In a hurry? Our top pick for the best canvas tent is the TETON Sports Mesa Canvas Tent.
Canvas tests are an anomaly in the camping world.
Despite having a laundry list of advantages over standard polyester tents, canvas tents are nowhere near as popular.
Although they might cost more (in time and money), canvas tents have a lifespan that’s years (if not decades) longer than polyester tents.
If you buy a canvas tent now, it’s possible to last so long that you hand it to your grandkids!
Anyway, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of canvas tents later. For now, here are our top five best canvas tents.
Table of Contents
Best Canvas Tent: Our Top Recommendations
- TETON Sports Mesa Canvas Tent (Best Canvas Tent Overall)
- SpringBar Highline Canvas Tent (Most Durable Canvas Tent)
- Kodiak Canvas Tent (Best Canvas Wall Tent)
- White Duck Outdoors Tent (Best Budget Canvas Tent)
- Alpha Kilo 4000 Tent (Best Cold Weather Tent For Experienced Campers)
- Danchel Bell Canvas Tent (Best Canvas Bell Tent)
TETON Sports Mesa Canvas Tent
Teton Mesa Canvas tent comes in two sizes, a 6-person and 8-person version. This review is about the 6-person one since I found that it offered the best compromise between space and price.
Right out of the bat, you’ll notice that this tent is big. Its 100 square feet of floor size make it a veritable giant when it comes to 4-person tents, while the peak height of 78 inches (or 6.5 feet) means almost anyone can move around the tent with ease.
Add to that the fact it can be easily pitched within 5 minutes and that it’s 100% waterproof, and you have one of the best canvas tents out there.
Now, no product is without its flaws. Like all canvas tents, this tent is not for people on a budget. You’re are going to have to pay a pretty penny to get Teton Mesa. On the plus side, you can safely expect to hand this tent over to your grandchildren, so in the long run, it will probably end up cheaper than most nylon tents.
- 100 square feet of floor space means you and your family will have plenty of room
- Easy setup – most people can get it up and ready in less than 5 minutes
- Comes with two extra-large doors that make movement easy peasy
- 100% cotton means it will keep you dry even during the worst thunderstorms
- 78 inches of peak height means even tall people can comfortably use this tent
- No way around it – this is not a cheap product. You pay a premium price, but get premium quality
- Tent stakes are of lower quality – you might want to pay a few bucks to get better ones
Best for: campers who are willing to invest a bit more for the best canvas tent on the market today.
SpringBar Highline Canvas Tent
Thanks to their 58 years of making tents, SpringBar has gained the experience it takes to make a top of the line tent. For that reason, the SpringBar Highline tent is our choice for best canvas tent.
Not only does SpringBar make tents with superior quality, but they also offer a lifetime warranty. With this tent, no tear, rip, or defect will stop you from enjoying a camping trip.
Its size is standard for 6-person canvas tents: 10’ by 10’, with 6’6” center height. It’s rumored that other tents copied SpringBar’s dimensions, but we’ll leave that up to you to decide.
There is a six and eight-person model available, but we find the 6-person size to be just right. These tents are heavy as is, and unless you’re camping with six more or people, the 6-person model will provide plenty of space.
When it comes to setup, the SpringBar is bar-none. The company provides clear instructions in the package. It has a straightforward design, which means there isn’t much you can get wrong. Check out the video above to see how easy it is.
From a design standpoint, the only knock we can give this tent is that there aren’t windows on every side. However, we find the two doors to provide plenty of room for you to take in the sights. It’s also got a nice, big awning that you can use to watch nature under.
- High-thread count quality duck canvas prevents leaking while also being breathable
- Canvas is water-repellent and mildew treated, reducing the risk of damage to the canvas
- Clear directions mean you won’t have a problem setting this up solo
- Combination of wire stake-loops and embedded rope distributes the pressure around the tent body
- Classic design with straight-up walls gives tons of space, comfortably sleeping 4 to 6 people
- As a premium tent, this comes with a premium price tag. Well worth the investment in our opinion.
Best for: Campers who want a tent that will truly last for decades (if not more!).
Kodiak Flex-Bow Canvas Tent
Like the Springbar, it’s available in different sizes. We recommend the 6-person.
Also similar to the Springbar, this is made out of fine cotton duck canvas and measures 10’ by 10’, with a 6’6” ceiling and a 6’ by 4’ porch awning.
The difference between the two comes down to the nitty-gritty details.
The key differentiator is Kodiak’s Hydra-Shield canvas treatment. This dry-finish, silicone spray means that unlike standard canvas tents, you won’t ever have to re-treat your Kodiak tent.
However, Hydra-Shield isn’t perfect. Because of the chemicals inside, you can’t start a fire inside the tent for risk of catching fire. It also means that you have to wet your tent before using it for the first time.
Also, Kodiak chose to put doors on both sides. This tent isn’t large enough that it’s necessary to have doors on both sides, but some people want more windows or flexibility.
These aren’t big issues for most but are things to consider.
The other variance in the Kodiak is the material choice. There are a few construction choices that differ from the SpringBar, including YKK zippers and a double-thick ceiling. We found both the SpringBar and the Kodiak to have similar quality and reliability, so these come down to personal preference.
- Hydra-Shield silicone treatment keeps you dry and reduces canvas maintenance
- Classic cabin-style canvas tent design found in the SpringBar gives you tons of room
- Durable YKK zippers that won’t ever snag or tear
- Gear loft and movable organizers allow you to keep your gear (or cell phone) handy
- Doors on both sides open the tent up for more ventilation, visibility, and flexibility
- Kodiak’s unique Hydra-Shield treatment means you can’t have a fire inside
- Hydra-Shield also requires a pre-camping water treatment. Set it up and spray the outside with water, then let it dry before you take this outside.
Best for: campers who want all of the perks of a canvas tent, without the necessary maintenance
White Duck Outdoors Tent
The White Duck Canvas Tent is almost identical to the SpringBar, with a few minor differences.
The similarities are that the White Duck is 10’ by 10’, with a ceiling height of 6’6” and a 6’ by 4’ porch. It comes with YKK zippers and a 100% duck canvas material, all comparable to the SpringBar and Kodiak.
When it comes to differences, the most important is that the White Duck is a bit more affordable. This might be the tent for you if the price is scaring you away from buying a canvas tent.
Next is the roof construction, which uses a thick 12-oz silver-coated sunblock canvas to help reflect UV rays. If you live somewhere with excruciating heat like Arizona, this tent could be a good fit.
Unlike the other cabin style tents in this article, the White Duck Canvas Tent has windows on every side. That’ll give you a little more ventilation and viewing capacity than the other tents, but it isn’t totally necessary.
Oddly enough this tent has the same dimensions as the SpringBar and Kodiak, but White Duck rates this as a 6-8 person tent. Do with that what you may, but we think 8 people would be a little cramped in this tent.
- Similar design to the standard canvas style tents, with small differentiators
- A quality canvas tent at a reasonable price that doesn’t skimp on quality
- Windows on all four sides mean gives you improved ventilation and panorama views
- The heavy-weight ceiling is coated with silver to protect you from UV rays and keep you cool
- YKK zippers, 100% duck canvas, and a high-density groundsheet tub make sure this tent lasts
- Instructions aren’t clear, some users reported having trouble tearing down and packing up
Best for: Campers who want a canvas tent but want to save money, or those who want added sun protection built into their roof
Alpha Kilo 4000 Outfitter Waterproof Tent
This tent is seriously thick, weighing in at 84 lbs. For comparison, the SpringBar 6-person weighs 74 lbs – that’s 10 lbs less!
That weight is completely justified if you plan to use this in high wind, rain, or snow scenarios. The heavier canvas means that nothing will knock your tent over. Camping in this tent will be worlds apart from standard ripstop tents, which whip and fail under extreme weather.
However, that resistance comes at a price. The tent is not easy to set up, and the instructions are not clear. Therefore, if you’re looking for easy setup and teardown, it might be worthwhile to check out one of the other canvas tents.
- Double ceiling and quality material provide wind protection up to 100mph
- YKK zippers and thicker canvas guarantees this tent to last longer than polyester tents
- 7 ft. high ceiling, higher than any other tent on this list
- Comes with a small gap for plugging electrical sockets into
- This tent comes with poor instructions, so we highly recommend setting this up at your house before trying it in the wild
- Thicker material means more weight
Best for: Experienced campers who plan to use this tent for extreme weather
Danchel Bell-Style Canvas Tent
Commonly used for more urban camping, or event hosting, bell-style tents look like teepees. As we’ll more in detail, bell-style tents have certain advantages over cabin-style canvas tents.
One of the key benefits that bell-style tents have is that they’re more friendly to fire (for keeping you warm, of course). This tent comes with a round hole in the sidewall, which allows you to stick a stove vent through. If you don’t have a wood-burning stove, you can use this vent for an air conditioning tube, powerline, or solar panel line.
Danchel offers different sizes – 4m (13.3 ft), 5m (16.6 ft), and 6m (20 ft). We find the 5m model to be the best fit for family camping. It comfortably sleeps six people.
We chose the Danchel Bell-style Canvas Tent because it’s a great combination of quality, ease of use, and price point. Its 300 grams per square meter canvas is heavy enough to prevent rain, but thick enough to be breathable.
Despite countless benefits, bell-style tents aren’t perfect. Setting these up can take more time and effort. With a bit of practice, it’s not difficult, but setting up a bell-style tent is definitely harder than a quick-pitch polyester tent.
- Crescent windows allow for ventilation. Bottom flaps can be rolled up for even more ventilation (but less privacy)
- Tons of space thanks to the bell-style design
- Open ventilation from foldable lower flaps
- Sidewall port allows a wood-burning stove to be installed, keeping you warm without smoking up your tent
- The teepee-style design allows air to circulate inside while being quiet against outside winds
- Bell-style setup takes a bit of effort if you’re used to standard polyester tents
Best for: People who want an awesome glamping tent for their family camping trips.
Choosing The Best Canvas Tent: Pros And Cons
Okay – now that we’ve shown you a selection of excellent canvas tents, it’s time to talk a little bit more about why you would want a canvas tent in the first place.
As mentioned, canvas tents have some huge advantages over other tents. Let’s run down the list so you know what you’re buying.
Pro: More Air
The first and most important is breathability. Despite being thin, the normal polyester/nylon tents that most people use are not that breathable.
Canvas tents, on the other hand, are made out of cotton. If you’ve ever worn a polyester t-shirt, you know that they wick water…but aren’t nearly as breathable as cotton. Now apply that to your tent.
The elephant in the room is that these tents are heavy. The tents in this article all weigh between 70 and 90 lbs. There is no way you’re backpacking with a canvas tent.
Canvas tents are made of thick cotton. That thick cotton is a necessary evil that makes these tents impervious to wind, rain, sleet, and snow.
Pro: Less Swamp
Since canvas tents are cotton, that means they also don’t hold as much condensation as other tents. The wind just dries it out, giving you a sweat-free experience.
Even if you’re camping in a humid Louisiana summer, these tents are comfortable year-round.
The second issue is that setting up a canvas tent is not as easy as a nylon tent. Typical tents use lightweight poles and hydraulic arms to snap into place. Some instant tents can even be set up in less than 60 seconds!
That won’t happen with a canvas tent. Even if you know what you’re doing, setting up a canvas tent will take 10-15 minutes. That’s why we highly recommend setting up your canvas tent in your backyard or garage before trying it out in the field.
Pro: Sun & Snow Protection
The other benefit of cotton is that it doesn’t get impacted by UV rays in the sun. Nylon tents, on the other hand, will get worn down after repeated hours in the sun, making these much more durable for summer use.
This also means that you won’t get burnt up by the sun if you’re chilling in the tent during the day. The canvas will protect you with some nice, cool shade.
While canvas tents are great in the summer, they’re also excellent in the winter. The canvas stores warmth better than polyester. It’s also heavier, so canvas tents will generally stand up better against the snow. You won’t be woken up by a pile of snow falling on your tent.
Due to their heavyweight construction, canvas tents are more expensive than nylon tents. The material itself costs more, and the load-bearing beams must be much stronger.
We only recommend picking up a canvas tent if you plan to use it regularly or for extended periods of time. If you only camp a few nights a year, it might be worthwhile to stick with a typical plastic tent.
Pro: Better Zzzz’s
Speaking of sleep, canvas tents are much quieter than other tents. Unlike plastic, canvas doesn’t whip in the wind. It’s a lightweight material that lets wind pass through, so there’s less noise.
When you’re done using a polyester tent, you simply pack it up and throw it in the closet.
Storing a canvas tent takes a little bit more work.
First, you can’t store a canvas tent if it’s wet. Perspiration in the canvas could cause mold. Before packing up your canvas tent, make sure it’s sat in the sun long enough to completely dry.
If it’s still wet, you can hit put it over a stove or fire to dry it out or store it with a dehumidifier to prevent damage.
Pro: The Warmth of the Wood
The last thing is that canvas tests allow you to use a wood-burning stove. As you saw with the bell-shaped canvas test, these come with ports for you to add exhaust for your stove. That means you can stay warm at night without accumulating soot inside.
While there are many great canvas tents, it’s clear that the Teton Mesa Canvas tent is head and shoulders above the rest.
It’s big, tall, 100% waterproof, and will last you for decades to come.
Sure, you might end up paying a bit more than you would for a nylon tent, but at least you know that this tent will remain in your family for generations to come.
All in all, if you’re looking for a good canvas tent, you can’t beat the quality and features of the Teton Mesa Canvas tent.