Tent Fabric 101: Nylon vs Polyester vs Dyneema/Cuben
Fabric selection, like other elements of tent design, is a delicate balancing act. Different fabrics have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and picking the “perfect” cloth is simply a matter of deciding which concessions to accept. Which qualities are more important to you: lightness, strength, or cost? You can choose two options, but you can’t have all three at the same time. A widespread misconception is that by purchasing a costly goods, you are inevitably purchasing the “best” and most durable thing available.
On a gravel road that your late-90s station wagon could easily handle, you could easily wreck a high-end sports car in a matter of seconds.
A top-of-the-line tent for thru-hikers would almost certainly disintegrate in winds that a basic four-season tent would be able to handle with ease.
The same is true for those who are considering acquiring a tent.
When the rain begins to fall, do you plan to retire inside your van as soon as it begins to drizzle?
It’s doubtful that you’ll be faced with a choice between two similar designs made from a variety of fabric options.
The purpose of this page is not to serve as a shopping guide, but rather to offer users with a very basic overview of the strengths and drawbacks of the three most prevalent fabrics used in tent and tarp design: nylon, polyester, and DCF (Dyneema Composite Fabric, formerly known as Cuben Fiber).
Alternatively, you may email us at [email protected] if there’s something specific you’d want to know more about.
Tents are almost often made of nylon, which is the most popular type of material. It was first created by DuPont in the 1930s and was extensively employed in the manufacturing of parachute fabric during World War II. Outdoor items ranging from tents to clothes are all required to comply with this criteria. This is mostly owing to its high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent abrasion resistance, and comparatively inexpensive cost of production. StrengthNylon has a far greater strength-to-weight ratio than polyester, which is one of the primary reasons it is frequently used as a tent fabric of choice.
- The fact that nylon expands means that it distributes stress over a broader area than a less elastic (we call it “stable”) fabric would.
- If, on the other hand, the fabric does not expand, all of the power is focused at the reinforcement, resulting in significantly increased stress on the fabric and a higher probability of ripping.
- The stretchiness of nylon, on the other hand, has a disadvantage.
- Fabric that does not stretch as much helps to alleviate this problem.
- Although this is normally more of an issue in garment design, sections of your tent will almost certainly be subjected to abrasion as well (think floor, pole ends and clips).
- Damage Caused by Ultraviolet Radiation Nylon is sensitive to damage as a result of ultraviolet light exposure.
- Long-term durability difficulties arise for core users, who use their tents for many weeks out of the year for many years, causing them to become unreliable.
Any lightweight cloth, on the other hand, will be more prone to UV damage than a heavier counterpart.
Even if the outside begins to deteriorate, the inner will continue to function well for a longer period of time.
Although there are fabric treatments designed to reduce the effects of ultraviolet radiation on nylon (such as our ET70 fabric), UV degradation will still be the limiting factor in a tent’s lifespan even for users who maintain and store their tent with care.
Wet nylon will expand, which will increase its weight in addition to increasing its volume.
Coatings, once again, can assist in mitigating this problem (look for both side silicone coated fabrics instead of PU; more on this in future articles).
While polyester does absorb some water, it does so at a considerably lower rate than nylon, and it retains its tension much better when wet than nylon.
Polyester, which was once relegated to the realm of low-cost and car-camping tents due to a scarcity of high-quality formulations, has recently experienced something of a renaissance as advancements in high-end polyesters, particularly on the lightweight end of the spectrum, have significantly improved its once abysmal strength to weight ratio. However, while we still largely use nylon in our tents, poly offers a number of advantages that make it a viable alternative for specific applications, and its usage is becoming increasingly common.
- When compared to nylons of the same weight, polyester has a lower tear strength on average than nylon.
- Newer polyester materials, on the other hand, have much enhanced strength over their earlier equivalents, and they are becoming increasingly used in lightweight tents.
- We’ll be putting several lightweight polys through their paces in our lab to see how much of a difference there is between nylons and polyesters of the same weight we can expect.
- Particularly problematic in humid or damp situations, when nylon’s absorption can cause a loose flysheet and difficulties in pitching the tent due to droopy flysheet.
- Resistance to the sun’s ultraviolet rays Polyester is often considered to be more UV-resistant than nylon, according to popular belief.
- Although studies indicate that polyester in general is significantly more UV-resistant than nylon, we’re holding off until we can conduct an apples-to-apples comparison of lightweight coated textiles like those used in tents.
- For lightweight textiles, the color and denier of the fabric, rather than the composition of the fibers, may make a greater impact in the fabric’s long-term UV protection than the fiber composition.
Polyester has shown tremendous promise in tents, but we will continue to rely on nylon as a primary material until we have completed enough testing to be certain that the benefits of poly exceed the negatives of poly.
Dyneema Composite Fabric
When it comes to tent textiles, Dyneema Composite Fabric, often known as DCF, is the latest entrant on the scene. The material was previously known as Cuben Fiber, but the name was changed to Dyneema Composite Fabric after Dyneema bought Cubic Tech, the business that manufactures the material. Cuben Fiber is the name that many people still use to refer to the material. First and foremost, because I am well aware that there are some purists out there who will call me out on this, I am aware that some people would say that DCF is not technically a fabric, which I acknowledge.
- If you don’t mind my saying so, it is a composite.
- It is possible to make DCF by sandwiching Dyneema fibers between two layers of plastic film (similar to Mylar).
- Strength Dyneema (a brand name for ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, often known as UHMWPE) is a lightweight polyethylene fiber that is exceptionally strong for its weight.
- As a result, DCF textiles may reach the same strength as nylon while weighing significantly less.
- As a result of Dyneema’s low stretch and excellent strength to weight ratio, it is a very sought material for sails as well as a wide range of industrial uses.
- Seam failure due to needle hole expansion is a typical problem with films and nonwovens, hence seams must be bonded and/or hot taped to prevent this from happening.
- It is beneficial to place the tape on the inside of the container (as is common practice for most manufacturers) in order to reduce its exposure to ultraviolet light.
Coatings increase weight and are prone to failure, thus removing them results in a lighter final cloth with greater durability and longer life expectancy.
It will not decay or weaken when subjected to frequent exposure to sunlight, like nylon will.
The fact that the outside layer of DCF is made of Mylar (remember that the Dyneema fibers are on the inside) makes it particularly prone to abrasion (if you’ve ever tried to use an emergency blanket more than once, you’ve probably had direct experience with this).
This isn’t a big problem for most shelter applications, especially the basic tarps that are popular among thru-hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
For example, When a tent is buffeted by the wind, tent pole clips and pole hubs can be more than abrasive enough to wear through a DCF fly.
Because of the abrasion resistance issues, I believe that DCF will only be used as a substitute for nylon in currently available double-wall tent designs, primarily as a UL statement piece, purchased by those who have a lot of money but not enough time to do their homework before making a purchasing decision.
- Price DCF is a high-end, space-age substance with a correspondingly high price tag.
- DCF, on the other hand, is rarely less than $20-$30 per yard.
- It’s doubtful that the price of DCF will come down until someone creates a product that can compete with the company’s strength to weight ratio.
- DCF is not a solution for the problems associated with durability in lightweight shelters.
- While its applications are very limited due to its exorbitant price and low abrasion resistance, it performs several functions better than any other material available.
- In the field of shelter design, there is no such thing as a magic bullet.
- Despite the fact that nylon has well-balanced properties, it is not without its drawbacks in most outdoor applications.
- The advancements in fabric weaving and coating technologies indicate that gradual improvements in materials may be expected to continue, but nothing fundamentally new (to the best of my knowledge) is on the horizon, so this is what we have to deal with for the time being.
When it comes time to choose your next adventure home, perhaps this has provided you with some insight into tent fabrics and a better knowledge of the many shelter alternatives accessible to you.
Tent Fabrics: A Comparison of Fabric Types
These are questions we are frequently asked, and it is a valid inquiry given the planned lifetime and expected heavy use that camping tents are subjected to in the field. The fabric we use is important to us at Seek Outside, but we also recognize that the intended application, construction, and design all play important roles in the overall performance. In the wrong design, a fantastic cloth will never live up to its full potential. This essay will take an in-depth look at the materials that are most typically used for camping tents.
Why isn’t tent fabric both waterproof and breathable?
We’d want to find a hot tent fabric that’s strong, light, and reasonably priced that’s also waterproof and breathable. The likelihood of this occurring is roughly the same as the likelihood of bringing home a live Unicorn for a child’s birthday. There are a variety of causes behind this. For starters, many fabric producers would not provide waterproof / breathable materials for use in tents because of the high cost of production (a bivy being the exception). Second, the same properties that make it waterproof and breathable also make it heavier and less durable.
If a top-of-the-line waterproof breathable jacket costs a few hundred dollars, just think about how much a tent would cost.
If a building is sufficiently aired, then waterproof/breathable fabric becomes obsolete owing to the high cost of such materials.
What is Fabric Denier?
Denier was initially used to describe how thick a cloth was relative to a single thread of silk (1 denier, weighing one gram for 9000 meters of thread), which was used as a standard. This term has evolved over time, and its definitions may be a little ambiguous; nonetheless, in general, it refers to the thickness of a cloth. The fabric of 30 denier is therefore thicker than the fabric of 20 denier. Stronger and harder fabric is commonly associated with heavier denier textiles, however this is not always the case because a great deal of the toughness is controlled by other factors, such as the type of thread or yarn used in the fabric.
In our experience, materials with deniers less than a high-quality 30 Denier tend to get whispy and are therefore unsuitable for prolonged, strenuous use.
Takeaway: If all other factors are equal, heavier Deniers are stronger than lighter Deniers. When the denier is less than 30 Denier, the weight savings are not significant in comparison to the denier.
What is the difference in Nylon and Polyester?
Despite the fact that these are both synthetic materials, polyester does offer a few minor benefits in terms of UV performance, while nylon is ounce for ounce harder. As a result, a shelter constructed of Nylon may be significantly lighter than one made of Polyester. Nylon is also more stretchy and packs more compactly than polyester. Polyester is typically far less expensive and more prevalent in lower-priced items. Takeaway: Nylon is far stronger than polyester. Polyester is less expensive, but it is also often heavier.
What is ripstop fabric and is it an advantage?
Ripstop is a reinforcing pattern in textiles that provides additional strength to assist prevent tears from spreading, thus the name “ripstop.” Ripstop is utilized in higher-quality items; nevertheless, there are some low-cost materials that “look” like ripstop, so be cautious when purchasing. Due to the fact that they offer the appearance of quality or toughness, knockoffs are possibly worse than using nothing but ripstop. In the actual world, this will manifest itself in a tent if there is a hole or a little rip in the cloth.
The ripstop is intended to prevent the tear from tearing any farther down the fabric (think ripping a sheet).
Having this happen on a long journey is not something you want to happen.
What are the different types of Nylon like Nylon 6 or Nylon 6.6?
Nylon 6, Nylon 6.6, Robic Nylon, and Cordura Nylon, which is a nylon 6.6 “high tenacity nylon,” are the most common types of nylon. Nylon 6 is the least costly and weakest of the polymers available, although it is still stronger than polyester in terms of strength. Robic nylon is an improvement over nylon 6.6 in terms of strength and abrasion resistance, although it is still not as excellent as nylon 6.6 in these areas. When compared to Nylon 6, which is labeled “high tenacity nylon,” Nylon 6.6 provides much greater strength and tear resistance.
The distinctions are tiny, yet they are found in the way they pull apart.
We believe the distinction is due to the fact that Cordura appears to be made of a long fiber that has been overlapped, whereas part of the generic nylon 6.6 appears to break much more neatly when pressed.
Summary: Cordura and Nylon 6.6 are both High Tensile Nylons that are significantly stronger than the competition.
How do waterproof fabric coatings work like PU and Silicone?
Silicone or polyurethane (PU) textiles, or a combination of the two, make up the majority of hiking tent materials. Plasticized polyurethane coating is popular and has been around for quite some time. PU coatings actually weaken the cloth, causing it to break more readily. This is a thicker coating. Over time, PU hydrolyzes, emitting a foul odor and causing the waterproof covering to peel away from the surface. This is what happened if you’ve ever taken a tent out of the closet after a lengthy period of storage and noticed a foul odor coming from it.
- Silicone coatings are also more durable than polyurethane coatings since they do not hydrolyze.
- There are several advantages to using these coatings, but the major reason we like them is that they have less tackiness, which is ideal in sandy locations.
- Simply said, most consumers would not be able to tell the difference between straight silicone coating and Sil/PU blend coatings, and in many circumstances one might argue that the blend is a superior coating while not being as strong as the pure silicone.
- From a production standpoint, PU coatings may be seam taped, but silicone coatings must be seam sealed before application.
As a result, the cost of PU textiles is lower than the cost of silicone materials. In a nutshell, the following is true: In comparison to polyurethane (PU) coated fabrics, a silicone or silicone mix coating produces a stronger, lighter fabric.
What is Dyneema or Cuben Fiber?
When it comes to conventional tent materials, Dyneema will provide the finest strength to weight ratio – but at a price that is likely to be the most expensive. Dyneema is a lightweight fiber that is extraordinarily strong for its weight, and the tent material is essentially a ripstop pattern of dyneema fibers layered between layers of mylar film to form the structure. Dyneema is extremely waterproof because to the impermeable laminated layers, and it has an incredible strength to weight ratio compared to other materials.
Because dyneema has a lower melting point than silnylon, ember holes will be larger in a hot tent application.
On the bright side, dyneema is easier to repair than silnylon, so if you do happen to develop a hole or rip in your material, it is simple and quick to patch it using mylar tape, and the tape is a permanent solution.
How does UV effect these fabrics?
This is complicated since Dyneema materials are not affected by ultraviolet light. Although ultraviolet rays have an influence on nylon materials, color is extremely significant. Bright nylon colors such as pink, yellow, and other vibrant hues may fade extremely fast in heavy UV exposure. The influence on subdued hues such as our green or brown or grey is, on the other hand, not nearly as significant. There is a significant contrast in color between the two. The main takeaway is that color is really important.
Nylon is a stronger material than polyester, and nylon 6.6 is a more durable material than nylon 6. There are a variety of coatings available, but a silicone coating will be the most durable, followed by a silicone mix at the top of the scale. A PU coating will be the least effective. Simply said, whether you are reliant on your tent for protection, in isolated locations, or through prolonged periods of severe weather, these are the characteristics you should seek for. If you are seeking for a fabric that is both light and robust, and has a tiny pack size, have a look at these textiles.
A material world. How to choose the best tent fabric for you
Not all tents are created equal, as the saying goes. If you’re in the market for camping equipment or want to purchase a tent as a present, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind. In reality, as you’ll soon find, the material of a tent is an important consideration throughout the purchase process. Continue reading – this helpful advice will make the process of finding the correct tents less stressful.
Cotton or canvas are two of the most common types of tent materials that you may come across. When you choose a cotton or canvas tent, you can expect to benefit from additional temperature regulation: Cotton is excellent at keeping you warm while also providing excellent ventilation when the temperature rises too high. Cotton is less prone to condensation than other tent materials when compared to other tent materials. Don’t forget to add some weathering to your project. However, prior to using a canvas tent for the first time, it should go through a process called ‘weathering’.
Or make it ‘rain’ yourself!
If you do not complete the weathering process prior to going camping, you may experience some water leaking through the tent.
For that reason, you may want to do some waterproof testing before you head out on your camping trip with a new cotton/canvas tent. Once weathered, your new tent will be among the more durable and waterproof tents available.
A polyvinyl chloride covering on the exterior of a big cotton tent may be seen when purchasing a large tent made entirely of cotton. You won’t have to weatherproof your canvas tent since the polyvinyl chloride coating on it will keep it waterproof from the start, so you won’t have to worry about it before you go camping. There is just one disadvantage to using a waterproof covering, and that is that it makes the tent somewhat more susceptible to condensation. If you want to purchase a PVC-coated tent, it is critical that you select one that has adequate ventilation to ensure that condensation does not become an issue.
Here’s a combo that’s both strong and long-lasting in nature. It is not necessary to coat a polyester-cotton mix in order for it to be waterproof; nonetheless, most polycotton tents will have an extra waterproof layer that also serves as a water repellent. Are you looking for a tent that will last for several years? When you have a polycotton tent, it will be one of your best choices. Additionally, when compared to certain other tent fabrics, polyester and cotton are more economical options.
Tents constructed entirely of polyester are a popular choice for many people. Because polyester is somewhat more durable than nylon and is available in a number of coatings, many tent manufacturers use this material for their new tent releases because of its long-term durability. You will, however, need to conduct some preliminary study before making a final decision on a certain polyester tent. The coating that is applied to a polyester tent may have an impact on the price of the tent. In an ideal situation, you’d want a polyester tent with a covering that allows for enough breathability while still keeping moisture out.
When it comes to being in direct touch with water, a polyester tent has the advantage of neither shrinking or becoming much heavier.
Camping enthusiasts who want to hike may choose the nylon tent above any other type of tent. Nylon is a lightweight material that keeps the overall weight of the tent to a bare minimum, making it ideal for travel. Nylon tents are also among the most economical types of tents available on the market. Due to the fact that nylon fibers do not absorb water, a nylon tent without an extra coating is also an option. This also implies that when exposed to rain, nylon tents will not get heavier or decrease in size.
It is fairly uncommon to come across a nylon tent that has been coated with silicone, polyurethane, or acrylic.
The best overall protection will be provided by a silicone coating applied to a nylon tent.
In addition, many manufacturers will include a ripstop weave in the fabric of a nylon tent, which makes the tent more stronger and more durable.
Whatever type of tent material you pick, we wish you a wonderful camping experience! Isn’t it past time you go on a camping excursion? Now is the time to book your next BIG4 vacation. The original version of this article published on Anacondastores.com.
Polyester tents – should you buy one?
The waterproofing capabilities of a synthetic fabric are derived from coatings applied to the inner surface, and this is evaluated in order to obtain a hydrostatic head rating (the pressure required to push water through the coating and fabric). While this reflects the performance of a fabric, other factors such as the quality of the base materials and the coatings applied to the fabric have an impact on the fabric’s waterproof characteristics over time. In contrast to cotton tent textiles, the seams of a polyester tent are sealed to prevent water from entering the structure.
Condensation occurs as a result of water vapour becoming trapped within the tent (though this can be reduced with sufficient ventilation).
It is unlikely that dirt, grease, or oil will have an adverse effect on the waterproof qualities of polyester (although substances like aerosol fly killers can damage the coating). They will, however, have an impact on the DWR treatment that is applied to the exterior surface. Any filth, grease, or oils should be removed, and then the area should be rinsed. Whenever required, spray on a water repellent. Reproofing is not a routine maintenance work, and any spots that have lost their waterproofing may be repaired with a DWR spray in a short period of time.
Any synthetic material deteriorates when exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. This is accelerated if the product is used in specific regions that get direct sunlight – particularly for an extended length of time. While this is taken into consideration during the construction process, an additional layer of protection may be offered by draping a tarp over the tent’s ceiling.
Is polyester for you?
Polyester, arguably the best synthetic material for a tent, is durable and requires less immediate maintenance – though the tent should still be maintained clean and dry – than other materials. Its light weight and low bulk make it ideal for situations when transportation and storage space are restricted, and it makes pitching considerably simpler. Polyester is a fantastic fabric for the whole family because of its user-friendliness combined with its comparatively inexpensive cost of manufacture.
|Good tensile and tear strength||UV and heat resistance compared to cotton but better than other synthetics|
|User friendly maintenance||Non breathable – condensation|
|Lighter than cotton||No protection from temperature variations|
|Mildew resistant||Noisy in winds|
|Weight and pack size||Limited lifespan|
This guide was created in collaboration with Outwell, a company that specializes in tents and other camping equipment. Alternatively, you may discover additional information on their website or in one of our other guidebooks.
What Is The Best Tent Fabric For Family Camping Tents
Outwell, a company that specializes in tents and other camping equipment, collaborated in the creation of this resource. Alternatively, you may discover more information on their website or in our other guides.
Tent fabric comparison
The fly and floor of a tent are the two most significant components.
These pieces are expected to be waterproof, and this is true even for the lower parts of tent walls if the fly does not cover the entire tent. Typically, the waterproof tent fabric will be one of the following options:
- Polyester, Nylon, Polyethylene, UV-Tex 5, canvas (and poly-canvas), Cuben fiber, Gore-Tex, and Vapex are some of the materials used.
It is only the first five of them that are important for the family camping tents that you have on this campsite. The other three are either utilized for smaller tents suited for professionals or for winter tents, depending on the situation. Some of the synthetic materials do not require a coating to become waterproof, therefore they may be used directly. In general, nylon is tougher and more abrasion resistant than polyester, but it has the disadvantage of being able to absorb some water, whereas polyester does not.
- The most common types of family camping tents are made of polyester or, less commonly, canvas.
- As a result, some Coleman tents have extremely thick flooring.
- This material is waterproof in and of itself, and hence does not require a coating.
- If you camp on a regular basis and throughout the year, this is a material to take into account.
Synthetic materials vs canvas
- They are unable to be breathed in (except those that are, like the mentioned Gore-Tex). So, as you might have guessed, you’ll have to deal with condensation. Those synthetic materials are poor conductors of heat. Similarly, when it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside, and when it’s hot outside, it’s hot within
- Because they are thin, they make a lot of noise as the wind blows through them. This can be aggravating
- Nonetheless, Quite frequently, they do not smell pleasant
- Yes, some have been linked to cancer in the past. These materials, on the other hand, are often affordable. They are light and quick to dry
- They are also a good choice for outdoor activities. The fact that they are not meant to be combustible means that they require little upkeep. If you still don’t believe me, check out the video in my separate paragraph.
- They do not allow for adequate ventilation (except those that are, like the mentioned Gore-Tex). In order to combat condensation, you must first identify the problem. They are poor insulators, as are those synthetic materials. Likewise, when it’s cold outside, it’s cold inside, and when it’s hot outside, it’s hot within
- However, because they are thin, they make a lot of noise as the wind blows through them. The inconvenience of this is understandable. They frequently have an unpleasant odor
- Certainly, some have been linked to cancer
- Others are unknown. These materials, on the other hand, are often affordable
- They are light and quick to dry
- They are a good choice for outdoor activities. The fact that they are non combustible means that they require less upkeep. If you don’t believe me, check out the video in my separate paragraph.
Canvas absorbs water, therefore it must be handled in a way that allows it to retain its breathable properties. There are a variety of waterproofing techniques available, each of which should make it more or less waterproof and cause water to bead. In general, impregnation is utilized for cotton threads to make them waterproof while yet maintaining their breathability. In other cases, it is combined with polyester, and this combination is referred to as poly-canvas. It is intended to combine the best (as well as the worst) characteristics of both materials.
Consider the following excellent Kodiak 8 person tent as an excellent example of a canvas tent: The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe 8-Person Tent is made of canvas with a flexible bow.
In terms of waterproofing methods, the PU coating is the most commonly used for budget tents, i.e., it is the cheapest waterproofing option available, and it is used in the majority of the family camping tents available on our website. When exposed to visible light for an extended period of time, this coating may become yellow or reddish brown, however this has no effect on the coating’s waterproofing capabilities. Higher-energy UV light, on the other hand, might promote chemical reactions in the foam, causing it to lose its water-repellent properties over time.
Silicone coating – SilNylon
What is often referred to as theSilNylon is silicone added on nylon. An impregnated thin woven cloth is used in this method, which is impregnated with liquid silicone from both sides. The silicone increases the strength of the cloth while also making it extremely waterproof. As a matter of course, such fabrics are not breathable. This type of nylon is utilized in higher-quality tents because it has excellent stability under extreme UV radiation and temperature fluctuations. Due to the high cost of this material, the costs of tents that use it will be more than those without its usage.
Using this method is less expensive, and you may still use silicone outside, where it is most required.
Another reason for using this combination is that seams made of PU coated material are much simpler to tape, and this is done from the inside as is customary in this situation.
Nonwoven fabric with great resistance to ultraviolet light. It is a high-performance fabric with outstanding resistance to ultraviolet light. This is the lightest and most durable of all of the waterproof outdoor fabrics on the market. It weighs approximately half as much as the SilNylon fabric. It does not expand and has a transparent appearance. It is impossible to use such materials in a family camping tent due to the high cost of doing so.
Everything is known about this material, which is the only one of the synthetic materials described above that is breathable. This material is mostly used in 4-season tents that are then utilized by experts, and you will not find it in tents for family camping trips or backpacking trips. As you may expect, such tents are quite pricey.
No matter how watertight the tent fabric is, if the seams are not sealed, the tent will not be watertight as well. Some waterproof objects include the following terminology, which you may find in the descriptions of such things:
- Seams that have been meticulously taped Only the seams that are visible are sealed in this instance. Fully taped seams are common in waterproof coats, but are less common in tents
- Fully taped seams are not common in tents. All seams have been taped, which should be self-explanatory. This must be included in the requirements of a totally waterproof tent. Seams that have been welded. A combination of heat and pressure is utilized to join the various bits of material together in this instance. Due to the fact that this will not function with all materials, you will find it in thermoplastics materials. The material itself is utilized as a fastener to hold the seam together and prevent it from unraveling. As previously stated, this technology is commonly utilized for tent flooring constructed of the polyethylene indicated above, and you will find it in the Coleman tents provided on our website, such as this Coleman Red Canyon 8 tent.
How much waterproofness to expect
The waterproofness ratings of the tents provided on this website are normally in the range of 600 – 3000 mm, depending on the model. To further comprehend the meaning of the phrase, you need be aware that a standard umbrella measures around 400 mm in diameter. In this Core 6 Dome tent and the Coleman Sundome 6, for example, you have 600 mm of headroom; in the Kelty Trail Ridge 6 tent and the Big Agnes Rabbit Ears 6 tent, you get 1800 mm and 1500 mm of headroom, respectively. The greater the number, the greater the likelihood of finding it in the floor material rather than the fly.
Please visit my separate text for further information on waterproof rating.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Polyester versus Nylon
On the MoonLight tents, we utilize only polyester materials that are 100 percent waterproof. Because they are more expensive than comparable nylon materials, we must have a compelling rationale to utilize them. That’s exactly what we do: it makes our tents entirely sag proof. As a matter of fact, and it has taken me years to fully comprehend this, our tents are imperturbable, unchangeable objects. Whatever the conditions, whether they are wet or dry, new out of the bag or put up for days, they always seem precisely the same without the need for re-adjustment or fussing.
In contrast, when nylon textiles are wet, they absorb water and expand by 3.5 percent in length.
Despite the fact that polyester absorbs only a small percentage of water, it does not appear to grow or shrink in any way.
The majority of small tents have at least one fabric dimension over 120″ long that will shrink and expand 4″ from completely dry to completely wet – that’s 2″ per corner edge on a rainfly – a number that I believe many experienced backpackers will recognize as a typical amount they have to tighten a rainfly when it rains heavily.
- It’s where all of the sewing skill for all of the super-lightweight textiles can be found, it’s where the majority of affordable fabrics are manufactured, and it’s where the humidity is always high.
- If one of those tents is transported to a dry area, such as the Western United States, the fabric of the tent shrinks by 3.5 percent in all directions.
- Two-person trekking tents may be designed to be a bit loose in high humidity and a little tight in low humidity by following specific patterns.
- However, as the weather conditions change, they must tighten or loosen the pitch to accommodate the new conditions.
- See photographs below.
- No amount of effort can be put into creating a huge nylon tent that sets up well in a high humidity environment and also sets up properly in dry weather.
- It took some manufacturers more than a decade to figure out how to make enormous tents out of polyester, but today it’s the standard for the industry.
Some polyester tents still employ nylon for the flooring, claiming that it has a higher rip strength than polyester, which is incorrect.
They, on the other hand, do not have that knowledge at all.
A 3.5 percent reduction in length and breadth translates into a 7 percent reduction in area!
In my opinion, if I have opted to use a tent with an 88″x48″ floor, it is not acceptable for the tent to actually measure 85″x46.5″ when I walk out to use it as a result of my decision.
When it comes to siliconed nylon – specifically, those with a Sil/PU** finish – I believe there is some speculation that they may be resistant to the expansion of nylon when wet.
Unfortunately, this is not the case due to the fact that silicone is exceedingly permeable to moisture vapor.
I found this surprising comment from a company that makes water vapor testing equipment (thanks to Tim for the referral!) : Silicone is an effective barrier against liquids; but, numerous vapours – such as oxygen, water vapour, and hydrogen – may flow through most forms of silicone nearly as if the silicone were not present.
- They were flawless, and I did what many a product manager before me had done – I authorized the sample for production and moved on to the next step.
- Every tent had to be unpacked, its poles had to be cut, and then it had to be repacked.
- So, when you pitch a NYLON tent and it appears to be beautifully setup and taut, as in the following image: A prototype MoonLight 4 – DRY with a nylon sil/polyester rainfly.
- When it rains, the roof sags and takes on this appearance, resulting in massive condensation, dripping on the inside, and flapping in the breeze: After only 4 1/2 minutes of being sprayed down with a hose, a nylon sil/pu coated rainfly was installed on the same prototype MoonLight 4.
- Aside from that, there was no exterior silicone treatment applied to the polyester fabric used in this particular prototype.
- All our current fabrics are sil/pu with silicone on the outside plus polyurethane on the underside.
- Talk about stoic!
- This probably explains a lot to you experienced tent users out there.
- But you dutifully went out to re-tighten everything in the middle of the night so it wouldn’t flap and drip.
- Pretty shocking and completely unacceptable for our purposes here: to have the ultimate no fuss,set-it-and-forget-ittent.
Tent-worthy polyesters currently only go down to 20D fabric weights. Nylon fabrics are available all the way down to 7D.
Why don’t other brands use and promote lightweight polyester fabrics?
I’ve been trying to figure out how to express this precisely correctly for a long time, and I think I’ve finally figured it out: Essentially, there are two types of brands: those that “go with the flow” and do what is typical and expected (generally at a reasonable price), and those who use their voice to push the marketplace to promote specific features and advantages (for which they rightfully get a higher price).
- In order to market the lightest feasible tents, those in the forefront of the movement are using nylon fabrics with a 7D, 10D, and 15D thickness to achieve this.
- As a result, the lightest polyester materials are stuck in a marketing no-land.
- Polyester textiles do not provide this benefit, hence they are eliminated from consideration.
- As a result of the outstanding value offered by polyester fabrics in the 68D and 75D weights, go-with-the-flow manufacturers often sell tents in the $200-$300 range (for two people), which are made of 68D and 75D polyester fabrics.
- You can see how this will play out: there will be no 20D polyester for anyone other than diehards (me).
- A boogeyman phenomenon, no one can pinpoint a precise explanation why it occurs, just that it might occur, especially when two dark colors are juxtaposed next to each other in the same room.
- In our opinion, drooping while wet is entirely unacceptable, and we’re happy to work with our fabric suppliers to guarantee that the colors don’t bleed into one another (and we also have chosen colors that would be hard to even know if there was any bleeding of one onto the other).
By the way, this video demonstrates what a 2-3% increase in size does.
How terrible could nylon possibly be if people have been using it unabatedly for many years without objecting?
I’m not sure how you feel about it, but I’m not going to take it any longer.
It’s the nylon.and YES, those creases do a terrible job of dripping humidity into the interior.
It had only just begun to drizzle a tiny bit.
Raindrops were causing little bumps to develop on the cloth as the nylon expanded under them, causing the fabric to pucker.
They didn’t even notice it was there — it’s the inverse of the adage “out of sight, out of mind.” As any cognitive researcher will tell you, what is out of mind is nearly invariably out of sight. Or, to put it another way, you can’t see what you don’t know where to look. Just look at it.YEESH!
Canvas Tent vs Nylon Tent vs Polyester
I hope you enjoy the things I’ve selected below; but, please be aware that I receive a commission on qualifying sales made via my Amazon affiliate link. This means that if you purchase something after clicking on one of the links on this page, I may receive a commission. In this essay, I will examine the distinctions between a canvas tent, a nylon tent, and a polyester tent, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. The hundreds of options available when purchasing a tent, whether it is your first tent or your hundredth tent, may be overwhelming when trying to grasp all the distinctions between them all.
To do this, you may begin by removing the tents that are not constructed of the material that you want to use.
In order to assist you in understanding the significant differences between nylon, polyester, and canvas tents, the following table compares the vast differences between these three types of tents.
When it comes to camping, the last thing you want to experience is being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tents available.
The Types Of Tent Materials
Although a more extensive answer to the different types of tent materials is provided below, for those who are in a hurry, you may quickly compare the differences between nylon, polyester, and canvas tents by clicking on the links below.
One tent can last a lifetime if it is used for lengthy periods of time. Canvas tents may be used all year, especially in the winter, because they are the most effective at keeping heat inside the tent. Cotton canvas breathes better than nylon canvas, which means that it takes considerably longer to heat up the interior of the tent during the summer months. Given that canvas is a heavy-duty material, these sorts of tents are best suited for persons who camp more frequently than the average individual.
Both materials are synthetic, with the major advantage being their light weight. All sorts of campers will benefit from this material’s incredible low weight. Nylon is more waterproof than polyester, however both may be made waterproof with the use of a waterproofing spray. Polyester is more waterproof than nylon. These sorts of tents are suitable for those who camp only once in a while as well as those who camp on a regular basis. Investing in a canvas tent that will last the rest of your life if camping is a serious passion of yours and you intend to go camping for the rest of your life makes financial sense if camping is a serious hobby of yours and you intend to camp for the rest of your life.
The sun and rain may cause significant damage to a synthetic tent far more quickly than they can to a canvas tent. However, because these tents are frequently less expensive, they are a good choice for the casual camper who isn’t concerned with having to replace their tent every few years.
What Is A Canvas Tent Made Out Of
Canvas tents are one of the most common types of tents available on the market. They are lightweight and easy to set up. They have achieved this reputation by being extremely robust and by being built to be an all-season tentas they are capable of withstanding frigid temperatures. However, the mystery remains as to what exactly canvas tents are composed of. As a result, canvas tents are significantly heavier than nylon or polyester tents due to the fact that they are constructed of heavy-duty woven cloth.
This is due to the fact that canvas tents are now composed of a variety of materials rather than only cotton, as they were in the past.
100% Cotton Canvas
While cotton canvas tents are becoming more difficult to come by, they are still worth considering since they breathe far better than man-made fabrics. Tents like theSpringbar and the Kodiak Canvas are made entirely of 100 percent cotton duck canvas, and they are the market leaders in the canvas tent category. Comparing canvas tents made of cotton to the newer man-made textiles, I feel that cotton canvas tents are the most appropriate choice. So a canvas tent can also be built of polyester, but they have a long way to go before they can compete with a cotton canvas tent in terms of durability.
The additional weight of the material is little when compared to the increased lifetime you will enjoy from a high-quality canvas tent.
Are Canvas Tents Waterproof Brand New
Choosing between canvas and nylon tents is a tough decision, and many people ask if canvas tents are waterproof. However, this is a difficult issue to answer because not every tent is the same. This means that the response cannot be categorical in nature. The first step would be to verify with the maker or the tent’s specifications before purchasing it to see whether or not it is waterproof. This will frequently provide you with the solution to your inquiry.
Canvas Tents Need Weathering
Canvas tents have a distinct design that distinguishes them from many other types of tents. You should set them up in your yard before you take them camping and spray them down to ensure they are in good working order. When the cloth expands, it seals the holes and becomes watertight as a result of this procedure. This is referred to as “weathering” or “seasoning,” and it is necessary when using a brand new canvas tent.
Can You Waterproof A Canvas Tent?
There are certain canvas tents that are pre-treated with weatherproofing, which might be beneficial or detrimental depending on your needs. Sometimes this layer of waterproofing might make the tent less breathable, which negates one of the benefits of using a cotton canvas tent: its ability to breathe. However, if you are concerned, I would still recommend applying your own coat of waterproofing to the surface. While the tightly woven tight nit cotton canvas repels water rather effectively, spraying the canvas with waterproof spray once a year will guarantee that you have the most possible protection from the elements.
It will also assist to preserve the canvas from fading and eventually deteriorating in the sun if you use waterproof sprays that contain UV protection. One canvas tent may last you a lifetime if properly maintained on an annual basis, which is why caring for your canvas tent is so vital.
Do Canvas Tents Hold Heat
Canvas tents are a unique type of tent because they are capable of doing a variety of tasks that a normal tent cannot. Another advantage of a canvas tent is that if you bring something warm into the tent, such as a heater or a stove (if the tent has a stove jack), it will help to keep the heat inside the tent for longer. One of the reasons canvas tents are typically the only four-season tents available is because they are so lightweight. One of their most outstanding characteristics is its capacity to keep the heat in while keeping the cold out of the house.
Aside from that, you may securely prepare food inside the tent when it is snowing outside.
Providing you have adequate ventilation and the tent is treated with a fire retardant, this is something you may attempt.
How Does Canvas Perform In Summer?
Summer is on the other end of the spectrum; how well does a canvas tent function in the summer? This is a very essential subject because the majority of people go camping during the warmer months. In the summer, the most significant difference between a canvas tent and a nylon tent is heat retention. In the sun, a canvas tent will take far longer to heat up. Within the first 10 minutes of using a nylon tent, the interior will get as hot as an oven. This is due to the fact that the nylon material is so thin that the heat from the sun penetrates quickly.
The disadvantage of this is that once the sun has set, the canvas tent will continue to hold the heat inside the tent for a longer period of time.
However, on hot and humid nights, it is essential that you open the windows to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the canvas.
What Is A Nylon Tent
Unlike canvas tents, nylon tents are made entirely of synthetic materials, each of which has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. This sort of cloth is extremely lightweight, making it an excellent choice for some types of camping. If you want to backpack or walk for long periods of time, a nylon tent is a fantastic choice because it is significantly lighter than a canvas tent. Nylon tents are also more affordable than canvas tents. Nylon is already reasonably water-resistant in its natural state, and it has the potential to be enhanced even further by applying varying layers of coating.
The most significant advantage of nylon tents is that they are typically quick and simple to erect.
The sun is one of the most significant drawbacks of using a nylon tent.
They are not as resistant to UV rays as canvas tents, which causes them to become brittle and not survive as long as canvas tents. In order to ensure that they live for as long as possible, it is recommended that you keep them out of the sun as much as possible.
What Is A Polyester Tent
Polyester is used in the manufacture of a large percentage of tents, so understanding a little bit more about it is definitely a good idea for any camper who is interested in the subject. In many aspects, they’re extremely similar to nylon tents, with the exception that they can withstand sunlight better, making them more durable than nylon. They’re constructed of a synthetic material that restricts airflow and makes it difficult to breathe. For me, this implies that when looking at a polyester tent, it’s a good idea to check at how well it breathes before purchasing it.
When shopping for polyester tents, these are some of the most crucial considerations.
Advantages To A Polyester Tent Over Canvas Or Nylon
One of the most advantageous characteristics of a polyester tent is that it requires less initial maintenance when it is first purchased. This is in contrast to a canvas tent, which must be weathered before use, or a nylon tent, which must be waterproofed numerous times before use. Despite the fact that polyester does not necessarily need to be waterproof, I will nevertheless apply a coat of waterproofing myself just to be on the safe side. Polyester is often exceptionally well-sealed, which makes it an excellent choice for keeping the rain at bay.
The most effective strategy to avoid this is to ensure that there is as much airflow as possible.
Canvas Tent Vs Dome Tent
Ever since they were originally created, dome tents have proven to be highly popular, and for a period of time, they were one of the most often used forms of tents. Canvas tents were forced to make a brief comeback as everyone flocked to dome tents for the convenience and quickness they provided. Both forms of tents have advantages and disadvantages, with none being superior to the other but rather more suited to your camping style. Generally speaking, dome tents are excellent since they are lightweight and easy to erect.
Canvas tents, on the other hand, are some of the nicest four-season tents you can find anywhere in the world.
Because of this, it may be worthwhile to pay a higher initial price in order to save money in the long term.
Because they are less expensive tents and take less effort, they are a good choice. The fact that dome tents are restricted in size as a result of their construction might have an influence on your decision to purchase one.
Advantages Of A Canvas Tent Over Nylon
When considering whether to purchase a canvas, nylon, or polyester tent, it is a good idea to consider the advantages that a canvas tent provides in contrast to the other options. Canvas tents and nylon tents are diametrically opposed to one another; while both provide appropriate sleeping accommodations when camping, there is a significant difference between the two.
- Canvas tents have the capacity to withstand all weather conditions, making them four-season tents, as opposed to most synthetic tents, which are just three-season tents. As a result, they are among the greatest winter tents available and should be included in the collection of any serious camper. Because of the fabric’s construction, they have their own method of waterproofing, which means they do not require the application of a waterproofing sealant. Because of this, you will have less work and more time to rest, which is something everyone appreciates. Keeping the heat in your tent is critical throughout the winter months, and canvas tents are particularly adept at this task. The stove jack on your model will keep your tent so warm that you won’t even know you’re in the snow
- This method is particularly effective if your model has one. One of the most significant disadvantages of other types of tents is that they are not very durable due to the fact that UV rays cause them to become brittle. Canvas tents are an exception to this rule, and as a result, they are among the most durable options available. Due to the fact that you will not be purchasing a new tent every year, the larger initial cost will be much more bearable. Because a canvas tent is constructed of a thicker fabric, which some may consider to be a disadvantage, I believe it to be an advantage. Because it is heavier, it will not be blown around in the wind while you are attempting to sleep, resulting in a more peaceful experience overall. The majority of canvas tents are constructed of cotton, which is one of the finest fabrics to choose when you want your tent to breathe in order to enable fresh air to flow and minimize condensation.
How To Clean A Canvas Tent
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive and see on the internet is, “How do you clean your canvas tent?” Once you’ve decided that a canvas tent is a better long-term investment than a nylon tent, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive and see on the internet is, “How do you clean your canvas tent?” If your tent is stain-resistant or not, you can usually determine how well it was constructed.
If it stains, you’ve got a winner on your hands. If it doesn’t stain, the tent won’t endure, so this is the first thing you need figure out.
You should avoid using a power washer or even a hose for this task because this will remove the waterproofing from your tent’s fabric.
Avoid Scrubbing A Canvas Tent
Another thing you should avoid doing is scrubbing your tent since this might remove the waterproofing from your tent. The following are the first few things you should understand before cleaning your canvas tent. NO High-pressure washing is used instead of detergents or solvents, and there is no scrubbing. This will assist to keep your waterproofing in good condition. When it comes to things like removing mildew from canvas, bird droppings, or tree sap, there are two options available to you.
If you get to the tree sap as soon as possible, you will be able to wipe it away; otherwise, you will have to wait until it is completely dry.
If you do happen to get something on it, such as bird droppings, you may rinse it off and reapply the waterproofing.
It is sufficient to clean your canvas tent with water, therefore.
Can You wash A Canvas Tent In A Washing Machine
Even though some people have successfully washed a typical synthetic tent in the washing machine in the past, this is not a method that I would suggest to anybody. While canvas may be washed in the washing machine with a particular sort of detergent, it is likely that the tent would be too large for your washing machine to accommodate. The best course of action would be to follow the instructions outlined above and avoid washing a tent in the washing machine entirely.
Conclusion – Choose A Tent For Your Needs
The bottom line is that whether you choose a canvas tent over a nylon tent or a polyester tent, if you get a high-quality tent, it will perform admirably. In regular camping situations, any type of tent material is suitable for the task at hand.
The sort of camping you will be doing will have a significant impact on whether or not you choose canvas. It should come as no surprise that a canvas tent is the finest option for full-time living. They are stronger, more robust, and if properly cared for, they may last a very long period.