What Are Tents Made of?

There are several fabrics used in the manufacture of a tent.

Historically, cotton, known as the canvas, was the standard fabric used to make the tents. The tents were firm but very heavy.

Nowadays, tents are mostly from nylon or polyester, human-made fibers that are of lightweight. Also, the tents are treated with different coatings to influence their effectiveness.

It is useful to understand the differences in these materials to know what will best suit the condition you intend to use. A tent consists of the supporting poles and the fabric that is the covering material.

Different fabrics used to make a tent

The fabric is the main component of a tent. It covers you from exposure to the wilderness. Hence, it is very crucial to know the features and functionalities that different tent fabric offers. Nylon, polyester, cotton, and polycotton are the four standard fabrics mainly used in a tent.

1. Nylon

Nylon is one of the most used fabrics in tent making. This fabric is lightweight and more durable than cheaper plastic. Nylon is water-resistant on default but not waterproof.

To make the nylon fabric waterproof, treat it with polyurethane.


  • Durable.
  • Non-absorbent.
  • It is less expensive.


  • It does not insulate well.
  • It loses shape in the long run.


2. Polyester

Polyester is a standard fabric for a tent due to its features. This fabric is a lightweight, hydrophobic, and durable synthetic material. Polyester does not lose shape when it gets wet and is very affordable. Tents made of polyester have multiple layers of coating.


  • Affordable.
  • Lightweight.
  • The most commonly used tent fabric on the market.


  • It is inferior in heat resistance than cotton and polycotton


3. Cotton

This fabric does well in resisting coldness, thus advisable during the winter season. It is best suited when camping in hot or humid weather. It also provides warmth on cold days. Cotton is a heavy fabric, but very breathable.


  • Good UV resistance
  • Naturally breathable
  • It has excellent insulation properties


  • Expensive
  • It is a heavy fabric
  • It takes time to dry

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4. Polycotton

Polycotton is a combination of cotton and polyester. With a polycotton tent, you get the cotton tent’s benefits, but it is lighter and more durable. It is more resistant to mildew than pure cotton.


  • A durable material.
  • Stands well UV rays.
  • It is fairly breathable.
  • It is more resistant to mildew.


  • It is pricey.
  • It is bulky and heavy.
  • Requires maintenance.


What about the poles?

Although the covering material is the major part of the tent, poles are also crucial parts. They hold together the fabric. Tent poles are sturdy but flexible too. There are two common types of poles: Aluminum tent poles and fiberglass tent poles.

1. Aluminum tent poles are very strong. However, they are costly and easily corrode.

2. On the other hand, poles made of fiberglass are lightweight, corrosion resistance, rust-proof, and cheaper. The downside of using these poles is that they are not stable and resilient as aluminum tent poles.



#1. Are poly-cotton tents worth it?

Poly-cotton tents tend to be expensive than other types of tents that you can find in the market. Despite that, their prices can’t be compared to the benefits they provide to the uses.

Most users state that poly-cotton tents are breathable, which means they can allow free flow of air in and out of them.

The leading advantage of this feature is that the tents will never condense under any weather conditions.

Apart from that, poly-cotton is resistant to discoloring and deterioration. That makes any tent made from poly-cotton very durable and easy to use under all weather conditions.

That means poly-cotton tents are worth the price.

#2. Is polyester tent waterproof?

Polyester is not 100% waterproof. Like other types of tent-making materials, polyester is protective and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

What is waterproof mean? A waterproof product will never allow water to penetrate at all means. That is why polyester is said to be water-resistant.

Experts say that polyester can withstand snow and rain, but it cannot be submerged in water for a long time.

With that in mind, these experts have the best ways to make polyester tents waterproof. That is through weaving two to three layers together with a technique called aforementioned ultrasonic welding.

#3. Are most tents waterproof?

Most tents are not waterproof. That is mostly true if the tents are made from other materials apart from nylon and polyester. According to experts, all the tents made from cotton need to be coated with a waterproof product.

So, the puzzle is, why do people like ploy cotton tents? Tent experts explain that, compared to other types of canvases, poly-cotton tents are very durable. They can handle harmful UV light remain usable for a long time.

If you compare them to nylon tents, ploy cotton ones are quieter and more comfortable to use.

#4. What is a double-wall tent?

A tent can be double-walled if it has two layers of materials woven together – that is, a rainfly and the tent body. As mentioned early, the act of using double-walls is to ensure that the tent is waterproof.

That means a double-walled tent will be dryer compared to a single-walled tent.

With a double-walled tent, your camping gear will be safe from water and all types of poor weather conditions.

The only drawback is, most double-walled tents are too heavy and need technical skills when installing them to get the best results.



When looking for the best tent, ensure that you consider some common factors that most people avoid. Some of them include the material making the tent. Also, inspect if the material is water-resistant or waterproof.

The above are the most common fabrics used in tents. You need to choose the one that has features that will be suitable for your needs and preferences.

Also, the material of the posts is dependent on the tent fabric. A massive tent cannot get adequate support from a post that will gradually weaken.

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