It may seem counter-intuitive, but in order to be waterproof, camper trailer tents actually need a few good soakings before embarking on a maiden trip, as the cotton in the canvas and the outdoor-rated blended thread need to expand to seal the holes around the stitches.
Aim for good weather though, as you’ll need to make sure the canvas is completely dry prior to packing it away.
Mould is an absolute killer when it comes to camper trailer tents. If you catch it early, you can kill it without causing too much damage although you may be left with an ugly stain. It is far better to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Obviously packing up the canvas when it’s dry is the best way to achieve this but life isn’t always neat and easy, even on holiday; after all, dealing with rain is a part of camping outdoors. So what do you do when it happens? Well, if the tent is wet when you pack it up make sure you open it up to dry as soon as you can when you get home. A day or two won’t do too much harm, but if you leave it for weeks on end you’re in for a nasty shock.
Packing up your tent with absorbent silicon satchels will also help if you’re living or camping in humid environments. Sunshine kills mould, while brushing firmly with soft bristles and a vacuum removes the spores; failing that, a weak vinegar solution (20-50m to a L/water) will also help without causing the waterproofing agent too much harm.
Mould isn’t the only thing that can damage a tent. Sap, dirt and debris can also affect the canvas integrity, which is one reason why some travellers throw tarps over the top of their tents. Bird droppings are particularly noxious due to their acidity, so you’ll need to address them as soon as possible with a brush and gentle sponge.
A quick once over with a soft dustpan brush every couple of days will keep the walls of the tent in good nick as will a good spray with a hose every once in a while. Avoid using detergents as they can impact the waterproofing surface as can DEET; an application of Joseph Liddy Dry Seal or similar onto your canvas will improve its waterproofing capacity.