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How To Look After And Season Your Canvas Camping Gear Pt 2

June 11, 2021   |   By Brendan Seymour How To Look After And Season Your Canvas Camping Gear Pt 2 - image 210208-AKSW-DSS_PBG_01-Lifestyle-Resized-7-of-7 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

Welcome back to part 2 of our guide to looking after your canvas camping gear! Whether you’re a swag, tent or a rooftop tent camper, we all want to get the most service life possible out of our camping gear. The following are easy-to-follow tricks and methods that we’ve used over the years to get excellent life out of our gear.


We have all been there, it was pouring rain when you packed up camp and after finally getting home, the last thing you wanted to do was set up your camping gear again. So you put it off to the next weekend and then the next weekend, and when you finally managed to get around to it; all your camping gear is covered in mould and smells like feet. Don’t despair, removing mould from canvas camping gear can be very simple and within just a few minutes you can have your rooftop tent or swag looking good again.

Now there are fancy products you can buy for repairing mould, but let’s be honest, most of those are really just easy to come by components mixed together in a bottle and sold with a pretty label and a price tag.

For some people this might not be an issue and if you are happy to part with the cash there’s nothing wrong with that, we have all bought pancake mix in the shaker bottle rather than mixing it up ourselves. But for those of us who are interested in a home-grown remedy, let’s take a look at two simple solutions, both of which can be done with normal household items. These will ensure your favourite bit of canvas camping gear lasts for years and looks great the entire time!

First grab a medium bristle brush, something that is tough but won’t damage the canvas and use it to get rid of the dry mould that’s sitting on the outside of your camping gear. It’s best to wear a mask while doing this as mould dust isn’t good for your health.

Once the surface mould is gone, get a squirt bottle and fill it with a mix of lemon juice and water, the higher the lemon concentration the better. Grandad always told me to use fresh lemons but I find lemon juice bottles work much the same. (Don’t tell him I said that). Soak the affected areas of your camping gear in the lemon juice mix; work on one area at a time rather than soaking the whole tent.

Once the area is wet, grab some table salt and sprinkle it over the wet area allowing it to stick and cover the area. Now using a damp cloth or sponge scrub the salt into the canvas camping gear, working in a circular motion. Don’t let the cloth be too wet, you don’t want to completely wash away the salt.

Now let the canvas sit in the sun for a few hours until it dries and use the brush to brush off any excess salt. It’s always best to use a waterproofing spray right across the outside of your camping gear once you have finished any mould removal, especially around any seams as the mould repair process can cause some canvas to lose some of its waterproofing ability.

Remember to never use detergents or chemicals on canvas material as these will more often than not permanently stain your canvas camping gear and could potentially damage it beyond repair.

This method is very similar to the lemon juice method, however it involves a few less ingredients; in fact it only has two – white vinegar and water.

The first step is to get yourself a spray bottle and fill it 50:50 with warm water and white vinegar, once this is ready head out to your camping gear which should be all setup in the sunny spot.

Grab your medium bristle scrubbing brush and much like the lemon juice method give all the sections of mould a good scrub removing as much of the mouldy growth as possible.

Next, using the spray bottle; wet the canvas down where the mould had taken hold. It’s best to use a cloth or rag to help rub the solution into some of the worst affected areas. Once all sections have been coated, leave your canvas camping gear in the sun until it dries. If you are not a fan of the smell of vinegar give the swag a hose off once it has dried from the vinegar mix and then allow it to dry once again.

There you have it, two very simple solutions to bring your mouldy canvas camping gear back to life!

The seams of canvas camping gear products are most vulnerable to water ingress, mainly due to the fact that during the manufacturing process the needle puts multiple holes in the canvas. It’s these holes that create a path for water to seep in. Even if you have weathered your canvas properly, over time seams can begin to leak.

Fixing leaky seams on your camping gear can be a very simple process; however done wrong it can make your camping trip a nightmare. One of the best fixes we have seen is using a seam tape on the inside of any seams. This can be done by simply cleaning any dirt from the seams and sticking the tape on making sure to overlap evenly on either side of the stitching.

The second method is simply using the same waterproofing spray we used to finish our mould repair soaking each seam thoroughly to ensure no water can seep through; these first two methods can be used together to make an extremely watertight solution that will weatherproof your camping gear for years to come.

The final and somewhat traditional method is the very effective technique of using wax along each seam of your camping gear. You can purchase wax sticks from virtually every camping store, they are a very handy thing to keep with you when you go camping, especially for on the road repairs. The issue with wax is that you need to regularly apply it as it can be rubbed off during setup or pack up.


One of the best and most effective ways of ensuring your canvas camping gear doesn’t develop mould is to ensure that you always dry it out after use. Whether that’s deciding to leave camp at lunch instead of early in the morning so the sun has a chance to dry out your tent or simply setting it back up again once you return home. These are the best ways to avoid mould growing on your canvas camping gear.

Cleaning your canvas camping gear is also essential, but don’t fall into the trap of using chemicals to clean the dirt or mud away. Any use of chemical cleaners can actually severely reduce your canvas products waterproof rating, meaning that next time you’re camping you may have a nice clean swag but when you wake up in the morning you may find yourself damp and wet. Always clean canvas with lukewarm water and a soft bristle brush, allowing it to dry before packing it away.

By simply taking care of your canvas camping gear, you will get a heap more use out of them and they will serve you well for years and years.

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