Tents and Shelters: Are They the Same Thing?
A tent can be seen as a form of shelter, considering it can protect you against wind, rain, snow and other weather elements you may need protection from. However, there are many different types of tents on the market and each of these tents has their own set of characteristics. For example, some tents may provide you with excellent protection against the rain, but may be less suitable for warmer environments.
To find the right tent, and learn more about tent materials, please read our information below on the various tents available today.
Cotton / Canvas Tents
One of the most common tent materials you may come across is cotton or canvas. When choosing a cotton / canvas tent, you can count on extra temperature regulation. Cotton is great at keeping you warm... but also ventilates well when things get to warm.
Compared to other tent materials, cotton is less prone to condensation. However, prior to using a canvas tent for the first time, it does need to go through a process called ‘weathering’. Simply put your tent up before your camping trip and wait until it rains. This will make the cotton fibres swell and nestle, ensuring your tent will be waterproof for your camping trip. If you do not execute the weathering process before you go camping, you may get some drops of water coming through the tent.
Canvas tents usually only require weathering once, however, some people need to weather their new tent at least three times before it is fully waterproof. For that reason, you may want to do some waterproof testing before you head out on your camping trip with a new cotton / canvas tent. Once weathered, your new tent will be among the more durable and waterproof tents anywhere!
PVC Coated Tents
When buying a large tent made of cotton, you may notice the tent has a polyvinyl chloride coating on the exterior. This polyvinyl chloride coating on your canvas tent makes it waterproof from the start, so there is no need to weather it prior to embarking upon your camping trip.
A tent with PVC coating does not require weathering, since it already has a waterproof layer. The only downside to the waterproof layer is that it makes the tent a little more prone to condensation. When you intend to buy a PVC coated tent, it is essential to choose a coated tent with enough ventilation, so condensation does not become a problem.
The polyester-cotton combination delivers both strength and durability.
A polyester-cotton blend does not have to be coated to be waterproof, although you will find that the majority of tents in polycotton will have an additional waterproof layer which acts as a water repellent.
Looking for a tent that is going to last many years? Then the polycotton tent will be one of your better options.
Polyester and cotton as materials are also more affordable compared to other tent materials, making them cheaper to purchase.
Tents made completely from polyester are also a growing option. Many manufacturers prefer the durability of this material for new tent releases as polyester is a little more durable than nylon, and is available in a variety of coatings. You will have to do some research before choosing a specific polyester tent.
The coating used on a polyester tent may affect the price of the tent as well. Ideally, you need a polyester tent with a coating that provides enough ventilation, yet does not let moisture through.
When comparing the characteristics of a polyester tent with the characteristics of a polycotton tent, you will notice they are very similar. However, a polyester tent does have the added benefit that it won't shrink or get heavier when coming into direct contact with water.
A polyester tent will also be less affected by sunlight, making it an ideal solution for camping in the Australian sun.
Campers intending to go hiking may prefer the nylon tent over any other tent. Nylon is a light material, ensuring the carry weight of the tent stays to an absolute minimum. Nylon tents also tend to be among the most affordable tents on the market. A timeless favourite for teens looking for an affordable tent to go to a festival.
A nylon tent without additional coating is also a possibility, considering the fact that nylon fibres do not absorb water. This also means nylon tents do not become heavier or shrink when coming into contact with rain.
Some manufacturers also add a protective coating to their nylon tents. It is not unusual to find a nylon tent with a silicone, polyurethane or acrylic coating. Any coating applied should focus on durability, as nylon is water resistant by nature. A silicone coating on a nylon tent will offer the best overall protection. However, if cost is an issue, an acrylic coating can also be considered.
Many manufacturers will also use a ripstop weave in the fabric of a nylon tent, making it extra strong and durable. Always check the details of each tent before you make a purchase.