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When it comes to finding the right tent for your family you have a huge variety of options in all sorts of styles and price ranges. In fact there are so many options out there that it can be difficult to know that you're getting the right option for your family and your budget. When it really comes down to it you need to be able to decide on which material your new tent will be constructed from: nylon or canvas. Both materials are great for use on tents and deciding which style of material is best for you and your family depends on when and where you'll be using your tent.
Nylon is a very airy and silky synthetic material. Nylon material is often used in tents because of a few obvious advantages. First nylon is a very lightweight material which helps keep the overall weight of the tent down. Because nylon is such a lightweight material, nylon tents often come with aluminum or carbon fiber poles which also help keep the overall weight of the tent to a minimum. The lighter material paired with lightweight poles also means that you'll be able to package your tent up in a smaller space. Having a lower weight tent allows you to pack it further and generally makes for an easier setup.
Nylon also has the advantage of being naturally water resistant and can easily be coated to make it waterproof. Storing a nylon tent when it's still wet wont damage the material since nylon doesn't rot, however every nylon tent should be dried thoroughly before putting it away otherwise mildew can form on the nylon surfaces. Since nylon is naturally water resistant that also means condensation can form on the interior walls of the tent. Nylon tents also have the tendency to heat up quickly if they are in direct sunlight as the nylon material doesn't breathe as well as its canvas counterpart.
With proper care nylon tents will last a very long time. However in the chance that your tent begins to tear or has worn parts you'll need to find an appropriate patch kit. Since nylon is a thinner material it has a higher tendency to rip and will likely break down quicker than canvas. Also take into consideration that the lighter tent poles, though flexible and strong, might not last as long as the poles included with canvas tents.
Canvas is a thick, heavy fabric that is typically made from cotton. Canvas has been used in tents for many years and continues to be a favorite among campers. Canvas is a very heavy material which makes for a heavier tent. You may need two people to move, store and setup the tent. The heavier material also means that you'll need heavier poles to keep everything up, which adds to the weight and difficulty in setting everything up. However, since canvas is typically made from cotton or even hemp, canvas tents offer a great biodegradable and environmentally friendly option.
Canvas tents are often considered a more comfortable option when compared with nylon. Canvas, being made out of cotton, does not transfer heat as quickly as nylon. This means that you'll stay warmer when it's cool and cooler when it's warm. Canvas also breathes much easier than nylon, which means that you won't be dealing with the interior condensation or humidity that is generally associated with nylon tents. The increased breathability does come at a cost though, canvas tents are often very water absorbent and can rot over time if not cared for properly. Many canvas tents come with a water resistant coating, but it also may be an added expense. Also, if canvas absorbs a lot of water this can make the tent very heavy and harder to dry out.
Canvas is a more durable material than nylon and many canvas tents are built like tanks. Since canvas is a heavier material it also helps keep any rips from growing larger. Canvas is generally made from a cotton based material it is easily repaired with a heavy duty needle and thread. When properly cared for, canvas will last much longer than a typical nylon tent.
Tents come in all shapes and sizes, which material you'll need depends on what you are looking to get out of your tent and how you plan on using it. No matter if you're looking for a lightweight casual tent or a heavy duty fortress of a tent you'll find what you need in either canvas or nylon. No matter which material you choose you're sure to have a quality tent that meets your needs and will help you and your family build many great memories.
- Camping > Tents & Shelters