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Four Best Fabric Material For Tents

Using Nylon or Polyester

Cheaper – you can get a lot more affordable tents with man-made fabrics (the exception is, of course, some of the tents for extreme expeditions, such as those used when trekking the South Pole).
Lighter – from smaller backpacking tents to even larger family tents, these man-made fabrics are a lot lighter and less bulky than natural based fabrics, making tents made from this material a lot easier to get to the campsite.
Quick to dry out.
Less maintenance. Can be more resistant to mildew and rips.


Compared to cotton, they are not good insulators. This means that tents can get very hot when it is warm, and chilly when it gets cold.
The material is not naturally breathable. Condensation can build up on the inside of the tent – sometimes enough to cause puddles.
They can deteriorate and lose colour over time through exposure to the sun’s rays.
The lightweight material means they flap around a bit more in the breeze…which can be a bit noisy if you are trying to sleep.

Using Canvas or Cotton

Compared to man-made tent fabrics, cotton insulates extremely well. You won’t get as hot on a warm day, nor as cold when it is chilly.
Cotton is a breathable fabric and can absorb water. This means that you are unlikely to have an issue with condensation.
Due to its weight and insulation properties, canvas/cotton tents can be quieter, and not so noisy if there’s a breeze.
The fabric can last a long time and is more resistant to harmful UV rays.
(Personally, a new canvas tent can smell a lot nicer than the chemical smell you sometimes get with man-made tents).


Cotton and Canvas is very heavy and bulky. This means transporting a large tent to a campsite can be problematic – possibly enough for you to no longer fit it in the boot of your car. It can also make pitching a bit more work.
You normally need to ‘weather’ the canvas before using it. This involves leaving a new tent out in the rain (or under the garden hose) so that the canvas expands and fills in the holes in the stitching and fabric. Without doing this, your new canvas tent could leak.
Cotton and Canvas requires more maintenance. As it absorbs water, you need to dry the material out before putting the tent away, and this can take a lot longer than man-made materials. Without doing so, you will get mildew in your tent.
It can be easier to snag and cause a tear, which can turn into a big tear.
Cost – cotton or canvas are a lot more expensive than man-made fabrics.