Platform Canvas Tents and Frames

Canvas Tent Frame on a Platform: If you plan on placing your tent frame and tent on a platform I have recommendations.
  1. Building the platform: Do not build the platform until you receive the canvas tent and measure it. Most canvas tents are either smaller or larger than the tent stated dimensions.
  2. Platform size: Build the platform to the same width as the frame. In this way the rain water run downs the roof over the eaves and prevents most water from puddling on the platform and coming inside the tent. Also place the tent frame flush with the back of the platform to prevent rain water from coming in from the back.
  3. Rain water gap in platform: If you have a porch area and use plywood, cut a 1/2" gap in the plywood immediately in front of the tent. This gap will prevent rain water from coming in from the front. If using 2x6's for the porch insure the 2x6's run parallel to the front of the tent and allow a 1/2" gap between boards immediately in front.
  4. Frame Leg anchors: RECOMMENDED, anchors are needed to keep your frame legs from sliding off the  sides of your platform during high winds.  These  anchors screw into your platform floor and make your tent frame very stable.  Click anchors to view leg anchors. It is best to have an anchor on each tent frame leg.
  5. Sod cloth to inside of tent on top of platform.  If you do not want the sod cloth showing, put it to the inside on top of the platform. Screw it down with 2x4's for a wind and rain seal.  Remember, there will be gaps at the corners as sod cloths are cut at each corner. Stain the 2x4's if you want.
  6. Rain/Bugs: In order to make the canvas tent rain and bug proof you can also have the sod cloth hang down along the sides of the platform and then screw in a 1" x 4" board to the platform sides. 
  7. Guy ropes: Install eyebolts near the bottom of the platform directly below eave D rings or grommets on the sides and back. Tie your guy ropes to the eyebolts. In this procedure, you will keep the ropes out of your way instead of having the ropes being at a 45º from your eaves. You must have your platform anchored into the ground for this method or you have a possibility of the platform being picked up in strong winds along with your tent.
  8. Fly:  RECOMMENDED, Canvas Tents on platforms are usually set up for long periods of time and a fly is recommended. A fly protects the tent from destructive UV rays, provides another moisture barrier, prevents any stove sparks from burning small hole in our tent roof, and also keeps your roof clean form the tree sap, etc.
  9. Oversized fly: Some people use a an oversized fly to better protect the canvas tent roof using a wood A frame which is very easy to construct.
  10. Fly Hitching Rail: Build a hitching rail 4" higher than the eave and 18 " away to allow for normal fly overhang on each side of the roof. Tie the fly ropes over the top of the hitching rail. Hitching rail must be parallel to the eave to tie your fly ropes to. This hitching rail will preclude having fly ropes around your tent. The 4" higher hitching rail allows a gap between the tent and the fly to allow air circulation to help dry out any moisture on the canvas roof. However, if you expect strong winds do not allow for a gap between the fly and tent as high winds will destroy your fly. Tie the fly ropes to the hitching rail starting at the bottom which will remove any gap.
  11. Floor:  RECOMMENDED, I prefer a loose waterproof floor as it allows the use of a perimeter sill board that secures the sod cloth to the side of your platform. The waterproof floor is definitely necessary if there is any possibility that rain or snow will get inside your canvas tent. Water in the tent will come from water being on your platform or if rain can be blown in under the walls, especially at the corners where the sod cloth is split. You do not want water inside of your tent especially if you have carpet.  Wet carpet is a total disaster as you have to remove everything on your floor, dry the carpet and then put everything back in your tent.
  12. Carpet: You can use indoor outdoor carpet and keep it dry if you have an effective rain perimeter sill board and rain gap at the front of your canvas tent. Carpets are much more comfortable to walk on than vinyl or wood floors. However, you must have a fireproof material under your stove and 2' around your stove. Carpets are very flammable and extreme caution must be used. Use a carpet at your own risk.
  13. Snow loads: Some individuals want to leave their canvas tents up in the winter. There is no internal frame that can withstand heavy snow loads. I know outfitters that had to leave tents in the back country over the winter because they had to leave quickly with their clients due to heavy snowstorms to make it back to their road base camps before the horse trails became impassable. Their canvas tents were torn and frames destroyed when the outfitters retrieved their gear the following spring. However, if you want to leave canvas tents up in the winter time I strongly recommend rafters every 2 feet. It should be noted your house has rafters every 2 feet to support snow loads.
  14. Wood frames versus steel frames: Some customers make a wooden canvas tent frame. Wood frames are much more difficult to make than a frame using an angle kit with steel pipe. You can make a steel frame in 1 hour using an angle kit. The wood frame takes significantly longer and is much more difficult to make. Additionally if canvas tents shrink more than you planned for, it is very difficult and time consuming to disassemble wood rafters, wood ridge & tent lengths and wood legs and then use a saw to make adjustments and then reassemble your frame using nails or screws.  If using 2x4's or 2 x6's you must round the sharp edges as your canvas will eventually fray as canvas billows in the wind.
  15. Steel frame: If you have to make adjustments on a steel frame the frame comes apart very easily. The steel frame is slip joint and no tools are required to assemble or take apart.
  16. If you have questions on canvas tents  or platforms, feel free to call us.