Best Family Canvas Tents for Camping – Buyer’s Guide

We have put together a list of the 7 top Best Family Canvas Tents for Camping. 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

NameWeightOccupancy 
Dream House Luxury Tent Check Price
Alpha Kilo 4000 Canvas 6 Person54.5 pounds6 Check Price
Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow 4-Person54.5 pounds4 Check Price
Wenzel 8 Person Klondike29 pounds6 Check Price
Coleman Instant 4 Person18 pounds4 Check Price

Review – Dream House Glamping Canvas Tent

– the BEST Glamping Canvas ONE!
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The Dream House luxury outdoor glamping tent is the perfect option for many uses, including family camping trips, backyard getaways, festivals with friends, and more. Its large size allows for plenty of space that adds convenience over a regular tent by allowing inhabitants to stand, move around, and place furniture within it for a homey touch. This glamping tent comes in four diameter sizes: 9.8 feet, 13.1 feet, 16.4 feet, and 19.7 feet, and the heights of these options range from 78.7 inches to 137.8 inches tall.

This Dream House tent can be used all year round, and there are various features incorporated to make for a comfortable stay. For the cold winter weather, all tent sizes, with exception to the 9.8-foot tent, incorporate a stove hole so that a camping stove can be used to heat the space. To cool down the tent on those scorching summer days, the walls of the tent can be unzipped from the ground cover and rolled up to provide a covered, yet open space that allows for a pleasant breeze to cool down the tent. Screen coverings on the doors and windows also allow for air to pass into the tent while keeping out bugs and other items and animals. While a nice breeze may be nice on hot days, extreme winds can be undesirable, but the tent can withstand six-degree winds.

The tent is made out of durable materials that are designed to last throughout many camping trips and weather conditions. The tent itself is made out of a cotton canvas that utilizes a polyurethane coating to make the material water resistant. An optional tent tarp is available for additional protection from the rain. The ground cover is made of PVC that is easy to wipe down and does an excellent job of keeping the interior of the tent dry with its waterproof material and slightly raised sides. Included are poles that are made of galvanized steel and ropes and metal pegs for setup. The entire tent conveniently packs into a zippered carrying case, allowing for easy storage and transport for many adventures.

Pros
      • Spacious interior for multiple individuals and beds
      • Can be used in all seasons
      • Easy to clean the material
      • Double stitching for durability and to keep water out
      • Incorporated screens to keep bugs out
      • Stove hole for stove use in colder weather
      • Resistant to wind up to 30 miles per hour
      • Easy to transport and pack with a carrying bag
      • Tent tarp cover to protect tent from heavy rains
      • Quick and easy setup
Cons
  • 9.8-foot diameter option doesn’t incorporate a stove hole
  • May leak the first time it becomes wet
  • A large space to fit tent and tie-down ropes is necessary
  • The tent itself is not 100% waterproof in heavy rains
  • Material is not flame retardant, so caution must be used when using stove

#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.

This Coleman is slated as a 8 sleeping capacity tent. Of course, in reality, no people actually sleep in the tetris-like arrangements engineers design to account for their maximum sleeping capacity. That being said, this Coleman can comfortably house between 5 to 6 full-sized adults–though there will be little room for additional gear inside the tent.

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.

Oddly, even though both Colemans are constructed from the same materials, this model fares much better in wet conditions without a rain fly, though it is not absolutely waterproof. However, if you use the partition to create vestibule, your sleeping area will remain dry.
Considering that this is a larger tent, its profile is necessarily larger as well. That means that this Coleman requires more support to remain upright. Unfortunately, the support poles are and tie-downs are a bit substandard and may come undone or bend in extremely windy conditions.
On the plus side, the larger Coleman utilizes far more guy lines to remain stable. While this would generally create more treacherous walking conditions during the nighttime, this Coleman makes use of patented Illumiline technology which provides a reflective coating so that the guy lines are easier to see in dark conditions.
Pros
  • Mostly watertight, even without a rain fly
  • Fairly easy to setup with two people
  • Illumiline reflective guy lines prevent nighttime tumbles
Cons
  • Does not comfortably sleep 8 people as advertised
  • The poles will come undone in windier conditions
  • Customer service is a nightmare to deal with

#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.

The Wenzel, on the other hand, is actually designed with an intended vestibule. It is this vestibule which is supposed to provide additional room for the other occupants. Unfortunately, both portions of the Wenzel are not equal in dimension.
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.
One advantage the Wenzel has over the Coleman is in ventilation and air flow. The room is made entirely out of mesh, though this will necessitate the use of the rain fly. Regardless, this open air design not only allows air to circulate more or less freely, on a calm night with good weather, you can also remove the rain fly to enjoy some stargazing.
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.
Unfortunately, the floor is only made from welded polyethylene, which is decent but not as good as vinyl. As such, it is recommended you set up the Wenzel on top of a vinyl tarp. Furthermore, the Wenzel’s frame is made from fiberglass. Considering the size of this tent, that is simply insufficient to guarantee it will stay upright in windy conditions, and one of the main complaints about the Wenzel involves broken corners of the frame.
Pros
  • Spacious with plenty of headroom to stand up inside
  • Two-room design offers some privacy if desired
  • Excellent ventilation and airflow–probably the best on our list
Cons
  • A fiberglass frame is the lowest grade used and may suffer in windy conditions
  • Setup is time consuming, difficult, and requires another person
  • The zippers are sturdy but poorly designed being tedious and catch the fabric

#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.

Thankfully, the materials used for both Colemans are the same. The walls are made from polyester fabric that has been sealed with polyethylene as have the taped wall seams. Moreover, the floor is also polyester coated in polyethylene and made into a “bathtub” design and welded to the walls to help keep out water.

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.

Still, as a smaller tent, the frame and tethers which were unsuitable for the larger Coleman, are more than adequate to provide a stable frame even in windier condition. Moreover, despite not having the reflective Illumiline coating, this Coleman requires far fewer guy lines for that to even be an issue.

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.

Pros
  • Relatively lightweight and can be hiked a reasonable, though not extended, distance
  • Almost ridiculously easy to setup with one person in under a minute
  • Much more stable than the other Coleman
Cons
  • The rain fly must be sold separately
  • Too short to stand up inside
  • The ventilation and airflow are poor when sealed

#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.

For one, it is easier to stand up in the tent, and the design feels less claustrophobic than some other designs. Moreover, depending on how you arrange yourself, the tent provides ample room to comfortably sleep between 2 to 3 people. However, you will be forced to position all of your gear at the edges of the tent and sleep around the central ridge pole.
Another advantage of the Teepee design is that it is relatively easy to setup, though you will generally need at least two people: one to hold the central ridge pole and the other to secure the guy lines. Furthermore, the teepee design also provides a solid amount of ventilation and air flow.
Still, Guide Gear took a great design and failed to adequately provide the minor touches and a major one to make it without serious faults. For one, the door is relatively short which can make getting into and out of the tent a pain. Moreover, the zippers for the door do not close all the way to the ground, while the zippers for the windows can only be accessed outside of the tent altogether.

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.

Pros
  • A unique design provides an antiquated, quaint feel
  • The design allows for excellent ventilation and air flow
  • Easy to setup and fairly sturdy
Cons
  • The seams are not truly watertight and will leak over enough time
  • The doors are fairly small for an adult
  • Various closures either do not zip at the bottom or can only be accessed from outside

#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.

However, if you are a camper who prefers some of the creature comforts other tents offer, then this may not be the right tent for you. The Kodiak’s design is somewhat barebones. Its dimensions prevent the use of some of the larger, nicer camping beds available, and its maximum sleeping capacity of 4 campers should not be trusted.
However, its walls are made from 100 percent cotton duck vinyl, the most durable, breathable material used for tent walls. To ensure that the Kodiak’s fabric walls are also waterproof, Kodiak infused the canvas with silicone. This actually provides a more watertight seal than polyethylene while still providing the breathability that you would expect from a premium tent.

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.

Pros
  • The only tent on our list that uses 100 percent cotton duck canvas
  • The canvas walls coupled with 2 tunnel-flow vents provide excellent airflow
  • Steel rods provide incredible stability regardless the weather conditions
Cons
  • It will be somewhat cramped if four full-sized adults sleep in it simultaneously
  • At 54.5 pounds, this tent is exceptionally heavy and not for hiking
  • The frame locks are not the best quality

Buyer’s Guide:
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:

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.

Ground Dimensions:
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.

Season:
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.

Conclusion:

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.


[ratings]
Darel Broterickson
Expert of equipment: tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, clothing, accessories, sticks, rugs, thermal underwear.