Canvas Tent Sleeping Capacity

How many people can sleep in a canvas wall tent? What size wall tent do I need?

Typically, each person needs approximately 20 to 30 square feet for sleeping. The required space to sleep varies depending on:

  1. Whether you will be sleeping on the floor or sleeping on cots.
  2. If most of the people are adults or children.
  3. If the tent will be for sleeping only, or whether you need additional space to congregate or to cook.
  4. Whether you will be using a winter stove.
  5. If your canvas tent is going to be for your family or a group.

Cots are great for comfort, but take more space. The average cot is about 32 X 76 (inches) which is about 17 square feet. So a 13 X 16.5 foot tent could hold 12 cots. However, you would not have room for a stove or be able to maneuver around. Unless it is an emergency situation you don’t want to stack your cots or people so tight they can’t get in out of the tent comfortably.

A Wood Stove Needs about 35-40 square feet

The great thing about a wall tent is the ability to have a wood stove and stay warm in the winter. Obviously, if there is a stove, then there is less room for sleeping. In addition to the stove taking up space you don’t want to place cots or anything else that can burn within two or three feet of the stove.

Canvas Tent Sizes

In general, bigger is better, but size does add weight, costs, and a larger area to setup. Wall tents are great for winter camping and most people find they spend more time inside their canvas tent than they expected. Having a slightly larger wall tent gives you the ability to move around and still have space for your gear.

I would not recommend a canvas tent smaller then 13 x 13 if you plan on using a stove. If you assume your wood stove needs 35 SF, that is basically a 6 x 6 area. With a 10 x 10 wall tent, you would have 4 feet of space to use. This is OK as long as you’re only planning on having 2 cots in the wall tent.

If you are on a boy scout or family trip and everyone can cozy up tight, you will find you can fit a few more people into your canvas tent. However, if you’re an outfitter guiding in hunters and each one of them has their own cot and needs some elbow room, I would go with my recommended sleeping capacity.

13 x 13 Wall Tent

Sleeps 3-4 (with wood stove)
Sleeps 5-6 (with no wood stove)

13 x 16 Wall Tent

Sleeps 5-6 (with wood stove)
Sleeps 7-8 (with no wood stove)

13 x 20 Wall Tent

Sleeps 7-8 (with wood stove)
Sleeps 9-10 (with no wood stove)

Yukon Bell Tent Sleeping Capacity

For the Yukon Bell Tent, you will still have the same considerations as the wall tent. Are these grown adults sleeping on cots with a bunch of hunting gear and a wood stove or are they a group of Boy Scouts willing to pack in like sardines?

As a general rule, for the 13 ft model, we would suggest 2 people if you’re using a stove or 3 with no stove. These figures are for comfortably sleeping adults and not packed children. These figures are a little lower than you would expect given the total square feet (133) and this is because the curved design makes it a little harder to pack in cots. However, the space is certainly not wasted as most people will want to put bags and gear next to their sleeping area.

For the 16 ft and 20 ft models, the available space, and by extension the sleeping capacity, increases dramatically. The 16 ft model offers 200 sq ft compared to 133 for the 13 ft, and the 20 ft model offers a whopping 314 sq ft. In other words, the 16ft model offers 50% more space than the 13ft model, and the 20 ft model offers 57% more space than the 16ft model.  Below are sample sleeping arrangements (these do not account for a stove in use):

bell tent sleeping capacity