You’re ready to throw up a tent but not too sure which one to go with, canvas or nylon? There are many factors to take in such as big canvas tents are perfect for family camping, while nylon is preferable for a solo camper or that canvas is more expensive but lasts longer than cheaper nylon.
In this article, you will learn more about both types of tents by looking at their different aspects and performance in various situations.
Humidity is the most critical element in environmental comfort. Canvas allows tiny moisture particles from breath, sweat and cooking to escape through the fabric. In any climate, this will keep you dry and comfortable.
The non-breathable plastic fabric prevents moisture from escaping the tent. Humidity prevents moisture from evaporating, making the inside feel much warmer (or colder) than outside. Plastic tents rely on vents to circulate moisture out and draw in fresh air.
Cold Weather Camping
You can use wood burning tent stoves to camp comfortably through all four seasons with canvas tents. Cotton is a lousy conductor as well, making it a more robust insulator than plastic.
Plastic quickly melts and burns, rendering it incompatible with stoves and insecure for heating. To overcome the lack of breathability, nylon tents are designed to stay cool rather than warm.
A raindrop’s surface tension stops the water from passing through the quality canvas’s tight weave. Instead, raindrops run off the canvas canopy’s steep slope – keeping you dry. Heavy rain causes the cotton canvas fibres to swell, further tightening the weave.
Plastics do not absorb water well. They will initially shed rain, but can retain moisture and limit breathability after the fabric has been saturated, increasing humidity and making the tent feel damp inside. A damaged rain fly or blowing rainstorms make vents vulnerable to leaks.
Cotton canvas tents are tough, rip-resistant, and repairable. A well-maintained canvas tent can withstand years of use. Rips can be sewn by hand and candle wax can be used for water-proofing. A sewing machine can be used for complicated repairs or customization.
Nylon tears easily and is almost impossible to restore permanently. Small tears (less than 1″) may be patched with tape, but tape is a short-term solution. Any damage can ruin a camping trip and may require a complete replacement of the tent.
Canvas tents are fitted with wide no-see-um mesh-covered vents and walls, in addition to the natural breathability of cotton canvas. Customizable ventilation allows you to fine-tune the airflow to match the weather.
If you have ever woken up feeling damp in a plastic tent, you have been a victim of poor ventilation and breathability. Plastic tents depend on small vents to circulate moisture, but vents are often inadequate or inconvenient if they are covered by rain flies and sleeping bags.
A well-constructed canvas tent withstands harsh weather and heavy use that would flatten most plastic tents. For military, humanitarian, and expedition use, canvas is the tent of choice because of its durability. Shelter is the #1 priority, and canvas tents consistently perform well.
Nylon tents are lightweight and durable, when pitched with good and sturdy poles they can withstand a number of bad weather conditions and are usually considered a good choice for camping if you are expecting rain or wind.
Quality canvas has a protective treatment for avoiding sun damage and can be easily removed for years to come to preserve the protection.
Damaging UV rays degrade plastic cloth tents, while canvas can endure harsh UV rays. When weakened, the plastic fibres are vulnerable to breakage, and aftermarket remedies will do nothing to extend the tent’s life.
There are many reasons why people go camping, with different requirements and needs.
If you like fancy traits, are concerned about fire safety or just want to set up a tent and forget about it, a nylon tent will be the best option for you because they have more design options, are highly flammable and very easy to set up.
For regular campers, those who are anxious about condensation, or light sleepers, it is okay to consider a canvas tent because they are more durable, and can be used multiple times. Canvas is also very breathable and can guarantee a quiet sleep even when it is windy.
There are a wide variety of tent options on the market and an array of different needs to be met. It is unrealistic to claim that one type of tent is the winner. There is no single criteria to quantify a tent’s performance and you should consider the situations you may encounter while camping.