Polycotton Tents Buying Guide

Unless you’re an experienced camper who keeps on top of all the latest industry developments, then buying a new tent can be somewhat of a daunting prospect.

Unless you’re an experienced camper who keeps on top of all the latest industry developments, then buying a new tent can be somewhat of a daunting prospect.

One term you may have seen mentioned over the past couple of years when buying a new tent is ‘polycotton’. We wouldn’t blame you for wondering exactly what that means and why you should care about it.

This buying guide will tell you all you need to know about polycotton tents, so if you’ve been wondering whether or not a polycotton tent is the right option for you – stick around to find out. 

Read on to discover everything you need to know about polycotton tents…

What is a polycotton tent?

It’s not rocket science to work out that polycotton is a mix of polyester and cotton. Most polycotton tents will see around a 35% polyester to 65% cotton ratio, although this can vary from tent to tent.

Polycotton tents come in as many shapes and sizes as any other type of tent, so you can get everything from large polycotton air tents to small Tipi-style tents.

Due to the higher amount of cotton than polyester, they’re more similar to a canvas tent but incorporate the properties of both materials. They also require a ‘weathering’ process before they are waterproof, which we’ll get onto shortly.

What are the benefits of polycotton tents?

So now you know what polycotton tents are, but what does that mean for you, as a tent buyer? There are various advantages of polycotton tents that should make you consider them when looking to buy a new tent.


Breathability is talked about a lot when it comes to outdoor clothing, such as walking boots or waterproof jackets, but it’s also important for tents. One of the main benefits of polycotton tents is their increased breathability and ability to adapt to the surrounding environment.

What this means is that when the weather is warm outside, the inside of the tent will stay as cool as possible. Conversely, when it’s cool outside, your tent will be warmer inside and more comfortable.

Being breathable also means that condensation is highly reduced. The breathable fabric allows the moisture to pass through to the outside, again making your tent a much more comfortable place to be.


Another key benefit of polycotton tents is longevity. Polycotton is incredibly durable and will stand up to UV rays better than polyester. This means they’re much less likely to deteriorate. Polycotton tents are generally a little pricier, but this should be offset by their longevity.

Things to consider when buying a polycotton tent

While we think polycotton tents are some of the best you can buy, it wouldn’t be fair of us not to mention a few minor considerations you should be aware of.

Increased weight

As polycotton tents are usually around two-thirds cotton, they can be a little heavier and your pack size will be larger than with most tents. However, if this isn’t really a problem for you, and you have space in the car, then it’s absolutely worth it.


As we’ve mentioned, polycotton tents do tend to be a little more expensive than other similar tents. But, again, it’s a longer-lasting and better-performing product, so it should last longer if you look after it, making the extra cost well worth it.

Polycotton tents vs polyester tents

Polyester tents are hugely popular and they do have some incredible benefits, but polycotton tents have given them some real competition. So which should you choose?

  • Breathability: Polycotton tents are more breathable than polyester, meaning they’ll be cooler in warm weather inside the tent and vice-versa when the weather is cold outside. Condensation is also reduced massively, thanks to the breathability factor.
  • Longevity: Polyester is susceptible to deterioration and discolouring from UV rays, whereas polycotton is a much more durable material and will cope with UV much better.
  • Weight & size: Being mainly cotton, polycotton tents are heavier and bulkier than polyester tents. If compact and lightweight camping is important to you, then polyester is the one to go for.
  • Price: Polyester is a cheaper material than polycotton, which makes polyester tents less expensive, although they’re not as hard-wearing and may need to be replaced sooner.

How to weather your polycotton tent

Most polyester tents are treated with a waterproof coating (some cheaper tents aren’t) and are sealed with a seam tape across all the seams. Polycotton tents also have this coating, but do not have taped seams – this is where the weathering of your polycotton tent comes into place.

When tents made from polycotton are being stitched, during the production stage, there will still be exposed space between the stitch hole and the thread. So, in theory, this is actually a place where water can get into your tent. Stay with us here – there is a very easy solution that will set you up for the rest of your tents life:

  • Pitch your tent: We highly recommend doing this before your camping trip, but we are well aware that this sometimes isn’t possible. You may be able to get away with going through this process on your camping holiday.
  • Go through the ‘wetting’ process: Leave your tent out in a light rain shower or soak it yourself with a hose for around 10 minutes.
  • Let your tent dry: This is where the magic happens. During the drying process, the thread within the stitch holes expands and completely fills any space or exposure where water could potentially get through.
  • Pack your tent away: This is the weathering done and dusted. This shouldn’t need to be done again, throughout the rest of your tents life.
  • We always recommend using tent waterproofing products on your tent, every 2-3 years which will keep the fabric performing to the best of its ability.

Hopefully, you now know a lot more about polycotton tents than you before. Check out our full range today for exclusives from the biggest camping brands.


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