13 Best Canvas Tents for Every Occasion (2024 Buying Guide)

Reviewed by Jodelle Marx
Last updated:

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Short on time? Our pick for the best canvas tent is the White Duck 13′ Regatta Bell Tent.

Whether you’re looking for an elegant gathering space or a weekend family camping tent, these are the top canvas tents for any occasion.

Canvas tents are spacious, waterproof, and durable. 

While they’re less popular than nylon tents, the benefits of canvas tent camping are worth a look if you’re in the market for a setup that will last for years to come.

Canvas tents are almost always larger than typical nylon tents, so although heavier, they’re also much more comfortable to use for camping.

You won’t have to worry about crouching to get into your tent, in which you can barely sit up. These are tents where you can do yoga, set up a card table, or cook a meal inside. 

These are my picks for the top canvas tents for any occasion and budget.  

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

Canvas Tents Buying Guide

Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Look at Our Recommendations

#1 White Duck 13’ Regatta Bell Tent

Best Overall Tent

Best Overall Canvas Tent White Duck 13’ Regatta Bell Tent

Floor area: 132 sq feet
Weight: 70 lbs
Height: 8’ 2’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Multi-purpose outdoor activities with a range of group sizes 

The Duck 13” Regatta Bell Tent is described in the product name as a glamping tent, but there’s nothing frilly or impractical about it.

This canvas bell tent is made of 100% cotton and 8.5 oz army duck canvas. It’s also waterproof and comes with the option to be treated with flame retardant. 

Additionally, it can withstand 50mph winds with a shock-absorbing feature.

The bell-shaped setup gives the tent plenty of height for easy ins and outs. Plus, it comes with a stove jacket if you want to use a stove inside, and it has an electric cable outlet. 

This tent makes the cut as the best overall canvas tent because of its overall quality, utility, and versatility.


  • Four season canvas tent
  • Comes with a stove jack
  • Excellent in harsh weather


  • Flimsy rubber mallet
  • The stove jack may allow some rain or moisture to come in

#2 Teton Sports Mesa 10’ Canvas Tent

Easiest to Set Up

Easiest Canvas Tent to Set Up Teton Sports Mesa 10’ Canvas Tent

Floor area: 100 sq ft
Weight: 68 lbs
Height: 6’5’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes 
Best for: Family camping or anyone willing to invest in quality now 

The phrase “easy up canvas tent” sounds more like the punchline to a joke than actual reality when it comes to camping.

And yet, behold! The Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent is known for being easy to set up. 

In fact, it can be set up by one person in 10 minutes or less, which makes it one of the best canvas tents for family camping too. 

One of my favorite features of this tent is the number of pockets sewn in, which is helpful for staying tidy. 


  • Mesh windows and doors
  • Easy setup
  • Storage in the form of sewn-in pockets 
  • Great family tent


  • Expensive
  • The awning can become unstable in high winds

#3 Stella 16’ Stargazer Bell Tent

Best for Glamping

Best Canvas Tent for Glamping Stella 16’ Stargazer Bell Tent

Floor area: 201 sq feet
Weight: 111 lbs 
Height: 9’8’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Backyard camping, festivals, and photoshoots 

I’ve seen pictures of the Stella Stargazer Bell Tent set up as an outdoor guest bedroom, and I’m just saying, I would stay there. 

This tent sleeps up to six people and also happens to be one of the higher-quality canvas tents on this list. 

It’s made with 11.5 oz cotton canvas, it’s treated for flame retardancy, and it’s also rated to withstand 50mph winds.

The feature that sets it apart as one of the best canvas camping tents for glamping is the clear panels around the ceiling. These not only let in gorgeous natural light but are excellent for stargazing. 

The cotton canvas walls also roll down to reveal no-see-um mesh, and there’s a convenient port for an electrical cord. 

On top of all these other great features, the tent is easy to set up in around 20 minutes. 

The downside to the Stella Stargazer Bell Tent is that it’s an expensive tent, and extra features like the footprint and awning are sold separately. 

Additionally, because of how well-made and popular the tents are, they sell out quickly. 


  • High-quality, waterproof cotton canvas
  • Transparent panels for stargazing
  • Easy setup
  • 4 season canvas tent


  • Pricey
  • Sells out quickly

#4 DANCHEL Cotton Bell Tent with Two Stove Jackets

Best Tent with Stove Jack

Best Canvas Tent with Stove Jack DANCHEL Cotton Bell Tent with Two Stove Jackets

Floor area: 78.5 sq feet
Weight: 44 lbs
Height: 6.5 ft
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Chronically chilly people (like me) who also like options 

Ok, so you might be thinking – wait, you can put a wood-burning stove inside a canvas tent? Isn’t that dangerous?

This is where I need to insert a disclaimer: Yes, using a propane or wood-burning stove in an enclosed structure can be dangerous. 

Carbon monoxide can build up, which can lead to sickness or death. More commonly, accidental bumps with a stove can burn you or your gear.

However, if your space is well-ventilated (which cotton canvas is) and is made of fire-resistant materials (which cotton canvas can be treated for), you should try using a canvas tent with a stove because it makes camping SO cozy. 

Canvas tent camping with a stove is popularly referred to as “hot camping.”

I have a few reasons for putting this canvas bell tent as my top pick. 

First, the canvas in this tent is very heavy duty; rated to withstand 500 degrees Fahrenheit heat. 

However, it’s still breathable enough that you shouldn’t have to worry about carbon monoxide buildup. 

Second, it has TWO stove jackets, one on the top and one on a side wall. 

This gives you options as to where or what kind of stove you can use in the tent. And who doesn’t love options?

As a bonus, the stove jackets can be covered with canvas flaps to keep the rain out when not in use. 

Third, this tent comes in four sizing options. The one I’ve described here is the smallest, but you can also easily make this a 10-person canvas tent if that’s what you need. 


  • Two stove jackets
  • 100% waterproof cotton canvas 
  • 4 season canvas tent


  • Camping with a stove comes with inherent risks (just ask my mildly melted backpack)

#5 Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4/6/8 Person Tent

Best for Winter Camping

Best Canvas Tent for Winter Camping Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-6-8 Person Tent

Floor area: 72-140 sq feet, depending on the size chosen 
Weight: 58 lbs
Height: 6’1’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Camping while expecting snow

Canvas tents as a whole are better insulated against moisture and cold temperatures than nylon tents. 

As mentioned above, some of them have the option for wood-burning stoves. Even those without a stove jacket built-in will be safer to use traditional camping cookstoves due to their breathability.

The Kodiak Flex Bow is the best canvas camping tent for winter primarily because of its sturdy design. It’s made with high-quality canvas material, making it one of the most durable canvas tents. 

It also has an attached awning, which I find incredibly helpful when there’s precipitation coming down.  

Winter camping for some people, means snow. For you desert dwellers, it might just mean wind; and this tent stands up in both. 

As with any tent used in high moisture conditions, make sure it’s completely dry when you pack it down; otherwise, it will be susceptible to mold. 

Just keep in mind that it might be a challenge to get weather dry enough to dry it out sufficiently for some locations. 


  • Extremely durable
  • Waterproof cotton canvas
  • High ceiling


  • Expensive 
  • Doesn’t pack down very small 
  • Needs to dry out before repacking (although this is true for all canvas tents)

#6 White Duck Prota Canvas Cabin Tent Deluxe 7’x9’

Best for Hot Weather

Best Canvas Tent for Hot Weather White Duck Prota Canvas Cabin Tent Deluxe 7’x9’

Floor area: 63 sq feet
Weight: 66 lbs
Height: 6’3’’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 2
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Warm weather camping in a breathable tent

There are a lot of nylon tents on the market that, because of their lightweight nature, might seem like good summer options. 

However, as someone who regularly camps in the summer, I’d highly advise you to seek a cotton canvas option if you can afford one. 

The Duck Prota Canvas Cabin Tent uses high-quality 10.1 oz cotton duck material (they call it DynaDuck, so that’s cute). It’s an excellent choice for keeping the sun off while still breathable and allowing for airflow inside. 

It has two mesh windows and doors, and you can add on an electrical outlet port if needed (hello camping fan). 

Compared to others, this is also a relatively affordable canvas tent. The one downside is that it can be a little hard to set up. 


  • Heavy-duty cotton canvas
  • Mesh windows and doors
  • Affordable
  • 4 season canvas tent


  • Hard to set up

#7 Bushtec Alpha Kilo 400 Canvas 6 Person Bow Tent

Best for High Wind

Best Canvas Tent for High Wind Bushtec Alpha Kilo 400 Canvas 6 Person Bow Tent

Floor area: 100 sq feet
Weight: 86 lbs
Height: 7’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Hunting camp or long-term fieldwork

The features that make the Bushtec Alpha Kilo Canvas Bow Tent one of the best canvas tents for high wind are the size, the profile, and the quality of the material it’s made from. 

First, this is a six-person canvas tent, which means that it’s a somewhat large tent to begin with. When you add the gear six people camp with, this thing won’t budge in a storm. 

Second, the domed profile allows wind to move over it rather than hitting a solid wall like in a cabin-style tent. 

The tent’s height is high compared to synthetic tents, coming in at seven feet, but it has a pretty low profile compared to other canvas tents. 

Third, the military-grade cotton canvas is extremely heavy-duty, giving me no qualms at all about using this in a windstorm. 

One thing to note is that this canvas tent has an awning, which could be a problem in a windstorm if it’s not secured properly. 

Additionally, despite the simple shape of this tent, putting it together for the first time may not be entirely intuitive and the instructions lack clarity. 


  • Great for withstanding wind
  • High-quality cotton canvas tent 
  • Plenty of headroom
  • 4 season canvas tent


  • The awning may flap in high winds
  • Instructions aren’t super clear

#8 White Duck Avalon Optimus Bell Tent

Best Large Canvas Tent

Best Large Canvas Tent White Duck Avalon Optimus Bell Tent

Floor area: 415 sq ft
Weight: 209 lbs
Height: 12’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 3
Vestibule: No
Best for: Festivals with friends or hunting camp 

The White Duck Avalon Optimus Bell Tent is our top canvas tent in the “large” category, well, because it’s enormous. 

This bell tent is made with 10.1 oz army duck cotton canvas (aka very heavy-duty canvas) with ten windows, three doors, and a stove jack. 

With a max ceiling height of 12 feet and over 400 square feet of space, I’m hard-pressed to find tents bigger than this that aren’t used for circus reasons. 

The flooring material is also made from heavy-duty 16 oz polyvinyl, so it can take the weather and rough treatment. 

One of the cons of this style of canvas tent is that it has guy lines coming off the roof at all angles, including one right in front of the door. 

I could easily see someone tripping in the middle of the night, so you’ll want to be mindful of that if you purchase this tent.  


  • TONS of floor space
  • Heavy-duty cotton canvas tent 
  • 4 season tent


  • Doesn’t come with an awning or vestibule 
  • Guylines in front of the door may be a tripping hazard

#9 Dream House Three-Season Cotton Canvas Camping Pyramid Tent 

Best Budget Canvas Tent

Best Budget Canvas Tent Dream House Three-Season Cotton Canvas Camping Pyramid Tent

Floor area: 49 sq feet
Weight: 26.5 lbs
Height: 6’5’’
Seasons: 1
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No
Best for: Backyard kids camping trip of a lifetime

There are a few things I really like about this tent in addition to the price. 

First, it’s a three-person tent and you can fit a full-sized bed in it. 

Second, I like that it has two doors lined with mesh and that the door height is reasonably tall. 

Without being too over-the-top about it, this tent is absolutely freakin’ adorable. It would make the cutest kids’ camping setup of all time.

Finally, this is an easy camping tent to set up! 

Since this tent is on the lower end in price, quality suffers a bit, and you’ll probably only want to use it during the warmer months.

Additionally, the sloped teepee wall design means you lose some of the usable space, but this wouldn’t be a big issue for wee ones. 


  • Easy to set up
  • Mesh doors
  • Cute as all get-out
  • Affordable 


  • Quality is questionable
  • 1 season canvas tent
  • Teepee shape means less usable floor space 

#10 Kodiak 12’x9’ Canvas Cabin Tent

Best Canvas Cabin Tent

Best Canvas Cabin Tent Kodiak 12’x9’ Canvas Cabin Tent

Floor area: 109 sq feet
Weight: 92 lbs
Height: 7.5’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 2
Vestibule: 2
Best for: Weekend family camping getaways

The Kodiak Canvas Cabin Tent is a solidly designed tent made by a great company and, compared to other canvas tents, is very reasonably priced. 

Kodiak camping tents are made with Hydra-Shield 100% cotton duck canvas, which is durable, breathable, and will keep you dry even in a rainstorm.  

I also personally like the cabin design because you have a decent amount of headspace throughout the interior. 

This design has five windows with bug mesh around all of them and an awning that extends another five feet out the front door. 

Because this is a smaller, more straightforward design, it’s also an easy setup tent. 

However, one of the drawbacks to a smaller tent is that there isn’t room for a stove.

I also knock the design of this tent just a touch because the zipper quality could be better. 


  • Lots of usable floor space
  • Hydra-Shield cotton duck canvas
  • Easy setup
  • 4 seasons


  • No space for a stove
  • Zipper quality could be better

#11 Sibley Mess Tent III

Best for Hosting Events

Best Canvas Tent for Hosting Events Sibley Mess Tent III

Floor area: 290 sq feet
Weight: 141 lbs 
Height: 7’2’’
Seasons: 3
Doors: 2
Vestibule: No
Best for: That indoor/outdoor family gathering you’ve been putting off

The Sibley Mess Tent lll is one of the best tents for hosting events because of its combination of size and shape. 

For a party tent, you’re almost always going to want a wall tent – and this is the best canvas wall tent on the list!

Sure, there are larger tents out there, but at 290 square feet, it still sleeps up to 16 people and is definitely large enough to put a table and chairs inside. 

I also like that this wall tent has two doors and that the door height is tall enough for most people. You don’t want grandpa having to stoop to get in and out! 

Unlike a canvas bell tent, which may have low sidewalls, the wall tent design means almost all of the interior is usable.

Lastly, there are six large windows in the tent. They’re all screened in with mesh and easy to roll down for a light and breezy summer gathering. 

One of the drawbacks to this tent design is that it has a guyline in front of each door. 

You could try to jazz them up with some prayer flags to make them less of a tripping hazard, or you may be able to get away with not attaching those lines if the weather is nice. 


  • Large with lots of usable interior space
  • Six large, screened-in windows
  • Ample headspace and door height


  • Guy lines in front of the doors 
  • Internal support poles may get in the way

#12 Elk Mountain Yukon Bell Tent

Best Heavy Duty Canvas Tent

Best Heavy Duty Canvas Tent Elk Mountain Yukon Bell Tent

Floor area: 133 sq feet (plus)
Weight: 67 lbs
Height: 8 ft
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: No
Best for: Extreme weather camping 

The Elk Mountain Yukon Bell Tent is unique among the other tents listed here because it uses a polyvinyl canvas blend with an 11 oz weight (which is why I give it the top spot for heavy-duty). 

This blend is highly impervious to mildew and UV degradation. It has double the breaking strength of Sunforger canvas, which is a common brand used by other manufacturers. 

And the blend is still breathable, so condensation shouldn’t be an issue. 

The floor also uses heavy-duty 540g PVC and ties into the sides of the tent. 

One of the drawbacks to this tent is that it isn’t treated with a flame retardant. However, you can buy a heat guard to place behind or below the stove if you choose to have one. 

Another drawback to this design is that the window zips are on the outside of the tent. This means you’ll have to brave the weather or get up in the middle of the night to change the temperature. 


  • Very heavy-duty polyvinyl blend for extra durability
  • Lots of headroom
  • Tie in floors


  • Not treated with flame retardant
  • Window zips on the outside

#13 Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

Best Canvas Rooftop Tent

Best Canvas Rooftop Tent Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent

Floor area: 8 sq feet
Weight: 30 lbs
Height: 5’
Seasons: 4
Doors: 1
Vestibule: Yes
Best for: Leaving a light footprint while exploring by truck

This 100% cotton canvas tent is designed to be popped up in the bed of a truck. 

The Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Tent has a tunnel-like design with clamps designed to fit onto the sides of the truck bed. 

This model has excellent ventilation with five windows and even gives you access to the rear cab window. 

One of the main benefits of a truck bed camper is that, although almost all canvas tents purport to have waterproof floors, there’s always that crazily sloped campsite that will run a river through your tent if you’re not careful.

You don’t have to worry at all about that with a truck bed setup. Plus, this tent is only 30 pounds, so easily the most lightweight canvas tent on this list. 

The downside to this particular truck bed setup is that the peak height of the tent is only 5’ and it’s not intended for heavy snowfall. 


  • 100% cotton duck canvas treated with Hydra-Shield
  • Lightweight
  • Great ventilation
  • 4 season camping tent


  • Short peak height
  • Not intended for heavy snow 

Buying Guide: How to Choose a Canvas Tent

Pros and Cons of Canvas Tents

Pros and Cons of Canvas Tents



Some manufacturers promise that you’ll be able to hand your canvas tent down to your grandchildren. 

I can personally attest to how true that is since I’ve camped in my grandpa’s canvas tent!

Whether you plan to keep it for decades or not, cotton-canvas, when well cared for, can easily outlast a synthetic tent. 


If a canvas tent gets torn, it can be repaired easily on the spot with a needle and thread, which can save your camping trip. 

In fact, canvas is so durable it’s often used as sail material.

Canvas is typically made with a combination of cotton, linen, and polyvinyl chloride, which is a synthetic resin that helps with strength and waterproofing


The natural cotton and linen fibers in canvas help the tent breathe. 

I often camp in nylon tents and I invariably wake up with so much condensation on the inside of my tent that it can actually get my sleeping bag wet. 

You won’t have this problem with canvas.

Compatible with Wood Burning Stoves

While you might think introducing a wood-burning stove inside a camping setup would be a recipe for disaster, I can tell you firsthand that it makes winter camping so much more bearable. 

UV Resistant

Canvas holds up much better against UV degradation than nylon tents. 

Canvas can also be re-treated with UV or waterproofing chemicals, while plastic tents don’t tend to be as re-treatable. 

In addition to resisting UV rays better, they’ll also insulate you better against summer heat.

If you’re like me and have literally woken up with a gasp due to the heat inside your tent, this is an attractive feature. 



Bottom line: canvas tent camping is an investment. 

You can purchase a decent quality nylon tent for around $300, but plan to spend around $700-1000 minimum on a quality canvas tent. 

Complicated Setup 

Since canvas tents are almost always bigger than plastic ones, it will take you longer to set one up. 

I always recommend doing a trial run on a new tent in your backyard before you debut it at your first campsite in the middle of the night. 

That said, there are still plenty of canvas models that have an “easy setup” as a feature.


Without a doubt, there’s no way to backpack with a typical canvas tent. 

However, most campers camp within about 100 yards of their vehicle, so weight isn’t really an issue for most situations. 

Looking for more tent options? Check out our guides to the best one-person tents, 2-person tents, 4-person tents, 6-person tents, 8-person tents, 10-person tents, 12-person tents, family tents, large camping tents, 3-room tents, instant tents, pop-up tents, inflatable tents, tunnel tents, winter tents, insulated tents, tents with stove jacks, glamping tents, SUV tents, motorcycle tents, tents for wind, tents with an AC port, tents with a screen room, and cabin tents.

What to Look for in a Canvas Tent

What to Look for in a Canvas Tent

Weight and Quality of Canvas

Canvas is a tightly woven cotton or hemp-based fabric that is known for its durability. 

As you peruse canvas tents, you’ll notice a few different terms and specifications thrown out there. 

The weight or thickness of canvas is measured in oz/sq yard (oz) or grams/sq meter (gsm). 

Generally, the heavier the canvas, the tougher it will be against the elements. 

Many companies use 10.1 oz (340 gsm) canvas, which is generally suitable for summer use. 

However, if you want a tent to reliably stand up in multiple seasons, it’s a good idea to choose products that are over 10.1oz.


Go for canvas tents that are double-stitched at the seams. Single-stitched tents are simply more prone to tears. 

Hardware Material

Even if your tent has high-quality canvas, it won’t be worth a darn if the center pole snaps or the stakes bend and rip out of the ground. 

Always avoid tents that come with plastic stakes. Something on par with rebar is really what you need. 

Likewise, the type of zipper can affect the longevity of your tent. The two most respected brands of zippers are YKK and SBS, and tent-makers call attention to this in their specs. 

Additionally, the guy lines on the tent will be strung out to hold the tent in place, and these need to be ¼’’ thick at a minimum. 

Just like the stakes, avoid tents that come with plastic sliders. Look for metal ones instead. 


Even though canvas tents are more breathable than nylon tents, you’ll still want a tent with multiple ventilation points, ideally in the form of windows or doors. 

Some tents also come with slats near the top that have canvas rolled over them. 

Unless you have a reason not to, always go with windows and doors that are lined with mesh, This is sometimes called no-see-um mesh, after the tiny annoying bugs that can be present but you “no see.”

Floor Material

Ok, so first you’ll need to decide if you want a floor or not. For many people, the answer is, “yes, obviously,” but there can also be advantages to not having a floor. 

Not having a floor will make the tent lighter and easier to clean and dry out. 

If you decide you want a floor, there are usually two options. 

Sometimes you can get floors that zip into the walls, or you can get a separate floor piece that lays on the ground and usually overlaps the walls of the tent by a few inches. 

There are also a lot of canvas tents that come with the floor attached. Whether you choose an attached style or not, be sure the floor is made of waterproof rip-stop material. 

Types of Canvas Tents

Types of Canvas Tents

Bell Tent

Bell tents are typically circular in shape, with one tall pole in the center for support and a metal A-frame to form the door.

Bell tents are an excellent intermediate between size and everyday utility. 

Many of them can be pretty large and are best suited as longer-term backyard lodging, but smaller sizes would be great for camping or hunting camps. 

Bell tents are typically easier to put up – think more like 20-30 minutes compared to hours for a wall tent – and their shape makes them more wind resistant than square structures. 

Teepee Tent

The teepee, or tipi, tent is a conical style of tent that was first used by the indigenous tribes of the Great Plains of America. 

The structure of the teepee tent usually has a vent at the top, which allows smoke from open fires to escape. 

While I can never recommend having an open flame in your tent, modern versions of the teepee act in a similar way. 

The teepee style of tent is usually a bit smaller than some of the other models and is one of the best family camping tent options. 

Cabin (or Wall) Tent

Wall tents or cabin-style tents are exactly as you might imagine. 

While cabin tents tend to be smaller than wall tents, they share fundamental characteristics; they have four vertical walls topped with a traditional pitched roof. 

Wall tents come in various sizes and can be big enough to host large gatherings like wedding receptions. In contrast, cabin tents are better suited for family camping trips.

Wall tents can be time-consuming to set up and are not usually used for weekend camping trips

With that said, I’ve used large wall tents when doing outdoor fieldwork that required weeks outside, and they are incredible for their durability. 

Because of this durability, expect wall tents to be heavy. 


The tunnel-shaped canvas tents are somewhat of a rare breed. You’ll really only see them as small, single-person tents or as truck bed tents. 

The benefit of this style is that they’re smaller and more lightweight than any other canvas options but are really only suitable for one or two-person camping trips. 


A dome-shaped canvas camping tent usually has a square floor plan and a conical roof. 

The dome shape is superior among the other designs for withstanding wind and shedding rain. 

They usually have a sufficiently high peak height; however, the curved sides of a dome tent may reduce the actual livable space. 

Many dome-shaped tents are on the smaller side, so they’re great for weekend camping trips.

Looking for more types of tents? Check out our guides to the best 4-person tents, 6-person tents, 8-person tents, 10-person tents, 12-person tents, large camping tents, 3-room tents, instant tents, pop-up tents, tunnel tents, inflatable tents, waterproof tents, insulated tents, winter tents, and cabin tents.

How to Take Care of Canvas Tents

How to Take Care of Canvas Tents

There’s no doubt about it – a canvas tent is an investment in both time and money. 

And like anything you spend a lot of money on, you don’t want to immediately render it useless after a few uses, so understanding how to care for canvas is critical.

How to Season a Canvas Tent

Seasoning should be the first thing you do with your canvas tent, and it’s pretty easy to do. 

Just set the tent up in your yard and spray it down with a hose. Yep, soak your tent thoroughly, and then let it completely dry. Then repeat the process two more times.

The reason for this is that cotton canvas isn’t totally waterproof until it’s actually gotten wet, and the cotton has swollen to make a tighter weave. 

Wetting down the canvas and letting it dry out several times before you camp with it should ensure that the weave is as tight as can be.

If you observe seams that seem to be leaking into the tent, melt a little unscented candle wax over the seam to waterproof it further. 

How to Clean a Canvas Tent

When you’re done with your tent, be sure to take a soft brush with water and gently remove any debris or caked-on dirt. 

Don’t use soap or bleach as this can degrade the fabric or the chemicals it was treated with. 

There are detergents made specifically for canvas, so if you need a heavier duty clean, reach for one of these. 

How to Pack a Canvas Tent for Storage

One of the most important care factors for cotton canvas is making sure it’s 100% dry before you pack it up. 

Even if the fabric has been treated to be mildew resistant, no fabric will withstand weeks and months of constant moisture. 

As canvas tents tend to be large and heavy you can try draping them over a few ladders under an awning or garage to dry them completely. 

FAQs About Canvas Tents

FAQs About Canvas Tents

Are canvas tents waterproof?

Yes and no. They aren’t waterproof in the sense that you might be thinking. As in, they don’t 100% repel water. 

The way they work is that when the canvas gets wet it swells, thus tightening the weave of the fabric. This swelling keeps the water on the canvas and off you. 

The nice thing about canvas is that even though it absorbs some water, it’s still breathable enough that condensation shouldn’t accumulate on the inside. 

Why are canvas tents so expensive?

Canvas tents are so expensive because they’re usually quite large and the natural materials are more expensive to produce. 

Many canvas tents can also be customized, so if you want to reduce the cost of your tent, order a premade style.

Common Questions on Canvas Tents

What is the most ideal canvas tent for camping?

The best tent for camping will be any high-quality tent that meets your size needs. 

As long as you go with a high-quality canvas from a reputable manufacturer, you can’t go too wrong. 

Is a canvas tent worth it?

It’s definitely worth it if you want to have a durable, spacious, and dry camping experience. 

Yes, they can be more money upfront, but if you choose the right design and size for your needs, they’ll outlast nylon tents by a long shot. 

You should hold off on buying this type of tent if you’re very new to camping or not 100% sure what size or style you want. 

How long will a canvas tent last?

With proper care, a canvas tent will easily last for decades. 


author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is *chef’s kiss* next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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