canvas tent buying guide

Canvas Tent Buying Guide: What to Consider Before Making Your Purchase

Camping, glamping, and hunting are a great ways to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and there’s nothing like spending a few nights in the great outdoors. A tent is an essential piece of camping gear, and choosing the right one is crucial for a successful trip. Canvas tents have become a popular choice for camping enthusiasts due to their durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions. In this basic canvas tent buying guide, we will discuss what to look for when buying a canvas tent and provide some helpful tips to make your camping experience more enjoyable.

Canvas Materials and Construction

One of the most important things to consider when buying a canvas tent is the materials and construction used in its production. Canvas tents are typically made of either cotton or polyester canvas.

Cotton is the traditional choice as it is natural and sometimes more rustic-looking. It’s loved for its breathability which allows for a cooler tent in the summer and warmer tent in the winter.

However, polyester has become the new preferred choice for most canvas tent enthusiasts. Advances in modern technology have enabled polyester fabrics to have the same breathability as cotton canvas but without the risk of rotting since there is no organic material to decompose. This means it’s infinitely lessl likely to have mold grow (though mold can grow on any surface). Additionally, polyester will be 5-20% lighter while being 50-100% stronger and won’t require the expensive rain and UV treatments of cotton canvas.

Saying something is 100% cotton canvas or 100% polyester canvas can still mean products that are drastically different. How thick is the material? How is it woven together? What is its weight? What is its break and tear strength? What may look the same on paper can be very different in the real world. Start by asking the manufacturer the weight and the break and tear strength ratings.

However, if you aren’t willing to get a fully synthetic canvas, then the next best thing would be a cotton-poly blend material that carries many of the same benefits albeith slightly less.

The construction of a canvas tent is also important. Look for tents that have double-stitched seams and reinforced corners, as these areas are prone to wear and tear. A good manufacturer will double the thickness in areas that come in contact with the poles.

Size and Capacity

Another crucial factor to consider when buying a canvas tent is the size and capacity. Canvas tents are always going to be on the larger size, but how big do you want to go? Smaller tents are generally still pretty roomy even with three adults, gear, and a wood stove, but sometimes you need to accommodate a much larger party. When choosing a tent, consider the number of people who will be using it and the amount of gear that needs to be stored inside. When in doubt, go one size bigger than you think you’ll need.

Ease of Setup

Any canvas tent is going to be a bit of a challenge to assemble, so I don’t think difficulty alone should be the deciding factor, and these tents are definitely worth the effort, but some models are easier to assemble than others. If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the prospect of assembling an extra large tent, start with a bell tent since these are much easier.

 canvas tent buying guide


Q: How long do canvas tents last?

A: The lifespan of a canvas tent depends on the quality of the materials and construction. A high-quality canvas tent can last for 10-20 years with proper care and maintenance.

Q: Are canvas tents waterproof?

A: Cotton canvas tents are not completely waterproof, but they are water-resistant. The natural fibers in cotton canvas swell when they get wet, creating a tight seal that helps to keep the water out. Weathering the tent before use will happen create a tighter seal as well. However, prolonged exposure to heavy rain or snow can eventually lead to water seeping through. For cotton canvas tents it is recommended that you apply a waterproofing each year. For polyester tents, no waterproofing is required though a rainfly is still recommended for added protection of your investment.

Q: Can canvas tents be used in all weather conditions?

A: Canvas tents are suitable for use in most weather conditions. For the coldest of times, make sure you have a stove jack installed so you can bring your wood stove alone. For the hottest of times, just make sure your tent comes with ventilation flaps along the ridge.

Q: How do you clean a canvas tent?

A: To clean a canvas tent, use a soft-bristled brush or sponge to remove any dirt or debris. Then, mix a mild detergent with water and scrub the tent gently. Rinse thoroughly with water and allow the tent to air dry completely before storing it. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as this can damage the canvas fabric.

Q: Are canvas tents heavy?

A: Yep! Don’t plan on carrying this on your back for more than a few hundred feet (and hopefully less).

Q: What are the benefits of a canvas tent?

A: Canvas tents offer several benefits over other types of tents, including:

  • Durability: Canvas tents are built to last and can withstand harsh weather conditions and heavy use.
  • Breathability: Cotton canvas tents are naturally breathable, allowing air to circulate and preventing condensation from building up inside the tent.
  • Insulation: Canvas tents provide insulation against heat and cold, making them comfortable to use in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Aesthetics: Canvas tents have a classic, rustic look that many campers find appealing.
canvas tent setup instructions

How To Set Up a Dome Tent: A Beginners Guide

Choosing Your Tent

Elk Mountain Tents does not sell dome tents or any tents made of lightweight materials. The closest thing would be their Yukon Bell Tent, but even this offering, which is easier to set up than a wall tent. Their tents use a 100% polyester canvas which offers the same breathability as cotton canvas but does not require the same expensive treatments you’d expect of cotton canvas. Polyester canvas requires no UV treatments, no rain treatments, and no mold treatments.

But, if you’re looking for a dome tent or a backpacking tent, canvas tents are not for you because they are simply too heavy. That said, if you’ve already got a dome tent, here’s a basic setup!

Preparing Your Tent Site

Before setting up your tent, it is essential to choose a suitable campsite. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Terrain: Look for a flat, level surface to pitch your tent. Avoid rocky or uneven ground, as it can damage the tent’s floor.
  2. Vegetation: Avoid setting up your tent under trees or bushes that can drop branches, sap, or debris.
  3. Water: Look for an area that is not prone to flooding or standing water.
  4. Sunlight: Choose a spot that gets enough sunlight to dry out any morning dew or rain.

Once you have selected your site, clear the area of any rocks, sticks, or debris that can puncture the tent floor. You can use a tent footprint or tarp to protect the floor from damage.

Setting up the Tent Poles

  1. Lay out the tent: Unroll the tent and lay it flat on the ground. Make sure the tent door faces the direction you want to enter.
  2. Assemble the poles: Gather the tent poles and assemble them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Insert the poles: Insert the poles into the grommets on the tent. Begin with the front pole and work your way towards the back, always pushing and never pulling. Use the corner straps to secure the poles in place.
  4. Raise the tent: Once the poles are in place, raise the tent by pushing up on the center pole. The tent should stand upright, with the door facing the right direction.

Attaching the Guy Lines (if your tent has them)

Guy lines are essential for stabilizing your tent in windy conditions. Here’s how to attach them:

  1. Locate the guy line tabs: several tabs around your tent serve as attachment points for the guy lines.
  2. Tie the guy lines: Tie one end of the guy line to the tab on the tent and the other end to a stake in the ground. Make sure the line is taut, but not too tight. Repeat this process for all the guy lines.
  3. Adjust the tension: Once all the guy lines are attached, adjust their tension to stabilize the tent.

Finishing Touches

  1. Staking the tent: Secure the tent to the ground. Hammer them into the ground at a 45-degree angle away from the tent, leaving enough room for the guy lines.
  2. Adding a rainfly: Often a separate rainfly tcan be attached to the tent using hooks and loops. The rainfly provides extra protection from rain and wind. It also protects the tent from UV damage.
canvas tent setup instructions


Q: How long does it take to set up a tent?

A: The setup time for an tent varies depending on the size and experience of the user. However, with practice, a common dome tent can be set up in as little as 5-15 minutes.

Q: Can I set up a tent alone?

A: Yes, most tents are designed to be set up by one person. However, it is always easier and faster with two people working together. Even a fancy canvas tent can be assembled with just one person (though two is a lot easier)

Q: How do I store my tent?

A: Always make sure your tent is clean and dry before storing it. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Use the bag it came with and do not pack the tent too tightly.


Setting up a tent is a straightforward process that can be done by one or two people. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and you’ll be just fine. Remember to choose a suitable campsite, stake the tent securely, and use the guy lines to stabilize it in windy conditions.

It is always a good idea to practice setting up your tent before heading out on your camping trip. This will help you become familiar with the process and ensure that you have all the necessary components. It will also give you an opportunity to check the tent for any defects or damages that may require repairs.

canvas tent stove pipe

Exploring the Benefits and Features of Canvas Tent Stoves

Canvas tent stoves have been used for centuries by campers and hunters who want to keep warm while enjoying the great outdoors. They have come a long way since their inception, with modern designs incorporating safety features and improved efficiency. In this article, we will explore how canvas tent stoves work and some of their advantages.

What Are Canvas Tent Stoves?

Canvas tent stoves are portable heating devices designed to be used inside tents made of canvas or other breathable materials. They are typically made of steel and come in various sizes and shapes. The stove is fueled by wood, coal, or pellets and is equipped with a chimney that allows the smoke and exhaust gasses to escape outside the tent.

If heat is your only goal, some people also consider a propane heater but this has fewer advantages so we will focus on wood stoves.

How Do Canvas Tent Stoves Work?

Canvas tent stoves work by burning wood, coal, or pellets to produce heat. The stove is placed inside the tent, and the chimney is extended outside to vent the smoke and exhaust gasses. The stove heats the air inside the tent, creating a warm and comfortable environment for campers. To have one of these fancy stoves, you’ve got to make sure that your tent comes with a stove jack installed, otherwise you’ll be doing that installation yourself.

The stove’s firebox is where the fuel is burned, and the heat is generated. The stove’s door allows campers to add more fuel as needed and to control the amount of air that enters the firebox. The chimney pipe is where the smoke and exhaust gasses escape, and it must be properly installed to ensure that these gasses are vented safely outside the tent.

Some canvas tent stoves have additional features such as dampers and air vents that allow campers to regulate the temperature and airflow. These features help to maintain a consistent temperature inside the tent and prevent overheating. Another popular feature is a water boiling attachment.

Advantages of Canvas Tent Stoves

Canvas tent stoves offer several advantages over other heating methods when camping or hiking. Some of the most significant benefits of canvas tent stoves include:

  1. Safe and Efficient Heating: Canvas tent stoves are designed to be used safely inside tents, providing an efficient heating source that can keep campers warm in even the coldest conditions.
  2. Portable: Canvas tent stoves are lightweight and portable, making them easy to transport and set up at campgrounds or other outdoor locations. Of course, these are still heavy since they are made of steel but you don’t have to worry about a brick hearth either, so they are too heavy to be hiking with but perfect if you’ve got a truck to help transport it.
  3. Cost-Effective: Canvas tent stoves use wood, coal, or pellets as fuel, which is often cheaper than other heating methods such as propane or electric heaters.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: Burning wood or pellets produces carbon dioxide, but it is considered a renewable resource. As long as trees are replanted to replace those that are harvested, using wood as a fuel source is considered environmentally friendly.
  5. Cooking: Most wood stoves for canvas tents have a flat surface to make cooking food easy. It’s nice bringing this little bit of kitchen home into the woods with you.
Canvas tent stove pipe

FAQs about Canvas Tent Stoves

Q: Are canvas tent stoves safe to use inside tents?

A: Yes, canvas tent stoves are safe to use inside tents as long as they are installed properly and the chimney pipe is vented outside the tent. If you are using a floor, you’ll probably want to use a floor mat. And if your canvas hasn’t been treated for fire, a heat shielf is recommended for the walls.

Q: What type of fuel do canvas tent stoves use?

A: Canvas tent stoves can use wood, coal, or pellets as fuel. If all you care about it is heat, then propone heaters are another good option.

Q: Can canvas tent stoves be used in all weather conditions?

A: Yes, canvas tent stoves can be used in all weather conditions as long as they are installed properly and the chimney pipe is vented outside the tent.

Q: How do I install a canvas tent stove?

A: Installing a canvas tent stove involves setting up the stove inside the tent, extending the chimney pipe outside the tent, and securing it in place. Not too bad! Again, you must either have a tent with a stove jack or buy and install the stove jack yourself.

canvas tent with stove jack

Canvas Tents with Stove Jacks: The Benefits and FAQs

Canvas Tent With Stove Jack – Do You Really Need It?

If you want a wood stove inside your canvas tent then you are going to need a canvas tent stove jack. There’s no way around it. First of all, if you just put a stove in the middle of the tent, it will pump out smoke and other gases into your sleeping area and you could die from carbon-monoxide poisoning. So, this means that you absolutely must have a way of shooting that air out of your tent.

That’s where your chimney comes in! But a chimney carrying all that hot air, not to mention sparks and ashes, can get pretty hot, so you can’t have it touching your tent. Hence the need for a stove jack. Essentially, what this feature does is create a hole big enough to allow a chimney to go out of the tent but small enough to still create a seal, and most importantly, this stove jack will be made of an inflamable material such as fiberglass so it won’t matter if it gets hot.

Benefits of a Canvas Tent with a Stove Jack

  1. Provides Warmth and Comfort

One of the biggest benefits of a canvas tent with a stove jack is that it provides warmth and comfort during cold weather camping trips. The wood stove not only provides heat but also allows campers to cook food and boil water, making it an all-in-one solution for camping.

Yes, you could just wear warmer clothes and buy more expensive cold-weather sleeping bags, but what you won’t get is that magical feeling of stepping into your home away from home and wearing a t-shirt in the dead of winter after a long day of adventuring. The stove gives you that.

  1. Durable and Long-lasting

Canvas tents are known for their durability and longevity. They can withstand harsh weather conditions and last for many years with proper care and maintenance. A canvas tent with a stove jack is a great investment for any camper who wants a high-quality, long-lasting tent that can accommodate a wood stove for the coldest of nights.

Canvas is a term that refers to a thick woven material. This can be 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or a blend of the two. Twenty years ago, cotton used to be the best option since polyester canvas use to have breathability issues, but advances in technology have allowed polyester canvas to have the same breathability between polyester fibers as cotton canvas. The reason why this is so great for those looking for a durable tent is that now there are no downsides to polyester canvas – just the benefits. Polyester has several benefits over cotton canvas: it does not need UV treatment, it doesn’t need mold treatments since it is incapable of rotting because it’s not an organic fiber, and it is naturally waterproof since the fibers can’t trap moisture like cotton fibers can. Long story short, the more polyester you have in your canvas the better since it is lighter, stronger, and more durable.

  1. Versatile

Canvas tents with stove jacks are versatile and can be used for a variety of camping trips. Whether you’re going on a family camping trip, a two-week hunting excursion, a 3-day music festival, or maybe you plan on running an information booth – a canvas tent with a stove jack gives you the space and warmth that you need to do all of these.

canvas tent with a stove jack


Q: Are canvas tents with stove jacks expensive?

A: Canvas tents are expensive. Anticipate spending at least $800. Most companies charge extra for each additional feature as well so plan on $100-200 to have someone else install the stove jack for you. Otherwise, you can buy the fabric piece yourself for $50-100.

Q: How do you set up a wood stove in a canvas tent with a stove jack?

A: Setting up a wood stove in a canvas tent with a stove jack involves attaching the stovepipe to the stove and feeding it through the stove jack. The stove should be placed on a heat-resistant mat or platform to protect the tent floor from heat. Similarly, if your tent hasn’t been treated for fire, then you will want to be sure to include heat shields as well.

Q: Can you cook on a wood stove in a canvas tent with a stove jack?

A: Yes, you can cook on a wood stove in a canvas tent with a stove jack. Many wood stoves come with a flat surface for cooking, or you can use a separate camp stove or grill.

Elk Mountain Tents

If you’re in the market for a canvas tent with a stove jack, Elk Mountain Tents is a great place to start. They offer a variety of canvas tents with stove jacks, ranging in size from 13 ft diameter bell tents to 13×20 ft wall tents. Their tents are made from a unique, high-quality canvas material that is lighter and stronger than cotton canvas and doesn’t require rain, sun, or mold treatments. You’ll find their commitment to a streamlined approach allows the customer more added features at a lower cost, and they can have your tent shipped the next day.

canvas tent with awning

5 Reasons Why You Should Choose a Canvas Tent with Awning from Elk Mountain Tents

Elk Mountain Tents is a company that specializes in high-quality canvas tents with awnings. These tents are designed to provide shelter from the elements while also offering a comfortable and spacious living area both inside and outside the tent. In this article, we will explore 5 reasons why you should choose a canvas tent with awning from Elk Mountain Tents for your next camping trip.

Durable and Long-Lasting

One of the main advantages of canvas tents is their durability and longevity. Canvas is a highly durable material that can withstand harsh weather conditions such as wind, rain, and snow. Additionally, canvas tents can last for years with proper care and maintenance.

Elk Mountain Tents uses a unique, high-quality canvas material that is slightly lighter and substantially stronger than traditional cotton canvas. This durable material is naturally waterproof, requires no UV treatments, and is incapable of rotting since the fibers are comprised of 100% polyester. Advances in technology have made polyester the number one choice for canvas. This didn’t use to be the case because polyester canvas use to suffer from breathability issues but modern manufacturing has remedied this issue and polyester can have the same breathability as cotton canvas.

Spacious Living Area

Canvas tents with awnings provide a spacious living area that is perfect for camping trips. The awning provides additional space for cooking, dining, or simply relaxing. Additionally, the canvas tent itself is spacious and can accommodate multiple people, making it ideal for families or groups. Even the smallest of canvas wall tents are quite spacious and can accommodate at least 3 people, their cots, their gear, and a food stove. Meanwhile, larger tents can accommodate around 10 with all their gear.

Breathable and Comfortable

Canvas tents are highly breathable, allowing for air to circulate and keep the interior cool and comfortable. This makes them ideal for camping trips in warm weather and helps with condensation in cold weather. The canvas provides a comfortable and cozy feel, making it a popular choice for camping enthusiasts. Modern technologies have enabled polyester canvas to have the same breathability as cotton canvas. The awning provides a space with the ultimate breathability – a covered area fully outside the tent!


Canvas tents with awnings are incredibly versatile, making them perfect for a wide range of camping trips. Whether you’re going on a family camping trip, a hunting trip, or a weekend getaway with friends, a canvas tent with awning can provide the perfect shelter and living space for your needs. It doesn’t have to be for special occassions either. You can use your tent as an exta play area for kids, a yoga room, a music studio, etc. My sister used hers during the pandemic as a quiet work space far from her husband’s constant work-related phone calls.

canvas tents with awnings


While canvas tents may have a higher initial cost than other types of tents, they are a cost-effective option in the long run. And you typically do have to pay extra for that added awning since canvas is an expensive material, but I don’t you’ll regret it.


Q: How do canvas tent awning attach?

A: Some are an integral question and actually cannot be removed – they can only be rolled back. Meanwhile others have special ties that allow you to attach the awning to the tent.