How Long Do Poly Cotton Tents Really Last? (Solved)

In this article, we will be looking at poly-cotton tents to determine how long poly-cotton tents last and if this type of tent is ideal for your camping purposes. 

Without further ado, let’s dive into the world of poly cotton and see what secrets this tent fabric holds:

Here’s The Answer To If Poly Cotton Tents Are Expensive:

Poly-cotton tents are not as expensive as canvas tents but are usually more expensive than nylon and polyester. They are built to last longer. The price depends on the size and the brand you purchase it from. On average, for a poly-cotton tent, you should expect to pay between $150 and $600.

What Lifespan Do Poly Cotton Tent Manufacturers List For Their Tents?

From our research, we were able to find one institution that listed its poly-cotton tents lifetime that it makes for refugees and immigration purposes.

According to IOM International, the poly-cotton tents they use last approximately one year when used in a tropical environment. However, it’s believed that these tents don’t last because they are kept pitched in a moist climate and used continuously without being stored.

Many sources have stated that, on average, poly-cotton tents can last many years, if not decades, when they are maintained and used correctly. Most poly-cotton tents will last anywhere from 4 to 5 years or more than ten years if used occasionally and in fair conditions.

Essentially, the less abuse a poly-cotton tent incurs, the longer it will last.

Do Polycotton Tents Last Longer Than Other Tent Types?

Did you know that a poly-cotton tent is a hybrid tent? It is a blend between man-made polyester and natural cotton(canvas).

Poly cotton material is made using cotton fabric as a base and then weaving polyester. Often the tent will blend 35% polyester and 65% cotton. This means that all the good qualities of cotton can usually be found in a poly-cotton tent.

However, they also have some of the bad qualities of cotton. For example, they are not as lightweight as a nylon or polyester tent; they tend to cost more and need extra maintenance to ensure they last long.

On the other hand, since they feature cotton(canvas), they are often slightly more resistant to mold and mildew, and since they have polyester, they have a reduced chance of experiencing large rips.

Yet, does this make them last longer than other tent types?

Well, because they are a hybrid tent featuring both cotton and polyester, they tend to last slightly longer than other tents like polyester and nylon if they are correctly maintained. They will generally last a longer time than other artificial tent fabrics.

Which Factors Impact The Longevity Of My Polycotton Tent?

Are you wondering what factors affect how long your tent will last?

Well, to save you time, we have found three of the factors that you need to look out for if you want your poly-cotton tent to last long:

How Often It Is Used:

How often you use your poly-cotton tent will affect how long it lasts.

If you use your poly-cotton tent every day for a year, you will likely need to replace it by the end of the year because it is constantly exposed to the environment where you have it pitched. If you only use your poly-cotton tent a few times a year, it will likely last you numerous years, if not decades or indefinitely.

Most campers will only use their tents during the summer for approximately 7 days to 10 days a year. This is considered very low usage. So if you use your tent this many days and maintain it properly, it will last.

How It Is Cared For And Maintained:

How you care for and maintain your tend can diminish its lifetime or extend it.

If you want your poly-cotton tent to last many years, you should try to only pitch it in areas where you can avoid the elements. This means you need to try and look for areas where there are natural windbreaks or for shady spots where your tent can be out of direct sunlight.

You should also try to pitch it on surfaces that are not going to damage the bottom of your tent. Essentially, try to pitch your tent on grassy areas or areas with no rough terrain, such as loose rocks and gritty sand and debris.

Once you have your tent pitched, you need to try and be gentle with it. Don’t rip the zips too roughly, and wear shoes inside the tent. Moreover, it would help to avoid tracking dirt into your tent as this could also damage it.

When you’re ready to take your tent down, you also need to make sure that you do so carefully to avoid rips and tears occurring. Make sure it is clean when you pack it away and store it in a dry place.

The Elements:

If you use a poly-cotton tent in extreme weather conditions, often it is not going to have a very long lifespan.

In addition to extreme weather conditions, strong winds and heavy rain also negatively impacts a poly-cotton tent because these conditions often cause damage. Heavy wind can bend and break the poles of a tent, and rain can cause mildew and mold to develop if your tent is not given ample opportunity to dry before packing it away.

Frequent exposure to UV rays can cause degradation of your poly-cotton tent even though it is more durable when it comes to UV rays because of its cotton and polyester blend.

How Long Do Poly Cotton Tents Stay Waterproof?

You need to know that most poly-cotton tents are only treated with a minimal amount of waterproofing agent when they are manufactured.

This means that they are not wholly water-tight when you buy one. However, cotton is naturally waterproof, making it incredibly malleable to weather conditions, so you will have some resistance against water.

This resistance is not enough, especially if you plan on camping for the first time in your new tent during rainy conditions. To make your tent waterproof, you will need to make sure it is weathered. This process is simple. To weather a poly-cotton tent, all you need to do is wet the tent’s fabric before you use it for the first time and allow it to dry.

Weathering will allow the cotton to bond and create a protective barrier against water.

On top of weathering a poly-cotton tent, you can also add a waterproofing agent, but this is not always necessary. Once a tent has been weathered, it will stay waterproof for two to three camping seasons before you would need to add a layer of a waterproofing agent.

How Can I Make Sure My Tent Lasts As Long As Possible?

Above we mentioned a few of the ways you can make your poly-cotton tent last longer, but there are a few other ways you can ensure you can use it for many future camping trips. 

Use a Groundsheet:

Always use a groundsheet underneath your tent. Using a groundsheet will ensure you protect the bottom of it from debris and rocks.

A groundsheet will make sure the bottom of your tent doesn’t rip or tear.

Protect from UV Rays:

It will help if you protect your tent from UV rays.

To do this, you can pitch your tent out of the sun, or you can use a tarp or cover that goes over your tent.

Additionally, you can take your tent down each day and pitch it when the sun is not at its highest. You can also use a UV protection spray.

Never Machine Wash your Tent:

One thing you need to avoid doing is machine washing your tent.

Washing it in a machine will cause damage that could be irreparable. Instead, use a sponge and a mild non-detergent wash to clean the tent.

After you have washed it, you need to place it in a shaded area to dry, and then you can pack it away in a dry area.

When Should I Replace My Tent?

After reading what we have had to say, you are likely wondering when to replace your tent. Essentially you need to replace your poly-cotton tent when it’s no longer a viable camping shelter.

If your tent has holes or rips that cannot be repaired, it is time to consider buying a new one.

If your tent is no longer waterproof despite using waterproofing supplies, you will need to buy a new one as it will not keep you dry when it rains.


IOM International

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