Which canvas tent is best?
For short backpacking trips, easily-assembled, lightweight tents are great. For camping expeditions, there are canvas tents. Canvas tents use military-grade cotton and are more eco-friendly than plastic tents. They provide more resistance and resilience against the elements and naturally regulate heat and humidity. When purchasing a canvas tent, it is vital to consider where you will be camping, the size of the tent and which style of canvas tent will best fit your needs.
If you are looking for a durable tent that fits many people at a time and assembles easily, the Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent is the top choice.
What is a canvas tent?
Canvas is a heavily woven material made out of organic cotton or hemp. Because of its durability, manufacturers also use canvas to make sails, backpacks and shoes. Canvas tents have a plain weaving pattern that connects the cotton thread together. A well-built canvas will come with sturdy steel poles and stakes and serve as a barrier against harsh environmental elements. They are heavier than the average tent and are not recommended for short backpacking trips.
What to know before you buy a canvas tent
Today, most tents utilize a mix of polyester, nylon and plastic. In contrast to a tent built with lightweight materials, a canvas tent uses organic cotton and hemp and the stitching makes it waterproof and durable. This thick material makes the tent heavier than average. If you are looking to go on a long-term camping trip where you know that you will need excellent protection from the weather, a canvas tent may benefit you more than those who have to carry the tent with them for long distances while backpacking or hiking. Consider purchasing a canvas tent as an investment for trips that require extra durability and protection.
There are two kinds of canvas tents, each suitable for different types of camping and environments.
- Bell: Bell tents are circular tents with a large pole in the center that holds up the tent. These tents can range from 10-foot to 23-foot in diameter, depending on the user’s needs. They pack down into a duffle bag and only take 20 minutes to set up and takedown. This makes them a good option for long or short-term camping and up to 6 person groups. These tents are also the best option if you are looking for a tent that stands up against high winds. This tent style is also used for glamping, a popular luxury outdoor camping style that provides modern-day amenities such as beds, electricity and indoor plumbing.
- Wall: Wall tents have four vertical walls set up with multiple interior and exterior poles. These tents come in sizes ranging from 8 inches by 10 inches to 10 inches by 16 inches with walls that are 5-feet tall. Wall tents have a lot of room and are excellent for short-term use. This tent packs down into several bags and takes hours to set up.
The size of the canvas tent that you need depends on how many people will be sleeping in it. Typically, the product descriptions list the maximum occupancy, and canvas tents are naturally spacious. Always plan for more people to be in the tent to save room when considered size. For example, if you are searching for a two-person tent, opt for a tent that fits three to four people. The website will also list the tent’s dimensions.
Canvas is heavy, and the average tent weighs around 60 pounds. Though bell tents will fit into one pack, it is not easy to carry this item while backpacking or hiking. If you are purchasing a canvas tent, consider camping close to where you parked so that you do not have to carry this tent for great distances.
What to look for in a quality canvas tent
If you camp often or in extreme conditions, you will need a sturdy and durable tent. A canvas tent provides durably-stitched material that protects users from harsh elements, as well as UV rays and rain. Due to its durable fabric, it is more difficult to tear a canvas tent than a regular tent made of lightweight material.
Hydroshield coats any good canvas tent. This added coating to the outside of the tent keeps rain out. Tight stitching will keep the tent from leaking.
Canvas tent fabric uses the seed hair of the abundant cotton plant. Quality canvas tents are treatable and repairable, extending their useful life beyond plastic tents requiring replacing more often. Cotton is also biodegradable. This means that when you have had your fun with the tent and it has reached an end, it will be able to return to the earth and slowly degrade rather than sit in a landfill and pollute the planet. When searching for a canvas tent, look for brands with third-party approvals confirming they’re sustainable.
Heat and humidity control
Tiny atmospheric particles between the cotton weaves of a canvas tent allow heat to escape from the tent. This filters out condensation and allows for the tent to remain breathable and comfortable. In the wintertime, users can even add a wood-burning stove into a canvas tent to heat it as long as the tent is certified fire retardant.
For more information on what to consider when buying a tent, look at the complete tent buying guide from BestReviews.
How much you can expect to spend on a canvas tent
Canvas tents can range from $120 to $900 on the luxury end. Cheaper canvas tents are smaller, provide minimal features and you can use them for short-term camping. Canvas tents that tend to be more expensive use organic cotton fabric and provide the best features and accessories necessary to brace the elements on long camping expeditions.
Canvas Tent FAQ
What do you do if your tent gets a tear?
A. Check the company website from where you purchased the tent. They may sell patches that you can apply to tears in the tent. Although it is unlikely for canvas tents to tear easily, if this should happen, have a patch before using duct tape. This can ruin the fabric of the tent.
How do you clean a canvas tent?
A. To clean a canvas tent, users can hose it down with water to remove dirt. Do not use soap or detergent, which weakens the tent’s material and make it less durable and water-resistant over time.
What’s the best canvas tent to buy?
Top canvas tent
What you need to know: This waterproof canvas tent is breathable and provides all-season protection and airflow. It has mesh screens for ventilation and views and has a lot of space.
What you’ll love: This is a four to six-person large capacity tent with front and backdoors for accessibility and two large pulls to open the tent. The carbon steel stakes breakthrough the roughest of terrain.
What you should consider: This tent is suitable for longer camping trips due to its heavy build.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top canvas tent for the money
Whiteduck Prota Canvas Cabin Tent Deluxe
What you need to know: This tent features a water repellent & UV resistant finish. It has double-stitched seams with reinforced corners for added strength.
What you’ll love: It has four large windows and two doors with mesh for ventilation. It is very spacious and includes an electrical outlet and a large awning.
What you should consider: This tent can be time-consuming to assemble.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Kodiak Canvas Flex Bow Canvas Tent Deluxe
What you need to know: This canvas tent has spacious ceilings and is made with 100% breathable cotton.
What you’ll love: It is very sturdy and requires only one person and a short amount of time to set up. This tent is heavy and durable and packs down into one bag.
What you should consider: This tent has been known to leak due to a lack of stitching.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Logan DeLoye writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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