Canvas tents may be bulky, heavy and on the expensive side, but if you’re an avid car camper looking for something that will last a long time and provide extra comfort, then it could be well worth investing in a canvas tent.
Here we provide a summary of the best canvas tents out there, as well as a brief guide to choosing the perfect canvas tent for your camping experience.
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We reviewed over 17 canvas tents for this article. Below are the best canvas tents that made our short list.
Read our complete buyers guide for canvas tents.
Made with 100% cotton duck canvas, the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow tent is the general crowd favorite, with a 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
The tent is spacious, with a height of 6 feet 6 inches (2 meters), although this does make it quite hefty at 79 lbs (36kg). The ceiling and walls are made of trademarked Hydra-Shield canvas material, while the floor is made of vinyl.
The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow is waterproof, durable and easy to set up. It also has two doors, four windows, and two vents to help with airflow.
If you prefer to camp off the ground, we understand why you’ll be looking for a tent that can be installed in the bed of your truck. Of all the truck bed tents out there, the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Canvas Tent is the one to go for.
With similar features to the Kodiak Flex Bow tent, such as being made from 100% cotton duck canvas, this tent comes in either a mid-size, 6’ full-size or 8’ full-size version, each of which costs $369.
The full-size tents fit full-size trucks like the Ford F Series, Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Dodge Ram, Toyota Tundra 2016 (or earlier versions) and the Nissan Titan. The mid-size version is suited for the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger.
The tent is geared with five windows, a large D-shaped door, two gear pockets, and clamp-on rails for you to secure the tent to your truck.
Whether you’re solo-camping or just prefer to sleep alone, you might consider this Kodiak Canvas 1-Person Canvas Swag Tent an option for your camping needs.
The tent is spacious at 6’8” (2m) long and almost 3’ (1m) wide. The canopy is made of 100% cotton duck canvas, which allows for a waterproof, yet breathable cover. The tent comes with a 2” (5cm) thick foam pad and removable flannel cover, which can all be rolled into one bundle and cinched together using the straps provided.
This tent can be used for ground camping, truck camping, or with a cot. The top of the tent unzips and can be rolled back to allow for extra ventilation in summer heat and stargazing on clear nights.
The Teton Sports Sierra 16 Canvas Tent is a bell tent able to sleep 8-12 people. The setup is fairly simple, with a two pole assembly, and can be assembled either as a tent for camping or as a canopy for festivals or picnics.
The product comprises the canvas tent, tent poles, carbon steel stakes and a carry bag. The door to the tent is designed to be over-sized, allowing for ventilation and easy loading of your belongings into the tent. However, the tent is extremely heavy, at 80 lbs (36 kg), and quite expensive.
The DANCHEL Cotton Bell Tent comes in diameters ranging from 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters). The cover is made of 300GSM cotton canvas and the ground cover is made of PVC.
The tent’s distinctive feature is a 3.9 inch (10cm) stove hole and double stove jacket in the top cover and wall for extra chilly winter nights. These jackets are multi-purpose and can be used for an air-conditioner tube, power line or solar panel line.
Like other Kodiak tents, the Kodiak Canvas Cabin Tent is made of 100% cotton duck canvas, which allows for breathability whilst being both waterproof and durable.
This cabin tent is decked with a large D-shaped door as well as a side entry and comes with an 8 x 8.5 inch (20 x 21 cm) awning, which you have the option to use or not.
The tent also has five mesh-covered windows for ventilation and can sleep up to 6 people.
The Dream House Luxury Canvas Tent is aesthetically pleasing and is perfect for luxurious camping. This tent is available in four different sizes, ranging in diameter from 3-6 meters.
The tent cover material is cotton canvas with 3000mm PU coating for waterproofing, and the groundsheet is made of PVC. This four-season tent is waterproof and the door and windows are covered with mosquito mesh.
All sizes, except the 10 foot (3 meter) tent, have stove holes for winter warmth, and are wind-resistant up to 30 mile/hour (50 km/h).
Naturally, the kind of tent you need depends on the kind of camping (or glamping) you intent to do and how often you intend to camp. Canvas tents are quite an investment, so it’s worth doing the research and choosing the right one for you.
If you have a truck, then you might consider a truck bed tent, like the Kodiak Canvas Truck Bed Canvas Tent. However, this tent requires more than one person to set up. If you’re camping solo, then the Kodiak Canvas 1-Person Canvas Swag Tent might be a better and cheaper option.
On the other hand, if you need a bigger tent, then a bell tent is probably the way forward, like the Dream House Luxury Canvas Tent, Teton Sports Sierra 16 Canvas Tent, or the DANCHEL Cotton Bell Tent.
If you prefer the style of a cabin tent, and don’t want to be ducking down every time you walk in and out of your tent, then the Kodiak Canvas Cabin Tent is a great option. The only downside to this tent is that the rods tend to jam, which can be frustrating.
Overall, the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Tent (which comes in a variety of sizes) is the best value in terms of material quality, reliability and comfort.
Tents come in a variety of different materials, including nylon, laminates, polyester and canvas. Different materials are suited for different purposes so the type you choose should be based on how you want to use your tent.
Canvas is a heavier material usually made from woven cotton or hemp, while nylon tends to be much lighter and thinner.
Canvas is stronger and much easier to repair than nylon or synthetic fabrics, although 'ripstop' weaves are now being utilized to prevent rips from getting bigger in nylon tents.
Nylon is naturally water-resistant while canvas tents need a special coating to prevent the cotton from absorbing water.
Canvas tents are great if you're car camping and place more emphasis on comfort and durability, but if you need something light, portable, or waterproof then a nylon tent or backpacking tent is the way to go.
One thing that is always mentioned when discussing canvas tents is the necessity for appropriate maintenance and storage. If a canvas tent is left wet or damp, it’s easy for mold to develop and for the material to become completely ruined.
It’s important to ensure that you store the tent totally dry to avoid any molding or mildew. There are certain tents that are coated in a water-resistant substance, but this reduces the breathability of the tent, which is one of the selling points of canvas tents in the first place.
Canvas tents can be either pure cotton canvas, or synthetic canvas – a polyester-canvas blend. Pure cotton canvas tents tend to be heavier, more expensive, and require appropriate maintenance. However, these tents are favorable for their durability, longevity and environmental friendliness.
Synthetic or poly-cotton canvas tents are lighter and more mildew-resistant. The material of the tent frame, poles and stakes is also important. You’ll need a sturdy material to hold up the weight of the canvas, like steel.
Durability & Weather Resistance
One of the benefits of canvas as a material is its durability. This is one of the key features to consider when making your purchase, along with the resistance to a range of weather conditions. Most canvas tents are four season tents, but just check before you buy.
It may seem like quite a dramatic investment to make, but in the case of canvas tents, quality and cost are pretty closely correlated. You’re paying for a material that is durable, watertight yet simultaneously breathable, and one that you can use year-round. In general, this is a worthy investment, as a canvas tent will last you a lifetime and can be used in almost any weather.
The shape of the tent you choose depends on functional and aesthetic preferences. Bell tents are generally simple to set up and can sleep many people, but are bulky and heavy. They’re perfect for large groups of people, or for more glamping trips.
Cabin tents require a bit more framework, and are generally the most popular tent shape. Wall tents are similar, although have a pitched roof and are more spacious, making them great for longer trips. If you want to be able to walk around in the tent, make sure to check the interior height. However, if you just need something to sleep in, then a truck bed tent or swag tent (for one person) are the simplest options.
Due to the heaviness of canvas, it would be almost inconceivable to take a canvas tent backpacking. So if you’re car camping, then the weight of the tent doesn’t matter too much, although it does play a part in how easy it is to set up the tent – heavier tents may require more than one person to set up.
Packed size is important especially when you’re travelling in a fully loaded car, so finding a tent that packs up easily into a neat bundle or bag is essential. You’re going to want to find a tent that you can pack up and go.
Canvas tents aren’t generally the quickest types of tents to set up. However, some are designed to be easier than others. If you’re potentially going to be setting it up alone, take into account the weight and simplicity of the structure.
Camping is uncomfortable enough as it is, so why not ensure you have the best tools to make it more comfy? The factors that play into your camping comfort include the breathability, insulation, UV resistance and noisiness of your tent material. Canvas scores pretty well in these areas, making it a great quality choice.
Depending on the weather conditions and how long you’ll be camping for, you might want to add a few extras to enhance your camping experience. This could be something simple and functional, like a tent footprint, which is useful for keeping dirt out of the tent, or a stove for heating, or it could be more complicated, like an air-conditioning unit.