There are many reasons we are upgrading and considering canvas tents for our future camping experiences.
Having grown up camping, I spent the first several years of my life camping in canvas tents.
When I became an adult, I realized canvas tents were expensive, but something you could keep for decades. However, canvas tents were not in the budget, so I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find the “right” tent.
I have owned many fantastic tents, but they never lasted.
Between the camp cot feet digging holes in the floor, zippers breaking, and the rain fly never getting taut enough to prevent it from touching the screen and dripping water on my face when sleeping, something needed to change.
So, here we are. We are buying a canvas tent.
Durability for the Long Haul
Canvas tents are durable for a couple of different reasons.
First, you have protection from UV rays. Sun rays degrade synthetic tent materials over time, which causes the material to sag and tear.
Also, punctures to tents are the bane of my existence. Between simple carelessness or the legs of the cot rubbing on the floor, punctures are a thing.
A canvas tent does not rip or tear easily, even when meeting the business end of a sharp object. Also, if you do have a rip or tear, repairing is a cinch.
Winter Is Coming, and Spring, and Summer…
Unlike most “normal” tents, a canvas tent is a true four-season hero.
If you are a winter camper or planning to give that a try, a canvas tent is a good option.
Many canvas tents already come with a stove jack, so you can add a tent stove.
A stove jack is an opening, usually with a silicone sleeve for the stove pipe. You won’t have to worry about your tent melting.
Also, the canvas is a fantastic insulator. You avoid those wild temperature swings as the day turns into evening.
Canvas tents are tremendously windproof as well. Our history with a synthetic material tent and the wind left a lot to be desired, but I know canvas is tougher and a lot easier to secure in windy weather.
Furthermore, I know manufacturers design canvas tents with rain in mind. Many canvas tents offer natural waterproofing. However, it is easy to add an extra layer yourself.
Condensation and Breathability of Canvas Tents
Canvas tents are more breathable than synthetic material, so you will have fewer condensation issues.
Condensation is water vapor that happens when you have a cold surface and warm air. Essentially, this is humidity.
As you sleep and breathe inside your tent, you could have moisture inside your camping abode. Also, cooking in your tent or trying to dry wet clothes can cause this issue.
Ventilation is key to prevent condensation. Even though canvas tents are more breathable than synthetic, look for a canvas tent with decent ventilation.
It’s Getting Hot in Here
We do a lot of warm weather camping, so I am looking hard at the features of canvas tents that lead to comfort.
I know canvas is breathable and does not react as fast to abrupt temperature swings.
However, that may also mean it takes a while to cool down, and I am not interested in sweating while I sleep.
Therefore, ventilation is key. I am looking for plenty of air vents and windows on multiple sides of the canvas tent.
What to Consider When Shopping for Canvas Tents
When shopping for a canvas tent, you must consider your needs.
For example, canvas tents are heavy; therefore, if you have your hopes up for something you can carry while backpacking, this may not be the best tent material for you.
Also, the size of the tent is a consideration. If you camp with your family, pets, or both, you need to make room. If you are winter camping and plan to bring a stove, you need a smidge extra space.
Pay attention to the ventilation set up as well as door access. There are some tents with doors on both sides of the tent, which is fantastic to avoid tripping over people on your way to pee in the woods.
There are other handy features, as well. Extension cord pockets to run power are nice if you want a fan or air conditioner.
Sleeve jacks and ceiling or wall mounted stash bags are nice add-ons as well.
Also, I care about how the door opens. I am one of those who struggle with zippers in the middle of the night, so I pay attention to door features.
The 4 Best Canvas Tents on the Market Today
It took a while to narrow down the choices.
However, we believe all of these canvas tents are worth your consideration.
1. Sierra 12 Canvas Tent
Teton Sport’s Sierra 12 Canvas Tent includes a free lifetime warranty, which is a huge plus in its favor.
This canvas tent is 12 feet by 12 feet and is just over 8 feet tall.
You can squeeze in 10 people, but you are more comfortable with just six.
This tent includes one door, so if you were hoping for multiple entrances for convenience and added ventilation, you are out of luck.
Although, the door is extra wide, and that generosity adds to the ventilation factor and makes it easier for door-challenged people like me to navigate.
Also, the walls of the Sierra 12 Canvas tent are 100 percent canvas cotton, and the floor is a 19-ounce sturdy polymer.
The floor of the Sierra is removable, which is kind of a cool idea if you want more of a canopy tent. It is a bathtub style floor, and the floor zips off and on up at the top of the bathtub line.
In addition to the floor being removable, you can roll up the vertical sides, so you have a true canopy experience with this canvas tent.
The pole system is a vertical pole along with a door pole. The vertical pole has a weather cap to help avoid unwelcome elements into your tent.
There are ventilation spots up at the top of this tent as well as down low closer to the bottom.
Also, there are stash pockets for your small items as well as access for electrical cords.
There is not a stove jack built into this tent, so if you were hoping to bring a stove, you will need to alter the tent.
2. Kodiak 10 x 14 ft. Flex-Bow Canvas Tent
Kodiak’s footprint in the canvas tent business is substantial, as is their reputation. Based out of Utah, Kodiak is known to use high-quality materials to make their tents and accessories.
Kodiak uses a Hydra-Shield 100% Cotton Duck Canvas. The Hydra-Shield is rather nice because it is a silicone finish that makes the canvas breathable, but it protects you from the rain.
This tent is 10 feet by 14 feet, and it weighs 79 pounds. While this is heavy, it is comparable to other canvas tents of this size.
The ceiling height is 6 feet and 6 inches in the center, so walking around is easy.
Unlike the bell tents, this tent is shaped more like a cabin. You may prefer this over the bell-style tent because some campers feel they lose floor space when they have to duck to reach some areas of the tent.
This tent has a 7-foot-wide awning, which is a nice feature to have if you have rainy conditions and do not want to go directly into your tent in a rainstorm.
Furthermore, the strong frame is galvanized steel, and the tent has spring steel rods to keep the tent taut.
Also, this tent has plenty of ventilation. There are a window and door on opposite ends of the tent and tunnel flow vents at the top corners that are designed to keep the rain out when open.
The floor is a thick 16-ounce polyester vinyl floor, and you will find several gear pockets and a gear loft for storing small items.
3. WHITEDUCK 16ft Regatta Bell Tent
WHITEDUCK’s 16-foot Regatta Bell Tent is a spacious and high-quality yurt-style canvas tent.
This bell tent’s sidewalls are nearly 3 feet tall, which means you can walk closer to the edge without having to crouch down or duck. Also, if you have a cot-style camp bed, you can get closer to the edge of the tent without losing floor space.
The Regatta has two windows and two doors, and the door opening is very generous. There are vents at the top of the tent, as well, to channel warm air out.
Furthermore, the edge of the tent just at the top of the sidewall extends out to allow you to keep the windows open while offering some protection from the rain.
The tent is an actual four-season tent with the addition of a stove jack for winter or cold weather camping.
The duck canvas has a water and mildew treatment applied to ensure your tent is waterproof without sacrificing breathability.
One reason this tent is a strong contender is the amount of space with the 16-foot option. If you camp with family or friends or need a lot of room inside, this will give you what you need.
However, this tent does take up a lot of space at a campground with extended guy lines. If you are low on camp space, be aware of the footprint of this tent.
Although, this tent does come in a 10 and 13-foot option if you need something just a little smaller.
4. WHITEDUCK 13′ Avalon Bell Tent
We want to take a moment to point out WHITEDUCK’s Avalon Tent, as well.
This tent is a standout for many reasons. This tent has many of the same features as mentioned in the previous bell tent. For instance, the higher sidewalls make it a lot easier to use more of the floor space. Also, the center height is generous.
However, this tent does have eight total windows all along the sidewall, making the cross-ventilation a definite pro. The other sizes of this tent have a different window count.
You can remove the groundsheet and roll up the sides if you wish to have a canopy style tent.
Also, the front door area has a tension rain flap to keep out the rain with your door open.
Furthermore, there are sleeping pods available for this tent in the event you want more space. These are sold separately, though.
The 13-foot Avalon sleeps up to six people, but this style also has a 16-foot and a 20-foot version.
If you go for the 13-foot, the capacity may be six, but if you want maximum space and comfort, you may want to only have three in the tent.
What We Chose and Why
We spent hours going over all these tent options. In the end, we decided to go with the Kodiak although it was a close tie with the WHITEDUCK options.
Because it was so close, we chose to go with a cabin-style tent because we can open more doors and windows. Plus, those doors and windows are opposite one another for maximum airflow.
The tent size is similar to what we are used to, so we know how to function in the space. Also, we were concerned with the shape of the bell tent leading to unused space.
We have friends who have both styles, and we love both tent styles.
Therefore, I can say with confidence once you work out your needs based on how you like to camp, any of the options will suit you.
Lets Go Camping
At this point in life, many of us are ready to grab a tent and get away from home for a while.
In most cases, a tent is necessary for the camping experience.
Also, replacing synthetic tents is a hassle and you often realize it when it is too late to do anything about it.
Therefore, investment in a canvas tent is a worthy one.
What canvas tent did you choose? Answer in the comments.
A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.