Canvas Tents and Canopies
Canvas tents have long been a perennial favorite of campers, backpackers, beach-goers and party hosts. Canvas tents are strong, durable, wind- and rain-resistant, and offer substantial, roomy protection and shelter.
Party tents can typically be rented for short-term use, or can be purchased. Affordable used party tents are often offered for sale by tent rental shops. Party tents can made of canvas or mesh — mesh for providing moderate shade, canvas for more substantial shade, plus protection from rain. Some party tents consist of only a top canopy, while others include side panels that can be rolled down or zippered on in case of rain.
Gazebo tents are generally open-air canopies with a thin, almost mesh-like canvas top. These tents are lightweight, easy to set up and take down, and very portable. Gazebo tents are often taken to the beach, and are commonly used as additional shelters by campers.
Typically, camping tents are put up, or pitched, through the use of a metal framework that the canvas attaches to. The framework supports the canvas, and the canvas protects the occupants. The best camping tents offer a high ceiling for plenty of headroom, heavy-duty zippers, and ample zippered mesh "windows" that can be opened to allow for air circulation or closed to keep out rain. The mesh used in the windows should be of a very fine mesh designed especially to keep out no-see-ums, the tiny insects that can squeeze through regular screen and mesh.
Many tents include external detachable awnings, to provide shade and rain protection at the front entrance to the tent, and many also include a sort of roof-over the main roof to help provide extra insulation and additional protection against leakage during wet weather.
Camping tents range in size from small, ultra-light tents for backpacking to large family-size tents, which often come with canvas partitions to provide areas of privacy.
Cabin Tents vs. Dome Tents
Dome tents tend to be smaller and more affordable than cabin tents. Dome tents are also usually easier and faster to put up and take down, and because of their shape are less susceptible to high winds and handle rain better. Dome tents are usually the choice of backpackers and wilderness campers.
Cabin tents, with their nearly vertical side panels, usually have more standing headroom inside and a larger interior space overall. Cabin tents are more likely to have interior partitions for privacy, an integrated screen room in front, and similar features. Families needing more space and privacy frequently opt for a cabin tent.
Regardless of the type of tent you choose, you may wish to purchase and use a ground cloth with your tent. The ground cloth is placed directly on the ground underneath the floor of your tent to protect the tent floor from abrasions and tears from stones, pebbles, and twigs or roots on the ground. The ground cloth should be slightly smaller than the tent itself, to avoid having it collect rainwater to pool under the tent. Some campers like to use a ground cloth inside the tent as well. A quality canvas or poly tarp of an appropriate size can be used as a ground cloth.
What To Look For When Buying A Tent
The cost for canvas tents can vary from less than $100 to more than $1,000, depending on the size, the quality of construction, and the number and complexity of extra features.
Larger tents, while providing roomier accommodations, are heavier to carry, and usually somewhat more difficult to put up and take down. Smaller tents can often be pitched easily by one person, while large tents may require 2 people or even more.
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