Best Canvas Tent For A Classic Camping Experience

There’s nothing quite like spending the night in an old-school canvas tent. Whether you’re taking up four-season hot-tenting or looking to up your glamping game, the best canvas tents have got you covered.
Best Canvas Tent - Whiteduck Regatta
Our Best Choice Overall: The Whiteduck Regatta Bell

This is The Wise Adventurer’s guide to the best canvas tents currently on the market. Canvas tents are the classic take an outdoors shelter, using tried-and-true materials like tough woven cotton fabric and galvanized steel frames to provide a durable shelter and memorable camping experiences.

After analyzing all the most popular canvas tents on the market, we found the Whiteduck Regatta to be the best canvas tent overall. We love the Regatta because it strikes the ideal balance between high quality materials, features for added livability, and overall cost. The Regatta may not be every camper’s first choice though, and that’s alright.

Some folks will want even more space, or the added convenience of premium features like a removable floor and stowable walls. Others will want something that’s a little easier on their wallet without sacrificing overall quality and craftsmanship. Don’t worry, the article below has everyone covered.

And, if you’re completely new to canvas tents (or just need a refresher), you’ll also find a handy buyers guide at the bottom of this article to explain the various features, materials, and terms specific to canvas tents. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision, and we believe you’ll find everything you need in the article that follows.

Right, let’s dive into it!

TentSummary
Whiteduck Regatta 16’ Bell Tent: Best Canvas Tent OverallHigh quality construction, excellent value, and stove-jack friendly. A high-quality canvas tent at an excellent price point. See Review
Whiteduck Avalon 16’ Bell Tent: Best Overall QualityAll the features you want in a canvas tent. Modular design, tons of windows, bulletproof materials, and a lifetime warranty to boot. See Review
Teton Sports Sierra 16’ Canvas Tent: Best On A BudgetAn heirloom quality canvas tent that’s just as tough and waterproof as the <best, at a slightly lower price. A lifetime warranty at a solid discount. See Review
Teton Sports Mesa Canvas TentA springbar-style alternative to the typical bell shaped canvas tent. Incredibly tough and weather-resistant with added livability. See Review
Danchel Outdoor Canvas YurtA tough canvas tent with thoughtful modular construction. The 20’ size is an excellent value. See Review
Playdo Waterproof Cotton Canvas TentA well-built canvas tent at an affordable price. The largest 23’ model is an outstanding deal for the size. See Review

Best Canvas Tents

Whiteduck Regatta 16.5’ Bell Tent: Best Canvas Tent Overall

Whiteduck Regatta Bell

Specs:
Weight: 77lbs (34.9 kg)
Packed size: 46” x 15” x 15” (117cm x 38cm x 38cm)
Floor size: 197” x 197” (500cm x 500cm)
Peak height: 118” (300cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 8 person (3 & 6 person also available)
Best for: Four-season family camping
Price: $$

Topping off our list for the best canvas tents is the Whiteduck Regatta. Whiteduck makes some of the best canvas tents on the market, and we think their Regatta model is the current tent to beat in their lineup.

Inside the Regatta you’ll find all the essential features that make canvas tents so great: The canvas itself is made from a tough-as-nails 8.5 oz. cotton canvas that’s completely waterproof, the pole assembly is made from bulletproof galvanized steel, the interior is incredibly tall and roomy, and there’s plenty of adjustable (and bug-proof) ventilation thanks to multiple windows, a large two-layer storm door, and four large vents in the ceiling.

In addition to nailing the basics, the Regatta has two main things going for it that put it at the top of our list. The first is an abundance of premium features which include a built-in stove jack, protected outlets for electric cables, and two generously-sized utility pockets for organization. The second, surprisingly, is the price of the Whiteduck Regatta: This tent is neither the most affordable nor the most expensive, but in our view it walks the ideal line between premium features and affordability.

Ultimately the only downsides of the Regatta come from that price vs. features tradeoff. For instance, the sewn-in floor is tough and reliably waterproof, but costlier options like the Avalon below include removable floors and convertible walls that add versatility to the tent. Our other nit-pics are small: The door structure uses a second pole for support, which both divides the entryway and makes setup a little more involved than some of the models below. We also love that Whiteduck adds an optional fire-repellant fabric version of the Regatta (ideal for campers using a tent stove), but that fabric costs extra money. All things considered, you just can’t go wrong investing in the Regatta, and the fact that your investment is backed by a lifetime warranty absolutely seals the deal for us.

Pros:Cons:
– Stove-friendly with included stove jack and optional fire repellant fabric
– Great quality to price ratio
– Bulletproof construction, backed with a lifetime warranty
– Door support pole adds structure, but divides entryway
– Lacking some “premium” features
– Fire repellant fabric costs extra



Whiteduck Avalon 16’ Canvas Bell Tent : Best Overall Quality

Whiteduck Avalon Bell

Specs:
Weight: 125 lbs (56.7 kg)
Packed size: 47” x 16” x 16” (119cm x 41cm x 41cm)
Floor size: 197” x 197” (500cm)
Peak height: 118” (300cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 8 (6, 10, 12 person also available)
Best for: Four season family camping
Price: $$$

We like to think of the Whiteduck Avalon as the “Regatta on steroids”, and as such it was an easy pick for our best canvas tent in terms of overall quality.

With the Avalon you get all the things that make the Regatta great (same heavyweight canvas, steel frame, etc.) but you also get all the premium features the Regatta is missing. For example, rather than limiting the window count to three, the Regatta packs a zippable/mesh window into every section of the wall, which really brightens up the tent on sunny days. We also love that the Avalon features a removable floor, which is quick and easy to do thanks to a 360-degree zipper attachment.

That same removable floor also adds tons of versatility to the Avalon: For starters, it means you can unzip the floor and clean it separately with a hose or pressure washer after every trip. It also means that the Avalon easily converts into a free-standing canopy, which is great to take to the beach or the park for some extra shade. The three-foot walls themselves even roll up and clip underneath the roof section, giving you a bright and airy space to relax in style.

As for downsides, well, with the Whiteduck Avalon they’re pretty straightforward: All canvas tents are expensive, but this one is more expensive than most. It’s not overpriced though, and you certainly get what you pay for in terms of features (plus that same lifetime warranty), so we still consider the Avalon to be a great investment. Our only other complaint is that the Whiteduck Avalon uses a second A-frame style pole assembly to support the front door. It’s a minor annoyance at best, but just know that the pole takes up a small amount of interior space and can get in the way when shuffling gear in and out of the shelter.

Pros:Cons:
– Windows EVERYWHERE!
– Stove jack included
– Optional fire repellant fabric ideal for stove use
– More expensive than some
– A-frame door support adds setup time, cuts into living space



Teton Sports Sierra 16’ Canvas Tent: Best On A Budget

Teton Sports Sierra - 5M

Specs:
Weight: 80 lbs (36 kg)
Packed size: 36” x 9” x 16” (91cm x 23cm x 41cm)
Floor size: 192” x 192” (488cm x 488cm)
Peak height: 113” (287 cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 12 (8 & 10 person also available)
Best for: Four season family camping
Price: $$

If you’re no stranger to The Wise Adventurer, you’ll know we consider ourselves fans of Teton Sports’ rugged line of outdoors gear. Their modern tents are tough in their own right, but nothing is quite as bomb-proof as their traditional line of canvas tents. They’ve got a few models of canvas shelters in their lineup (as you’ll read below) but our personal favorite is the Teton Sports Sierra.

We love the Sierra because it includes many of the same features as our top pick, the Whiteduck Regatta, but undercuts its price by a healthy margin. You still get heavyweight and watertight canvas construction, tough steel poles, multiple mesh windows, and an obscenely durable floor as well as the same lifetime warranty Teton Sports includes with all their canvas tents.

In addition to these features, you could actually argue that the Teton Sports Sierra has a leg up on the Regatta in terms of creature comforts, depending on the kind of camping you’ll be doing. That’s because the Sierra also includes a zip-out floor for easy cleaning, as well as the same “roll and stash” walls as the premium Whiteduck Avalon above. So why didn’t the Sierra take our top spot?

The main factor that kept the Teton Sports Sierra off the top of our list is space: The Whiteduck Regatta above has an extra six inches of diameter over the Sierra, which may seem minor, but in a circular tent like this (where everyone is sharing the same room), we’ll take all the space we can get. The second thing that’s missing from the Sierra is a built-in stove jack. Sure, you could always add one yourself if you’re interested in cold weather camping, but it’s a bit of a hassle and we prefer tents with one installed from the factory. The windows of the Sierra are also smaller than those on the Regatta, which makes it run a little warmer on hot days, but again, this is a minor detail that many will be happy to live with for the extra savings.

Pros:Cons:
– High quality tent on a budget
– Modular floor/canopy design
– Absolutely bulletproof floor
– Lifetime warranty
– Ventilation could use a little improvement for hot weather
– Slightly less interior room
– No stove jack included  



Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent

Teton Sports Mesa

Specs:
Weight: 76 lbs (34.5 kg)
Packed size: 39” x 15” x 14” (99cm x 38cm x 36cm)
Floor size: 120” x 168” (305cm x 427cm)
Peak height: 78” (198 cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Cabin
Occupancy: 6 (8 person also available)
Best for: Four season family camping
Price: $$

If you spent any amount of time in scouts as a youngster, get ready to have all your nostalgia buttons pressed: The Teton Sports Mesa is a classic canvas tent, just like the old school Springbar shelters you may remember from summer camp.

There’s a reason this design has remained popular over the years: The simple yet durable steel frame construction is just as strong and windproof as ever, the thick treated canvas can handle heavy rains with ease, and the “springbar” suspension system means you’ve got a ton of interior space and standing room inside the shelter.

In addition to all the classic features, we also love that Teton Sports added a canvas awning to the outside of the Mesa, which shields the entrance from sun and rain, and gives you shady spot to hand out when the weather is good. Once you’ve set the tent up once, pitching it will become a quick and easy affair, as will loading and unloading gear thanks to the Mesa’s two large doors. The Mesa also gets the same lifetime warranty as the Sierra above, which always adds peace of mind to an investment of this size.

As far as downsides go, we see two main issues with the Mesa: First, compared to the bell-style tents above, you’ll get less interior space for your money with a design like this. It’s still plenty roomy, but if we’re being honest, bell tents are just tough to beat in that regard. Aside from that the main issue for us is that although you can certainly use a tent stove inside the Mesa, you’ll have to add a stove jack yourself to make it happen. It’s not particularly difficult to do, so if you’re interested in learning yourself, check out this easy-to-follow tutorial.

Pros:Cons:
– Proven “springbar” style canvas tent
– Double doors & awning add livability
– Easy setup
– Lifetime warranty
– Stove jack compatible, but not included
– Little pricey for its size



Danchel Outdoor Canvas Yurt

Danchel Outdoor Canvas Yurt

Specs:
Weight: 84 lbs (38 kg)
Packed size: 39” x 15” x 14” (99cm x 38cm x 36cm)
Floor size: 197” x 197” (500cm x 500cm)
Peak height: 137” (348cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 10 (6, 4, 2 person also available)
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$

Next up on our list is the Danchel Outdoor Canvas Yurt. This is a classic bell-style tent with all the features you’d typically want in a canvas shelter: Tough materials, tons of space, and your typical “glamping” aesthetic.

We’re including the Danchel on our list for one main reason: If you’re shopping for a tent with a 20’ diameter, the price is just too good to ignore here. Danchel’s 20-foot models cost less than comparable 16-foot models from “premium” brands like our top three contenders, yet still include most of the same features.

Those include multiple stove jacks, an unbreakable PVC floor, several nice big windows, and a simple two pole setup. Danchel even includes a removable/zippable floor on this canvas yurt, so it quickly converts to a shady canopy when you’re in the mood.

Unfortunately there’s one glaring flaw to the Danchel Canvas Yurt that kept it off the top of our list: Although the tent does include multiple stove jacks from the factory, they’ve got a bad reputation for quality. More experienced hot tent users may be able to make the existing jacks work, but there have been more than a few reports of these jacks getting overworked and burnt out by hot chimney flues. If Danchel ever updates the stove jacks of these tents, this yurt could be a contender for best on a budget, but for now we only recommend it as a solid three-season tent for families/groups that want a large shelter.

Pros:Cons:
– Great deal on larger 20’ size
– Modular floor/wall design
– Dual stove jacks add versatility
– Smaller sizes pricey for what they are
– Not be the best for tent stove use



Playdo Waterproof Cotton Canvas Bell Tent

Playdo Canvas Bell

Specs:
Weight: 132 lbs (60 kg)
Packed size: 49” x 17” x 17” (114cm x 36cm x 36cm)
Floor size: 276” x 276” (701cm x 701cm)
Peak height: 157” (400cm)
Rooms: 1
Shape: Bell
Occupancy: 12 (2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 person models also available)
Best for: Three season family camping
Price: $$$

Playdo is a tent and camping accessories manufacturer based in Beijing, who do most of their business in the US via Amazon. Their canvas bell tents are their best-selling product, and there’s a good reason for that: They’re well built, but surprisingly budget-friendly.

We’re particularly fond of the Playdo 23-foot model, which is one of the largest canvas bell tents for sale anywhere, yet retails for about the same as a 16-foot model from a “premium” brand. Inside their tents you’ll find several familiar features, including a tough canvas body, rugged galvanized steel poles, multiple windows and roof vents for airflow, and a thick PVC floor that’s built for abuse.

We also love that Playdo’s tent include a few bonus features despite their bargain pricing. There’s a fiberglass-reinforced stove jack built into every Playdo roof, for instance, as well as a waterproof flap that can be secured with velcro to keep the rain and wind out when not in use. We were also surprised to find that the Playdo includes a fully zippable/removable floor for at this price, so you’re also getting a roomy canopy baked into the price.

As far as drawbacks go, Playdo’s tents all share two common complaints: The first is that although the tent is advertised as a “four-season” model, it’s just not built to handle snow. Playdo tents have been known to collapse under a few inches of snow load, so if you’re planning on camping in snow, you should look elsewhere. The second common complaint is that although the removable floor is a nice touch, it’s been known to let a few drops in when the rain is really coming down. The Playdo is a great option for families who want the biggest tent they can find, but if you’re a “rain-or-shine-or-snow” kind of camper, you might want to stick to our top three picks.

Pros:Cons:
– Extra large 23’ option great value
– High-quality stove jack included
– Affordable smaller sizes
– Removable floor design may compromise waterproofing
– Won’t hold up under heavy snow



Buyer’s Guide For The Best Canvas Tents

If you’re considering buying a canvas tent, congratulations, you’re well on your way to a camping experience like no other. There’s just something special about staying in the same kind of shelter campers used over 100 years ago.

And while the “technology” may be outdated, the tents themselves are as good as they ever were. Classic canvas tents are just as tough and waterproof today as they were a century ago (or even tougher, in many cases), and there’s a reason people still love to use them now. Not all canvas tents are created equal though, so here are a few factors to keep in mind as you shop.

Size And Shape

Most canvas tents come in two main shapes: Bell tents, and cabins.

Best Canvas Tent - Shape and Size
Bell canvas tents like the Teton Sports Sierra are the most common shapes (and we love their look!)

Bell tents are by far the most popular, and that’s not just because they look cool, either. The circular floor plan on a bell tent allows for their classic “one pole” design, which keeps set-up and takedown as simple as they come (more on that below). The elevated room and steep slanted walls of a bell tent also does a great job handling run-off in heavy rains, which makes a well-made bell tent a great candidate for camping in rough weather.

“Cabin” style canvas tents are typically the “spring bar” style seen in the Teton Sports Mesa above. You’ll see a few variations on this design, as well as a few “military” style designs out there, but for our purposes, these are the two types you’ll likely want to consider for camping duty.

In terms of size, the heavy weight of canvas tents limits them to car camping/glamping duty only, so there’s really size isn’t really a limiting factor. We generally recommend you go with the largest size you can reasonably use, since the impressive interior space of these tents is part of the draw for most campers.

Weight And Packed Size

The weight and packed size of the best canvas tents varies between models, sizes, and brands, but they all have two things in common: They’re heavy, and they’re bulky.

Truth be told the outright size and weight of a real canvas tent is the main drawback for most. You need space to haul them, space to pitch them, and if you go with a larger size, strength to carry them.

Best Canvas Tent - Weight and packed size
The Whiteduck Regatta packed

With that being said, again, we still recommend buying the largest size tent you’re able to fit in your vehicle/camping spot of choice, because large part of what makes these tents great is spending time inside them. We find that a 16-foot diameter bell tent is the gold standard for most campers, but if you’ve got the room to go bigger, there’s just something cool about sleeping inside of a giant 20+-foot circus tent every night.

Maintenance

Because canvas tents are made from natural fibers, owning and maintaining them is a bit different from your standard nylon or polyester shelter.

The main enemy of cotton canvas is mold, and keeping the tent clean plays a major role in keeping mold at bay. If you use your tent fairly regularly, you should plan on giving it a deep clean/wash two or three times a year.

The second big maintenance item for any canvas tent is keeping it dry when it’s not being used. Canvas weave is naturally water-resistant, and most canvas shelters come pre-treated for added water resistance. With that being said, canvas must be given ample time to dry before being taken down and packed up. It’s ok to pack up a wet tent when it’s time to head home, but if you don’t find time to set it out to dry in the sun/indoors within 24 hours or so, you’re just inviting mold into the fibers.

Set-up

Most canvas tents are remarkably easy to set up. If you’ve got a bell tent, it’s as easy as unrolling the tent, staking it down, then putting up the big center pole and guying out the roof. Truth be told it’s the guying out process that takes the most time, because properly tensioned guy lines are what keep a bell tent upright during wind and rain.

Best Canvas Tent - Set-up
All bell tents are built around a solid center pole

“Spring bar” tents are a little different: You still start by staking out the edges of the tent, but there are a few more steps to getting it upright. You’ll need to set up and “tension” the roof, then install and adjust two upright poles to raise the tent body. You still guy it out for added stability afterwards, but most of your time goes to building the tent body itself.

Both designs are typically a bit more involved that a standard camping tent, if only because the materials themselves are heavier and a little more burdensome. They’re both pretty simple once you get them down, and we consider ease of setup to be an overall feature of canvas tents.

Durability

If there’s one thing the best canvas tents are known for, it’s outright durability. With proper care, a good canvas tent will last for the rest of your life and then some.

Ultimately the durability of a canvas tent depends entirely on two factors: Materials and craftsmanship. We’ll cover materials in detail below, but first, a quick word on craftsmanship.

Best Canvas Tent - Durability
Even if they are replaceable, good zippers should last LONG!

In terms of canvas tents, craftsmanship describes the way a tent is assembled. All canvas tents worth their asking price will use thick canvas cloth and sturdy steel frames, but how a manufacturer puts the whole package together ultimately determines it’s durability. You want tough, reinforced stitching used throughout the tent, and that includes the sections of canvas themselves as well as every window, door, and vent in the tent body. The other heavy use item in a canvas tent will always be its zippers, and although zippers are often repairable and replaceable, there’s no reason a good durable zipper shouldn’t last the life of the tent as well.

Materials

Because weight isn’t a primary concern in a canvas tent, we generally believe the thicker a canvas is, the better. All canvas tents use woven cotton for a canopy, but just like your favorite cotton t-shirt or pair of jeans, some are made thicker and heavier duty than others.

Your tent floor is another important consideration when we talk materials. Again, we don’t particularly mind a canvas tent being a few pounds heavier, so we generally prefer a thick PVC-type material over conventional tent floor fabrics. Thick PVC floors last longer, are incredibly resistant to tearning and abrasions, and can be easily cleaned/scrubbed without risking damage.

Best Canvas Tent - Materials
Most canvas tent are made of cotton for the canopy and PVC for the floor

Lastly, we’d like to say a quick word on tent stakes: Canvas tents are bigger and heavier than their polyester cousins, and as such, we prefer to see bigger and heavier stakes included as part of the purchase. Generally speaking, the best canvas tents come with heavy steel stakes, and that’s ok. We want to be able to drive them deep into even the toughest ground (typically with a hammer) to ensure they’ll hold up to the extra weight and pressure put on the guy lines. Good canvas tent stakes have more in common with railroad spikes than they do with traditional tent stakes, and we like it that way.

Conclusion

Taking all of the above factors into consideration, we found that the Whiteduck Regatta was the best overall canvas tent currently on the market. We love the Regatta for its high-quality materials and feature rich design, and believe it strikes an excellent balance between outright cost and overall quality.

If bells and whistles are more your bag, you’ll likely want to consider the Whiteduck Avalon instead. It’s got the same outstanding build quality as the Regatta above, but adds in premium features like a moveable floor and 360-degree windows.

Best Canvas Tent - Conclusion
The Teton Sports Sierra – Our Best Choice On A Budget

Last but not least is the Teton Sports Sierra, which is every bit as big and durable as the Whiteduck tents above, but at an impressive discount. You’ll sacrifice a little interior space, and you’ll have to install your own stove jack if you intend to bring a tent stove inside, but pound for pound Teton Sports makes some of the best canvas tents on the market. If you are a huge fan of stove jacks, we also recommend you have a look at our best tents with stove jack!

We particularly like that all three of these models are backed by a lifetime warranty of some description. Canvas tents are a large investment, and there’s nothing like a lifetime guarantee to add confidence to any major purchase decision.

3 thoughts on “Best Canvas Tent For A Classic Camping Experience”

  1. Hi Kurt! Thank you for the review! Definitely the best, detailed comparison of these products that I’ve found. I’m really on the fence between the Whiteduck 16.5′ Avalon and the Teton 16′ Sierra. The Avalon obviously has a little bit more functions, like more larger windows and higher walls, which means a little more headroom. I believe the Avalon door is also higher. But you just can’t beat the price for the quality of the Sierra. I’ve seen one deal that made the Sierra almost half the price of the Avalon. As much as I like the Avalon a little more, I’m not sure if I can justify spending that much just for some extra windows. Even if it does make the tent cooler in the summer. Hmmmm…decisions decisions.

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan, thanks so much for your comment 🙂 We really love hearing about our readers ! When it comes to your choice, you can’t go wrong with any of these! We are big fans of Whiteduck: the level of quality you’ll get feel really special (+ the Avalon design, which is super nice). Remember that windows is also what makes your tent luminous and livable. The tent you will buy will last very long anyway, so if you can afford it, we recommend you follow your heart 🙂 Of course, the Teton remains a totally valid option for less money.

      Reply

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