July 9th, 2020
Features of Wall Tents: What To Know Before You Buy
The Primary Features of Wall Tents To Look Out For
Adventure is an exciting world of fun and discoveries. Although it means leaving the comfort of your home to climb the mountains, scuba dive, skydive, hunt, and explore the world, it’s worth investing the time and effort to make these trips as memorable as possible.
In the case of spending an extended period of time outdoors or going out on a hunt, choosing the right wall tent can make all the difference. The big question on the minds of most people looking to invest in one is, how can I know what tent to buy for the experience I’m planning?
Navigating the world of wall tents can be a daunting task, especially with the wide range of features they offer that you may be deciding between right now. And since it’s often up to us to make the right decisions about the kind of tent (and therefore, experience) we’re looking for, it’s a good idea to know what’s what when it comes to the various options on offer with wall tents.
What Do You Need To Keep An Eye For When Buying the Right Wall Tent?
At White Duck Outdoors, we understand choosing a wall tent for your trip can be a difficult task, especially with several options on the market today. Here's a guide to help you discover what is essential and what aspects to consider when buying a wall tent
- Fabric: The fabric of a wall tent can go a long way in determining the longevity of the tent. Ideally, you should try to choose a fabric that’s durable and also responds well to treatments that make it water, mildew and fire-resistant. Options for wall tent material include cotton army duck canvas, polyester canvas, oxford canvas and nylon. Army duck canvas tends to be the preferred fabric for wall tents for a few reasons; it’s extremely durable, making it ideal for extended periods of time outdoors; it generally performs better in inclement weather; with the right care, duck canvas tents average longer lifespans; and the fabric is more receptive to protective treatments.
- Rain Fly: Also known as the tent’s umbrella, the rain fly protects the tent against harsh weather, specks of dirt, and stops sparks from your tent store. When buying a wall tent, it’s worth ensuring that the fly flows smoothly down the sides of the wall tent. A rain fly helps to hold heat in and slide snow and ice off the roof of the tent.
- Tent Floor (or Groundsheet): A wall tent that is made from waterproof materials is always the best choice, and when the tent floor is also produced from waterproof materials, you can be more confident about keeping it free from water collecting. Floors are a great way to protect you and your gear, especially if you set up on wet ground by deterring bugs or insects. In the case of groundsheets, heavy-duty vinyl tends to be a better choice than canvas or thin tarps, which puncture more easily.
A visual overview of the main features of a wall tent
- Tent Stakes: The tent stake is a spike, usually with a hook or a hole, that holds the tent to the ground. Due to the variety of terrains that tents can be set up on, deciding on the type of stake can be a slightly more complex decision than it might, at first, seem. Rebar is a popular and practical way to stake your tent because it’s strong and resists being pulled out of the ground better than most other options. At White Duck, we provide a complete tool kit with rubber mallets and stakes to go with your tent, and there are three types of stakes: for securing sod cloth, holding down foot poles or using with guy ropes.
- Stove Jack: A stove jack is an oval or round-shaped area made from a fire retardant material, designed to accommodate a stove that can be sewn directly into the wall or roof of any tent. Something to keep in mind is that the ideal spot for a stove jack is the roof of the canvas wall tent as it allows wind from any direction to blow sparks away from the rent roof and prevent spark holes being burned into the roof. As for the stove itself, pellet or wood stoves make for good choices.
- Sod Cloth (or mud flap): This is a 10-15 inch material sewn in around the bottom of a tent to provide a seal to the ground and prevent wind and rain from entering the tent. The mud flap on our Alpha Wall Tents is made from 16 oz. vinyl, which is UV resistant and weatherproof.
- Bungee Cord: Bungee cords are elastic shock absorbers, placed on eaves (where the roof and sidewall meet) to attach and stake the guy lines. We suggest steering clear of metal grommets or D-rings as they can be easily pulled out and may require more consistent replacement.
- Other things to consider: Other than the essential elements of wall tents we’ve mentioned, it’s worth looking into whether your tent comes with a double layer of canvas, which helps prevent frame damage and water leaks. Also, a storm flap is the extra fabric that covers the front door to prevent zippers from snow and freezing rain.
Checklist of Basic Features You Need in Your Wall Tent
- Heavy-duty D-rings for the poles (these are much more durable and long-lasting than traditional grommets).
- Reinforced webbing on the storm flap, ridge pool, and all wall corners.
- Heavy-duty polyester construction (double fill army duck canvas is a good option).
- Zippers and buckles on all storm door flaps and window flaps.
- Foot pads for the leg poles (this prevents dirt and debris from traveling up into the poles).
- Stove jack in the ceiling for a stove pipe to fit through - the jack should be six inches in circumference at the absolute minimum, but ideally should be designed for your stove pipe of choice.
- Screen door flaps for the front door.
Note: White Duck's Alpha Wall Tents come equipped with all the necessary features with the tent, so you don't have to shop around for extras or add-ons from hardware stores once you receive your tent.
Where To Go From Here?
While that may have seemed like an overwhelming amount of information to digest, it’s important to keep in mind that the right wall tent can be a long-term investment. For that reason, it’s worth being meticulous about the details and ensuring that you choose the tent that’s equipped with the features you need for your trip.
If you’re looking for further reading on wall tents our Wall Tent Buying Guide gives a complete rundown of things you need to know about fabrics, treatments, sizes and more.
Written by Emma Cuisance
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