If you’re in a hurry and want to find out what the best canvas tent is, we recommend Glamcamp’s canvas tent.
Walk into a backcountry outfitter store, and you’re bound to find tents lined up as far as you can see. Big, small, cabin, dome, nylon, polyester…we’ve seen them all at one time or another. But what about the original tent that served humanity for thousands of years before recreational camping became popular? That’s right, I’m talking about canvas tents. You might think they’re a relic of the past and impractical for modern use, but in this article, I’m going to challenge you to reconsider. You might be surprised after you check out some of the best canvas tents currently on the market.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the following canvas tents:
- Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent
- Whiteduck Regatta Canvas Tent
- Teton Sports Sierra Canvas Tent
- Whiteduck Outdoor Waterproof Canvas Tent
- Glamcamp Canvas Tent
Canvas has a rich history, dating back thousands of years. The first known record of it being made was in China about 3,000 years ago, woven together from hemp. In fact, the name “canvas” originated from the material it was originally created from: cannabis. Over a thousand years later, India started making it from cotton, and that’s been the primary source used ever since.
Best known for their use in wars, canvas tents were the mobile homes of soldiers pledging allegiance to Rome as the legions took control over Europe and beyond. Those fighting in the American Revolution and Civil War also lived in canvas tents, as did certain Medieval armies. If any of you were in the Boy Scouts a few decades ago, you probably spent quite a bit of time in canvas tents that were made as a result of wartime surplus.
Canvas vs Polyester
So why go with a canvas tent over the more popular polyester? Well, there are a number of reasons why you should, and a number of reasons why you shouldn’t. Canvas is well known for its durability, but beyond that, it’s also second to none in terms of breathability and insulation. Whereas polyester requires vents in order to promote good air circulation, canvas allows for sufficient airflow without any of these additions, because of its looser weave.
But despite the many pros, there are also a few issues that need to be addressed. First, canvas is significantly more prone to starting on fire than polyester. Cotton lights up very easily, which is why you need to be conscious about how close you pitch your tent to a firepit, and make sure there’s a good coating of flame retardant on it.
Second, canvas is prone to mold and mildew growth if you don’t take care of the tent and clean in properly. Obviously this is not only a health concern for you, but will also wear your tent out much faster. If you don’t mind a little extra maintenance, though, canvas will treat you as well as you treat it. At the end of the day, it is still the superior material for car campers who take good care of their gear.
In previous generations, the durability and strength of canvas tents were iffy at best. Due to low thread count and the use of coarse materials, tents were often left with plenty of minute openings that were just large enough to let rain and snow pass through on occasion. However, since polyester and nylon weren’t popular tent materials yet, recreational campers would have to make do with what they had.
Today is a much different story, with canvas being (arguably) the most durable tent material out there. With a higher thread count and different weather repellants added, canvas makes some of the sturdiest tents on the market. Of course, it can’t all be good. There’s a reason why very few serious campers and backpackers have canvas tents, the most important being the weight. Nylon and polyester and incredibly light compared to canvas, making them optimal for storing and carrying. Aside from a handful of options, you would probably regret buying a canvas tent if you plan on doing anything other than car camping.
As mentioned before, modern canvas tents make for some of the most durable options out there. However, in addition to an increase in weight, there’s also an increase in size to account for. Most tents made from this material are massive, suited for groups of 4 to 12+ depending on which tent you go with. Because of this, they aren’t optimal for solo campers or smaller groups, unless you’re looking to have a lot of extra space.
On the flip side, they make a phenomenal living area for larger groups who plan on staying close to the same place. Families can comfortably enjoy long outings with comfort typically found while glamping. And given how durable canvas is, whatever tent you get will probably last most of your life or beyond.
Canvas Tent Reviews
A good sized shelter, Teton’s Sports Mesa cabin style canvas tent is a nice option for families and groups who plan on playing rough with this shelter. Frequently used by hunters, the floor is thick and designed for a lot of foot traffic and equipment to be set up inside. The tent is as sturdy as a rock, even in high wind and extreme weather, so you can feel comfortable hunkering down for extended periods of time.
Perhaps surprisingly, this tent is pretty easy to put together by yourself, despite its larger size. Altogether, it weighs about 80 pounds, which is quite heavy, but can be separated into the tent portion (45 pounds) and the poles and stakes. If you’re by yourself, you might need to make a handful of trips to carry it to your campsite or into your car, but it’s definitely doable.
– Material is very durable
– Large awning coming from the front of the tent
– Easy setup
– Extra wide doors
– Doesn’t come with the greatest tent pegs
If glamping is something that you’ve always wanted to do, but you never wanted to go to a resort to do it, Whiteduck’s tent is the right fit for you. Styled after a yurt, this 4 season tent has all of the features that canvas is known for, including breathability, insulation, and durability. The canvas is made from 100% cotton, and has been treated to resist water and mildew buildup. It also includes a sewn in groundsheet that provides more of a barrier against the cold ground and prevents condensation.
This tent is also stove compatible, with a special flap designed to withstand extreme heat and resist melting when it comes in contact with the stove pipe. It’s still a good idea to have a welding blanket under and around the stove, though, just as an extra precaution.
– Sewn in ground sheet
– Waterproof and fireproof (depending on which one you buy)
– Stove compatible
– Though it breathes well, it could use something more to help it shed heat better
Another yurt style tent, Teton’s Sports Sierra is similar to the last tent on this lineup, but also quite different. With 2 in 1 technology, you can either use the tent as you would any other, or you can convert it into a canopy. In the latter, most of the roof stays in place, held up by the center pole and guy lines, but the walls can be taken down to provide an open air effect. If it’s a nice day and you’d like to feel like you’re outside without losing protection, the canopy is a great option to take advantage of.
The heavy duty, welded floor will keep water from coming in the bottom, while the reinforced seams will make sure you stay dry everywhere else. If you had a canvas tent many years ago, you might remember that it would leak a little bit if you bumped into it. Not the case with Teton’s tent. The canvas itself has been thoroughly treated for all types of weather, and will keep the elements where they belong, regardless of what you touch.
– 2 in 1 canopy or tent
– Access ports for power
– Holds up in extreme weather
– One person can set it up easily
– The actual size of the tent is a little smaller than advertised
A mini house in a lot of ways, Whiteduck’s outdoor canvas tent is the embodiment of what every kid dreams of playing in. With a large, sloped roof, rain and snow will slide right off. If it’s windy, the tent comes with an additional buckle fastening system on the inside and outside to make sure you don’t tip over or fly away. If that isn’t secure enough for you, the triangular windows have three layers for added durability, and can be firmly fastened with its heavy duty velcro.
The tent itself is very large, and while that’s great if you’re trying to accommodate a big group, it can be a hassle to set up. Expect it to take 2 or 3 people to get everything ready and livable. While it might seem like a lot of effort, once you have all the pieces in place, the spacious and comfortable atmosphere will make you feel like you’re back home.
– Aluminum frame
– Stove compatible
– Sod cloth
– Side walls are 5 feet high
– Weatherproof and UV resistant
– Difficult to set up
Glamcamp’s canvas tent is really nice because, as a bell tent, it only has one pole to worry about! It’s one of the oldest methods of creating a tent, and for good reason, since it’s incredibly sturdy and weather resistant. All you have to do is set your pole straight up, and stretch the canvas out around it in a classic yurt style.
What I especially love about this tent in particular is its ability to function without walls. If it’s a nice day and all you want is a massive roof over your head, you can easily take down the walls around you and enjoy the nice breeze and freedom of the outdoors. Part of this setup includes a separable floor that you can unzip from the walls, so you can keep the dirt out of your sanctuary while maintaining the open air effect.
– Separable floor
– Stove compatible
– Bell tent design
– Large and spacious
– Weather resistant
– Door entrance is a little low for taller folks
– Doesn’t always come with instructions
While some might view them as relics, canvas tents are still very useful for modern day camping. They’re more durable, breathable, spacious, and soft compared to many other tents that you’ll find at the store, and a great product to help you create your own glamping experience. While they do come with their own drawbacks, like their weight and difficulty when it comes to cleaning, many have enough features that are beneficial to certain types of camping that it’s worth the extra hassle in other areas.
Glamcamp’s canvas tent was the winner for us because of its easy setup, separable floor, and weather resistant material. At the end of the day, you want something that’s spacious and comfortable without compromising on safety and convenience, and this tent does just that. Even in strong wind or other extreme weather conditions, this tent is solid as a rock and will have your back for many, many years.