How to look after your new purchase

An Outhaus swag is a modern take on a traditional piece of equipment, not to be confused with a polyester tent and, as such, there are particular things that you need to do in order to look after it. The same is true, to a lesser extent, with canvas tarps.

Seasoning your Outhaus swag

Outhaus swags are now pretty much water resistant straight out of the box and should keep you dry in all but the worst weather, but before you use it in anger, you may want season it, just to be sure. This process will cause the canvas and the thread to swell, thereby further sealing up the needle holes created in production.

Set up your swag perfectly so that everything is nice and tight and all the pegs put in the ground. Now take a hosepipe and wet the swag for a few minutes, particularly around the seams, taking your time to wet it completely so that it changes to a darker shade. After soaking the swag, leave it to dry out completely and check inside for any signs of water. You may need to repeat the process a couple of times.

If you do not have the luxury of an outside space where you can season the swag, success can be had by soaking the swag overnight in a bath of water. Then try to dry it out as best you can by hanging. Alternatively, use the swag a few times in damp weather and the seasoning process should occur naturally.

The swag should now be ready for use, with no further seasoning required before your first trip. Any stubborn holes can be treated with readily available seam sealer or a solid wax.

Please note that our swags are designed to repel water effectively and they do an extremely good job, but it you plan to use one in severe weather such as prolonged torrential rain or storms it would be prudent to use a tarp or awning as an added precaution, not least because you really should keep some vents open for airflow, to reduce the risk of condensation, and you will not be able to get in or out without letting a lot of water in. Swags are not technical polyester or nylon tents with PU or silicon backings, taped seams and vestibules. This is part of their charm and they are usually set up as part of a larger camp. Extreme weather may eventually overcome the swag's water repelling properties.


Seasoning your Outhaus tarp

Our polycotton tarps generally have the same care requirement as swags but, as there is a lot less stitching, often there is no need to pre-season a tarp. The same is true of our waxed cotton tarps. Usually, a couple of soakings will allow the thread to swell and expand into the needle holes. However, as with swags, if there are any stubborn needle holes, a dab of seam sealer or wax will do the trick.


Caring for the canvas

Our swag and HD tarp canvas is a blend of polyester and cotton. This gives a good combination of strength (from the polyester) and improved breathability (from the cotton). The canvas feels quite rigid to the touch on first use or if it is cold. This softens over time. The cotton content gives a feel of canvas from days gone by and the polyester provides a slight reduction in weight and drying times while increasing abrasion resistance. All in all this combination makes for a very tough product.

The canvas is pre-treated with a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating and mixed into that is an anti-mould agent. However, even though there is an anti-mould agent, this is not a free ticket to just chuck your soaking wet swag or tarp in the shed and forget about it. You must make sure that it is dry before you put it away for any amount of time. Coming away from your trip with a wet product in the back of the truck is no problem, but please make sure to dry it out at the earliest opportunity.

There should be no need to re-treat the canvas with any water repellent product for a long time (years, depending on how much use it gets) but if you do begin to see the water not running off as well as it used to, any of the available products on the market for polycotton canvas should work fine. Just make sure with the manufacturer that it will not affect the breathability of the canvas. Most products for canvas and polycotton are developed especially not to do so.

Our waxed cotton products - tarps, ponchos etc - are made from 100% cotton treated with waterproofing wax. These give a wonderful old school feel and are generally not as bulky or heavy as their HD polycotton counterparts. The only real care requirement is to ensure that your product is not put away when wet. If you have to break camp with wet gear, just be sure to hang it up to dry at the ealiest opportunity.

Please note that our waxed cotton is not protected by anti-mould inhibitors which makes it even more important to dry the product out before storage. None of our products are designed for long term/permanent use but for camping, where they would only be expected to be set up for a maximum of a few weeks. If you are looking for a tarp to permanently cover logs or equipment, or to use as a permanent outdoor shelter you will need something that is made for that purpose.

Both polycotton and waxed cotton fabrics are not fire retardant. However, they will resist an ember and you will not find your tarp to be filled with tiny burn holes like polyester or nylon products. They are both OK to use as your shelter when enjoying a campfire but, as with most things, care must be taken around fire at all times.