Hangzhou Leisure Outdoors Co.,Ltd.
phone +86 18067961359(whatsapp)
Home / new / 13 Tips for Buying Canvas Tent Camping

13 Tips for Buying Canvas Tent Camping

glam camp 2022-08-01

Buying canvas tents


The price (and weight) of canvas tents is higher than that of traditional nylon tents, but the benefits are huge. The sustainability, weather dependence, spaciousness, durability, strength and breathability of canvas tents have made these tents the choice of seasoned outdoor travelers for centuries.


With the many technical specs and options available, shopping for a canvas tent can be a bit daunting and confusing. We've put together important considerations to evaluate when shopping for a canvas tent.


What is Canvas?


Let's start here. Canvas is a heavy woven material made of cotton or linen. Due to its durability and sturdiness, it is widely used to make sails, backpacks, art displays, shoes, and of course canvas tents. It is made by performing a "plain weave" pattern in which cotton threads are tightly joined together. If you're looking for the strongest canvas weave, then go for duck canvas (duck comes from the Dutch word doek, meaning cloth), as it will provide maximum durability.



Why choose a canvas tent?


The durability and aesthetics of canvas are the main reasons why those who spend longer periods of time sleeping outdoors choose them. But there are many other benefits of choosing canvas as your tent fabric of choice:

• Water Resistance: Water actually causes cotton fibers to swell, seal and lock into each other.

• Durability: Cotton fabric is tough, making it harder to tear and rip.

• Heat and Humidity Control: Tiny particles between the cotton fabric allow condensation and summer heat to escape from the tent.

• Sustainability: Cotton canvas can be easily repaired with a simple patchwork, avoiding the fate of taking up expensive space in county dumps.

• Winter Friendly: When properly equipped with a stove outlet, you can add a wood burning stove to your canvas tent to heat these puppies. Just make sure your tent is flame retardant certified.

• Elegant: Natural canvas tents look fantastic.



The 13 key specifications to look for when buying a canvas tent:


1.Selecting a Canvas Weight

Canvas tents come in a wide range of thicknesses, but the general rule to follow is that a heavier canvas equates to a stronger tent which inherently has better insulating properties.

It may be obvious that as the weight of canvas increases, then so does the resistance to tearing, known as its tensile strength (just compare the logic to a bed sheet vs. a blanket). Amazingly, a slight increase in canvas weight can provide a significant improvement to the durability. For example, a 2 ounce increase in canvas weight has shown to improve tensile strength by 25%!

If you have already done some online browsing for a tent, then you would have noticed that canvas is measured in ounces per square yard (oz/sq. yd) or grams per square meter (gsm). Be suspicious if either are not mentioned. 

Most reputable companies use a 10.1 oz/sq. yd (340 gsm) weighted canvas, which is good for occasional summer use. Unless you are only planning to use the tent 1 or 2 times per year, then we suggest steering clear “disposable” canvas tents on ebay and Amazon that use 8.4oz (285 gsm) canvas and that are poorly made and protected. But if you are looking to keep your canvas tent up for several months, then we recommend choosing a canvas that is heavier than 10.1oz (340 gsm).


2. Types of Canvas Tents

The two most popular 4 season canvas tents on the market are bell tents and wall tents.

Wall tents, also known as safari tents or outfitter tents, have four vertical walls can be set-up with multiple internal or external frame of metal poles. These tents come in sizes ranging from 8’ x 10’ to 16’ x 20’, with walls that are about 5 feet tall. Wall tents are fairly spacious and not typically preferred for short-term use, as these tents and their poles pack down in to several bags and take a couple of hours to set-up. But once up, these make for an amazing base camp.


Bell tents, mistakenly referred to as yurt tents, are a circular tents that typically has one 10-foot internal pole supporting the center, and another a-frame pole supporting the door. These tents range in size from 10-foot to 23-foot diameters, with the 16 foot bell tents being the most popular. They pack down into single duffle bag and only take about 20 minutes to set-up and take down – making them a good option for long or short-term lodging for groups of 2-6 people. 


Additionally, their conical shape not only makes them esthetically pleasing, but is also functional in withstanding high wind guests.



3. Canvas Tent Hardware Quality


Aside from the canvas, you want to pay attention to the hardware that is built into, and supplied with, your canvas tent. These small details are overlooked when price shopping tents, but will lead to frustration if you don’t notice their inadequacies until after you’ve made your investment.


bell tent poles

Bell tent poles sometimes have a loop on the center pole that allows you to hang gear and clothing (a huge space saver)! Our bell tent actually comes with 2 of these loops for better gear organization.


Tent Spikes: Finding Strength

Tent pegs are used to secure shelter. These are usually not the primary considerations when shopping for a tent, but once you've set up camp on rock or hard soil, they will be. Thin, inexpensive pegs can bend quickly on rough ground, so look for tent suppliers that don't take shortcuts with thin pegs, aluminum pegs, or even plastic pegs. Suppliers who use sturdy rebar J-hook piles should make you smile.



4. Canvas Protective Barrier

Canvas contains many intrinsic qualities that, if cared for, will have a long lifespan. However, a small oversight in care can result in costly damage to the canvas. Premium tents will have their canvases treated in various ways to add extra water, mold, mildew and fire barriers

The best protective canvas is coated to enhance these properties of the canvas. Such a treatment will improve water resistance, mildew resistance, and even help the canvas to be more durable after the process.



5. Stability Concerns: Wind and Snow Load


When guy lines are properly staked into the ground with quality hardware, canvas tents are remarkably sturdy shelters. Both bell tents and wall tents should be able to handle 50+ mph winds – the key is to tightly secure the canvas around your poles and to the guy lines to eliminate any flapping. The conical shape of a bell tent actually allows the wind to pass over it easier than a wall tent since there is less direct surface area to resist it.

Snow load may also impact the stability of your canvas tent. If your tent could be exposed to heavy snowfall then you will want to make sure that you not only secure your guy lines properly, but also make sure that you have strong poles to support the snow load of your canvas tent. A 3-inch blanket for snow resting on the roof of a bell tent could weigh in excess of a ton (2,000 pounds)! This level of compression will compromise any canvas tent pole structure, so make sure that you are able to quickly remove any snow cover, regardless of the strength of your poles.

Dry snow will accumulate less on a bell tent as compared to a wall tent due to greater pitch of their roof design. But this benefit does not mean that you can avoid regularly removing snow. Snow will certainly melt off quicker if you are running a wood burning stove inside of your tent. But if this is not an option, then you will want to reinforce your tent or add secondary snow cover for protection.



6. Tent Floor Options

A solid floor in your tent will provide protection from critters, moisture, and cold. Bell tents usually come with a rip resistant and waterproof floor made from a PVC material. The floors of bell tent usually extend up the wall several inches to help guard against rushing or standing water that the tent may be exposed to. Some bell tents offer an upgrade that allows for the entire floor to be unzipped and removed to allow for walls to be rolled up to provide greater ventilation.

Wall tent floors are either sewn in, or come detached and can be laid down once the canvas tent is up. These floors are made with vinyl nylon and do a great job of keeping your space dirt free.



7. Wall Height Considerations

There will certainly be able room at center point of a wall or bell tent for you to jump around. But the same calisthenics likely can’t be performed along the interior perimeter walls. The height of the wall plays an important role in calculating the useable space inside of your shelter. The average safari tent comes with 5 foot walls, allowing great space for bunk beds, storage, and walking space for shorter people. 


A bell tents conical shape incoherently comes less wall heights around the sidewalls. An average bell tent comes with 24” walls that progressively rise towards a 10 foot center pole. This means that there is a bit less standing room inside of a bell tent, and chairs may need to be placed a bit further away from the wall to comfortably use them. Not all bell tents are created equally though, so search around to find a bell tent that offers the tallest wall. Life inTents 5M bell tents come with generous 29.5” side walls , and our 6M tents come with 31" walls - helping give a bit more wiggle room for a headboard, chairs and sofas.


8. Tent Pack Size and Weight

Along with all the upside of canvas tents comes one downside, they are heavy. You won’t find many people willing to hike more than 100 yards with one, as canvas tents, along with their poles, will weigh around 100 pounds.

Canvas safari tents do pack down fairly well into about a 2’x4’ duffle bag, which will not take up too much space in your adventure vehicle. However, you will need to make room for a several more heavy & long pole bags if you are leaning towards a canvas wall tent.


9. Tent Size: Square Footage and Height

A great question to answer is: how much gear and furniture do you plan to have in your tent? Another great question is: How frequently will you be taking down the ten? Some folks use canvas tents for short weekend camping trips, while others use them for guest rooms. Determining the size of your tent depends on the use case and comfort requirements. Larger tents are probably best suited for long term set-up, large groups, king beds, and loads of luggage. So think through the square footage needs you require before making your investment.

Besides square footage, you should also consider headroom. Fortunately, you will find that most canvas tents allow one to easily stand and move about them, with 6M bell tents even having a center pole that is 11.5 feet tall! A quick check of the tent specs table should communicate the available headroom.


10. Quality Tent Stitching

Great tent craftsmanship begins with the stitching of the canvas. Single stitched tents are guaranteed to require frequent repairs. Confirm that the tent was sewn with double stitching to help reinforce the various points of stress that the tent will absorb during set-up, take-down and from mother nature.



11. Tent Ventilation Points

Even though canvas is naturally breathable material, your tent could get stuffy, hot, or muggy if it is not designed with added ventilation features to help air circulate during hot summer days and nights. Poor air circulation can also lead to condensation build-up on the inner walls and ceiling. Windows and doors are an obvious feature that will allow the air to pass through your tent when opened. We suggest selecting a tent that has several windows. But make sure that these openings have a mesh screen cover to help keep out unwanted 

Also look for netted air vents sewn into the top of the tent. Wall tents typically won’t come with this feature, but good bell tents will incorporate this feature.

Some bell tents even allow you to roll-up the entire perimeter of the lower wall of the tent to allow for even greater ventilation. But make sure that that the tent has a mesh screen in place to keep the bugs out if the canvas wall can be rolled up.



12. Canvas Tent Colors

You’ll likely only have two canvas tent color options to select from when shopping for your tent: beige and natural white. Flashy colored tents were at one time more prominent, but the options have literally faded away due to exposure from the sun’s UV rays. Darker colors are also not the best choice for summer months, as these attract vs. reflect sunlight. So choose your color from the more elegant natural white cotton canvas material that does not contain dyes, or the beige fabric that has dyes added to it. 


13. Power Cord Access Points

Even though you are purchasing a canvas tent to disconnect from routine daily life, you may still want to have access to a few devices that will require electrical juice. Running cords into your tent from your solar panel or generator could expose your living space to unwanted insects, rodents, or snakes. An easy way to avoid this is to find a canvas tent that has a built-in power cord access point that can zip closed. 

Related products

Having one brands:“Leshade”.

View All


The field is required.

Thank You!

Your information has been sent to us, we will reply you shortly

Hangzhou Leisure Outdoors Co.,Ltd.


The field is required.

The field is required.

The field is required.

The field is required.

Thank You!

Your information has been sent to us, we will reply you shortly


No success, please try again!

Try Again