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Old 07-08-2015, 02:40 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
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Default Tents

Now, I'm not old enough to remember the time before nylon tents but one thing I have noticed is how little time they last. The floors rip out, the poles break, and after a season or two they leak. I like camping and before the addition of my daughter, I was a tarp man, looking for the farthest place away from people, but now I'm looking for a car camping tent and was looking at canvas as a more durable option. The trips will be at least a weekend, if not a week or two and we will be set up in one area so weight isn't an issue. The other thought was I could use it for hunting in the fall and winter as well. Any experiences with canvas tents with family camping?

Last edited by joejeep92; 07-08-2015 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 07-08-2015, 03:26 PM
Nickathome Nickathome is offline
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What size of canvas tent are you looking for? Check the numerous military surplus outlets online such as The Sportsmen's guide. They always have deals on tents and usually have several sizes to choose from. Now a family sized canvas tent is going to be very heavy.

If you're simply looking for a two man tent then the old standby pup tent is a good option. Cheap to purchase easy to setup and roomy enough for two people. A better option here though is the Polish lavvu teepee style tent. It is simply two military ponchos attached together. They setup with only one pole and 8 pegs. Roomy and you can sit upright inside it. They're listed as two person tents but more like one man and his gear is more reasonable. I have one of these and its a great little stealth camping tent. Drawback of course is it weighs about 7 lbs and of course being canvas you need to waterproof it once in a while. The other negative is no floor so bring a groundsheet. I've yet to sleep in mine in the rain but there are many YouTube videos out there of folks who have and they seem to work well.

Hope this has given you some ideas.

Last edited by Nickathome; 07-08-2015 at 03:42 PM.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:01 PM
Doninalaska Doninalaska is offline
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I am old enough to remember tents before they were nylon, and they had drawbacks of their own--mostly weight. My light "backpacking tent" weighed a mere 12 pounds. They also had to be re-waterproofed occasionally, perhaps yearly. The plus side of them--and the downside--was that they were warm (bad in summer, but great in the cooler months). Small tents had floors, but larger tents did not. They are also safer, as you can have heaters--woodstoves even--as they were much less flammable. Wall tents are still used frequently here if the stay is going to be a long one. A friend of mine had double-wall wall tents that he put on folding platform sleds that he could tow behind a snowmobile for winter hunting and camping. Nylon tents' zippers always seem to break and have to be replaced/repaired. My old canvas tent had a zipper on a mosquito net, but none on the canvas itself.

You might find a "pop-up' camper trailer that you could use if you are staying in areas with roads. We had one when we were a younger family with children, and it made life much easier for everyone.
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:40 PM
TickFarmer TickFarmer is offline
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I have a little experience with canvas tents. My "normal" tent is a small bell back (RevWar), the one we stayed in out at the Tick Farm after the newfangled plastic one rotted away is an old 9'x12' wall tent, and the winter one is a 12' tipi. From your explanation I would suggest you check out the "Miner's Tent"; a one pole pyramid style that can accommodate a sheephearder's wood stove if you get into winter camping as a simple, easy to erect roomy tent.

A few links to compare styles and prices:
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:00 PM
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oldmaidnc Female oldmaidnc is offline
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I used canvas tents growing up - and I agree, they are HEAVY. They also are hard to clean & can get smelly very easily. Mildew, etc...
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Old 07-08-2015, 10:31 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
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I am looking at four person tents. I like the miner tent style, seems to be a happy medium between room and weight. I was envisioning a wall tent as better for long term camping as well as installation of a stove.
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Old 07-09-2015, 10:57 AM
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randallhilton Male randallhilton is offline
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Originally Posted by joejeep92 View Post
Now, I'm not old enough to remember the time before nylon tents but one thing I have noticed is how little time they last. The floors rip out, the poles break, and after a season or two they leak.
Everything is a trade off . . . canvas requires much more maintenance, it's more expensive than many synthetics and it weighs a lot. I think that these days, canvas is an inferior material for tents. I still remember the night I accidentally touched the inside of a canvas tent while it was raining cats and dogs. The drip never stopped!

Consider just getting a relatively cheap tent that's big enough for what you need. Plan on using it for a couple of seasons then toss it, donate it, burn it or pack it away as an emergency shelter. Get a new, cheap tent and use it for another couple of seasons.

If the "disposable tent" idea doesn't work for you, get a top quality synthetic. I have one (can't remember the brand right now) that I've used every season since about 2004 or so.

Use less, lose less, weigh the benefits, count the costs.
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:17 PM
joejeep92 Male joejeep92 is offline
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I understand the cost and weight are more but those are sacrifices I'm wiling to make. And I do understand it will need re-waterproofed and such but I thought those sacrifices would be compensated for by the increased service life.
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Old 07-09-2015, 01:37 PM
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Jjr Male Jjr is offline
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Everything is made cheaper with time I realize, but we purchased a six person dome tent about '85 and used it for a number of years before purchasing a Coachman Popup. It was still used in addition to the popup on occasions and by itself.

I loaned it to the wife's brother who returned it with a lot of cinder burn holes in the rain fly, but that's a whole nother story as they say.

The tent itself never had or gave us any problems. We purchased a second small two person tent for the boy when he got old enough to want to camp out, it was trouble free as long as he used it also.

You are probably already aware of the manufacturers maximized sizing, so if you need space for four, I would suggest purchasing one sized for six or seven as a minimum by the manufacturers. Space is always a premium in a tent (or camping trailer either one).
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Old 07-09-2015, 02:35 PM
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Tim Horton Male Tim Horton is offline
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As a pre drivers license kid, I remember using a hay wagon pulled with a small tractor, piled with bales to make a hay fort with a tarp pulled over the top... Always worked well enough... But at that time I could handle more rustic set ups than I could now...

I also have enough "millage" behind me to remember surplus canvas tents...
Like said, weight, maintenance to keep them from harm while stored, man power to use, and all that... But they have room to use effectively in all kinds of weather etc... Best thing we found was to use another tarp of most any kind over the tent as a rain fly.. It worked wonders in tent life and comfort while using...

I had an old Sears nylon 4 person that was good for a lot of years for short term, light use, in not harsh weather... The frame work for it was pre pop up, complicated and a pain in the neck to assemble.... Don't think the new tent like that now would hold up as well or as long...

I guess what ever you use will have a "life span" depending on its material and construction... Most important seems to be get what you need for the way you will use it.. Replace as necessary....

My 2 cents...
Good luck...
Always fresh.
Keep your stick on the ice. Red Green
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