As various states and state parks slowly open, one thing that’s on many people’ minds is breaking that quarantine cabin fever with a trip to the great outdoors, especially for those who’ve not yet gone back to work. Whatever your circumstances in this strange time, if you’ve been considering that next camping trip for the whole family, there’s no better way to do it than in a large, spacious canvas tent. 

Here are just a few pros and cons of canvas tent camping is better for family trips. 

One Big Happy Family Space

Although they come in many sizes, what’s unique about canvas tents is they provide you the opportunity to create a large outdoor camping space for the whole family, and more space for amenities. This means that camping with a canvas tent is potentially more like a “home away from home,” which is great for the comfort level, especially when little ones are involved.

It’s also possible to divide this space, with internal dividers, which makes it even more like a portable cabin.

The Breathable Yet Insulated Paradox

You could say that a “paradox” or canvas tents is that they are generally more breathable, especially those made from cotton canvas, yet simultaneously, they also provide better insulation than other tents made from more thin material. This means that they are less susceptible to temperature fluctuations, especially with built-in windows, or even a wood stove. 

Sure, bringing along a stove might seem like a bit much for a family camping trip, there are also more portable tent heaters; the point is that having a canvas tent expands your window for possible camping time to much more of the year; theoretically, all of it. 

A Long-term Family Fixture

Canvas tents last a long time, which means with proper care and maintenance, it’s possible you could be taking not only your children but your grandchildren camping in the same tent. Of course, all things wear with time and exposure, but if you clean, shield, and care for it, a canvas can last you many years. 

Maintenance Required

On the flip-side of that last part, the key point is that care and maintenance are involved. Canvas tents are susceptible to mold, mildew, and other problems, if you don’t properly clean and store them. This is something to take into consideration, before deciding on a canvas tent; it is, to some extent, a responsibility, at least if you want it to last a very long time. On the other hand, even with minimal maintenance, it can last you several years. 

Portable, but Heavy

Canvas tents obviously don’t pack neatly into a tiny container that can be slung on a backpack. You’ll definitely need to be camping with your vehicle to transport the tent, so it’s not a great choice for backpackers. You might consider this a small price to pay for the luxury it affords you, however, especially if you’re not a backpacker anyway. 


It’s true, a canvas tent will typically cost you a bit more than one of the very compact nylon or similar tents. This up-front cost represents an investment in an item that will provide long-term value, but it is something to consider.

Canvas Camping: Right for the Right Family

In summary, there are various factors to consider, but for families who are attracted to the idea of “glamping” or more luxurious camping, who value things that are sturdy and last, want to camp in more of the year than typical camping seasons, and don’t mind a bit of upfront cost, maintenance, and reduced portability to get those experiences, then a canvas tent can be a great choice. 

Additional bonus to these considerations is that it can also double as a hunting tent, storage unit, or outdoor dining space.

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