GentleTent believes in a healthy environment, both outside and in. That's why we won't spray our structures with so-called "fire-retardant" coatings, most of which have been found to linked to cancer and/or are poisonous to the touch. Unfortunately, that means we can't sell directly to several states (see below), but we are building a growing network of re-sellers where you can go to purchase GenteTent in-person while you travel.
The codes for fire retardant tents were originally created for large circus-type tents, not lightweight camping tents. Those massive old circus tents were covered with paraffin wax to make them water tight. Paraffin is also used to make candles, so those giant tents were flammable, especially when you consider the huge amount of oxygen available within the structures. Following some deadly disasters, industry rules were codified in an effort to give people time to escape a structure should it catch fire, and several states passed into law these industry codes. Then, as now, the prevailing way to meet these fire-retardant codes was to spray the fabric with chemicals to impede the flames from spreading so quickly. In the decades since, however, modern camping equipment has been invented and developed but old, archaic laws that lump everything from backpacking tents to a three-ring circus into the same category or still in effect in some states.
Not to overstate the obvious, but a camping tent is not the same as a circus tent that holds thousands of people. While the dangers of those coatings are still an issue in large commercial tent structures, they are magnified in camping tents. For one, there is much more ventilation in a massive circus tent then in a camping tent. In those gigantic tents, patrons are only inside for a few hours at a time and are many dozens of feet away from the coated canvas. Compare that to a camping tent where you spend entire nights inside and sleep in direct contact with parts of the structure. Then understand that even professional Firefighters are concerned about exposure to these fire-retardant chemicals.
GentleTent USA is by no means a leader in this fight, but we are part of a growing community of companies in the outdoor industry that are saying "stop the madness". We are grateful to other camping and tent manufacturers who have gone before us. But, like our industry brothers and sisters who also refuse to use these dangerous coatings, we believe that a major reason why people camp, RV and VanLife is for the health benefits of the great outdoors. If you are in California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey or New York, email us at sales@GentleTentUSA.com and we'll direct you to one of our re-sellers.
(image courtesy of pngimage.net)