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For a long time Nylon has been the favoured materials with which to create tents due to its extremely light weight and water resistant properties. Nylon tents can also be supported by fibreglass frames, which are also much lighter than their metal counterparts. Canvas, on the other hand, is far too heavy to be supported by fibreglass rods and as a result must only be used on steel poles lest they collapse. Because of the reduction in both size and weight (as well as greatly reduced cost, in general), Nylon tents are preferred by the vast majority of outdoor enthusiasts.
However, there are still some advantages to the use of canvas camping tents that some campers might not be aware of.
Southern Cross Canvas Products make a wide variety of high-quality, robust canvas tents. They are divided (on the manufacturer’s website) into “Ultimate” and “Ridge” varieties. The Ultimate tents are a range designed for family oriented touring use, and have many traits which make them ideal for use in the extremes of the Australian climate- featuring breathable vents and window flaps alongside heavily taped seams and an excellent standard of waterproofing. The Ridge Tent is a large, military style canvas tents featuring a locally made steel frame. This tent is ideal as a static shelter for large groups but could prove unwieldy if it has to be moved around a lot! Certainly something to think about before spending your hard earned cash!
Diamantia canvas tents are extremely durable and hard-wearing when maintained properly. The manufacturers claim that a properly cared for Diamantia can last for 30 years, which is up to three times longer than the life expectancy of the equivalent tent made from synthetic materials. Diamantia are unusual in that they produce canvas tents in the ‘dome’ shape, which is commonly reserved for synthetic tents only- however, because of the more heavy duty material and frame, these can withstand wind speeds of up to 100km/ph.
“Outback Campers” produces a small variety of canvas tents which are sturdy enough for repeated use and relatively easy to assemble in comparison with other tents in this class. These tents come in two sizes- 9x9, which sleeps 2-3 people and 9x13, which sleeps 3-4. The 9x13 size is particularly interesting because the same tent can be erected in two different styles, which makes it fantastic for maximising the tents interior space! Both tents are lighter than the average canvas tent of equivalent size too, making it much more convenient for your adventures.