What is the best material for making tents?
So you are going camping with the family or perhaps with friends, and you need to buy a tent, but you’re not sure which tent material is the best one. Different tent materials have their own unique aspects that vary from each other, and each one has its own set of pros and cons. Whether it’s nylon, polyester, cotton, or perhaps Klingon, choosing the right tent material will involve some trade-offs and compromises.
Ideally, a light, strong, and inexpensive tent would be the right one as it is balanced. You may find a material that has the first two aspects, but you may not be able to afford it. Be mindful that often times people mistake an expensive tent material for being the best one which is not always true unless it’s a hammer. An expensive tent material may not the best one, and will have some minor drawbacks.
That is not to say that all expensive tent fabrics are awful, some are exquisite, but may not be suitable for your taste. You have to consider all factors such as the comfort, the unique aspects it provides, and the durability, and can it stop bear claws? Selecting the right material is the same as choosing shoes or a designer’s choice, you have to think about what the end goal is, and then make a decision. Will you be camping out in the woods where the chances of a thunderstorm are high? Are you camping in the mountains where you will be exposed to cold temperatures? Or perhaps you are concerned that rain will ruin your experience? Once you have all the parameters in check, choosing the optimal tent material is often clear.
You will have to choose between two identical tents with the same design, but different materials. Chances are your idea of the right tent material will be pre-determined, by the place you are visiting. In either case, if you are confused between choosing then you are in the right place. we will take a look at some of the best materials used in making tent fabrics, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The decision will be yours.
Best material for making tents:
Nylon is the most common tent material. The fabric itself was initially developed to be used in parachutes during World War 2. Nowadays it’s the standard material for most outdoor products from tents to apparel. Nylon is most favored for its strength to weight ratio, abrasion resistance, and cost.
When it comes to strength, Nylon is superior to Polyester, which is one of the main reasons why Nylon is the ideal tent material. Because of its stretchiness, it can cover more ground and therefore make more room. A downside to Nylon’s stretchiness is the fly. The fly is likely to cause wrinkles the more a nylon tent is stretched out, and it can eventually lead to tearing.
Nylon has the most resistance to abrasion. This means while any other tent material is like to erode depending on the area, Nylon has the highest abrasion resistance and erodes rather slowly compared to others.
It is true that nylon can absorb water, however, this is both a blessing and a curse. The absorbed water will increase the weight of the overall tent, and the tent is likely to sag and end up failing. Another downside to Nylon is that it can degrade faster when exposed to Ultra Violet rays i.e sunlight. This can pose an issue for anyone who goes camping in broad daylight and needs to be in the sun for a prolonged time. Nylon is lightweight, and any lightweight fabric will degrade faster if exposed to UV for extended periods of time.
Polyester has not been getting the attraction it needs. Over the years the fabric has been going through several advancements in high-end polyester particularly in the lightweight department. Polyester now has an improved strength to weight ratio which makes it lighter, and stronger. While Nylon remains the gold standard, polyester has a few perks as well.
Polyester is superior in terms of tearing strength which means there are fewer chances of tearing compared to Nylon. With recent advancements, polyester has gone through significant improvement in being more durable, and having fewer chances of tearing. It has since become more popular among travelers as it is more reliable.
While Nylon could stretch to cover more ground, Polyester does not. Rather its strengths lie in instability. During humid or wet conditions, nylon would turn saggy, while polyester still maintains its shape. Therefore it is more stable compared to nylon.
It is believed that polyester is more resistant to ultraviolet rays compared to nylon meaning it does not degrade over a prolonged time when exposed to the sun. however, there hasn’t been any real study to confirm this belief. Although given how polyester’s fabric is extra thick, therefore it is resistant to UV. Most lightweight materials degrade faster when exposed to UV, but given the polyester material is thicker, and dense it is, therefore, resistant to UV rays.
Polyester is mostly used in sails for ships, and any other application where stretchiness is not a priority. While it is resistant to UV rays and has a low water absorption rate, it is, therefore, the most desirable tent material to be used for shelters. Polyesters show more promise for campers, and that puts it at odds against Nylon.
Dyneema Composite Fabric
he Dyneema Composite Fabric or DCF for short is the newest tent material. Also called Cuben Fiber, the DCF was developed by Cubic Tech, therefore is it well known as Cuben Fiber.
Some might disagree that DCF is not actually a fabric, but rather a coating between two layers of polyethylene terephthalate film. However, since it is used in textiles, it is therefore theoretically considered a fabric.
DCF is famously known for being quite strong for its weight. In fact, no other tent material can come close to the tearing strength of DCF. Therefore DCF is clearly the strongest tent material and is also lightweight compared to nylon. Which makes it more desirable than nylon.
However, for all that strength, DCF has no stretch which is technically a trade-off. all that strength, but a lack of stretchiness. This makes it the most sought out material for sails, and several other industrial applications.
Furthermore, DCF is waterproof, but it does not actually absorb the water, unlike nylon and polyester. DCF relies on a chemical coating that makes it waterproof. However, this coat adds weight and is prone to failure.
Moreover, DCF is highly resistant to Ultra Violet rays than nylon. Therefore, it won’t degrade nor weaken when exposed to sunlight for a prolonged time.
A drawback of DCF is the lack of abrasion resistance. The outer layer of DCF material is quite vulnerable to abrasion. In fact, any material made of DCF doesn’t last long as nylon does in terms of abrasion resistance. Although the lack So you are going camping with the family or perhaps with friends, and you need to buy a tent, but you’re not sure which tent material is the best one. Different tent materials have their own unique aspects that vary from each other, and each one has its own set of pros and cons. Whether it’s nylon, polyester, cotton, or perhaps Klingon, choosing the right tent material will involve some trade-offs and compromises.
Other Tent Options
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