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Best Way to Waterproof Cotton Canvas?

Discussion in 'Wilderness & Survival Skills' started by Guyon, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Some back story...

    I like the little Plano 3449 double-sided utility boxes because they fit nicely in my kayak dashboards.

    [​IMG]

    I've been looking for a good bag into which I could fit a few of these, and yesterday, at the local Army-Navy, I found a 11"x7"x6" mechanics tool bag that perfectly fits five of the Plano boxes. The cotton canvas bag looks just like this one.

    [​IMG]

    I like that it's nice and compact and that the Plano boxes fit perfectly across the bottom with room for some plastic baits and a few other items. I'm going to add a shoulder strap for carry.

    That said, I'd like the canvas to be more water resistant or waterproof. I already gave it a healthy dose (two coats) of Camp Dry, but I wonder if there are other (better) ways that people have treated military duffels/bags to keep out the rain.
     
  2. valcas1

    valcas1

    934
    Feb 25, 2007
    Spray it with Thompsons water seal. I have heard of reanactors using Thompsons with success.

    Paul
     
  3. PeterPHWS

    PeterPHWS

    Dec 31, 2005
    Chemical sprays may be the best but for a long time I have used Barbour Proofing Wax which they sell for their wax cotten jackets to proof my cotton duffel bag....I assume you can get this in the USA?
     
  4. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Never thought of Thompson beyond wood and masonry. I found this stuff online, but I suspect it's the same silicone based stuff as Camp Dry.

    [​IMG]
    I'm assuming though that you're talking about regular old Thompson's in a spray application?

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Haven't found the wax yet, but your post led me to this product which is a touch-up product for Barbour waxed goods.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. hollowdweller

    hollowdweller

    Sep 22, 2003
    canvac?
     
  7. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    I may try the Thompson's regular water seal. I found this blurb on an Amazon review:

    And if you Google "Thompson's water seal canvas," you find lots of folks talking about that application.

    Thanks for the idea, valcas1. :thumbup:
     
  8. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Hmmm.... just found mention of it in a thread also talking about Thompson's.

    It's spelled Canvak, and I see Cabela's offers it by the gallon. I'd never heard of the stuff. Thanks. Need to find it in less than a gallon offering though.
     
  9. akabu

    akabu

    Jul 11, 2000
  10. valcas1

    valcas1

    934
    Feb 25, 2007
    My pleasure!

    Just regular old Thompson's is what I heard. Their sport seal is probably the same product with a upcharge for a specific purpose. Please let us know how you make out.

    Paul
     
  11. Kismet

    Kismet

    Jan 30, 2002
    You can use WalMart generic wood water seal stuff as well.

    I'd dunk it, let it drip out into a bucket...pour the stuff back in the can...it is still good, and let it dry out. It will have an odor for a while. Works for tents also.
     
  12. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Good info from all. The Canvak sounds good, but it's $25 a gallon, and I can't find any smaller packaging online. I might drop by the Army-Navy store again and see if they have a small can.

    If the Home Despot has a small can of Thompson's spray, I'll probably try that as it should be more cost effective. If Civil War reenactors are using it on canvas tents, then it sounds good enough for my little tote bag.

    Sealing canvas is all new to me. My first tent was a well-used, green canvas, Army tent I bought at a yard sale for $5, but I was ten-years-old, and I didn't worry about rain or waterproofing or anything else. My next tent, years later, was a synthetic Kelty Kashmir. No canvas to worry about there.
     
  13. rt014

    rt014

    Jun 21, 2001
    I'm surprised no one mentioned Filson's wax that is used to seal their coats, hats, etc. You can buy that online I'm sure...Comes in a tin like shoe polish.
     
  14. tychoseven

    tychoseven

    317
    Aug 9, 2005
    I made my own "Filson" cotton treatment out of beeswax, paste wax, and mineral oil. Is it waterPROOF? No, not if you submerge the item in water. But it keeps off the rain for a good long while.
     
  15. Joezilla

    Joezilla Moderator Moderator

    Jul 22, 2005
    This reminds me of the crazy treatment they had in, I think the Nessmuk book, where he dipped it through a variety of chemicals in this smelly nasty broth.
     
  16. CC U

    CC U

    76
    Feb 8, 2007
    I had a old butt pack in the military that I converted to a shoulder bag for fishing. It got heavy when wet. I first soaked it in Obenauf leather oil, then coated it with filson wax. With the filson wax, I heated it at 150 F in the oven so that the oil would dry and the wax would melt and soak in.

    From what I read on a fishing board, the oil fills in the gap of the canvas thread through expansion, and the wax seals the remaining pores. It will darken the bag but it will not leak.
     
  17. Kismet

    Kismet

    Jan 30, 2002
    By the way, and I'm sure you know this, but....

    you DO realize you are taking a flameable material and soaking it in a more-flameable solution of wax, water-seal or whatever...right?

    Basically making a odd-shaped wick. :)

    I'm old. Be careful.
     
  18. CC U

    CC U

    76
    Feb 8, 2007
    I will try that.....Will it burn longer than char cloth?
     
  19. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    If I get stranded out on a stream, I'll at least have some tinder handy. :D

    Thanks to all who replied. I got a lot of good ideas. The most cost-effective solution was the $4.25 can of Thompson's Water Seal spray, so I'm trying that one first.

    I used the entire can and saturated the canvas material inside and out. The bag is hung up outside to dry. With this hot weather we're having, it'll be good and dry by tomorrow afternoon, most likely. Probably be a while longer before the smell fades. Once it dries, I'll hit it with a mist of hose water and see if the water beads up on the canvas.
     
  20. Guyon

    Guyon Biscuit Whisperer Staff Member Super Mod

    Mar 15, 2000
    Test came earlier than expected. Bag was hanging out to dry, and it started raining.

    The water seemed to be beading up on the outside and not penetrating the canvas.
     

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