How to Build a Cavas Winter Tent?
May 6, 2011 6:47 PM   Subscribe

I would like to build a canvas winter camping tent. I'm looking for materials and plans. Any recommendations?

I want to build a canvas tent. Something along the lines of a Snow trekker tent. Has anyone purchased large amounts of canvas? I've heard that Egyptian Cotton is the best kind to get, are there sources to purchase this material? And do you have any other recommendations for procuring canvas? What is a satisfactory thread count? Also, is it feasible to treat the canvas for mildew resistance?

Also we're looking resources that have plans for wall tents or pyramid tents. Any references to books or literature on tent plans would be appreciated.

PS: Winter Camping is Really Fun!
posted by kuatto to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
find your local company that custom builds boat covers, and go have a conversation with them regarding purchasing material and types of canvas, they are your local experts on this. You might also contact Wm. J. Mills Canvas. Mills is the best there is, ask anyone who owns a Boston Whaler boat. Call and ask for Suzanne.
posted by tomswift at 6:56 PM on May 6, 2011

If have a medieval style pavilion from Panther Primitives that I really like (and have being using for like three weeks a year for 15 years now. They use sunforger canvas.

Knowing people who have gone the DIY route on tentage, the one thing I would say is make sure you have an industrial strength sewing machine for this project. A tent puts a lot of strain on things and will cheerfully destroy a lot of sewing machines.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:11 PM on May 6, 2011

And do you have any other recommendations for procuring canvas?

Seriously, look in the phonebook under "canvas". When I was a kid and I needed to buy a bunch of canvas for something (or vinyl, etc.) I'd always go to this place in my town called "Blacher's Canvas". The people at the canvas store will also know a lot about canvas and can probably help you out with fabrication. A canvas store is a normal thing, because there's all sorts of small businesses that need to do custom canvas work for awnings, entryways, covers, etc.
posted by jeb at 8:32 PM on May 6, 2011

Or look for stores with Fabric in the name. The place near me that I'd go to for something like this is Seattle Fabric. You'd need to do some checking to see which places sold industrial/sporting/marine fabrics vs fashion fabrics, but the right sort of fabric store could probably offer you some good advice on materials.
posted by JiBB at 8:57 PM on May 6, 2011

Are you hooked on using canvas? Because, canvas alone isn't waterproof (you'll have to treat it some way, like waxing it), is heavy and can rip. There's a ton of fancier fabrics that are more water resistant and lighter. I mean, look at most any hiking/tramping tents sold these days.

Also... how do you pack out such a huge tent like the Snow Trekker, without, like, a dog team?
posted by alex_skazat at 9:39 PM on May 6, 2011

From the Snowtrekker site you link to:

"Our custom woven 7.5 oz cotton duck is marine grade, preshrunk and treated for water repellency and mildew resistance with Sunforger, the industry benchmark for canvas treatments. Our fabric is also treated with flame retardancy to CPAI-84 standards.


Fabric by the Yard: Want a piece of this fabric? Our custom canvas is available for sale by the yard. Our canvas measures 60” wide and is prices by the lineal yard. 1 linear yard equals 36” by 60”

posted by rdr at 2:55 AM on May 7, 2011

Bill Mason's excellent book, Song of the Paddle covers the making of a classic Campfire Tent, an excellent choice for winter camping, though quite different from the wall tent you pictured above. This book also excels at describing many other skills and pieces of equipment suitable for winter camping.

But if you have your heart set on a wall tent, you would do well to have a look at the book, Creating a Traditional Elk Camp.
posted by fairmettle at 4:11 AM on May 7, 2011

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