Tents, once, had been served as a daily life shelter for ancient tribes, are still in use today. It is also widely used as a temporary accommodation for sports, entertainment and emergency shelter or some mobile professional activities. In this study, a short history of tents is presented and current standards for camping tents are evaluated. The requirement of tent fabrics In accordance with the design and the usage is reviewed.
Textile materials have been used for sheltering since the ancient times. During the prehistoric ages, these materials were used for primitive habitations and tents as alternative to caves. Surfaces made by straws or bast fibres, animal hides and felts were the very first materials to be used. It is known that the earliest technologies primarily used human hands as the main tools in addition to the some artifacts made of stone, bone etc. These facilities were sufficient to obtain such materials. The first reliable traces of human dwellings, found from as early as 30,000 years ago, follow precisely these logical principles. There is often a circular or oval ring of stones, with evidence of local materials being used for a tent-like roof.
One may assume that these materials were the early primitive versions of today’s functional textiles materials. The first aim of the tents was to fulfill the necessity of a safe shelter, by providing a protection in the harshest conditions. Today the usage of the tent is not the shelter as it once was. Advances in textiles and lightweight structures and cultural change have resulted in the provisions of amenity and comfort. Although modern tents successfully meet the practical purposes for which they are designed, they are hardly the type of structures that many people would now enjoy living in as they are no longer actually designed for long-term inhabitation. Whereas once tents were intended for daily use, now they are used only in situations where the need for shelter is of immediate and of short duration. Nowadays, tents are used for sports, entertainment, temporary professional and commercial activities and more importantly for emergency shelter, hospital or storage for survivors and casualties during catastrophic events. The durability and functional characteristics of tent fabrics are very important. There appears very limited number of work on these topics. One study examines the mechanical properties, another study analysis the water resistance and water permeability performance. There are also work on flame retardancy performance of tent fabrics. Cotton canvas was traditional material for tents but recently high performance nylon and polyester are used.
While tent fabrics are preferred to be lightweight for easy transportability, a reasonable performance is expected to face up to natural environment conditions. It may also be expected to have waterproof, UV resistant, antibacterial, insulative or breathable characteristics. The actual choice of dye colours and the level of its saturation both critically affect illumination within the tent as well as night times to heat loss and daylight heat gain. Aiming for a medium level of neutral lighting is considered as a good compromise. Good light transmission is also accompanied by increased UV penetration and hastened degradation of the fabric, therefore the choice of color should be selected, accordingly. Dope dyed filament yarns may be considered for better fastness property made from certain polymers cannot be dyed after they have been made. Pigment must be incorporated into the 'melt' prior to the filament extrusion.