What Is Tent Material Made Of

What Are Tents Made Of? A Quick and Helpful Fabric Guide

My tent had a tag on the inside while I was sleeping down in it one night after a long day of trekking and cooking over a campfire. I rolled over and noticed the tag on my tent’s interior. Naturally, in order to keep from falling asleep, I looked at the tag and saw what fabric it was made of. It got me wondering about what tents are constructed of and whether or not different types of textiles are used to construct tents, as well as what the ideal fabric to use for a tent is. What materials are used to construct tents?

Tents are made of a variety of textiles, some of which are more prevalent than others.

Most of the time, we are looking for a material that is both sturdy and lightweight.

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of different tent materials might assist you in making an informed decision when purchasing a tent for your camping requirements.

What are tents made of?

Tents may be constructed from a variety of different types of fiber. Tents were traditionally fashioned of canvas, which is a kind of cotton that was used. The tents were strong, but they were also incredibly heavy. Tents today are primarily constructed of man-made fabrics, which are lower in weight. Particularly notable are polyester and nylon. A treatment is often applied to these textiles in order to make them water-resistant as well. Typically, they are impregnated with silicone or have a polyurethane coating applied on top of them.

UV rays are extremely harmful to thin man-made materials because of their high absorption rate.

Nylon Tents

A nylon fabric is one of the greatest choices for a tiny tent due to the fact that it is highly lightweight and easy to pack. Nylon fibers do not absorb water, which makes them perfect for use in tents and other similar applications. You may get nylon tents at extremely low rates on low-cost tents, as well as at very high prices on higher-quality adventure tents. Nylon tents are available at both low and high prices. Because nylon is particularly vulnerable to the sun’s rays, you should exercise greater caution while exposed to the sun for an extended period of time if you are using a nylon tent.

On a nylon tent, a silicone coating is believed to provide the most comprehensive level of protection. A Nylon tent is a solid investment that will last for years. Many individuals like camping in their lightweight, waterproof nylon tents, which they can take with them wherever they go.

Polyester Tents

The popularity of this fabric is on par with that of nylon. Nylon is used to construct a large number of family-style tents. It is a little heavier and, in general, more durable than nylon. Many producers like covering this cloth with a variety of coatings and then patenting the new material that they have developed. Using polyester as the major fabric in its tents, Coleman, for example, has developed what they call “weather tec” cloth. When exposed to moisture, this material does not get heavy or shrink.

A polyester-based tent is most likely going to be the material from which your first tent is constructed.

Cotton/Canvas Tents

The most common fabric for tents used to be cotton, but because of the size and weight of cotton tents, they were swiftly supplanted by lighter and less expensive man-made textiles. Cotton fabric breathes naturally, and as a result, it is believed to keep you cooler on hot days and warm on cold ones. Particularly when compared to contemporary camping tents, cotton tents have come to be seen as a more luxurious form of tent. The fact that it is insulating makes it more luxury and warrants at the very least a glance.

  • You will have to pay a premium for this elegant design tent, especially because they are no longer in fashion and most tent producers are sticking to polyester and nylon-based tents instead.
  • A brand new cotton tent may become a bit damp if you take it camping and it rains while you’re there.
  • Until the cotton fibers come into touch with water, they will not expand against one another.
  • There has been some speculation that it takes more than one wet-to-dry cycle for the cotton-based tent to become water-resistant.

Other Materials for Tents

Tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are often made from a combination of the three major materials listed above. Polycotton tents, for example, are a blend of cotton and polyester that may be used for many purposes. This combination results in a fabric that is lower in weight while maintaining the same strength as a standard cotton tent. It will almost always be coated with something in order to keep water out of the wood. An alternative combination is canvas tents covered with Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC).

Because of the coatings, airflow in this type of tent may be compromised, resulting in moisture accumulating. Tents of this type are often huge and unwieldy in size.

What kind of tent fabric is best for me?

What is the best option for you will be determined by your camping requirements. If you are a recreational camper who will be camping largely in the summer, you will most likely be satisfied with a reasonably cost polyester family-style tent. The size of your tent will also be determined by how many others will be camping with you. While vehicle camping, always get a tent that is one size larger than the one that is recommended by the manufacturer. This is because size and weight are seldom a problem when car camping.

  • They are lighter and more suited for minimalist camping and camping when you need to carry less weight, such as backpacking or hike-in campsites, than other types of camping gear.
  • Cotton tents are becoming increasingly difficult to come by these days, and finding one will almost certainly need some special ordering.
  • You will very certainly find that the cost factor is significantly greater than that of polyester or nylon tents.
  • Cotton tents are a great option if you have the finances and want a tent that is really comfy.
  • The tent I have regularly used and suggest is made of polyester, and it is an excellent value for the money.
  • Its capacity to withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight is a significant benefit.
  • We become complacent and simply leave our tents up the entire time.
  • Take advantage of this opportunity to get a durable lightweight tent made of polyester that will meet 90 percent of your basic camping demands.

Related Questions:

Are the majority of tents waterproof? The majority of tents available on the market are water-resistant. They are typically treated with a substance that increases their waterproofing. Whenever possible, test the waterproofing of a new tent before taking it on a camping trip. You may also quickly and inexpensively waterproof your own tent, as I have detailed in great detail in this piece. What is a double-wall tent, and how does it work? Tents with two walls are known as double-wall tents, and they are constructed of two distinct parts: the body and the rainfly.

Typically, the tent body is breathable but not waterproof, which makes it ideal for camping. The rainfly is waterproof, however it does not allow for air circulation. When you combine the two, you get a tent that is both waterproof and breathable.

My Favorite Camping Gear

There’s nothing quite like the experience of sleeping in a tent. Something about it gets you closer to nature and our ancestors than anything else. It goes without saying that if you’re reading this post, you’re already aware of this. You’ve most likely been reading reviews of numerous tents on Amazon in your hunt for the perfect tent, and you’ve definitely noticed that tents aren’t always constructed of the same material when you compare them. This raises the question of what materials are used to construct tents.

However, nylon, cotton canvas, polycotton, cuben fiber, and PVC are all acceptable materials for making them.

Continue reading to find out more.

6 Materials Tents Are Made From

The most often used tent materials are mentioned below, along with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of tent material. Particularly if you’re considering purchasing a tent, make sure to thoroughly examine each one.


Polyester is one of the most prevalent forms of tent material, while nylon is another. Even though this material is relatively affordable, it has a higher level of durability than cheaper plastic. One of nylon’s most advantageous characteristics is that it is exceedingly lightweight. When exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time, nylon is more prone to ripping and damage. As a result, it is better suited to smaller tents as a result. Warning! If the tent you’re considering is constructed of nylon, be sure it’s the “ripstop” sort and that it has been water-proofed before purchasing it.

  • It is more expensive than polyester. Sun exposure has the potential to cause harm. Tears are more easily shed


Polyester tents are the most widely used of all the varieties of tents. This plastic material is relatively inexpensive and has the ability to withstand a variety of weather conditions. Polyester is also a lightweight material that may be folded easily. Make certain that the polyester has been treated for waterproofing, just as you would with nylon. If you’re someone who goes camping on a regular basis, this could be the ideal material for you to use. Hardcore campers may want to consider investing in a tent material that will last for a long time rather than a cheaper alternative.

Even if yours does not, there are methods to make your tent a little more comfortable.

Advantages of Using This Material:

  • Weather and wear damage are generally resistant to this material. The prices are reasonable. Packing is simple, and the weight is light.

The following are disadvantages of this material:

  • When subjected to heavy use, it degrades quickly. Over time, the sun does do harm. When it’s heated, it becomes “stuffy.”


Cotton canvas tents are the most traditional type of tent material. Although these patterns have been around for a very long time, they are still quite popular today. One of my first camping memories is of spending the night with my grandfather (or Papa, as we called him) in his garden, inside a cotton canvas tent. Cotton is long-lasting, resistant to damage, and allows for air to circulate through, preventing musty odors and moisture from accumulating in the fabric. However, they are more expensive nowadays as compared to polyester and nylon, but they are more durable.

Because of this, setting up the tent, packing it up, and transporting it becomes more difficult. If that doesn’t bother you, cotton canvas is a time-honored but secure investment option. Advantages of Using This Material:

  • It is weather resistant in all conditions. Material that is easy to breathe
  • It has a high level of damage resistance and may persist for years. Protected from ultraviolet rays

The following are disadvantages of this material:


The polycotton canvas, as its name implies, is a mix of polyester and cotton in its construction. As a result, it attempts to be the best of both worlds by striking a balance between durability and breathability while still being affordable and simple to use. Polycotton tents may be used for a variety of camping activities, including solitary camping, family camping, and virtually any type of camping that you are interested in. Advantages of Using This Material:

  • Durable material that is somewhat breathable and mildew resistant. With a little effort, it is simple to use and transport
  • A long life expectancy

The following are disadvantages of this material:


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is a plastic material that is most typically used to make heavy-duty tarps. If you’re camping in harsh weather conditions or if you’re camping for an extended amount of time in an area where you can encounter storms, this may be exactly what you want. PVC is frequently used in conjunction with a canvas tent (cotton or polycotton) to provide you with additional protection. This material is hefty and bulky due to its high tensile strength. Advantages of Using This Material:

  • Very long-lasting
  • Provides excellent protection against all sorts of weather.

The following are disadvantages of this material:

  • Expensive and additional
  • Very hefty
  • Difficult to transport and stow


Cuben fiber, often known as DCF, is widely regarded as the most superior of all available tent materials. Its unique fibers are hundreds of times stronger than steel while being highly light and water-resistant, making it an excellent choice for construction. Its only flaws as a material are that it is a little stiff and more vulnerable to intense heat than other types of materials (not from the sun, but from cooking or fire). For all of these advantages, you’ll have to pay far more than you would for a conventional nylon or polyester cloth.

Advantages of Using This Material:

  • Very light
  • Tough and robust
  • Resistant to a wide range of environmental conditions
  • Water resistant
  • Stronger than steel
  • More durable than wood.
See also:  How To Rethread Tent Pole Elastic

The following are disadvantages of this material:

  • The most costly
  • The least flexible
  • The most likely to be harmed by intense heat.

Check out these related articles: Best Backpacking Tents


You should be aware of the types of tent materials available while shopping for tents for your camping trip before you begin your search. Each of them can be beneficial in some cases, but the truth is that it all relies on your particular scenario. For those who want to go tent camping on a more casual basis, either by themselves or with their families, polyester tents are a good choice. They’re reasonably priced and, in most cases, quite durable and weather resistant. Because of their cheaper cost, they may not survive as long as more expensive alternatives, but they are simple to replace when the time comes to do so.

If you have the money and you are going camping while trekking or hiking, the cuben fiber may be the greatest material to bring along with you.

Perhaps you can even assist your pals in making their decisions! Take a walk outside and breathe in some fresh air! It’s possible that you enjoyed reading this article and would be interested in learning how to properly utilize tent stakes.

Tent fabrics

Take a look at the pros and downsides of various tent materials listed below. When you join the Club, you can take advantage of the benefits of being among like-minded individuals while also saving money on each camping trip you take.

Cotton canvas tents

Tents used to be very simple: they were all constructed of canvas, which was a classic 100 percent cotton cloth in the olden days. Cotton is a fantastic material for creating exceptional tents, but it is now somewhat pricey due to the high cost of production. The primary downside of this cloth is its weight when compared to contemporary, manufactured materials. However, there’s nothing quite like the beautiful scent of a traditional cotton tent, and it’s the greatest fabric for keeping you cool on hot days and warm on chilly nights, especially in the winter.

  • It is as a result of this that cotton tents in the sleeping areas are frequently found to be devoid of inner tents.
  • One peculiarity of cotton canvas that might catch the unwary newcomer off guard is that fresh new cotton tents tend to leak!
  • It isn’t true at all.
  • But it’s easy to avoid getting soaked; simply set up your tent when rain is anticipated and wait for the clouds to part.
  • As a result, what happened?
  • Some tents will require two or three weatherings before every last drip has been removed from the fabric.
  • You may speed up the process by using a hose pipe or a watering can to replenish the rain that has fallen.
  • Be cautious, though, since this may cause the fabric’s breathability to be reduced, which is one of the fabric’s primary advantages.

PVC-coated canvas or acrylic tents

Larger frame tents and many trailer tents will be constructed of cotton canvas, with a thick Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) coating applied to the roof to ensure that they are both robust and water resistant. The main disadvantages are the additional weight and a little tendency for condensation to build on the plastic coated cloth as a result of the coating. Because condensation can occur on any coated cloth, ventilation is essential in tents, as well as in other enclosed spaces.

Tent condensation is sometimes mistaken for a leaking tent by first-time campers, but if you choose a tent with sufficient ventilation and utilize it properly, your tent should remain dry and pleasant.

Polycotton canvas tents

Tents constructed entirely of cotton, like shirts, have mostly been replaced by tents made of a polycotton blend, similar to the way shirts have been replaced. Natural cotton combined with polyester can result in a fabric that is lower in weight while maintaining the same strength. It is similar to cotton in that it may be used untreated, but it is usually treated to make it water resistant.

Polyester tents

This standard tent fabric is available in a number of various coating options. Many tent manufacturers have their own proprietary coatings that they call by different names. The durability of polyester tent fabrics is often higher than that of nylon, but everything we’ve written about nylon tent materials (below) applies to polyester tent fabrics as well. This fabric is likely the most common tent fabric since it does not shrink or become baggy when wet, and it is also less influenced by sunshine than other types of tent fabrics do.

Nylon tents

Nylon is frequently used in the construction of small tents. Due to the fact that individual nylon fibers do not absorb water, the fabric may be made lighter in most situations. The cheapest and most basic tents are composed of nylon, as are the most costly tents intended for adventure usage; the only variation is in the coatings applied to the nylon. Tents can be made of untreated nylon, however most of the time they will be coated. Acrylic, polyurethane (PU), and silicone are all options for the coating.

  • Acrylic is often the least expensive, while silicone, which provides the most protection, is the most expensive.
  • Consider the term ‘nylons’ (as they were formerly known) or tights for women.
  • Using a ‘rip-stop’ pattern of thicker threads, much of the fabric may be made exceedingly thin – and hence lightweight – but the thicker parts prevent tears from ‘laddering through’ the cloth if a small hole is accidentally formed in it.
  • Because nylon is affected by ultra violet light, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can significantly reduce the life of your tent.

A tent on fire

Nylon is a common material for small tents to be produced. In general, because individual nylon fibers do not absorb water, cloth can be made lighter as a result. Despite the fact that the most affordable and basic tents are made of nylon, the most costly tents intended for adventure usage are also constructed of nylon; the only variation is in the coatings applied to the material. Tents can be made of untreated nylon, although most of the time they will be covered with a protective coating. Acrylic, polyurethane (PU), and silicone are all options for the coating material.

Acrylic is often the least expensive material, whereas silicone, which provides the most protection, is the most expensive material.

If you’re a woman, you might be familiar with nylons or tights (or whatever they used to be called).

The ‘rip-stop’ pattern of thicker threads allows the majority of the fabric to be incredibly thin – and hence lightweight – but the thicker portions prevent a tear from ‘laddering’ (or ‘propagating through’) the cloth if a small hole is produced in the fabric.

Intense sunshine can affect the life of your tent since nylon is destroyed by ultraviolet rays. Special light filter coatings can help to mitigate this damage, but prolonged exposure to direct sunlight on hot summer days will shorten the life of a nylon tent by many months or even years.

What material are tents made of?

Throughout this blog article, you will learn about the various tent materials and tent fabrics, as well as their advantages and disadvantages, so that you can make a more educated selection when purchasing your next camping tent. So you’ve decided to purchase a tent for the first time. You’re probably looking through numerous brand websites or looking through Amazon listings to find out which tent is the best fit for your needs and budget. Although there are many factors to consider when choosing a great tent, the most significant is the fabric used to construct it.

  1. It is the subject of this article to talk abouttent materials and tent fabrics.
  2. Having said that, I am a bit older and a little wiser now, and I am willing to share what I have learnt over the years.
  3. Tent materials that are most commonly used are either natural cotton canvas or man-made textiles such as Nylon 6 and Polyester.
  4. Tents made of polyester and nylon are sturdy, lightweight, and simple to clean and maintain.
  5. However, each of them is best suited for a certain application scenario.
  6. Are you planning to go camping in the freezing winter or the warm summer?
  7. Choosing an ideal tent material is typically a matter of striking a balance between weight, strength, and cost.
  8. Let’s take a look at the most often used tent materials, their qualities, drawbacks, and applications so that you can make a more informed decision when purchasing your next camping tent.

What are tents made of?

A wide variety of materials (including some proprietary textiles) are used to construct tents; however, cotton canvas, Nylon, and Polyester are the most commonly used for commercially accessible tent construction. Each of these tents is designed to cater to a distinct portion of the camper audience and is used for a specific purpose. Let’s take them one at a time and examine their advantages and disadvantages.

Cotton canvas

Cotton canvas tents are composed with either 1-1 basic cotton weave or cotton duck weave cotton canvas, depending on the style. The weave is made up of two-ply threads that are twisted together to give the cloth its added weight.

Because of its unique composition, canvas is far stronger and more durable than regular cotton or any other fabric. It is built to resist the extreme weather conditions seen in the wilderness, which is why it is utilized for lengthy camping excursions or for temporary off-site living situations.

Advantages of canvas tent material

Cotton canvas is one of the most long-lasting textiles available. A large number of people utilize them for long-term camping and living. Because of their popularity, they are unquestionably the most extensively utilized temporary dwelling solution, and for good reason.

  • Canvas tents are among the most durable and sturdy tent fabrics available. They are also among the most affordable. It may easily survive for 10 to 15 years because to the particular weave architecture used in its manufacture. The abrasion resistance of cotton canvas is also superior to that of nylon and polyster. Tear-Resistant: The canvas tent material is extremely durable and resistant to tearing. In the first place, cutting through canvas cloth is really difficult. Even if this does occur, the criss-cross structure of the weave prevents the rip from spreading farther than it already has. Water Resistant: The finest feature of cotton canvas is its ability to withstand water damage. When it comes to cotton, it is not water repellent, but it does have the quality of keeping water
  • When it comes into contact with water, the weave tends to swell as a result of the water retention, which results in the tent being naturally water resistant. When you have a sturdy canvas tent, you won’t have to worry about putting up a tarp for extra protection too frequently. The tent is responsible for all of the hard lifting. Canvas is extremely effective in insulating, which is why it is so widely used in construction. Because of its heavy weave, cotten has the ability to block out noise, heat, and wind, making the inside of the tent extremely comfortable and safe. Additionally, canvas tents are quite easy to keep warm in the cold. Low Heat Retention: Cotton has low heat retention capabilities as well, which allows it to keep its cool during the summer.

Disadvantages of canvas tents

You’re probably thinking to yourself, “This is it.” “I’m going to get a cotton canvas tent.” Prior to jumping to conclusions, it’s important to weigh the pros and downsides of cotton canvas cloth.

  • One of the most significant drawbacks of a cotton canvas tent is its substantial weight. To set up a wall or bell canvas tent, you’ll need at least two other people. For hikers, it’s nearly impossible to transport
  • The huge weight necessitates the use of hefty poles to hold it upright. Consequently, the canvas tent is inconvenient for backpackers and other light travelers. In addition, because canvas is a natural fabric, it is susceptible to mold and mildew growth, making it far more difficult to maintain than other types of tents. Cotton also has a tendency to change color when exposed to high temperatures. It is possible for your tent to turn yellow if it has been exposed to excessive heat, oil, or dust. Because I used it to cover my RV while it was parked during the off-season, I destroyed an otherwise excellent canvas tarp. If your canvas tent is not properly maintained, the same thing might happen to it. Cotton canvas tents are also highly expensive when compared to other tents that are more affordable. In the event that you are only an infrequent camper, this may not be a good value for money.

The TETON canvas tents are excellent options if you need to accommodate several people in one location. Their costs are a touch costly ($500 or more), but they are well worth it in the end. Check Amazon for the most recent pricing information (Link:TETON Sports Family Tent)

See also:  How To Set Up Your Grow Tent

Nylon 6 and Nylon 6/6

Nylon is a synthetic thermoplastic polymer fabric derived from petroleum wastes that is used to make garments. Nylon, which was first created by DuPont in the 1930s, has found use in a variety of applications, including the fabric for camping tents. It is one of the most often used textiles in tents today, and it is also quite affordable. A synthetic polymer compound, it may be created with various molecular configurations, resulting in a variety of varieties depending on the arrangement. The Nylon 66 (also known as Nylon 6.6, Nylon 6/6, or Nylon 6:6) and Nylon 6 are two of the most often used nylons for tent fabric production.

Advantages of Nylon tents

Because of its numerous environmentally beneficial features, nylon is the undisputed monarch of tent materials in the commercial world. The following are the most significant.

  • Fabric’s strength-to-weight ratio must be taken into consideration while evaluating its strength. Canvas, as previously established, is sturdy, but it is also quite heavy. It is an excellent measure of how strong a cloth is without being overly heavy when the strength to weight ratio is high. When compared to alternative tent materials such as polyester and canvas, nylon offers a significantly higher strength-to-weight ratio. That is to say, it is extremely durable while being lightweight. Stretchability: Nylon has a good amount of stretch. Despite the fact that you may say “so what?” it is quite significant. Because stretching spreads pressure over a wider surface area when a material is subjected to load, it reduces the likelihood of failure at the point of force. When you combine this with its great strength, Nylon is essentially a badass tent material choice. Resistance to Abarasion: Nylon is also known for its excellent abarasion resistance. Whenever a material is rubbed against a harder surface (such as the earth or sand particles in high-speed wind), the substance’s surface loses its strength and finally fails. Nylon, which is very resistant to abrasion, can endure any abrasive force encountered in the outdoors. Portable and lightweight: Because of its superior strength-to-weight ratio, adequate tensile strength can be packed into a thin fabric layer, making Nylon tents both lightweight and portable. They also do not necessitate the use of a more robust and heavy support system (poles, guylines, pegs, and so on)
  • Low upkeep: When compared to canvas cloth, nylon tents require relatively little care. They do not grow mold or mildew and are therefore suitable for camping in moist regions for an extended period of time. You may also store them without having to take any particular precautions during the off-season. Tents made of nylon are also very easy to clean

Disadvantages of Nylon tents

Listed below are a few downsides of Nylon tents that may render them unsuitable for use in certain settings.

  • Water absorbing: Nylon fabrics are not naturally waterproof or even water resistant. Instead, they absorb water and absorb it quickly. They grow sagging and heavy as a result of absorbing water during a wet night. The added weight of the water causes the tent walls to droop since they are made of flexible material. Waterproofing your tent to a certain amount will help to alleviate this problem. UV Degradation: Nylon is more susceptible to UV radiation (than polyster) and will decay over time if exposed to UV light on a constant basis. If you plan to camp at high elevations, this might be a concern because UV exposure is significantly higher at higher altitudes than at lower altitudes. Using an appropriate UV protection spray should help to limit the long-term exposure. Nitrile canvas is also less permeable than cotton canvas, and its condensation rate is significantly lower than that of cotton canvas. By applying a waterproof covering to the exterior of the tent, the beatheability is reduced even more
  • Nevertheless,

In terms of product recommendations, the Coleman Sundome Series comes highly recommended if you are on a tight budget. However, for a more durable tent, I would choose the Big Agnesline or the Marmont series.


Despite the fact that nylon tents have traditionally been the most popular choice, polyester tents are making their way into the market. They have several unique characteristics that make them a suitable alternative to Nylon tents in specific situations.

Properties of Polyester tents

Polyester is less flexible and more stable than Nylon, which is less stretchable and more stable. Although this makes polyester tents more prone to rupture when subjected to point stresses, it also makes poly tents more sturdy in general. They keep their form even when exposed to wind and rain. Toughness: Polyester tents have high tensile strength and are not prone to tearing when stretched out. Although when compared to the same weight of Nylon fabric, they are less sturdy, a little thicker weave may easily equal the strength of Nylon in many situations.

As a result, they produce better tents for camping in rainy weather.

When compared to Nylon, they do not disintegrate as quickly when subjected to prolonged exposure.

In high-altitude tents with canopy fabrics made of Nylon, they are frequently used for rainfly fabric due to this (as well as their greater water resistance). If you’re planning a short-term camping vacation and need a lightweight, portable option, Big Agnespolyester tents are a great choice.

Tent material selection table

In this case, the comparison between cotton polyester and nylon is rather evident since polyester and nylon have essentially identical qualities, but cotton does not have these features. If you’re still having trouble deciding which tent to buy, this table may be able to provide you with a subjective summary based on my personal experience as a textile engineer who has worked for a company that manufactures tents and other camping equipment for the past two years.

Properties Canvas Tent Polyester Tent Nylon tent
Breathability ++++ ++ ++
UV Resistance ++ +++++ +++
Portability ++ ++++ +++++
Quick Drying + ++++ +++
Tear Resistance + + + + + +++ ++++
Susceptible to shrinkage +++++ + +
Long term use +++++ ++ +++
Stretchability +++ ++ +++++
Inherent water resistance +++++ ++++ +++
Abrasion Resistance +++++ +++ ++++
Require Maintenance +++++ + +

Canvas against polyester versus nylon as a tent material

Best tent material for cold weather

As we covered at the outset of this essay, the decision on which tent fabric to employ comes down to the purpose of the tent. It’s essential to have a solid, strong structure for cold and harsh weather since it will provide the best possible protection against chilly breezes, snow, rain, and powerful winds. If you’re going to be camping out of your truck or car, a cotton canvas tent is your best bet for staying comfortable. The extra effort of transporting it to and from the car/truck and putting it up is worth it because of the benefits.

However, if you are camping, hiking, or trekking and need something that will not weigh you down, a Nylon tent is the best option for you to consider.

Best tent material for hot weather

After a lengthy trek in hot and sunny weather, you’ll need a cool location to rest your weary bones. Tents made of nylon or polyester are both excellent choices for summer camping. The fact that they are lightweight, portable, and simple to assemble makes them an excellent choice for hot and exhausting summer evenings. Tents made of polyester have somewhat better breathability than tents made of nylon. Aside from that, the exact tent you purchase should be equipped with screen mesh to allow for optimum ventilation.

Best tent material for backpacking

When hiking, since weight is a major consideration, I would choose nylon tents over polyethylene tents because of their less weight when packed. Because the majority of backpackers travel during the summer months, nylon tents are a natural choice.

Tent Materials – FAQs

When you use ripstop fabric, you are using a specific form of fabric that is resistant to tears or rips. This is accomplished by the use of a special reinforcement process that involves weaving the yarn in and out of the fabric at regular intervals.

The crisscross pattern prevents the ‘rip’ from spreading and making it more tear-resistant than a straight cut. Ripstop fabric is available in both Polyester and Nylon versions.

What is Dyneema or Cuben Fabric?

Dyneema, sometimes known as Cubin, is a novel nonwoven material that is being utilized in tents. Their structure is composed of polyethylene with a high molecular weight. In comparison to nylon and polyester, these materials are relatively lightweight and provide superior tear and abrasion resistance than those materials. These materials, on the other hand, are not particularly economical and do not have a lot of stretchability.

Are cotton tents waterproof?

Yes. Tents made of cotton are waterproof. Cotton is not inherently water resistant, but once it has absorbed enough water, the cotton strands expand and prevent additional water penetration, thereby making it almost waterproof. Cotton is not naturally water repellent.

What are the effects of finishes on fabric?

When camping in the outdoors, tent materials are typically treated with a waterproof and non-flammable coating to protect them against rain and fire. These coatings may have an effect on the breathability and strength of the cloth to a certain level. Furthermore, completed textiles require significantly more attention than non-coated fabrics, as the finishes have a tendency to flake off in heavy rains or when exposed to ultraviolet light.

What are waterproof tents made of?

Waterproof tents are made of either polyester or nylon, but they are covered with a waterproofing layer to keep out the elements. Depending on the material, it might be made of silicon or polyester to seal the holes and prevent water from leaking in. Some materials, such as Dyneema, are naturally waterproof and do not require any additional covering.

Tents fabric material – Conclusion

No matter whatever fabric you choose, you will wind up finding both bad and good aspects to it in the process. It is all about organizing your vacation and identifying aspects such as the length of time you will be there. What part of the country do you wish to camp in? Do you prefer a hot and dry campground or a chilly and damp one? Is plastic something that appeals to you, or do you want a natural insulated environment in which to rest your head? If you can discover the answers to all of these questions, you’ll be able to determine which one to purchase.

The decision is based on my own personal experience using them over a long period of time when camping, as well as input from others who have used them.

What Material Are Tents Made of? (Guide to Tent Fabrics)

Tents are built from a variety of different sorts of substances. Despite this, there are just a handful of textiles that are the most often utilized. Furthermore, each type of cloth has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Learn about the many types of tent materials, what each kind is best suited for, and which fabric is the most appropriate for your camping style in this article.

Guide on Materials Used to Make Tents

Tents may be constructed from a variety of different fabrics. Cotton, commonly known as canvas, was traditionally utilized to make their garments. They were rather heavy and susceptible to mold and mildew growth, despite the fact that they performed their goal of keeping the tents strong. Taking things ahead to the present day, the tents you see are primarily composed of lighter, man-made fibers such as polyester and nylon. In order to make these materials waterproof, they are further treated by either applying a polyurethane coating or impregnating the material with silicone.

While these treatments may make the tents waterproof, they do not provide total protection from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation.

Despite the fact that we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of several textiles in our tent materials list below, you’ll most likely end up picking a tent composed of nylon or polyester as your primary material. Why? Let’s have a look and see.

Cotton Canvas

As previously said, canvas was the first and, for a period of time, the only fabric used to construct tents. Cotton canvas camping tents are still a popular choice for many people today, but they may be very costly to purchase. As a result, the majority of individuals do not favor canvas solely because of the cost. A cotton canvas tent, on the other hand, is a fantastic choice in today’s camping environment since the cotton fibers allow the tent to breathe effectively during the day, providing you with comfort without making you feel stuffy.

This open design prevents water droplets and condensation from accumulating on the surface.

However, aside from the fact that canvas is expensive, one disadvantage that we discussed above is the fact that it is fairly heavy.

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  • Durable
  • Able to withstand all types of weather conditions
  • Sustainable A fantastic selection for a camping tent


Polyester is unquestionably the most popular tent fabric available on the market today, and it is widely regarded as the new industry standard. Polyester is a synthetic fabric generated from petroleum that is both long-lasting and reasonably priced, making it an excellent choice for many applications. A higher denier (a metric used to identify the density of the fabric – normally, greater is better) material has the capacity to withstand a wide range of weather conditions and camping landscapes if it is built properly.

  • When compared to a cotton tent, a polyester tent is significantly lighter in weight.
  • Aside from that, they are more cheap than traditional cotton tents.
  • In addition to this, it has the capability of shielding you and your tent from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
  • The answer is, in a word, “not really.” Simply put, you will notice an unique polyester fabric fragrance, which will disappear with time as the cloth breaks down.


To put it another way, you’ll only use nylon fabric tents in two situations: (1) when you’re camping in a hot climate, and (2) when you’re camping in a cold climate.

  • If you’re seeking for inexpensive tents, look no further. In the case of high-end and pricey hiking tents, you should consider the following:

Confused? Let’s get this out of the way. Nylon is a very inexpensive material to manufacture and assemble. It’s important to note that there are some very inexpensive nylon tents available on the market that won’t fulfill your goal. However, despite the fact that it is a little tougher substance than polyester, it behaves like a sponge when exposed to water. As a result, it must be well waterproofed. It will not be able to withstand any wetness if this is not the case. As a result, you may wonder why nylon is utilized in camping fabric since it is not waterproof, as well as why nylon is so pricey.

While this is true, you must also consider the long-term viability of your investment, which is where therapies come into play.

Nylon tents with ripstoppatterns, which are basically reinforcing techniques that make them more resistant to rips and tears, are an excellent way to boost their overall longevity. For serious travelers who want a lightweight shelter when traveling, a nylon tent is an excellent option. Pros

  • Unless treated, it is not waterproof or durable
  • In order to make it usable, it must be expensive.


Poly Vinyl Chloride, sometimes known as PVC, is a type of canvas or polyester fabric that has been subjected to a particular treatment. To put it simply, the treated material is referred to as PVC and it has a similar appearance to acrylic. So, how does this material fare as a tent material? In addition, the treatment procedure renders it practically totally impervious to even the hardest rain, which makes it an excellent choice for heavy-duty waterproofing purposes. The therapy, on the other hand, adds a significant amount of weight.

If we talk about the price, PVC is going to be a bit more expensive than the original material.



Now, this is a less common tent material, but it is rising in favor as a viable alternative to the more classic cotton tents that are available. Polycotton fabric, as the name indicates, is mostly made of cotton with a layer of polyester woven into it. What you end up with is a tent that combines the advantages of both cotton and polyester in one package. It has the same durability and breathability as cotton tents, but it is more mold resistant and rapid drying than cotton tents. Although polycotton tent fabric sounds fantastic, it is not going to be appropriate for every occasion.

Furthermore, they are frequently more costly.

  • Lighter and less expensive than cotton canvas
  • A middle-of-the-road alternative in terms of weight and breathability
  • Tents made of this unusual material are becoming increasingly popular.


To give Dyneema a short honorable mention, she is a newcomer to the scene who has a lot of potential. Dyneema is a composite material that has the potential to take over the tent industry in the near future. Let’s take a brief look at some of its advantages and disadvantages. Pros

  • In fact, it weighs half as much as nylon, making it a very lightweight material. Ultra-strong – 15 times stronger than steel
  • Chemical and UV resistant
  • And water-resistant
  • A composite material.
  • Extremely pricey
  • Keep your muscles from stretching, since this might make it harder to pitch the tent. Because it’s not heat resistant, it’s not a good idea.

What Kind of Tent Fabric is Best for You?

Choosing the ideal tent material for you will be determined by your camping requirements and will be determined by all of the alternatives listed above. Is it true that you are a recreational camper who loves to go camping during the summer months? Opt for a high-quality polyester tent instead. If you’re searching for a hiking tent that is both robust and lightweight, a nylon tent could be your best option. In other words, you just need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each type of tent material and determine whether or not they are a good match for your camping requirements and budget.

It is possible that purchasing through links on our site will result in us receiving an affiliate commission.

Different Types Of Party Tent Fabrics: What Are Tents Made Of?

30th of April, 2021 The Best in TentsSo, what kind of material is a tent composed of, you might wonder? For starters, there are several materials available, and it might be beneficial to understand the distinctions when arranging an event that will include a commercial tent.

All have distinct characteristics and perform distinct activities that are well suited for a variety of applications. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of several types of material, so you can choose the one that is most appropriate for your event.


Nylon is a lightweight fabric that is commonly used in camping tents. However, despite the fact that nylon is subject to rips caused by wind and debris, hiking tents are small enough to preserve strength. Nylon has sufficient elasticity to enable for stress distribution on the tiny tent panel, reducing the likelihood of it rupturing during use. While nylon makes for an attractive and durable tent, it is not a viable choice for big commercial tents due to its lack of strength and durability.

Polyester (PVC)

Polyester, like nylon, has a tiny elasticity to it; nonetheless, it is a more stronger substance. Because of its increased capacity to stretch, it is more resistant to the effects of the weather outside. Despite the fact that polyester is a rather durable fabric, you will still want to consider waterproofing and thread count alternatives depending on your intended purpose. As a result, covering polyester with PVC (also known as polyvinyl chloride), a protective layer that boosts the tent’s protective properties, may easily overcome these drawbacks.

Ripstop PVC

Because it is one of the hardest materials available on the market, ripstop PVC is commonly used in commercial tents and other similar applications. RIPSTOP PVC is made out of scrim fabric that is weaved together to form material reinforcement, making it a dependable party tent fabric that will keep everyone at your event safe. Additionally, the polyvinyl chloride covering improves weather resistance while also creating a lovely shining seal, which is more effective than the polyethylene tent material itself.

Coated Vinyl

Vinyl is perhaps the most widely utilized commercial tent material on the market today. Coated vinyl is produced by the process of dip molding, which generates a protective coating over the vinyl that is corrosion resistant and has increased stability. Generally speaking, vinyl is coated with either PVC or PE. When compared to other fabrics, it is the most water-resistant alternative, making it suitable for tents that need to withstand bad weather for extended periods of time. If your tent will be exposed to the weather for an extended period of time, coated vinyl is a more expensive choice that may be worth it in some cases.

Laminated Vinyl

It is exactly what it sounds like – vinyl that has been coated with a protective laminate. It is laminated together in a laminating machine by applying heat and pressure to the scrim, which is sandwiched between layers of PVC film. This lamination procedure enhances the weight of the material, as well as its UV protection, abrasion resistance, and glossiness, among other properties.

It has the benefits of being fire retardant and water resistant, while also being less expensive than coated vinyl. Because of its exceptional characteristics, laminated vinyl is the most commonly encountered material at American Tent.

Cotton Canvas

Even though cotton canvas was formerly a popular choice for commercial tents, it is now far less usual to see this material utilized in this capacity today. Cotton is a natural substance that is less harmful to the environment than other synthetic materials. The thickness of the cotton provides sound insulation against outside noise; nevertheless, untreated cotton is not weather resistant, necessitating the use of extra measures in adverse weather conditions. Using untreated cotton canvas might make your set-up and transportation procedure a little more difficult than using lighter textiles.

Coated Cotton

Coated cotton, commonly known as polycotton, is a kind of cotton that has many characteristics with conventional cotton. It is thick and sturdy, and the coating adds additional insulation and waterproofing properties to the structure. Woven cotton is treated with a protective coating either during the manufacturing process or after it has been finished with the final product. Although the coating provides weather protection, this is a heavy-duty tent fabric, making it significantly heavier (as compared to untreated cotton).

Which Fabric Is Better For Your Tent?

When deciding which material will best fit your tent requirements, it is critical to conduct thorough study beforehand. Tents’ longevity may be determined by the materials used in their construction, so understanding the many alternatives can be really beneficial! In the case of a decent hiking tent fabric, nylon will do the trick just fine. A commercial-sized tent, on the other hand, will be made of a more durable material due to its bigger size and heavier weight. Fabric that is not treated, such as cotton canvas, is more prone to weather damage, despite its strength.

We at American Tent are big fans of laminated vinyl because of its dependable weather and fire resistance, as well as its gorgeous finish; you really can’t go wrong with this material.

How To Take Care Of Your Tent Fabric?

Of course, you want to make sure that your tent is in excellent condition. Make a note of the box in which your tent was sent so that you may store it easily and safely in the future. At American Tent, we ship tents in an unique bag designed just for this reason! When erecting your tent, use a drop cloth on the ground to prevent tears caused by dragging the fabric across the ground. Once your tent is up, inspect the panels for any pinholes or snags that may have occurred. Don’t be concerned if you come across one!

Maintaining the cleanliness of your event tent fabric will ensure that it looks impeccable.

Mix four parts warm water, one part vinegar, and as much mild soap as you need to make a homemade cleaning solution for use around the house.

You will notice a beneficial influence on the lifetime of your tent fabric if you ensure that your tent is totally dry before putting it away for protection.

Why Choose American Tent?

When it comes to purchasing an event tent, quality is of the biggest significance. The materials that you select to construct your tent will impact how well it performs, how it appears, and how long you will be able to use it for special events. At American Tent, we utilize only the highest-quality materials to ensure that our party tents are the best option for whatever event you are arranging in your backyard. Purchasing your event tent from American Tent ensures that you will receive a high-quality tent that will endure for years to come, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with our staff to locate or design your ideal, unique event tent.


Having learned more about the materials used to construct a tent, you’ll want to keep your alternatives in mind when making a purchase for your next occasion. Please visit our website and contact us if you would like to learn more about the materials that American Tent provides. We can give you a Sample Material Kit with samples of our vinyl, colors, designs, and finishes so that you can see for yourself how we do things! P.S. Be on the lookout for more information. More alternatives will be available from American Tent in the near future!

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