waxed cotton? Anyone?

Posted by: Samoset

waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/13/13 10:01 PM

Ive often considerd taking a high thread count sheet and pillow case waxing them.

Doesn't even have to be cotton I'm sure nylon or even materials like bamboo would take the wax fine?

I was thinking of using them as minimalist tarp/pack for over nighters. Pair it with a wool blanket and you'd have your big three for 40f nights under$20-30bucks

Any thoughts?

I have perfectly functional gear I just like the idea!
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 07:33 AM

My first thought is too much weight.

Second one, too expensive.

Linens are rather steep these days. WOOL blanket? "Genuine synthetic lamb's wool blanket" plus a microfiber sheet set from a steeply discounted store would be very hard to find for $30.

Third thought, I want to shop where you shop if you can find what you want, new, for $30...

Posted by: Samoset

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 09:18 AM

Ok military surplus wool blanket cost me $8 old pillow cases and sheets that where replaced with this years Christmas present from the inlaws. $ free

Not as heavy as you might think granted I haven't added wax or weighd them
Posted by: Samoset

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 09:25 AM

On another note I'm sure with a little thriftyness/persistence one could find used linens at say maybe a thrift/consignment shop but I was really thinking of using old ones that I already have as we have prob seven sets and only two full size beds in our home!
Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 09:57 AM

Remember wax used for treating cotton is a special high temp, high flexibility, high dollar stuff. Bees wax was used many moons ago but would melt off on a hot day. Today there is products like canvac canvas waterproofing spray. Waxes also don't readily adhear to synthetics.
Posted by: skcreidc

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 10:24 AM

You could use an old school waxed cotton tent. My wife picked one up at a garage sale for $5 that fit our whole family and then some. Worked great in the rain and fog. You could probably get it free or cheap and cut/sew the parts you want. Campermom is right though, it would be HEAVY compared to more modern materials.

Hit the garage and yard sales and see what you can find for materials.
Posted by: finallyME

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 11:35 AM

Guess what, you aren't the first to think about it.

bed sheet tarp

Here is a waxed canvas pack. You can read about how he waterproofed it.
Waxed canvas pack

Here is a tutorial on waxed canvas
Waxed canvas

Here is a guy that made a tarp from a bed sheet.
bed sheet tarp
He did it the way that I recommend if you want to use a bed sheet. Waterproof it with silicone.

I would rather make a tarp from nylon, much lighter, but, hey, try it out if you want.
Posted by: OregonMouse

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 05:51 PM

My parents had a 3-person single wall tent a bit smaller than the Tarptent Rainshadow, made of waxed long staple Egyptian cotton. It weighed 12 lbs. without pole and stakes. It was considered a lightweight backpacking tent when they bought it in 1939. I have no idea of the price but I'm sure it was expensive! By comparison the Tarptent Rainshadow, also single wall, weighs 2 lb. 10 oz. including stakes but not poles (since it uses trekking poles).

Most wax will crack when bent at cold temperatures. I'm sure that what you'd use to treat cotton for a tent would have to be something special that wouldn't crack!
Posted by: Pika

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 08:06 PM

I too remember waxed cotton tents from my early days of camping and backpacking in 1946 and 1947. Mostly what I recall is that the tents were heavy and smelly. They were, however, pretty much waterproof. Another coating for canvas tents in those days was unboiled linseed oil. This also added a lot of weight and odor. In fact, the typical tent in those days was made of uncoated, long- staple Egyptian cotton. When it rained, the cotton fibers would absorb water, swell and become waterproof as more rainwater filled the pores of the fabric. If one were to touch the fabric while it was raining the touched place would drip: it was considered poor form for a tent dweller to touch the tent walls. Lightweight backpacking tents were made of a cotton fabric called Shirley cloth which was later replaced by 60/40 cotton/nylon fabric. Tents made of these fabrics were single-wall and a two person tent would weigh about 6 pounds. They would also drip where they were touched.
Posted by: rockchucker22

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/14/13 08:08 PM

I have a 10x10 canvas car camping tent single wall, 69 lbs with poles!
Posted by: anicinabe

Re: waxed cotton? Anyone? - 02/15/13 04:34 PM

Please remember that wax and linseed oil are good fire tinder...Another way to waterproof canvas is simply smoking it over a smudge pot fire..My reenactting shelter is smoked to a nice chocolate colour. That shelter is able to handle most any rain that hits it. Just remember not to touch the inside of the canvas unless you want to take a bath and wash your clothes at the same time. lol