The canopy is that part of the tent that protects you from the elements. So, it is necessary for the canopy to be made of materials that can withstand the intense sun, torrential rain and harsh weather in general. Modern outdoor tent manufacturers use various types of materials to manufacture the canopies of their heavy duty tents.
In this article we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various materials used to manufacture tent canopies. This will help you choose your perfect outdoor canopy tent for events and other outdoor activities.
Manmade fabrics vs. Natural Fabrics
Which is better for outdoor canopy tents – manmade fibre or natural fibre? This is an age-old debate. Both materials have their unique advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see which one scores better in our books.
Cotton, linen and hemp have been used to manufacture tent canvases since antiquity. Canvas is a durable material that lends a heavy duty tent its weatherproof characteristic.
Here’s what makes canvas such a good canopy material.
- UV guard: Canvas has the natural ability to block UV radiations to a great extent. But a lot depends upon the thickness of the fabric used to construct the tent canopy. If your tent has a thick enough canvas, it will shield you from the UV radiations and keep you protected inside the tent. You can choose to coat your tent canvas with UV resistant solutions to give it an edge in extreme sunlight.
- Waterproof: A thick canvas for your heavy duty tent will keep the rain out for the most part. Drizzles are not a problem for the material. In the rain, the natural fibres used to weave the canvas, soak up the water and swell up, sealing the weave. But torrential downpours can be a problem. If you are planning to spend outdoors during heavy rain, you might want to think of other materials. You can, however, use wax or other waterproofing solutions to coat your canvas to give it some added advantage in heavy rain.
- Breathability and Insulation: Canvas is naturally breathable. It allows the right amount of air to pass through and keeps the environment inside the tent healthy. This also means that it doesn’t allow the build-up of condensation inside the tent. The air tapped between the weave forms an insulating layer that keeps away extreme heat or cold from the outside environment.
Here’s why you might not prefer canvas.
- Weight: Canvas is pretty heavy and not very easy to fold. So, it occupies a lot of space even when folded. Its ungainly weight means that it isn’t very transport-friendly. Installing a big canvas tent can be quite the chore and you may need an extra pair of hands to get the thing done. But there’s another side to the canvas’ weight. It doesn’t flap in high wind like some of the lighter, artificial fabrics. This makes it far less noisy in gusts.
- Mildew: Because canvas is made from natural fibres, it has the tendency to attract mildew in moist weather. Make sure you clean and store your outdoor canopy tent in a dry place when not in use. To remove patches of mildew, you can use natural substances like vinegar or manmade solutions available in the market.
- Maintenance & Cost: Canvas tents need to be taken care of. You have to be careful about keeping it clean and dry when not in use. Also, canvas can be costlier than some of the artificially made fabric materials.
2. Manmade fibres – Nylon, Polyester, Acrylic and PVC
Manmade fibres have increasingly encroached into the territory of natural fibres. Materials like nylon, polyester, acrylic and PVC are being used more and more every day to manufacture everything from clothes, and utility objects to heavy duty tents.
Nylon, Polyester and Acrylic
Polyester is durable, doesn’t wrinkle easily, and can be machine-washed. But it is not very good at absorbing moisture and prone to letting mildew grow on its surface. Nylon has similar characteristics as polyester, but it is more elastic and isn’t mildew-friendly. Acrylic shares all the characteristics with nylon and polyester, but it has a tendency to pill. Polyester is more breathable compared to acrylic.
Each material has its set of advantages and disadvantages. Hence, they find use in the manufacturing of outdoor canopy tents. Here’s the pros of these materials, when it comes to heavy duty tent manufacturing.
- UV and water resistance: Nylon, polyester and acrylic are UV and water resistant, and hence preferred materials for outdoor umbrella canopies. They have also found application in garments and outdoor tent manufacturing.
- Breathability and insulation: Polyester is the best of the lot when it comes to breathability. This also makes it the best insulator among these three manmade materials.
- Lightweight: All three materials – nylon, polyester and acrylic are lightweight, making all products manufactured from them incredibly light and portable.
- Cost: All three materials are cheaper compared to natural fibres like cotton and linen. Hence, products manufactured from nylon, acrylic and polyester tend to be cheaper than those manufactured from cotton, linen or hemp.
- Maintenance: All three materials will last you a long time with a bit of care. They don’t demand too much!
Here’s the cons of the trio.
Not as breathable as canvas: No. The above mentioned manmade materials are not as breathable as natural fiber. This leads to less air circulation and more condensation inside outdoor canopy tents manufactured from these artificial fabrics.
Not as insulating as canvas: This is another area, where the natural fibers score more points than the man made ones. Canvas is a much better insulator than say nylon or acrylic.
PVC – the material of the future
Outdoor tent manufacturers like Extreme Canopy, Australia, have popularized PVC as the preferred material for a whole bunch of products like event tents, marquees and gazebos, custom printed pop up tents and whatnot. PVC is lightweight, tough, UV and water resistant, insulating and can be heavily customized with additives during the manufacturing process to suit the needs of end-users.
Take for instance the X5, X6, X7, and Q8 series of heavy duty tents and custom printed pop up tents from Extreme Canopy. They come in a wide range of sizes. You can have them in your favourite colours. You can also have your brand-logo printed on your tent – something that we highly recommend for businesses showcasing their products and services in outdoor events.
Blow up tents, marquees, and gazebos have revolutionized the outdoor tent market. If you are out in the market for a heavy duty tent that can also double up as an event tent, go for a product that is user-friendly, durable and cost effective.