Tent Fabrics: What are tents made of?

It is hard to make out which fabric is the best for which season and especially when you are more conscious about weather at camping. You can’t automatically get the best tent as from cheap to expensive tents come in different variety of material. Before choosing the right one make sure why you need it? And for which purpose you are using it. From polyester to poly cotton every fabric has some advantages and drawbacks.

It’s not true that expensive product will meet your demand and it wouldn’t fit for the purpose you need it even top 4 season tents fabric has some drawbacks. For an optimal choice pre-determine what kind of fabric you want for shelter when you are deciding to buy and before going for its design, so that you wouldn’t die in snowy or windy storm if you are mountaineering  or hiking. Once you decide which fabric is perfect for you buying it will be easier.

Tent Fabrics What are tents made of

While searching a camping tent you might have looked different brands rating different fabric also are marked with oxford, denier or hydrostatic quality and there is PU coating what does all that mean. Well it is very important to know these things and the difference between qualities of fabric and their rating so that you can get better. This article is meant to provide all the information, advantages and drawback of fabrics that are used for tents in order to make a better choice.

Let’s find out about tent fabrics in detail:

1. Nylon Fabric

Generally many lightweight tents comes with nylon fabric which is better choice for backpacking campers. However, there is no insulation in nylon and you will feel suffocation inside the tent during rainy hours. Yet it is durable, stronger and the material they use in it makes the fabric lighter and perfect for backpacking outdoors.

Apart from this you will find nylon tents rating waterproof as the material is not itself a waterproof but synthesized with silicon that makes it stronger and waterproof. Even so it can cause problem, likely it may absorb water which can create trouble if the tent’s rainfly expend on water it can create humidity inside the tent. Yet again you have to look for silicon coatings to mitigate this issue.

Nylon Fabric Tents

Even though nylon is lightweight but susceptible to UV exposure which can cause issue for mountaineers and hikers. The fabric coatings protect nylon from UV radiations. Likewise, if you compare it with polyester tents, you will find nylon tents lighter but less protective. Besides, nylon is expensive then polyester.

  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Easy to Manufacture
  • Water Resistant
  • Expensive than Polyester
  • Less Protection against UV Rays

Also See: How to Use Tent Guy Lines?

2. Polyester Fabric

Polyester fabric popularly used for backpacking or car camping tents, a perfect fabric that you can use for 3 seasons. Since the manufactures have improved the fabric strength it performs better then old polyester material. It is bit heavy to nylon but very lighter to cotton and canvas. The fabric is designed to be stronger and lighter to perform better in windy conditions and to make transport easier. Polyester material is sustainable for tents then nylon but the downside is that it can cause humidity and to avoid this situation you need to choose a tent with good ventilation system since the fabric is not breathable.

Here, it works best only for 3 seasons as it can keep you warm and comfortable inside tent during cold nights of mid-winter. But it wouldn’t protect in winter you will need a heater in that situation. Also it can cause suffocation in summer if your tent wouldn’t have proper ventilation. Polyester is durable, its strength differ at different deniers.

Here, Denier is a unit of measuring fabric thickness that manufactures use in tent and mostly polyester tents rages 75D to 150D. Higher the denier means stronger the fabric will be. Furthermore, polyester is waterproof and wouldn’t expend in rain shower but it is also synthesized with silicon to make it waterproof like nylon.

Polyester Fabric Tents

Again it wouldn’t shrink and perform well in rain unlike to nylon. In case of water leakage coatings are available at low cost to increase its water-resistance power. Also polyester provides you protection against UV radiation.

  • Stronger & Lightweight
  • Best for 3 Seasons
  • Waterproof with PU Coating
  • Protect against UV Rays
  • It can cause Humidity

Have a look at: Best Instant Family Tents 

3. Canvas Fabric

Canvas fabric is completely different from nylon and polyester they are made up of cotton. They mostly used for luxury tents of winter. However you can’t carry them because they are heavy yet are more protective against synthetic fabric. Canvas can keep you warm in winter and cool during hot day of summer. This fabric tents are more stable and sturdy in windy storm also comfortable then other fabrics.

Canvas Fabric Tents

Indeed, canvas is long lasting and perfect for all seasons. Also this fabric tents are available in every size you can get good experience at journey with this fabric tent. Unlike to synthetic fabric it keep you comfortable with its UV resistance quality. With this fabric you don’t need to worry about water seepage because it is naturally waterproof will keep the tent interior breathable as well.

  • Durable
  • Perfect for all Seasons
  • UV Resistant
  • Breathable Material
  • Heavy
  • Expensive

4. Poly Cotton Fabric

Poly cotton tents are more durable, strong and perform better at camping. Actually it is a combination of cotton and polyester means it has qualities and benefits of both fabric. Poly cotton is stronger breathable and long lasting than polyester. Besides, it wouldn’t cause condensation as well as provide protection against UV radiation. Poly cotton tents are ideal for family and group camping.

Polycotton Fabric Tents

Moreover, it is powerful enough to resist water leakage but for complete safety you can apply coating if it require. This type of fabric tents are less heavy then canvas tents but heavier to polyester tents also requires transport.

  • Durable
  • Long-Lasting
  • UV Resistant
  • Resist Water Leakage
  • Heavier than Polyester
  • More Expensive

Final Verdict

In the end, if you are camping with family or large group then you can go with either with canvas or with poly cotton but you have to decide in which season you are camping. If you are regular camper then these two are best option otherwise, you can choice polyester for all 3 seasons. Yet again solo mountaineers can get nylon tent but it would be better to go with polyester.


About Author

Hi I am Jefferson, a mechanical engineer as well as camping master. I owe thousands of camping gadget, often makes my own for hiking. I have been writing on outdoor product reviews and activities with buying guide and my advice reaches 350 million of people. We encourage people to live adventurously. Read More…

Enjoy Adventure!

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