The weight of the fabric is not a paramount issue.
Always unfold and dry the tent after a trip, if it's been wet.
Taking good care of your tent, will ensure a long life.
What is Rip-stop
Firstly, rip-stop canvas is more expensive than normal canvas, because rip-stop canvas is the latest development in tent material and is now being used in military applications. It is a waterproof blend of cotton and polyester, is breathable and has a unique weave. This weave pattern makes the canvas very strong and in the event it suffers a tear, then the tear should be limited to a small area, not like normal canvas that can continue to tear.
It is also highly durable and very suited to Australian conditions.
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A bit about canvas.
There are all sorts of claims made about the weight of canvas used in tents. Some say they use 12oz, other 13oz, some even more. The reality is that it is not the weight of the canvas that is the all important thing. Remember a piece of glad wrap will keep you just as dry as 15oz canvas. So it is the quality of the material and it's water-proofing abilities that really counts.
Some of the most expensive tents sold in Australia and fitted to camper trailers are only 10 to 12oz, because it is good quality material. Also by using too heavier a canvas, the tent will become very heavy to erect and fold, and also suffer fold marks in the canvas and make the overall weight of your camper trailer heavier.
After field testing various weights of canvas, we have settled on 14oz rip-stop canvas, which we feel provides durability, has good waterproof qualities and is not too heavy to erect.
The other thing that you could possibly think about doing and as recommended by most tent manufacturers, is that you 'weather' the tent before you go camping. This means that you should erect the tent and hose it down a few times before use. Make sure you take out the mattress before hosing down the tent. We suggest you hose down the tent, let it dry and then repeat the hosing down another 2 times. It is a good idea to consider using a clear spray or paint-on water-proofing treatment along the seams, or use a wax stick from the underside, both of which can be purchased from your local camping shop. Don't confuse this with the older canvas 'wetting' method which tends to shrink that type of fabric, whereas rip-stop doesn't need that particular type of treatment.
The reason most manufacturers recommend you 'weather' the tent, is that most tents even though the canvas is waterproofed, the tents will leak, particularly around the seams. By weathering the tents this causes the stitching holes to tighten up and prevent leaking. If water is allowed to pool on the tent, then this can also cause leaking. So it is important to make sure that your tent has been 'weathered' and is erected to try and eliminate any areas where water can pool on the roof of the tent. Use the guy ropes and pegs supplied in wet or windy conditions and this will help make the tent taut and give it a good shape.
Another proven method to help prevent leaking, particularly around the seams, is to use a 'wax' stick rubbed upwards from inside the tent and up into the seams. These 'wax' sticks can be purchased from your local camping super-market outlet.
If you fold up the tent during wet weather, it is important to open it back up as soon as possible and dry it out.
Do not use any chemicals on your tent. Only use proper cleaning agents and water-proofing products purchased from your local camping store.