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First time with a 'proper' (canvas) tent. What do I need to know?

(21 Posts)
LettuceLaughton Mon 03-Aug-15 09:18:45

We are, rather unexpectedly, now the owners of a lovely canvas pyramid tent. Which is nice but somewhat daunting, somehow. It's secondhand but I still have The Fear of wreaking it.

We've have had it up to see that it's compleat and big enough and am utterly in love but we are most certainly novice campers. So, is there anything i need to know?

LettuceLaughton Mon 03-Aug-15 09:28:21

Oh, actually I'm not sure it's called a pyramid tent in English (am not in the UK). Is this sort of thing.

RealHuman Mon 03-Aug-15 09:33:46


What I remember from childhood camping in canvas tents:

Don't touch the canvas when it's wet. Really.

It needs to be taut when erected, but don't pull it taut when it's wet as the canvas shrinks back when it's dried.

And don't put it away wet.

I can't think of anything else, just jealousy grin

LettuceLaughton Mon 03-Aug-15 10:11:29

Ah, yes the not touching when wet thing sounds familiar. I'm sure the DC will cooperate without any fuss hmm

It looks fab and it's nice and big without being too massive, but, TBH I'd hold the envy until we've been rained on! The people we bought it from claimed that it's still fully waterproof but, well, I'll not fully believe it 'till it actually rains shock It's a risk.

It has a built in groundsheet. Can we just walk on that or do I need to splash out on some sort of floor covering?

profpoopsnagle Mon 03-Aug-15 10:45:48

Looks very nice!

We switched to cotton a few years ago and were really worried about the kids touching it in the rain but they've not been too bad.

It has to be super, super dry before you put it away. The actual canvas will dry very quickly but it's watching out for things like damp guy ropes, and the SIG (the sewn in/built in groundsheet). You may find it helpful to take down and turn over the tent (place on another groundsheet so the canvas doesn't get dirty) so that it has the best chance of drying. You can always do this at home if needs be.

I personally would get another cheap groundsheet for underneath but it's not a deal breaker. This would protect the main groundsheet and is also useful for a number of other things.

You can just walk on the groundsheet when inside the tent but lots of people use a camp carpet now. You can look out for a dedicated carpet nearest to the size you need, or use picnic rugs, other rugs depending on what space you have left in the car.

And be prepared for a lot of envy stares on site, and watch out for people like me who would come over on the pretext of borrowing a teabag just to get a looksee interested people.

RealHuman Mon 03-Aug-15 10:47:33

Oh, watching the pressure of my finger draw the moisture through the canvas was one of my favourite holiday pastimes as a child grin

I personally don't bother covering up the SIG (yay tent jargon) on my (synthetic) tent but any dirt left on it would transfer to the tent material in storage which I'm guessing would be worse with canvas.

Someone with recent canvas or polycotton experience will come along soon, I'm sure.

RealHuman Mon 03-Aug-15 10:48:23

And they posted before I did! grin

SalomeD Mon 03-Aug-15 11:27:20

Dutch pyramid tents are really fab, you're very lucky!

I agree - get a groundsheet to go underneath, you can get them from a building supplies shop.

Put it up and let it get wet so that the fibres in the canvas swell and then it will be perfectly waterproof. If it does leak, don't worry, let it dry and let it get wet again, if it still leaks then you can waterproof those areas with Fabsil.

Picnic rugs make a great carpet, another cheap option are the blankets used for furniture removals if you have a large area to cover.

LettuceLaughton Mon 03-Aug-15 20:24:18

shock how'd you know it was Dutch SalomeD? Crikey. It's not a De Waard tent though, just looks a lot like one. Was made by Randstad, is a model called Beaver [fnar] as far as I can tell. Might be the Bunzig though.

But, yes. Some great tips and advice here, thank you all!

I'll certainly put something under it, the Dutch always do, it seems. Polyether membrane seems to be the usual stuff of choice. Any reason why I shouldn't use that? We always have before with out little (plastic) tents?

It's good to hear we don't have to have something on the floor inside, I'd prefer to but there's other stuff I kind of need to prioritise, I think. Will keep my eyes open in case a bargain comes up before we go. I can wash / mop it if it gets dirty, right? As long as I consider the drying provisos.

I do feel very lucky - It was a massive bargain TBH, or we'd never have been able to get it. Cheaper than the very cheapest and crappest new 4-6 person tent I was able to find. Lucky indeed. Never thought DP would go for it.

I keep wondering about the best use of space inside, we've never had a tent you didn't need to crouch and crawl in so its relative roominess is a bit boggling. Do any of you have something in this sort of shape? It's got fabric flaps (technical heh) to off section off 'bedrooms' at the back but it's so nice as one big space. I can't help wondering if the offical usage is actually optimal.

Unfortunately we only had time to have it up for an hour so I feel I've hardly seen it. Have never 'met' one this shape before either.

LettuceLaughton Mon 03-Aug-15 20:26:29

Oh and shock at Interested People. I'd not thought of that and I'm not so good at it either. Ho hum. Forewarned is forearmed I suppose, so thanks for the heads up!

profpoopsnagle Mon 03-Aug-15 21:32:45

We once had a crawl in tent... << laughs hollowingly at the trailer tent on drive>> You will soon fill the space I promise grin I prefer tables with 'crates/boxes' underneath than cupboards as they are less faff to travel with and set up.

And remember all Interested People will be jealous sorts so this will be your chance to show off so long as you've not left dirty pants all over the floor.

LettuceLaughton Wed 05-Aug-15 09:45:14

Oh, heck. Anyone able to give some quick advice?

I've found an original sun tarp thing extension that will fit on either one of the models I think my tent is (and it certainly is one or the other). I can't imagine they come up for sale loose often but who knows confused Is such a thing worth going for or don't they have much practical value? I find it very hard to tell! It's the sticky out, high up 'flap' in this photo.

RealHuman Wed 05-Aug-15 10:06:38

I like my sun shade, it's like a shaded patio for your tent grin If it's a great price and you think you will be wanting to sit outside a lot in the shade then personally I think it's worth getting. It really depends on your camping habits I guess. If you use the tent mostly as a base for a place to flop each night then no. And if you usually lack a gazebo or something like I do now, it's not really adding anything.

RealHuman Wed 05-Aug-15 10:07:01

pack a gazebo

LettuceLaughton Wed 05-Aug-15 10:13:21

Ooh, that was quick! Thank you!

Our camping habits have yet to be established blush but I think we will be spending a lot of time on site. I am most certainly a shade sitter, in any case. Can't bear to be in the sun too much. I shall make a bid and see what happens!

LettuceLaughton Wed 05-Aug-15 10:13:53

We don't have a gazebo or anything like that, just the tent.

RealHuman Wed 05-Aug-15 10:31:11

Good luck!

RealHuman Wed 05-Aug-15 10:32:28

If you find out you really hate camping I guess you can always sell it again wink

LettuceLaughton Wed 05-Aug-15 16:41:49

Thanks! I don't think we'll hate camping, we've kind of always done it but just a few nights at a time because of the limitations of the two tiny tents we were using. TBH we shall 'have' to learn to love it 'cause it's the only way we can afford to have 'proper' holidays wink

LikeABadSethRogenMovie Wed 05-Aug-15 16:46:54

I have, sorry, HAD an awning for our tent but I lost it, so little did I use it. We have a separate gazebo though which we use all the time. If that helps at all?!

LettuceLaughton Wed 05-Aug-15 17:46:24

Ha! I shall bear that in mind if they decide that what I'm prepared to pay isn't enough. Thank you!

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