What Materials Are Used To Make Tents?

  • By: Anthony Paton
  • Date: April 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Tents are constructed from various types of material. However, there are only few fabrics that are the most frequently employed.

Also every type of fabric comes with its own pros and cons. 

In this article you’ll find out what tent materials are, the purpose for which each one is suitable for and which one is the best for your style of camping.

What Materials Used to Make Tents

The tent is an ancient and time tested way to keep yourself safe from the outdoors. Tent fabric was traditionally made of cotton, which led not only do sturdy tents but also susceptible ones that were heavy and prone towards mold or mildew issues because it couldn’t breathe properly when wet like other fabrics can do.

The tents that people see today mostly have a lighter material, such as polyester or nylon. These man made fibers can be treated in order for them to become waterproof by either adding a coating of silicone impregnation (which is used on certain types) making it feasible that these would work well during harsh weather conditions even if camping isn’t your idea of fun.

Tents are highly susceptible to damage from the harmful UV rays that shine down on them during summer. The fabric will eventually get thinner and weaker with continuous exposure, making it necessary for you repair or replace your tent before long-term use.



The most common type of tent fabric is polyester, which has become the new standard for tents.

Polyester is a durable fabric that can handle the rigors of camping with its affordability. This material also has potential to resist wear and tear, making it ideal for active lifestyles like hiking or fishing trips in adverse weather conditions where you might need your clothes back home again quickly if they get dirty on vacation.

The light weight and affordability of polyester tents make them more appealing when compared to cotton. In addition, they can protect you from harmful UV rays because it is made out of a material that blocks 99% of all ultraviolet radiation.


  • Fabric is Lightweight
  • Long lasting
  • Not expensive


  • Polyester fabric is smelly at first


You may have never heard of the fabric called polycotton, but it’s gaining popularity as a replacement for traditional cotton tents. As its name implies- essentially consisting only slightly stronger than ordinary canvas with an added measure of Polyester mixed in there too.

It’s durable and breathable like cotton, but more mold resistant or quick drying than polyester.

Polycotton tent fabric is a popular lightweight material for backpacking tents, but it still isn’t right for every situation. While polyesters are usually lighter and cheaper than cottons or silks they lack the durability that you want in an overnight shelter.


  • Light and cheaper than cotton canvas
  • Middle ground option for weight and breathability


  • Uncommon material for tents, but gaining in popularity

Cotton Canvas

Canvas is the original fabric of choice when it comes to camping tents, but we all know that cotton canvas can be quite expensive. That’s why most people opt for polyester or nylon versions instead because they’re lighter and cheaper.

Cotton canvas tents are the perfect choice for today’s camping world. They allow air to circulate freely, which prevents gathering water droplets and condensation at night time while providing comfort throughout your day in this humidity free environment.

Canvas tents are some of the most durable and long lasting options out there, making them great for those who value durability over comfort. They can soak up any rain that you throw their way, even if it’s pouring downpour.

The downside of this type of bag is that it will be noticeable if you are hiking or backpacking with one on your back. They can also weigh down significantly and make for an uncomfortable experience in a lot situations.


  • Durable
  • Sustainable for all type of weather conditions
  • A great choice for a camping tent


  • Heavy
  • Expensive



Let’s look at it this way: It is only recommended to use nylon fabric tents for two reasons:

  • If you’re searching for affordable tents, then look no further.
  • If you’re searching for premium and costly hiking tents, look no further.

It’s actually pretty cheap to make nylon. Some tents on the market may seem like they would do your job, but be beware  these won’t serve their purpose because of how cheap it can get with bad quality materials or finished products.

The material of this fabric is so durable that it can soak up water like a sponge. To prevent the garment from getting wet and losing its ability to handle moisture, you must waterproof it before use.

Nylon tents are a popular choice for backpacking trips because they’re lightweight, durable and waterproof. However, nylon doesn’t come cheap it needs treatments to make the material more resistant against wear-and-tear that increase its cost significantly. That said if you want your tent to last as long then choose one with ripstop patterning which makes them much stronger than regular versions of this type but still less prone towards tears or rips in general.

nylon tents are the perfect choice for anyone who is looking to pack light. They only weigh around five pounds, so they won’t slow you down on your next adventure.


  • Extremely light
  • Easy to produce and assemble


  • Not waterproof or durable unless treated
  • Expensive to make it good enough for use

What Kind of Tent Material is Best for Your Camping needs?

Of all the choices, selecting the right tent material the best for your needs will be based on the camping requirements you have.

Perhaps, for instance, are you a weekend camper who enjoys camping in the summer? Consider a premium tent made of polyester. If you’re searching for an enduring and lightweight tent for backpacking then a nylon tent could be the best option.

In other words, you must consider the pros and cons of every type of tent material , and examine how they align to your camping requirements and budget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

tarp under tent

Previous Post

Do You Need a Tarp Under Or Over Your Tent?

Next Post

How Can You Paint a Canvas Tent?

painted tent