There is nothing quite like the great outdoors. The cool breeze traipsing in once the sun dips below the horizon, the rhythmic buzz of crickets on the air, the freedom and peace to simply disconnect from our hectic, modern world and just relax.
Of course, without the right equipment, camping can be a nightmare. Those same bugs who once sang you to sleep now scurry into your tent seeking warmth and shelter. The breeze turned to gales while the peace shattered across the dark, stormy sky, punctuated by lightning.
That is why it is important to ensure that the tent you choose for your little getaway is well-made and can stand up to the tests mother nature may throw at it. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 top best canvas tents. Furthermore, we have provided one of the most comprehensive buyer’s guides to ensure that you are comfortable making an informed decision, so your family vacation will be remembered for years to come not as a disaster but as a blessing
Best Canvas Tent 2017
|Coleman 8-Person||10.3 x 10.9 x 48 inches||43.8 pounds||43.35 pounds||8||14x10-Feet|
|Wenzel 8 Person Klondike||16 x 16 x 132 inches||29 pounds||26.35 pounds||6||16' x 11'|
|Coleman Instant 4 Person||9.5 x 18 x 38 inches||18 pounds||19 pounds||4||4-Person|
|Guide Gear 10x10'||3.25 x 6 x 25||14.9 pounds||14.29 pounds||6||6-Person|
|Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-Person||9 by 8 feet||54.5 pounds||57.8 pounds||4||9x6 ft|
#1.Coleman 8-Person Instant Tent – The Most Comfortable Canvas Tent
Our first product comes from Coleman, a brand that not only has a sterling reputation in the outdoorsman gear market but also appears a second time on our list later on. In fairness, both of the Coleman tents use many of the same materials and patented technologies. The primary difference comes in the form of dimensions.
Still, the Coleman is able to partition its fairly expansive dimensions into 2 separate sections, providing some degree of privacy. Of course, should you so choose, this tent would allow 2 people to sleep comfortably while providing plenty of room for gear and utilizing the partition to create a vestibule for further protection from insects.
#2. Wenzel 8 Person Klondike Tent – The Best “Hang Out”
The Wenzel is similar to the previous Coleman in some respects, but ultimately a lesser tent in the long run. Both tents advertise a maximum sleeping capacity of 8 people. However, the Coleman partitions its space off evenly with a flap that splits the tent in 2 equally sized portions.
Specifically, the vestibule of the Wenzel is slightly shorter and thus may be less comfortable for tall people. In fairness, the main portion of the Wenzel is 6 ½’ tall while the vestibule is still 6’ tall, so the difference is unlikely to present too much of a discrepancy.
The walls are constructed from Wenzel’s patented Weather Armor polyester fabric and coated in water resistant polyurethane. The body’s seams are double-stitched and lap-felled to provide a shingle-like effect that further keeps out water.
#3. Coleman Instant Tent 4 Person – The Easiest Tent Setup
Our second Coleman is a somewhat disappointing entry on this list when compared to its big brother. However, this tent definitely fills a niche that has been excluded by all the other entries: portability. Quite simply, if you intend to hike to a campsite, none of the other tents on this list are remotely light enough to do so for any real distance.
Unfortunately, as more of a travel tent, this Coleman is the smallest on our list. It is the only tent in which at least a 6’ person could not stand up at some part of it. However, this Coleman does not even come close to that and is actually just shy of 5’. Furthermore, even though many of the materials are water resistant, the tent is not waterproof. That would not be a big deal except the rain fly is sold separately.
Finally, whereas the previous Coleman said it could be setup with one person in 60 seconds, it is really only able to achieve that feat with 2 people–though, even that is fairly impressive. However, the Coleman 4 person definitely holds true to its promise of nearly instant setup with only a single person required.
#4. Guide Gear 10×10′ Teepee Tent – The Most Unique
If you are looking for a rustic design that will stand out, Guide Gear has you covered. Unfortunately, if you are looking for much more than that, you are better off to keep looking. The Teepee design does offer a few advantages.
Regardless, the primary issue with the Guide GEar is waterproofing. Quite simply, the Guide Gear is not nearly water resistant enough to satisfy in even a consistent drizzle. The seams may be “factory sealed,” but that is not enough to prevent water from seeping from the edges and pooling in the center of the tent–where you are mostly likely to be sleeping. Even worse, even the rain fly does not seem to offer much in the way of protection as water will also seeping in from the ridge pole.
#5. Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-Person Canvas Tent – The Most Well-Made Tent
While it is not ideal for all situations, the Kodiak is arguably the highest quality tent on our list. Keep in mind, quality and comfort are two entirely different things. When we speak of quality, we are referring explicitly to the materials and construction of the tent. In this regard, the Kodiak is by and away the superior product–and its price reflects this fact.
Speaking of breathability, the Kodiak also goes the extra mile in regards to ventilation and air flow by providing 4 giant windows that are nearly the size of the tent walls and two air vents at the top. The zippers also feature a high quality component using #10 YKK zippers to provide a secure closure that lasts without snagging.
The floor follows similar suit and is made from polyester reinforced vinyl, giving it additional strength to go along with the top rated water resistance. Finally, both the frame and rods are made out of steel which, while heavy, will not bow or break in windy conditions.
When selecting a tent, there are a few features which will stand out above the rest in determining the quality of your outdoor excursion. Obvious considerations like size will definitely be at the top of the list as will materials. However, there are numerous considerations which regrettably may require enduring to fully appreciate.
The way the seams of the walls are stitched together or the way the floor and the walls are joined will all but determine the waterproofing of your tent. Furthermore, the construction of the doors, windows, vents will also affect whether you sleep soundly or toss and turn throughout the night.
However, other features, like side pockets or the length of time to setup or the profile required to make camp are at best, secondary concerns if not mere conveniences.
Materials refers to a few parts of the tent. The walls, floor, and waterproofing will all provide a range of different materials. The walls of a tent generally come in four different types of materials: nylon, polyester, GORE-Tex, and canvas or cotton.
Nylon is the most lightweight and ideal if you plan on hiking for long treks. However, it is only water resistant and will require some form of waterproof coating to remain sealed. However, nylon is also the least durable of the four wall materials.
Polyester is the most common tent wall material. It is much more durable than nylon and more water resistant, though it too will require some form of waterproof coating to remain completely dry. It is heavier than nylon and not always suited for the longest treks on foot, though it is also more breathable.
GORE-Tex is used for professional grade equipment. It is both waterproof and breathable without a waterproof coating, though it will generally feature one for additional protection. Moreover, GORE-Tex is also great for insulation, making it the ideal choice for 4 season tents. However, it is fairly expensive.
Canvas is the original tent material. It has been around for as long as tents have existed, and will probably outlive the other materials above. It is the most durable material while still allowing excellent insulation, though it is not at all waterproof without some kind of protective coating. It is also incredibly heavy and not suitable for even short hiking distances.
The floor also generally utilize 4 different materials. These materials are vinyl, polyethylene, oxford, or nylon or poly taffeta.
Vinyl is generally seen as the best floor material. It is incredibly durable and provides excellent water resistance. However it is also fairly heavy and does no pack easily.
Polyethylene is the most common material for tent floors. It is relatively durable and provides a decent amount of water resistance. However, it is much lighter and far easier to pack.
Oxford is actually polyester or a nylon blend. It is probably the most durable material and can pack the easiest. However, it is only modestly water resistant and requires a waterproofing coat.
Nylon or Poly Taffeta is the lowest grade of tent floor material. It is the least water resistant and also the least durable. However, it is fairly easy to pack and its light weight makes it ideal for long treks.
Finally, waterproofing does not feature nearly as many different types of material. GORE-Tex is itself waterproof and may serve without an additional coating.
Beyond inherently waterproof materials, polyurethane is the most common type of waterproof coating. It may also protect against UV damage to the tent walls but will wear over time.
Far less common is a silicone coating, though this is generally only usable with canvas, cotton, or a polycotton blend material. Silicone is actually infused into the fabric so it will not wear out as quickly, though it will decrease breathability and does not protect against UV radiation.
Dimensions refer to a few things in regards to tents. First, dimensions are most commonly understood a the width and length of a tent. However, the height of a tent is also important–especially for comfort. Still the design, support, and frame of the tent will also weigh heavily with the sleeping capacity, arguably the most important dimension of a tent. Finally, the tent’s profile, or how big it is on the outside when fully setup, will determine how much space you need to assemble your tent.
The most common mistake a consumer can make in regards to dimension is to assume a large width and length necessarily mean a large seeping capacity. However, with many tents making use of centrally positioned ridge polls, the sleeping capacity of a tent is often not a simple issue width by length.
Moreover, the sleeping capacity a tent advertises is rarely an appropriate estimation. Sleeping capacity is better understood as the maximum number of occupants you can cram into the tent’s dimensions without accounting for any gear or the overall comfort of the occupants. A tent with a sleeping capacity of 4 people may very well only house 2 comfortably.
Height may be more or less important depending on the people in question. If you are a fairly tall person, a tent that requires you to remain either in a stooped or seated position the entire time will not feel that comfortable. Finally, the profile can vary greatly from tent to tent–even if they share the same width and length dimensions. The more guy lines your tent requires to remain stable, the larger you tent’s profile and the more space you will need to setup. However, the fewer the guy lines, generally the stable the tent–especially for tents with a height of 6’ or more.
Tents come in 4 different types of season, though this does not actually correlate to the four season of spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In essence, the “seasonality” of a tent is more indicative of the types of conditions it can handle and is suited for.
A one season is only suitable in comfortable temperatures. They are generally designed to be somewhat waterproof and will often feature some of the best ventilation or airflow.
Three season tents are usable from spring until autumn. They feature far improved waterproofing–potentially even completely waterproof–and better for cool, but not frigid, temperatures.
Four season tents, as their name implies, are suitable for all seasons. These tents should be completely waterproof and keep you warm even in colder climates, though their ventilation is generally poor.
The final “season” of tent is not truly a season but a circumstance. Expedition tents are the most durable, most waterproof, and warmest available. They are often used for mountain climbing or other extreme outdoor scenarios.
None of these 5 tents will be right for all people. If you have a large family, you are likely to find a better option with either the Coleman 8 person or the Wenzel. While the other 3 tents advertise a maximum sleeping capacity of 4 people, no one will sleep comfortably in such an arrangement.
Of course, if you want the best tent in regards to waterproofing, insulation, and breathability, you best bet will be the Kodiak. However, like the best of all things, this tent will set you back more than 50 percent the cost of the next highest priced tent on our list. Still, as the only tent that uses cotton duck canvas and that is infused with a silicone waterproof coating, the sheer quality may justify such an investment.