Canvas or Nylon Tent? Which Should You Buy For Your Camping Trip

Camping Tent on Grass Lawn

Image Credit: Pexels, Free to Use Licence. 


When it comes to camping, your tent is perhaps the most important piece of equipment, providing you with shelter from the elements and a safe place to rest your head at night. When looking for tents online you’ll notice that they are broadly separated into two categories, canvas tents, and nylon tents, so which should you buy? 

Should you choose nylon or a canvas tent?

Choosing whether to buy a canvas or a nylon tent really depends on what you plan to use your tent for and typically comes down to four key factors. 

  Whether you need to carry it 

One of the key reasons why nylon tents were developed was to provide a lighter alternative for campers who needed to carry or hike with their tent. Canvas tents are a lot heavier than their nylon counterparts and as such, also require sturdier and heavier poles which further add to their overall weight. If you are going to be carrying your tent any sort of distance, then in general you will usually be better off with a nylon tent. If you plan to drive to the campsite and park up alongside your pitch, then you’ll be fine with a canvas variety. 

  What conditions you want to use it in 

Both nylon and canvas tents can protect against a wide range of elements and can also be used across all four seasons. In general, canvas tents are a lot more comfortable during the summer months, providing better breathability and taking a lot longer to turn into an oven than a nylon tent which is essentially made from plastic. In the winter, however, despite both canvas and nylon tents being waterproof, nylon tents tend to be able to offer greater protection from driving rain but canvas tents are better at retaining heat. 

  How much you want to spend 

Nylon is a much cheaper material than canvas, meaning that you’ll find nylon tents at much cheaper price points than their canvas counterparts but when choosing your tent you really shouldn’t focus on price alone. The best canvas tent may set you back many hundreds of dollars, but if it’s going to last you a lifetime and bring you great enjoyment on your camping trips, then this is far superior to having several generic nylon tents. 

  Whether you are willing to care for it 

All tents require some level of TLC if you want them to last but canvas tents tend to require a little more than the others. Canvas tents must be dried out completely before they are put away to stop them from shrinking and rotting. You will also need to reapply a waterproof coating to then every so often as it will slowly wear away over the years. Nylon tents, on the other hand, are damaged more by sunlight, but will still develop mold and mildew if put away when wet and so should also be dried out before storage 

So, when it comes down to deciding whether to buy a nylon or a canvas tent for your camping trip, all you need to do is to answer the above four questions, or, if you really can’t decide, then get both! Then you can enjoy a bonding family excursion in your canvas tent sometimes and an adventure in your nylon tent for others.

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