Set Up Canvas Tent

  1. Remove rocks and sticks in your canvas tent set up area.
  2. Determine canvas tent orientation. Set up your tent so the prevailing winds blow sparks and ashes from your stove pipe away from the tent. Sparks landing on a roof can burn holes in your roof and ash will cause your tent to get dirty.
  3. Lay canvas tent floor on ground where tent is to be located. By using a floor your tent will stay cleaner during set up and take down. I also have a cheap indoor outdoor carpet that folds like canvas that I put on top of the floor. I place the canvas tent on the carpet as sometimes the tent can get dirty from a dusty/dirty floor.
  4. Position angles and tent frame on floor in appropriate location for set up. Frame poles should be color coded/painted on one end no more than 1-2 inches. These color coded ends will fit into the angles and can not be seen once the frame is constructed.
  5. Assemble tent frame except legs on one side. By installing legs on one side of the tent frame ridge will be 5-6' high to allow you to easily drape tent over ridge. If your canvas tent has a tall ridge line, like a Montana canvas tent, it is best not to install the legs on one side initially as the ridge line will be too high to drape the tent over the ridge when legs are on one side of the frame.
  6. Unzip all door zippers to prevent strain on zippers.
  7. Drape tent over frame. Fold the sidewalls in toward the inside of the roof to keep sidewalls off the ground.
  8. In windy conditions, secure tent ridge guy ropes to tent roof end grommets.
  9. Drape fly over tent roof. It is much easier to install the fly now as opposed to when the canvas tent frame is fully set up.
  10. Install legs
  11. Adjust your tent to the frame. Do not pull hard on your tent or you will weaken seams and zipper doors. If tent is too tight you must cut down your frame rafters or tent length as necessary. The canvas tent should be snug on the frame but not taunt or require any forcing to make the tent fit the frame.
  12. Over the lifetime of your canvas tent your tent may continue to shrink slightly and periodically require you to cut down the frame.
  13. If your canvas tent door zipper is tight you must cut down the rafters to reduce stress on the zipper.
  14. Place sod cloth under floor for an air seal and to prevent any rain water from getting on top of floor. Some campers that do not have a floor put the sod cloth to the outside to direct rain water away from the tent.
  15. I have seen some hunters put their sod cloth to the outside of the canvas tent and put dirt on it for a better air seal. NOT RECOMMENDED. The dirt causes the sod cloth to get dirty. Furthermore, if it rains or snows you will have mud which make it very difficult to clean the sod cloth. Remember, if you have a dirty sod cloth when you take the canvas tent down' you will have a dirty tent when roll it up.
  16. Install stakes and guy ropes and tensioners. Stakes should be driven in at a 45ยบ angle away from the tent. Guy ropes are approximately at the same angle as the tent roof. If I am in an area with high winds I tie my guy ropes to trees, stumps or logs. Another method is to have two guy ropes/stakes for each eave corner.
  17. If rain is possible, dig a 4-6" wide trench 2-3" deep around your tent to insure water drains away from your tent.
  18. The tent set up and take down procedures outlined should help keep your canvas tent clean for years.
Taking Down Canvas Tent:
  1. Unzip your door zippers.
  3. Using a towel, clean the inside and outside sections of your sod cloth. When you fold your tent with a dirty sod cloth the inside of our tent will get dirty.
  4. Fold your tent walls to the inside of the canvas tent. ALWAYS have the inside of the tent touching other parts of the inside of the tent when taking down the tent or when folding the tent for storage. The outside of your tent always has dirt, dust, tree pitch etc, on it. If the outside parts of your canvas touches the inside of the tent - your inside part of your tent will be dirty- and you will have to look at the dirt while you are in the tent.
  5. Do not pull out the wall stakes out by using the canvas wall as you might damage your canvas tent. A claw hammer is recommended.
  6. Take down in reverse order of assembly.