How long does a trailer canvas last for?

In today’s blog post, we will answer the following question: How long does a trailer canvas last for? We will explain how to properly maintain your trailer canvas and how to avoid any long-term damage. 

How long does a trailer canvas last for?

A new trailer canvas can last between 10 to 15 years. Its lifespan will mainly depend on where you are storing your trailer, whether it is inside or outside. You must also clean and properly dry your trailer before any storage to ensure a long-lasting canvas. 

The lifespan of your trailer canvas will thus depend a lot on:

  •  The use you make of your tent trailer; 
  • It also depends on whether your trailer is canvas or vinyl. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. The vinyl makes condensation in the tent trailer because it does not breathe, the canvas lasts less. The ideal in our opinion is a canvas with the edges at the bottom in vinyl.
  • If you go to parks where there are a lot of trees, the sap settles on the fabrics and it wears out the fabrics prematurely.
  • If you leave it mounted in your home all summer long, the UV rays will wear out the canvas.
  • When you close it after a rain you have to open it at home to dry it etc.
  • There is also the roof to check, all joints should be sealed ideally every year to prevent water from entering.

For the rest, it’s regular maintenance like any vehicle (tires, brakes, wheel bearings). Everything changes and it’s relatively inexpensive. The frame as it is as well as the box of the tent trailer if there has been no water infiltration it does not really wear out.

How to clean the trailer canvas?

Tent trailers and pop-up campers are popular amongst people who like to travel freely while still having some of the luxuries of home. The trailer part provides additional weather protection, as well as basic kitchen implements and a mistake-free place to rest or eat. 

Sitting outside under the canvas tent portion of the trailer is nice, but not when the canvas is dirty and smelly. Regular maintenance keeps the canvas clean, which, in turn, helps the material to last longer.

Here’s how you clean the canvas of your camper:

  1.  Brush leaves, dirt and debris onto the canvas with a broom. If the canvas material gets wet, let it dry completely in direct sunlight. Brush the surface again to remove mould spores.
  1. Mix two cups of mild wool detergent with 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Dip your natural bristle brush into the mild detergent solution and scrub the surface of the canvas to remove dirt and stains.
  1. Rinse the canvas trailer with a hose until all of the detergents are washed off. Allow the canvas to dry completely.
  1. Apply a protective spray to the canvas with a water repellent coating that keeps water out of the trailer and reduces mould growth. Follow the instructions on the package to apply the spray effectively.

Some additional tips:

  • Mix lemon juice and table salt together to form a fine paste. Apply the paste for stains on a rust cloth. Allow to dry, then brush to remove rust.
  • Clean your canvas before each use and each time you break camp. Leaves and other debris left on the canvas when it is folded up causes stains and encourages mould growth.
  • Never fold down the trailer canvas when it is wet. If this is unavoidable due to the weather at your scheduled departure time, then open the trailer as soon as possible to allow the canvas to dry.

The easiest way to wash a pop-up canvas is to first brush the canvas of this outdoor shelter with a sponge soaked in soapy water or dish soap. It should then be rinsed thoroughly with a jet of water to remove all the soap. Note that the application of solvents is not recommended, as they considerably reduce the impermeability of tent canvases.

How can I remove stains from my canvas?

You should remove stains from your trailer canvas ASAP. Here are the quickest and effective methods:

  • For pine resin stains: You have to wait until the resin is completely dry. Then place an ice cube on the inside of your canvas at the level of the task. It will then become brittle and will come off more easily by gently scratching (with a toothbrush or soft brush). 
  • Rust spots: Use a rust remover (for laundry), apply it directly to the rust stains, then rinse with a damp cloth.
  • Mould stains: Apply a flour porridge, mustard and cold water to the musty stain. Leave on for at least 3 hours, then clean with a damp cloth. No, this is not a cooking recipe but a way to clean your tent!

How do I waterproof my trailer canvas?

Over time and over the years, your tent trailer will lose its waterproofness and this is quite normal. To protect yourself from the elements, it is recommended to spray (using a garden sprayer for example, for a large amount) a waterproofing product on your canvas at least once a year. You can also use a spray for smaller areas.

Other small repairs of a trailer canvas

Anti-UV treatments: Ultraviolet rays from the sun and the moon damage most components and materials, especially Polyester. The quality of the canvas will decrease and fade. Several solutions are then presented to you to fight against this phenomenon:

  •  Opt for more UV resistant materials such as Poly Cotton or Cotton which are more expensive but better quality materials.
  • Another natural way to fight against the discolouration of your tent fabric, favour shaded locations and avoid leaving your tent exposed too long to the sun.
  • There are also impregnating treatments. You have to treat your tent occasionally. Apply a layer of UV protection from the sun and you will prolong the life of your tent.

Some additional tips for a longer lifespan of a trailer canvas

– Advice for first use: when buying your tent trailer, we advise you to install it and water it generously or wait for good rain and let it dry. This action will allow the tent to “solidify”, in fact, the fibres will tighten and will allow the tent to become more waterproof.

– It is important when buying your tent trailer to inspect the seams well, and to check them regularly before use. In general, before any purchase in-store or upon receipt of your items ordered online, check their condition.

– Holes: Set up your tent trailer and water it with a hose to check that there are no holes in your canvas. If so, call a seamstress or you will have to get on with the sewing. If this happens during your vacation it is best to be well equipped before departure.

– When you travel, remember to take repair material / first aid kits such as self-adhesive tape, sleeves or cylindrical aluminum rods which allow a tent frame to be repaired inexpensively and on-site.

– To avoid mould stains, be careful not to bend it while it is still damp, or just after cleaning it.

– You can also repair your hoop with a thin cord. (This is a fisherman’s trip if there are any who recognize it!) To do this, use a thin 1 or 2 mm cord and tie knots.

FAQ on How long does canvas last for?

Can you steam clean the camper canvas?

Yes, it is possible to steam clean your camper canvas. This cleaning process is easy to use and very efficient against bacteria and mould. Canvas steam cleaners are very effective and unlike other cleaners, these particular models do not necessarily require a high temperature. 

Can you pressure wash a pop-up camper?

It is not recommended to pressure wash a pop-up camper, as it can damage the canvas, as well as the fibreglass. Likewise, pressure washing can damage the gaskets and caulking around your pop-up camper vinyl windows. If you pressure wash your RV, you might accidentally force water in it or even remove the decals.

How do you clean plastic tent windows?

To clean plastic tent windows use a soft cloth, warm water, dishwasher soap or a water-based window cleaner. Do not use abrasive products and make sure you rinse the products well. 

Can you use vinegar to clean vinyl windows?

Yes, you can use vinegar to clean vinyl windows. Use one part white vinegar to 2 parts water in a spray bottle. With a gentle cloth clean thoroughly the vinyl windows. 

How do you get mould off a pop-up camper vinyl?

To get mould off a pop-up camper vinyl, you can use one part vinegar mixed with two parts water. After cleaning the vinyl, make sure you dry it well. Also, check your camper canvas for holes, tears and water leaks. 

Other FAQs about Travel Trailers that you may be interested in.

Can you live in a trailer in California?

Can you live in a destination trailer?

Do most trailers have brakes?


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