Frame Information and Recommendations
GENERAL FRAME INFORMATION
I live in canvas tents 6-8 weeks a year. A tent internal frame is the quickest and easiest frame to assemble. Most importantly, internal canvas tent frame provides the most support for your tent roof. Except when snowing heavily or heavy winds, I do not install all eave ropes. I normally only tie eave ropes to corners and middle D rings/grommets. Not installing all eave ropes and tensioners will significantly reduces set up time. During and expected high winds you must have all ropes and stakes set up. I tie my ropes to trees, stumps, rocks etc to insure my tent doesn't fly away. Your canvas tent is just like a ship sail during high winds.
Snow loads. Canvas tents are not designed for heavy snow loads like a wooden structure. Houses have rafters every 2 feet to carry the weight of snow on the roof. If you plan on leaving your tent set up during winter you need to have at a minimum rafters every 2 feet.
Even with tent rafters every 2 feet it is still possible your roof will cave in during heavy snow loads.
Remove snow daily from the roof or every couple of days depending upon snow loads..
You must also have a fly/tarp on your tent. A poly fly allows snow to slide off much more easily than canvas.
The tent roof and fly must be very tight to prevent snow, rain and ice from collecting in the eave trough. The more water and ice accumulates in the eave trough the deeper the eave trough becomes. Ice and water in the eave trough can collapse a tent.
The wilderness steel internal canvas tent frame can be normally shipped within 3-5 days.
For individuals purchasing Montana Canvas Blend and Outfitter canvas tents I recommend the Montana Canvas frames listed on my Montana Canvas web pages.
If your frame is not marked, color code your tent frame parts, i.e., legs, rafters and tent lengths at 1-2" from ends where the paint will be hidden in the angle joints.
Clean Your Frame: If the frame has a coating that makes your hands dirty. Dirty hands results in a dirty tent.
AWNING , PORCH & COOK SHACK FRAMES: If you are purchasing a awning, porch or cook shack frame I recommend vinyl corners or eave openings on your tent end abutting the awning, porch or cook shack. By having an eave and ridge opening - you can have a 4 way angle on the end of your tent instead of the normal 3 way angle. The 4 way angle allows you to connect the tent frame directly to the awning, porch or cook shack frame. By connecting to the tent frame you save the cost of 3 angles, 2 legs and 2 rafters and the time to set up these extra frame pieces. If you are buying an attached awning, porch, or cook shack you should automatically order vinyl corners, eave socks or eave openings. If you are buying an unattached awning, porch, cook shack the eave openings are optional.
FRAME TOUCHING YOUR WET CANVAS TENT. Sometimes a canvas tent will leak where the canvas touches the frame. If this wicking/leaking occurs the only solution is to purchase a tent fly. The fly prevents prevents any rain or snow from touching the canvas so no wicking/leaking can occur. Other benefits of a fly (1) prevents sparks from the stovepipe burning holes in your canvas roof (2) protects canvas from ultraviolet rays which deteriorates the canvas (3) keeps your tent roof clean from tree pitch.
STORING AND TRANSPORTING YOUR FRAME TENT IS MUCH EASIER when using frame storage bags. A frame consists of many pieces that can normally be put into 2 frame bags for tents 14x16 and smaller. You will need 3 frame bags for tents larger than a 14x16.
REENACTOR FRAMES. Some reenactors do not like the time and effort to set up lodge pole frames for their tents. Some reenactors will use an internal frame or internal A frame that are only visible on the inside of the tent and then use wooden eave poles to give their tent "the reenactor look."
An internal wall tent frame is recommended when camping near a road. Internal frame rafters provide much more roof support than any other type of frame.
Color code 1 inch of the end of each internal tent frame pole that go inside the angles for easier identification and set up.
Most frames you order have two piece rafters and two piece tent lengths. If you have a 8' bed on your pick up, tape the 2 pieces of your tent frame lengths and rafters together. Taping together the two pieces of the tent lengths and rafters together reduces the number of poles about in half and significantly reduces tent set up and take down time.
Frame bags make transporting and storing tent frames much easier.
If you fold the tent sod cloth to the inside of the tent, place something under the legs so the legs will not wear a hole in the sod cloth. Use rubber bottoms, available at accessories, or whatever works for you.
RECOMMENDATION: IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A FLY, After receiving your frame I recommend you wet down canvas tents on the frame. When wetting your tent for shrinkage, and also when it rains/snows, insure that you have guy ropes/side ropes and wall stakes on your new wall tent to insure it only shrinks the normal 1-2% shrinkage and that it shrinks evenly. Otherwise it may shrink more than 3% and unevenly and may not fit your internal frame properly. Allow some looseness in the guy ropes to allow for the roof shrinkage. If you do not allow for guy rope looseness you will weaken the seams. When the tent shrinks against a tight rope, the shrinkage will cause great pressure/strain on the tent roof seams which weaken the seams.
A tent should never fit tight on a tent frame. Never force a tent on a frame. Also, never tighten the tensioner ropes so tight it stretches the canvas to make it tight. A slightly loose fitting tent is the proper tensioner adjustment. A tight fit puts pressure on the seams and zippers and will eventually cause damage. Remember, if the door zipper is hard to zip the rafters are too long and you need to cut the rafters accordingly. The center of the eave angle brackets should be in the middle of the eave. Measure the amount that the rafter should be shortened by determining location of center of eave angle vs tent eave.
Some frames, especially Kwik Kamp, have a film on the metal that causes your hands to get dirty when you handle the frame. I wash the frame with soap to remove the film. You cannot remove all the Kwik Kamp film with soap. This film makes your hands dirty and you will have to clean your hands during tent setup or your dirty hands will get the tent dirty.
If you do not have an angle kit bag obtain one. You need to keep your angles accounted for and by your frame to insure you do not forget the angles. I have fluorescent paint markings on my angle bag to make it very noticeable so I can not forget the angles.
Be prepared to cut down your frame. Tent canvas normally shrinks 1-3% after it becomes wet and dries. Tent frames are normally made 1% smaller to allow for the tent shrinkage. However, you might have a tent that shrinks the full 3% and the frame must be cut down for your tent to fit properly on the frame.
Insure you use eave ropes on your tent. Not using guy ropes will result in your tent being blown away. A tent without guy ropes being used is just like a large sail. When your tent blows away the most damage normally occurs to the frame. If you expect heavy winds, secure the ridge ends of the tent using the grommets on each ridge end.
Remove snow from your roof. There is no tent frame made that can withstand heavy snow loads. Sometimes outfitters have to leave their hunting area in a hurry due to unexpected heavy snows and are not able to return until the following spring. The snow load destroys their tent and frames.
If you expect heavy snow loads, sometimes it is wise to put a Lodge pole brace OR a T angle with conduit in the center of your ridge beam whether you have a Lodge pole or metal ridge support.
The frame where it touches a wet roof sometimes causes a leak. This condensation is caused by moisture wicking through the tent. The only solution if leaking occurs is to purchase a fly which will stop the moisture from wicking through the canvas.
When putting your tent on your frame, never put the entire rolled up tent on your ridge poles. The tremendous weight of large tents on the ridge pole, especially aluminum frames, can bend your ridge pole.
Metal frames are very expensive to ship. You might want to purchase an angle kit and make your own frame from 1" electrical metal conduit. You can purchase conduit at local hardware stores.
If you are horse or mule packing you can use ropes, lodge poles, or trees near your tent to put up a frame for frames tent.
Purchasing metal frames vary tremendously between companies and has to be a major consideration where you purchase your tent.
Lodge pole frame. When leaving camp insure you lean each tent pole upright against a tree. If necessary tie your tent poles to a tree to keep them off the ground. Tent poles on the ground rot quickly.
I recommend an internal frame as it provides the most roof support. Frames tent that do not have rafters, such as the A-frame, Lodge pole and elk frame, put much more pressure and weight under snow loads. on the tent ridge and eaves where guy ropes are tied to the grommets or d-rings. Tents with significant snow loads. have a much higher probability of tearing or splitting when an internal frame is not used.