- 1 Kodiak makes one of the best canvas camping tents
- 2 Cotton Canvas Camping Tent Cabin by Trek Tents
- 3 Four Season Cotton Canvas Camping Tent with Rain Fly
- 4 Military Canvas Camping Tents for Sale
- 5 Canvas Wall Frame Tent
- 6 Olive Canvas A-frame military half shelter tent
- 7 Nylon Military and Scout Style 2-Person Tent
Best Canvas Camping Tents Review Guide
Canvas is a heavy duty fabric of woven threads, with hemp or cotton being the traditional materials used for canvas camping tents. These days, most tents are made of synthetic materials that are lighter and more waterproof than canvas, but lack some of the qualities that the organic thread canvas has.
Canvas tends to be heavy, offers complete shadow from the sun and provides excellent wind protection. The sturdy material and environmental qualities are the main reasons why canvas wall tents are popular base camp tents.
I can’t really see anyone wanting to go backpacking with a canvas camping tents but it is a very good choice for longer stays where you want a full height cabin tent.
Canvas camping tents breathe!
A hemp fabric is almost impossible to find nowadays but cotton is just as good, perhaps even better in some ways.
Duck canvas is very tightly woven and a canvas camping tents which is well maintained provides a dry indoor environment.
The difference to many synthetic materials is that even though the cotton canvas tent keeps you dry and shielded, it continues to breathe through the fabric.
The synthetic materials used in modern tents are almost too impermeable and you get condensation humidity inside – something you will never experience inside a canvas camping tents in good condition.
Thick and heavy material without internal humidity problems is the main reason why traditional canvas tents make excellent long-term housing.
Kodiak makes one of the best canvas camping tents
If you look at the best-seller lists on camping gear, you find tents made of all kinds of synthetic materials, but also one or two canvas camping tents.
My personal favorite is the Kodiak Flex-Bow Canvas Camping Tent a 8-person modern canvas wall tent which is a solid performer in the top 100 tent bestseller list at Amazon.
The Flex-Bow is made from custom woven, cotton duck, Hydra-Shield canvas supported by a 1-inch galvanized steel tubing frame. The six person Kodiak has a generous 10 x 10 footprint and a total weight of 68 pounds including stakes (which is pretty light for a true canvas camping tents).
Cotton Canvas Camping Tent Cabin by Trek Tents
How about a cabin style canvas frame tent that you can convert into a open mesh structure? The Trek Tents 283A model is exactly that, and the convertible Cotton Canvas Cabin Tent has a 10 x 14 floorless design with 4 full height awnings. Center height is a generous 7ft 8 inch and the total weight including frame, awning poles and rain fly is 54 pounds.
Why would anyone want a floorless tent? The design has many advantages, but the 2 main ones are less weight and bulk (even though it is made of 100% canvas) and, without a delicate floor, the tent can be used as a storage structure for vehicles, farming equipment, etc. Always use organic, breathing canvas of this type when storing heavy machinery to avoid condensation problems.
I like the Trek 283A because it is something of a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – a excellent canvas camping tents for use as a cabin – and a portable storage shed. If you prefer a solid floor rather than bare ground simply lay a wood deck inside it.
Four Season Cotton Canvas Camping Tent with Rain Fly
If you want a tent for longer stays that can handle all types of climate, including winter, then a canvas tent fits the bill. As mentioned before, cotton canvas is pretty heavy but this type of cabin tent offers superior protection and is a great choice as a family tent, or as a base camp for the hunting crew.
This tent is bigger than it might seem on photo and the Trek Four Season 10 x 16 Tent has a 160 square foot area, plus awning, and a 3 room configuration.
Maximum center height is 88 inches. The specs say it sleeps 8 to 10 people, and it does, but for comfort I suggest a maximum of 5 people. Comes complete with rainfly!
Military Canvas Camping Tents for Sale
Military surplus tents are the right choice if you want classic heavy duty tents with lots of room. Although the olive drab may look a bit dull, it blends in very well with the environment – something that is often desirable, especially when you have large tents.
The U.S. G.I Army Tent is about as big a tent as you can get your hands on. This is a durable (vinyl canvas) and heavy wall tent that you will probably need to transport to your basecamp field location on a pickup truck or small trailer. Double tent stove fittings.
Canvas Wall Frame Tent
For longer stays at any location you will probably want a wall tent with a sturdy frame system that doesn’t collapse with a little wind. This 13 x 20 square tent roof has a opening for a tent stove chimney.
A canvas wall tent of this type with its metal frame and heavy fabric is great as a expedition or semi-permanent hunting location camp.
Olive Canvas A-frame military half shelter tent
The Military half shelter has multiple uses – one of which is making a small canvas tent when you put two together!
Even though some modern materials have superior qualities, the traditional olive military canvas material is designed to last. It is heavier than for example nylon, but it also offers a thicker layer of protection and a certain degree of sound dampening. The downside of a thick organic material is that when the fabric gets wet it becomes quite heavy. Still, I like these U.S. Military Tent – Half Shelter
Nylon Military and Scout Style 2-Person Tent
Nylon backpacking A frame tent.
If you want a small A-frame tent with “modern” materials there is always the Stansport “Scout” Backpack Tent which is a cheap backpacking tent which is a lot lighter than a traditional canvas tent.
This is a 6×4 tent with mesh screen entrance that offers simple shelter for shorter stays.
If you are buying a base camp tent for longer stays, then a sleeping bag won’t cut it. What you need is a proper camping cot that provides comfort and gets you off ground level. The classic military cot is a perfect choice to furnish a canvas tent with..
Traditional tipi tents
A tipi is a better tent than many assume. The circular form of a teepee can make it a bit hard to furnish but at the same time you have maximum access to all the ground area and no dead corners. Tipis also have full standing height and are 3 or 4 season durable. There are a couple models, primarily Sioux and Cheyenne, that come with canvas fabric and make excellent base camp tents.
A lot of what is for sale is either partly or fully crafted and handmade so be prepared to pay a pretty penny for a fully functional tipi!
Outfitter Canvas Tents
An outfitter canvas tent is usually a durable canvas wall tent with full standing height. These canvas tents are designed to act as base camp housing (or storage) and are often supported by a pretty sturdy metal tube tent frame.
No-nonsense wall tents like these canvas outfitter tents can be heavy and are not something you will be taking with you on a backpacking trip!
Made to stand for many weeks, or even seasons, most canvas wall tents also have some form of openings for wood burning tent stove / heater chimneys.