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Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent [2023] Which is Better?

The material used to make a tent is always the subject of great importance. Other than this, other components in selecting your tent perform a significant role in the success of your camping trip. Therefore, we researched the two most popular tent fabrics, canvas, and nylon.

It is challenging to decide between canvas or nylon tents, as there is some reasoning from both sides. Canvas tents are a conventional and authentic choice. On the contrary, according to today’s requirements, nylon tents are artificial, modern, and extremely lightweight.

It’s the camper’s choice regarding their tent requirement. There is a massive range of tents in the market; therefore, you can select according to your needs. Ultimately, every camper must choose between a comfortable, lightweight, sturdy, weather-resistant, and economic tent.

It is the reason we make a point to know what you need. If you have a rational idea about your needs, it will make it easy for you to choose between canvas and nylon tents. Canvas and nylon tents have many dissimilarities, such as weight, breathability, and cost.

But the significant difference is longevity. In this article, we will discuss canvas tents vs. nylon tents thoroughly.

Quick Comparison: Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent

FeatureCanvas TentNylon Tent
MaterialHeavy-duty cotton canvas or a blendLightweight nylon or polyester fabric
DurabilityHighly durable, resistant to tears and abrasionsLess durable, prone to tears and wear
WeightHeavier due to the canvas materialLightweight, making it easier to carry
Weather ResistanceExcellent in all weather conditionsGood for fair weather, may need additional rainfly or coating for rain protection
BreathabilityGood ventilation, less condensationLimited breathability, can lead to condensation
InsulationProvides better insulation, suitable for cold weatherOffers less insulation, better for warm weather
Setup TimeTypically longer setup time due to heavier materialsQuick and easy setup due to lightweight materials
MaintenanceRequires more maintenance, especially drying to prevent moldEasier to clean and maintain
PortabilityBulkier and heavier, less portableCompact and lightweight, more portable
Price RangeUsually more expensiveGenerally more affordable
LongevityCan last for many years with proper careMay have a shorter lifespan
VersatilitySuitable for long-term camping or base campsIdeal for backpacking and short trips
Additional FeaturesOften comes with features like stove jacks for winter campingFewer additional features
Eco-FriendlyGenerally more eco-friendly due to natural materialsMay be less eco-friendly due to synthetic materials
PopularityPopular among serious campers and for extended tripsPopular among backpackers and casual campers

Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent: In-depth Comparison?

Are you ready to start the confrontation of canvas vs. nylon tent? Let’s check out how both stuff differs regarding:

● Comfort
● Durability
● Portability
● Weather resistance
● Cold weather use
● Maintenance
● Environmental sustainability
● Price

Let’s talk about them one by one.

1. Comfort

As canvas is a natural material and nylon is a synthetic material; therefore canvas is extra suitable for breathing than nylon. It means airflow is better in canvas tents. It means there is less moisture in a canvas tent. It is the best insulator. As a result, the comfort level in cotton canvas tents excels compared to nylon tents.

2. Durability

Canvas and nylon are both immensely durable materials. Despite this, canvas fabric is more impervious to ripping up. Its heavy thread stops small tears from increasing gradually. Although, your tent will be highly durable if it is a form of ripstop nylon.

Similar to canvas, ripstop nylon stops unimportant destruction from becoming more remarkable. With a stitching kit, you can quickly stitch a rip in your canvas tent. On the other hand, to repair nylon, you need a particular patch which is a bit of a hassle. However, the canvas is slightly more durable in contrast to nylon.

3. Portability

Nylon has come out on top when it is related to portability. Nylon tents are easy to carry, handy, and an excellent choice for those looking to keep their load light. They are also denser, making them portable. Remarkably canvas tents are weighty and girthy. The canvas is acceptable for car camping but could not be better for backpackers.

4. Weather Resistance

Canvas got the upper edge when it comes to UV protection. Due to repeated exposure to the sun, nylon tents tear down gradually. Hence, ultimately a canvas tent lasts longer than a nylon tent. Canvas tents are more suitable for windy conditions.

No tent fabric is completely waterproof. A canvas tent needs waterproofing before use, and a nylon tent needs a rainfly to protect it from water. Both tents have a similar level of water resistance, as mentioned. In short, Nylon tents dry more quickly than canvas.

If your tent is wet and you don’t have time to dry it, you are unlikely to have trouble with it but will develop a smell if its fabric is nylon.

5. Cold Weather Use

A Canvas tent is the best insulator made of cotton. It indicates that a canvas tent keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. There are 4 season and 5-season heaters created by nylon. You will be fine in a nylon tent if you have the right gear for winter camping.

6. Maintenance

Your tent needs maintenance; you can maintain your tent by applying a waterproof spray. For canvas tents, drench them entirely and allow them to dry. You can do this once or various times, depending on your tent, as canvas takes more time to dry.

It makes it more permitted to mold. Due to this, you have to clean your canvas tent frequently compared to a nylon tent to ensure not to end up with a mildew tent. While cleaning the canvas, ensure to do it attentively.

Don’t use pipeline or pressure cleaner; don’t scour the canvas tent fabric. Make sure water is not at all warmer than rainwater would. On the contrary, nylon tents are insensitive; you can wash them in the machine. Hence, nylon tents are easier to maintain compared to canvas tents.

7. Environmental Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is an aspect to which we should pay attention. Canvas is again on top in this category. Because canvas is biodegradable, it is manufactured from natural materials.

It means the canvas is not harmful to our planet because when it reaches the end, it can decay back into the earth. Further, nylon tent fabric is an artificial fabric created from petroleum. In making these products, harmful chemicals are required.

Making these tents produces toxic waste, a side effect that is dangerous for the environment, humans, and animals. When a nylon tent’s lifespan ends, it breaks into microplastic, which ends up in the air and water. It implies nylon tents will continue to damage our environment.

8. Price

Canvas is more expensive than nylon because it is a natural material. On the contrary, nylon is artificial and budget friendly tents.

The Advantage of Canvas Tent over Nylon Tent

Following are the advantages of canvas tents over nylon tents.

1: Better Sun Protection

Nylon is thinner than canvas. You can get suntanned inside a nylon tent, but a Canvas tent will protect you from the sun because its fabric is thick. Ultraviolet rays of the sun are unpleasant in some cases.

Canvas tents remain darker for extended periods so that you can sleep late in the morning, but nylon tents make it easy to wake up early in the bright sunlight. Nylon tents have a UV protective coating, but still, it was affected by sun rays.

Because of lack of opposition, thinner fabrics permit sun damage. The waterproof and UV coating of the tent keeps the material safe for a little more, but UV rays ultimately erode the layer from the tent. Canvas tents have hefty material, producing lower solar damage than synthetic tents. Canvas tents outstay during lengthy summertime.

2: Retain Heat Better In Cold Weather

Even with less sunlight, standard camps can preserve warmth fabulously. The tent’s fabric works as a shield because it is hefty, making it eligible for frigid temperatures. Compared to canvas tents, instant tent fabric preserve heat well, but winter camping is not worth it because you need many blankets and heaters to support freezing climate.

But using canvas in hot weather is an unsatisfactory suggestion, depending on all excellent protection, as it’s easy to suppose; therefore, it’s too suffocating in the camp. To some extent, it’s accurate, just in some cases.

3: Easier to Stay Cool

The hefty fabric of the tent not only insulates; apart from this, it also takes the heat out. The canvas sooner or later becomes warm or hot, equal to the external weather, besides you keep extended time in the daylight to relish an excellent tent inner before the object gets too hot.

If you want to icy cold your camp by hand, a shield will help keep cool air inside. You can bring the temperature down and circulate the air by unlocking the openings for airing and then running some blowers.

Afterward, you can lock the canvas, along with the breeze that will remain in your camp for long-lasting. In nylon tents, you will not find this as they become warm or hot swiftly; moreover, it’s permitted to be an incubus to make an effort and get more relaxed.

Regarding cold weather, temperature regulation suggests canvas tents, but there is some incompatibility, as campers mention.

4: Last For Longer

Canvas tents are known for their long-lasting; they are sturdy, can resist gales, and can control sun exposure. You will need to waterproof and season your canvas tent frequently. It is optional for a tent that could last for over ten years. In contrast, nylon tents need to be replaced before five years. Gradually, for a voracious camper, this will get expensive.

5: More Breathable

You will have to waterproof and season your canvas tent frequently. It is not a big deal for a tent that could last more than ten years. In comparison, nylon tents need to be replaced before five years. Gradually a voracious camper finds this expensive.

Irksome Moisture: Less moisture inside means you are unlikely to go through any difficulty, including fungus. Fungus grows in water and dark areas. Although, if you have any issue with fungus, you can search on the internet for what means I can wipe a fungus in the tent.

If you see moisture on your tent, it’s unlikely, so knock over the room divider. Canvas fabric soaks up water; therefore, you can rarely observe any moisture develop.

6: Material Is More Sustainable

Traditional tent, specifically fabric cotton, is environmentally safe. It is eco-friendly and decays after a few months; you discard it. Fabric cotton camps are ecologically sustainable because they build from reusable substances.

It varies from chemical or artificial substances of manufactured and synthetic fiber obtained from Crude oil. Crude is not reusable, and those substances are not environmentally safe. It takes about 40 years to decay nylon, and for polyester, it takes over 500.

Although, only some traditional camps have renewable characteristics. A few have protection against putrefying because they have respective ingredients, which secures them from damage. Before buying and selecting your tent, thoroughly search about it. I prefer to choose a biodegradable tent.

7: Can be Repaired More Easily

Synthetic material can tear more quickly than canvas because artificial and rayon fabric repair frequently. Ultimately, impairment in nylon camps becomes impracticable to restore. Duct tape is best to mend small rips, as nylon falls into pieces quickly, and stitching it will make the incision larger.

When stitching more giant tears with fishing lines or cotton, you must be careful. The nylon tent has a thin fabric, eroded by outer wrapping or stitched-up patches. As a result, it allows the reopening of the stitched-up rips.

Although traditional camps hold up extra patches and can adjust cuts appropriately, they stay secure for ages and attach a massive part of the destruction. Such as, in case the whole piece of your fabric tears after mending, you can take a few parts of the tent fabric, stitch in, and cut the damaged area away.

Your tent is waterproof with a single coat of sealant, and you are ready to go. It is pricey to repair canvas tents because they have premium stuff. Despite this, you should mend canvas fabric rarer than nylon fabric.

8: Perfect for Glamping

With the help of a canvas tent, you can make your trip luxurious every once in a while. A lot of campers have done this and had a very great experience. A Canvas tent is perfect for glamping trips because it holds all the fancy items, like furniture, rugs, etc., you will need.

Canvas tents can handle this item as they are huge and sturdy. If you wish to maintain a tent throughout the year, they will be qualified to hold long-run carpeting, such as lamination. You can create a camp into a charming house. You cannot make an artificial tent fabric into a lovely home.

Cons: Where Canvas Tents Fall Short of Nylon Tents

Following are the cons of the canvas tent over the nylon tent.

1: More Expensive

Natural fabrics are more expensive than artificial fabrics. Such as, let’s compare low-cost canvas tents with low-cost nylon tents. A triangle figure canvas with a gap on the outer side of the tent is suitable for two persons and ranges between 150250 dollars. It is an inexpensive traditional fabric tent on amazon. It is the ideal tent for two people, which is unworthy.
Now move upward to costly tents. Danchel outdoor canvas cotton yurt tent is of premium quality 13-foot tent that is considerable for Prolong camping and glamping trips. Its price is more than 700 dollars. 16 by 16 feet is under 500 dollars compared to the Ozark trail.

Although, the quality of the tent differs. Compared to nylon tents, sometimes you come upon a costly canvas tent that is unfit for extra charges. Beware of something like that, too. You make sure that your tent’s additional expenses are worth it. Make sure it has the following:

● Iron or steel poles
● Well build pegs
● Thick rope
● Impervious floor
● Premium standard, bulky tarp

2: Extremely Heavy

In terms of weight, some huge artificial tents are similar to traditional tents, but still, there is a massive difference between them. Even a tiny canvas tent is heavy weight-wise. The heavyweight canvas tent makes it unfitting in favor of budget travelers, also in support of short-term outdoor activities, it needs to be revised.

3: Longer Setup Times

Artificial camps are also called spot camps. Expand the previously gathered sticks, hold the tent up, and finish it in 300 seconds. A few replicas entail colossal establishment, certainly, but many are instant. Traditional campers are quickly built.

Some campers have good exposure to canvas tents. Woefully, only some have good exposure to a canvas tent. The weight of the canvas makes it challenging to build quickly and takes more time. To conclude, a traditional camper’s size and mass demand more than two people to build it; in comparison, one person can make most nylon tents.

4: Rot Easier Than Nylon Tents

Artificial fabric is supremely implausible to decay because it can quickly develop mold or mildew. It does not happen to organic matter such as canvas. It would be best if you were more careful when wrapping and putting up the tent, ensured it was dry, and promptly tidied up any spot of mold and mildew.

You must have arid camp fabric within shadows if you live in a steamy place. Finding a shelter space indoors is an excellent way to dry. Mold increases speedily in a piece of fabric; it erodes the cloth that turns the material into the dirt. If it grows to an extreme, you must change a large portion of your fabric.

5: Harder To Dry

Traditional tents fabric reduces when moist; pin it in the outside area while drenching to maintain shape. Pre-assembled your tent before drying will ensure the best results. That assures it remains in proper form and dimension. It is possible to be done with something other than artificial fabric.

Dangle them in several directions and assure in order material will not decrease. As long as a dried artificial tent is more effortless than a parched canvas one.

6: Not Great For Older or Physically Challenged Campers Who Camp Alone

Maybe you are a retiree or unemployed person; therefore, you often go outside to spend quality time with your family. As a result, a prolonged tent requires. Sadly, a traditional tent will not perform productively. Moreover, setting up a canvas tent with one person can take time and effort. Lastly, it is weighty and girthy for campers.

Related: Best Camping Tents for Seniors

When Are Canvas Tents Worth It?

Canvas tents are worth it if you desire a long life and save money ultimately, on condition that you do not bring the tent by hand above faraway. A Canvas tent is not best for you if you take short, infrequent, or backpack trips.

It would be worth choosing canvas if:

● You prefer to camp in a frigid weather
● You are not hiking and backpacking
● You must stay for a long time
● You are a professional camper
● You camp frequently

Reasons to Choose Nylon Tents over Canvas

Here are the reasons to choose a nylon tent over canvas:

● You like climbing and backpacking
● You are weak
● You choose momentarily
● You do not have an advanced investment
● You are a learner
● You won’t camp frequently
● You prefer to camp in warm weather

Final Thoughts: Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent

Each tent fabric has its advantages and disadvantages. In this article, canvas tent vs. nylon tents, we compare both tents. Canvas fabric is long-lasting and waterproof; it is more comfortable and works better in frigid weather conditions.

Besides, nylon is compact, easier to maintain, and more reasonable. On the whole, if you are searching for a backpacking tent, the decision is clear, a nylon tent with excellent quality is good for you. But the canvas is a good choice if you are a car camper and the extra weight does not matter to you.

Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent: Frequently Asked Questions

Following are the frequently asked questions related to canvas tents vs nylon tents.

1. Is a canvas tent better than a nylon tent?

Answer: Canvas fabric is waterproof and long-lasting. It works better in frigid weather conditions and is more comfortable. On the contrary, nylon is easier to maintain, reasonable, and portable.

2. Is nylon better than canvas?

Answer: The canvas is long-lasting, but nylon has a more excellent power-to-mass ratio. It is lighter than canvas but still slightly less intense.

3. Are canvas tents cooler than nylon?

Answer: Canvas tents are cooler than nylon because they are better insulators and more breathable. It means you will stay warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather.

4. Which material is best for a tent?

Answer: Canvas or cotton material is best for a tent because it is the best insulator. Cotton is a breathable fabric and can absorb water easily. They are quieter even in the wind because of their weight and insulation properties.