SGS Details North American Flammability Standards for Tents and Sleeping Bags

SGS, the world’s leading inspection,
verification, testing and certification service provider, has published details
of the flammability standards that tents and sleeping bags must conform to in
North America. This advice comes at a time of growth in the camping market as
consumers look for alternatives to flying during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent survey by Kampgrounds of
America (KOA) found that 20% of the people booking into their sites in 2020 were
first time campers. Many people see holidaying close to home as a safer
alternative to flying during the pandemic. At the same time, it allows them
access to the outdoors at a time when many people are restricted to their
homes. Camping also has the added advantage of being a relatively cheap holiday
with a low barrier to entry – an inexpensive tent from a local store is all
that is needed.

While being in the great outdoors is
certainly healthy, it is not without dangers and chief among these risks is
fire. To reduce the chance of injury, modern tents and sleeping bags are
manufactured with flammability in mind.

Manufacturers of tents and sleeping
bags operating in the markets of Canada and the United States must ensure their
products are safe and conform to relevant market legislation.

In Canada, the tent is defined under
Item 31.1 of Part II of Schedule I of Canada’s Hazardous Products Act as a
shelter made in whole or in part of fabric or other pliable materials. A new
national standard for tent flammability and labelling – CAN/CGSB-182.1-2020 –
was published by the Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) in April 2020.
This replaces the Tent Regulation (SOR/2016-185), although currently the new
standard is voluntary until amendments are made to both tent and toy

The USA does not have specific
legislation covering tent flammability at the national level but several
states, including California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,
New York, and New Jersey, mandate CPAI-84 – Flammability of Camping Tents. However,
this standard is now outdated in terms of most modern tent materials. Instead,
tent manufacturers should follow ASTM F3431-20 – Standard Specification for
Determining Flammability of Materials for Recreational Camping Tents and
Warning Labels for Associated Hazards. This is a revision of CPAI-84 and it
follows the test methods and flammability requirements in

Manufacturers should note that California
makes a distinction between small (less than ten people) and large tents. The
fire marshal’s office states that the materials in a small tent must comply
with the Title 19 small scale test, which does not differentiate between the
materials used for flooring, walls and roof materials. For large tents, the
Californian code can be interpreted as requiring compliance with NFPA 701 –
applicable when the tent functions as a public assembly space.

When looking at sleeping bags, both
Canada and the US use technically equivalent standards:

  • Canada: ASTM F1955-15 Standard Test Method for
    Flammability of Sleeping Bags
  • USA: CPAI-75:1976A Rate of Burn Standard for
    Sleeping Bags

Around the world, tents and sleeping
bags might not have specific legislation relating to tent and sleeping bag
flammability but they will still come under general safety requirements. This
can still mean recalls if the product is found to be dangerous. It is therefore
important that tent and sleeping bag manufacturers ensure their products comply
with the correct market regulations for fire safety.

SGS Fire Safety Testing Services

SGS provides a comprehensive range of
services to help manufacturers ensure their products comply with flammability
legislation for a wide range of products, including tents and sleeping
bags. Learn more about SGS Fire Safety Testing Services.

Watch SGS’s Flame Propagation of Textiles and

SGS Consumer Compact keeps you up to date with the latest news and developments in the
consumer goods industry. Read the original article,
Making Camping Safe: Tent and Sleeping
Bag Flammability

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About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection,
verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the
global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 89,000 employees,
SGS operates a network of over 2,600 offices and laboratories around the world.

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