Modern tents are made from a range of different fabrics and each of them will provide you with some benefits but will also have their problems. If you are looking at buying a clearspan tent building, or a simple 2-man tent, you should consider what the fabrics offer. Once you understand the different fabrics, you will be able to determine which the best one for your needs is.
Cotton Canvas Tent
At one point, canvas was the go-to fabric for tents, but this has become rarer these days. The primary issue with this fabric is the weight which is much heavier than modern man-made fabrics used by other tents. However, cotton canvas is one of the best tents for staying cool in the summer and warm during the cold nights.
Cotton canvas is also able to breathe naturally which makes it less prone to condensation. The only issue is that you need to weather the tent before you use it. If you do not do this, you will face some leaks during the first rains.
The most common fabric used in modern tents is polyester and will have a variety of coatings. When using a polyester tent, you will need to make note of the coating that is used because it will offer certain benefits. This fabric is one of the more durable ones and will not shrink or expand when wet.
Polyester tents are also not affected as much by the sun as nylon tents. This is something that you need to consider if you are going to be camping during the summer months.
Small modern tents are generally made of nylon because it is light-weight and will not absorb water. Nylon will also be used for the simplest and cheapest tents on the market. More expensive nylon tents will generally have a range of coatings which make them better than the average tent.
A problem that you can face with nylon is that the fabric will slacken when it is damp. This means that you will have to tighten your guy lines to ensure that the tent stays in good shape. Nylon is also more vulnerable to UV rays which means that strong sunlight is going to shorten the lifespan of your tent.
PVC Coated Canvas Tents
Large frame tents and trailer tents will generally be made with PVC coated canvas to ensure that they are waterproof and strong. The primary issue with this fabric is the weight which is much greater than other man-made fabrics. Additionally, condensation can form on the coated fabric and these tents will need to have proper ventilation to overcome this.
Which Fabric Is the Best?
The best fabric will depend on the type of tent that you need, how you are going to be using it and when you will use it. If you are going to camp during the summer months, you should consider polyester because it is not damaged by the sun as much. If you are looking for a large tent, PVC canvas is a good option. However, if you want a cheap tent then nylon is the best solution.