent with a bathtub floor such as our Deluxe, Ultimate, Pro or Diamond Fire series is the wisest choice. In low-humidity conditions, a semi-floorless tent such as our Sibley Standard series can by advantageous when used in combination with an Inner Tent. This combination gives you a bathtub floor, while still allowing you to perform camp chores from inside the comfort of the tent without fear of getting the floor dirty.

Our Deluxe, Ultimate, Pro and Diamond Fire series tents feature a PVC “bathtub” floor. This means that the PVC floor of of the tent wraps 4¾ ” up the side walls of the tent, creating a waterproof “bathtub”, guaranteed to keep you absolutely dry in all but the worst floods. This is not a “tarp” floor, as seen on many large tents; it is extremely thick with an almost rubber-like texture. Our ripstop PVC floors can withstand almost any terrain conditions, puncture and tear-free, for years of service.

Our Sibley Standard series comes with 9” PVC “sod flaps”, and a detached oxford polyethylene footprint that serves as an optional floor. This is the traditional way in which tents were made for thousands of years & is still an ideal design for some applications even today. In a tent that will experience high foot-traffic, such as commercial applications, attached floors can quickly get dirty or wear out. The attached sod flap on our tents were traditionally made of canvas, and were buried in sod dug from around the outer perimeter of the tent to make a “rain gutter”. This not only kept the dirt floor in a tent substantially drier, but held the tent down in a way stakes alone cannot do. Turned outward, they are called “snow flaps”, and are likewise buried with snow. This design creates an incredibly strong shelter that will take as much wind or snow as the fabric can handle.

NOTE: CanvasCamp tents are not for use with an open fire, patio-style fire pit, or propane heater. Educate yourself regarding the dangers of carbon monoxide as a result of stoves and heaters. CanvasCamp is not liable for any damage or injury resulting from the use of any manner of flame or heat source inside of any CanvasCamp tent.


To compare Sibley sizes and series check out our comparison chart.  As a Sibley tent is round and most outdoor equipment is square, CanvasCamp recommends that you err on the side of caution when calculating how much square footage you need. That said, our Sibley 300 is 75ft², or the equivalent of a 9'x8' room. The Sibley 400 is 133ft², which is the equivalent of an 11'x12' room. At 210ft², our 500 models are the equivalent of a 14'x15' room, while our Sibley 600 model is a whopping 304ft² or the equivalent of a 18' x 17' room!

When trying to decide which series Sibley you need, consider it's intended application. Is the application strictly personal, or commercial? Is it for the back yard or the wilderness? Will you be carrying it on foot or will it be transported? How much space do you need? How long will you leave it up? What CanvasCamp accessories do you require compatibility with?

Sibley Standard series: Our lightest multipurpose series.

  • Semi-floorless design with detached footprint (no bathtub floor) 
  • Side walls roll up 
  • Compatible with our Inner Tents and Exit I stove jack

Sibley Deluxe series: Our attached floor series.

  • Permanently-attached PVC bathtub floor
  • Side walls do not roll up
  • Compatible with our Inner Tents and Exit I stove jack

Sibley Ultimate series: Our lightest fully-featured series

  • Zippered-attached PVC bathtub floor
  • Side walls roll up
  • Compatible with our Inner Tents and Exit I stove jack

Sibley Pro series: Our finest, most rugged series, packed with features.

  • Great for commerical applications, long term use, and extreme enviornments.
  • Heavy-duty zipper-attached rip-stop PVC bathtub floor
  • Side walls roll up
  • Guy lines come attached to the tent
  • Heavy-duty stakes, poles, and guy lines
  • Improved canvas material
  • Compatible with our Inner Tents, Screen Door and Exit I stove jack

Sibley ProTech series: Our Pro series, with an additional mesh wall.

  • Great for commeical applications, long term use, and extreme enviornments.
  • Heavy-duty zipper-attached rip-stop PVC bathtub floor
  • Zip in/out mesh side wall for 360 degrees of ventilation and bug protection.
  • Side walls roll up
  • Guy lines come attached to the tent
  • Heavy-duty stakes, poles, and guy lines
  • Improved canvas material
  • Compatible with our Inner Tents, Screen Door and Exit I stove jack

Sibley Diamond Fire series: Heavily treated for spark resistance.

  • Heavy-duty permanently-attached PVC bathtub floor
  • Side walls do not roll up
  • Compatible with our Exit I stove jack  
  • Does not breathe quite as well as our other models


  • A Sibley 300 can weigh more than some Sibley 400's due to the steel frame. 
  • Some of our Sibley 600's weigh in excess of 100lbs. 
  • Our 400 models are perfect for couples who want space 
  • Our 500 models are perfect for families 
  • Our 600 models are larger than the largest room in most homes

You will love your CanvasCamp.  If you don’t, contact us within 14 days of delivery to initiate a return or exchange and obtain a return authorization.  Let us know at the time of purchase if you are unable to personally inspect your items within 14 days of delivery. Refunds and exchanges cannot be processed without prior authorization.

The cost of return shipping is the responsibility of the customer.  Due to the size and weight of our tents, tipis, and stoves, shipping can be expensive!  Read the product descriptions carefully and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns prior to placing your order!

Upon receipt of your authorized return, we will inspect the item and determine:

Refunds for full purchase price or the equivalent store credit may be issued for items that are:

  • In new and unused condition
  • Complete with all original parts, packaging, and instructions.
  • Free of dirt, damage, and wear from use, storage, or transport
  • Packed the same way you received it.  (Pegs, stakes, parts, poles, doors, and ropes in their bags.  Tents rolled, tied, and packed. Stoves disassembled and secured)

Partial refunds or store credit may be issued at CanvasCamp’s discretion, with an additional $150 restocking fee, for items returned that are

  • Used
  • Lightly soiled or dirty
  • Packed improperly
  • Returned without original packaging
  • Returns initiated 15 days or more after delivery

No refunds will be issued for items that are

  • Incomplete or missing parts
  • Damaged in anyway
  • Dirty
  • Lost in return transit
  • Returns initiated 90 days or more after delivery

With proper maintenance and pitching a CanvasCamp tent can last for years.  Climate, length of use, pitching, and storage all play a role in tent longevity.

Follow these tips to get the most out of your tent

  • Pitch the tent on a level surface.
  • Make sure the center pole is vertical, centered, and the pole feet are attached.
  • Ensure all of the stakes and pegs are secure, and the guy lines are firmly tensioned and placed in line with the seams. 
  • Retention the guys as needed as the tent settles on the ground and shifts in the wind.
  • Adhere to the cleaning, retreatment, snow load, and storage suggestions located on our FAQ.

Cleaning and re-treating your tent regularly improves the life of your tent and is a necessary component of maintenance.

Environmental factors such as humidity, UV exposure, airborne particulate from vegetation, and mold spores can vary drastically in different locations.  We recommend cleaning and retreating your tent after 12-25 weeks of use, however, depending on your environment you may need to clean it more or less often.  Spot clean and retreat problem areas as needed.  It is important to address any mold and mildew immediately to kill the spores and prevent it from spreading.  Once canvas has mold, it is impossible to remove the stains. 

Cleaning is primarily to prepare your tent for re-treatment.  Dry mud or dirt can be brushed off with a soft brush.

To clean and retreat your tent:

  • You will need a hose, bucket, soft brush or sponge, cleaning solution and re-treatment solution.
  • Mix a 4 part water 1 part vinegar solution to kill mold and/or use a cleaning product like Nikwax Tech Wash as directed.
  • Unroll your tent, peg down the groundsheet and remove all dust, dirt, and particulate with a clean broom or a vacuum with a brush attachment.
  • Hose down the tent.
  • Use a soft brush or sponge to gently clean the fabric with the appropriate solution, rinsing as you go.  Start at the peak and work your way down to the floor.  It may be helpful to pitch the tent after you’ve cleaned the hard to reach areas around the top.
  • Rinse.  Then rinse again.  Making sure to remove any residual cleaning solution.
  • Let the tent dry completely prior to retreating.
  • You must retreat the canvas after a cleaning to maintain water, mold, and UV resistance.  You can use a variety of different treatments depending on your personal preference.  Check out our retreatment FAQ.

Some methods and solutions can permanently damage your tent.  Never use a pressure washer, washing machine, bleach, all purpose cleaners, laundry detergent, or dish soap.  


All CanvasCamp tents are made of canvas which has been impregnated with water, mold, and UV treatment.  Time, sun, wind, rain, snow, air quality, and application wear on the canvas.  Although very much dependent on your environment, we generally recommend cleaning and retreating your tent after 12-25 weeks of use to prolong the life of your tent.

To retreat:

  • Clean your tent (check out the Cleaning FAQ)
  • Let the tent dry completely
  • Follow the instructions for applying the canvas treatment of your choice.  Some will require a wet tent, others a dry tent.  In any case the tent must be clean. 
Our Sibley tents use a proven design & time-honored materials. Whether in Nevada or Sahara desert wind storms, Canadian or Scandanavian winters, tropical islands around the world, or on the rim of an active volcano, our Sibley tents have been tested against the elements. Our Sibley tents are currently in use all over the world in every environment nature offers. Hundreds of our tents can be found every year at the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The Nevada desert is well known for its wind and dust storms. These storms have little to no effect on a properly pitched Sibley tent, while synthetic tents can be observed literally flying away. We have tested & rate our Sibley 400's to be capable of withstanding winds up to 75mph, our Sibley 500's up to 60mph, and our Sibley 600's in winds up to 50mph. In the event of wind speeds exceeding the design capabilities of the Sibley, all Sibley center poles have been designed so that the pole breaks before before the fabric tears or the tent becomes airborne. Make sure you have a level pitch, well set stakes, centered poles, and guy line sin line with the seams. A tight tent is a strong tent.  Check out our comparison chart to compare Sibley's wind resistance.
Snowflakes have become widely accepted euphemism for “uniqueness”, as no two snowflakes are alike. A single snowflake contains roughly 10 quintillion water molecules which expand at different rates and adhere to each other in an infinite array of patterns and structures. Each flake is shaped by a number of atmospheric and environmental conditions the flake is exposed to as it falls to the ground, including temperature, humidity, and water composition.
As it relates to shelter, the diversity of snow makes it impossible to make hard and fast rules about how much snow a tent can hold. A single cubic foot of dry snow can weigh on average 10lbs. The same volume of heavy and wet, or wind compacted snow can weigh in excess of 30lbs. Thus a canvas of 50 yards/square with just 2 inches of average snow weighing 20lbs per square foot, would add 1,500 pounds of weight to a tent.
The single center pole and guy lines of a Sibley can withstand a lot of force from wind and rain, but certainly not the weight of a smart car. Considering the weight of the issue, CanvasCamp does not specify any safe amount of accumulation of ice or snow on a Sibley. The larger the canvas, the greater the potential snow load, and thus the greater the possibility for structural collapse.
In order to mitigate accumulation in winter conditions, CanvasCamp recommends a tent stove which will heat the tent and cause fresh snow falling on the canvas to melt and run off, given an appropriate temperature differential. In heavy snow in which the accumulation exceeds the rate of melt, an extendable car scraper with a soft brush can be used to periodically brush snow off the canvas, or gently beat the snow off from inside so it falls down the slope of the canvas and off of the tent.
The tipi with its steep angle canopy angle and conical shape stretching directly to the ground will hold less accumulation than the Sibley and may be the better option for heavy snow conditions. We’ve taken our Sibley’s into the deep stuff and find that using a custom 3-4 inch wood dowl or pole made of hard wood or bamboo would increase the vertical load bearing capacity of the center pole; giving you some additional support and flexibility with the pace at which the snow accumulation must be removed. Ensuring the guy lines remain tensioned and the tent is pitched well on a flat surface is essential to the structural integrity of any tent.

The most overlooked aspect of properly pitching a tent is having appropriate stakes for the soil conditions the tent will be pitched on. The stakes provided with a Sibley tent are great all-purpose stakes for soft soils such as parks, yards, and fields. However as with any tent, it is an inescapable fact that different soil conditions necessitate specialized stakes. The correct stake for your soil type may require a hammer to set, otherwise you may experience bent stakes, or worse, damage to your tent. CanvasCamp recommends the following stakes for the following terrain:

Sand, loam, deep snow, and loose soil:  

A 3-4 inch wide wooden or metal stake, sometimes partially buried & called a “dead man anchor” works best & can be set by hand or with a shovel.

Grassy fields, parks, meadows, heath: 

The included stakes are perfect for these soil conditions & can be set by hand.

Clay, hard soil: 

Metal stakes that look like a round tube cut down the center, often called a “half round”, sometimes with “teeth” work best & are set with a mallet or hammer.

Large gravel, rocks, roots, and frozen soil: 

Size 60d construction nails available from a hardware store, or cast-iron spikes work best and require a hammer to set.

Year-round situation: 

Planning to leave your tent outside for a whole season? A heavy T-profile stake holds every tent firmly into place, are often quite long, and must be set with a mallet or hammer.
CanvasCampUSA will not warranty a tent that has been dyed or painted.
That said, we know that many of you are artists and see canvas for what it is, so here is some advice:
The canvas treatments we use, and the procedures you follow to re-impregnate the tent are not a “coating”, they are a solution soaked into the canvas fibers. Dying a fabric is a form of impregnation using a coloring agent in solution. Therefore, dyes can interfere with the canvas treatments, which could negatively impact the lifespan of your tent.
Regarding painting your Sibley tent, we definitely do not recommend painting the entire thing as you would a wall, as this would destroy the very properties of the canvas that make it tent-worthy. Paint makes the canvas unable to breathe. Depending on what type of paint you use, it could also damage the canvas treatments, or the canvas itself.
However, CanvasCamp does think small designs & doodles look cool.
With proper maintenance and pitching, a CanvasCamp tent can last for years without requiring any repairs.  Small rips and tears from pets, gear, furniture, or environmental causes can typically be repaired with a simple needle and thread or patches and are often a do-it-yourself project.  For those cases in which a tent requires professional repair, we turn to Acme Tent and Canvas, CanvasCamp USA’s certified repair shop. 
We stand by our products.  All CanvasCamp tents sold as new at retail value come with a limited lifetime warranty to the original purchaser against manufacturing defects. Any tent found to be defective will be repaired to working order or replaced with the same or similar model at the discretion of CanvasCamp.
This warranty does not cover damage arising from mold, mildew, inconsequential spot leakage, pole failure not caused by defective workmanship, ultraviolet exposure, fire, stove/air conditioner use, improper use/assembly/storage, or inclement weather conditions including but not limited to ice, snow, hail, wind, and lightening. This warranty is void with modification, alteration, or the use of certain cleaning, treatment, or coloring agents. CanvasCamp makes no other warranty express or implied and shall not be liable for consequential or incidental damage or injury arising from the use of CanvasCamp products. This warranty gives you specific legal rights. You may have other legal rights that vary from state to state.
Conical, or “cone-shaped” tents are not unique to the Native Americans. Conical tents have been in use by Native peoples around the Northern Hemisphere in varying designs for thousands of years. Whether you call it a Tipi, Chum, Goahti, Lavvu, Kohte, Nentsi, or any other number of names, a conical shape is the most aerodynamic in terms of shedding rain, snow, and wind. These shapes are also the most heat, space, and weight efficient designs, offering the highest margin of tensile strength with the smallest amount of structural support.
The “Sibley tent” was patented in 1856 by a Federal Army Colonel, Henry Hopkins Sibley. While stationed at the Texas frontier from 1850-1854, Sibley developed an apprecation for the Native American tipi after visiting a Comanche village. Understanding the importance of tents in military campaigns, his original interpretation of the tipi had no side walls, a single center pole, and a vented “cap” from which smoke could escape, similar to the Scandinavian Lavvu. Possibly unknown to Sibley, a similar single-pole conical tent called a “Bell tent” (after it's bell-shape) was also in use by British Calvary in 1855 during the Crimean wars, and can be dated as far back as the 9th century in Europe.
In accordance with an agreement made with the Department of War, Sibley would have received $5 for every tent they made. However, Sibley joined the Confederate States Army after the outbreak of the American Civil War and did not receive the royalty. The Federal Army had used almost 44,000 Sibley tents by the end of the war. After Sibley's death, his relatives attempted unsuccessfully to collect the royalties.
The Sibley and Bell tents continued to evolve over time. Proportion, pole arrangements, arched entrances, side walls, and vents were experimented with to give the design increased functionality. With the advent of synthetic materials, floors and windows were added to meet the needs of a modern canvas camping tent. Since 2005, CanvasCamp has pioneered the evolution of this unique design with elegant design features, advanced canvas treatments, and innovative accessories to make the finest modern canvas tent currently conceived of, the “Sibley/ Bell tent”. 
CanvasCamp is committed to core values such as integrity, respect and quality, not only in regard to our products but also to the customer service we provide. Unethical pratices such as child labour, unethical working conditions, the use of dangerous chemical products, etc. are banned throughout the production process. To guarantee that the core values of integrity and quality are lived up to, CanvasCamp factories must ensure good working conditions and are required to apply the latest techniques. To that end, the CanvasCamp factories have technical devices at their disposal, such as coating, water pressure and fibre test machines as well as rain rooms and lightboxes to examine the fabric, many of which our competitors lack.