Nothing says elk camp like the glow of a white canvas wall tent on a cool September evening. The smoke created from the wood stove slowly rides the thermal airwaves out across the valley while the residents enjoy a toasty evening reminiscing about hunts of the past as they plan the strategy for the upcoming days.
A smile comes across my face as I read this last paragraph. It brings back so many great memories of life with family and great friends. The wall tent is a home away from home for all that use it. The famed “Wall Tent” has been around for centuries and has been used by our military since the Civil War era. It is a primary home for many outfitters and their clients throughout the summer and fall each and every year. However, this isn’t just a piece of equipment for professionals. More and more individuals are purchasing these tents for even the occasional usage.
A well maintained wall tent should last you nearly 30 years. Value and longevity is the key in this shift of buying wall tents as opposed to less expensive shelters that require replacement every four or five years.
Montana Canvas, out of Belgrade, Montana makes one of the finest wall tents on the market today. They are made right here in the United States with top quality craftsmanship and they can be purchased through your local Sportsman’s Warehouse camping department. Most stores actually have a display model in the upstairs display area where you can see the quality of products available as well as walk away with a few specific sizes. However, you can custom order any Montana Canvas tent for your specific needs with many different features.
Montana Canvas builds tents in many different sizes as well as different materials and one is sure to fit your needs. Sizes range anywhere from 8’X10’ all the way up to 18’X23’. They also come in different weights of canvas as well as the ultralight Relite fabric which comes in three different colors. Lightweight, hardened aluminum tent frame, a tent fly and a wood stove are all recommended items with your purchase to finish off your home away from home.
The Sportsman’s News team put a 12’x14’ wall tent to the test for the entire 2011 hunting season and when we were done, we felt that it was worthy of being endorsed as one of our “Pros Pick’s” items for the year.
Our test model was a 10oz canvas, 12’x14’ model with full aluminum frame and wood stove. The tent alone weighs in at about 70 pounds and the complete aluminum frame is nearly the same. We had a cylinder stove outfitter package that weighed in at about 88 pounds. It included wood stove, water heater, warming tray, grate and stovepipe. So, our entire setup was about 225 pounds.
We setup the tent in our parking lot as a trial run and to make sure all the pieces had been shipped. Getting familiar with new equipment on a hot sunny day is much better than being thrown to the wolves on a cold rainy day at dark. The 10oz canvas is pretreated with water/fire/mildew coatings which will insure many years of quality use if well taken care of. The aluminum frame comes in a heavy duty vinyl bag that is a little awkward to carry and tie closed, but is sufficient in keeping poles and connectors together for the life of the tent.
The tent frame itself is one of the best that I have ever used. All connections “click” into a locked position with a detent ball which isn’t the normal for most frames. This simple item will be much appreciated if you are in your tent during a high wind storm because it keeps your entire frame locked together even as the tent shifts back and forth(bad memories with other frames make this very important to me).
The walls on all of the Montana Canvas tents are five feet high with a steep roof pitch(steeper than most other manufactures). The added pitch to these tents when used in conjunction with a fly is especially nice during heavy snow storms. The snow doesn’t tend to build up on the tent roof as much and a slight push up from the inside will easily ditch the added weight, unlike a tent with less pitch. Tie downs around the base of the tent are grommets instead of tent loops. I like this much better than loops because loops tend to wear out more quickly and need to be replaced every four or five years. The grommets should last beyond the life of the tent. This also allows you to stake the tent down on the inside or the outside. I prefer inside since it is much easier to pound them back in during severe weather conditions and high winds.
The 12” sod cloth is made of heavy duty vinyl, which allows you to bury it in the dirt or place heavy objects on it inside to give you a weatherproof seal around the base. The tent also comes with all the rope and tensioners that you will need to secure your tent. You do need to cut the rope yourself and set up the tensioners yourself. This is another good reason to do this on a warm day. This part of the initial setup will take nearly an hour. To be honest, I would like to see the tent shipped with these already set up. If you aren’t familiar with tensioners or aren’t mechanically inclined, this process will take more time to get it done correctly. However, this job only needs to be done once and they are setup for life. Doors have both zippers and buckle clips which are extremely important in the cold and high winds.
Our tent was pitched for over 100 days during the 2011 calendar year and it surpassed all of our expectations. It withstood winds up to 60 miles per hour, several feet of snow and hours of stories from happy hunters throughout the year. The Montana Canvas tent series is “THE BEST” wall tent I have ever used. Stop into your local Sportsman’s Warehouse and have a camping department specialist show you the features and benefits of one of these great tents and order your own. Visit their website at www.montanacanvas.com to see all available options.
Tip-We recommend that you take (8) 3’ long T-posts along with your tent. Pounding four at each side of the tent about five feet out from the tent at an angle will give you the best tie downs you can ask for. They are a lifesaver in heavy winds and work well in even the sandiest of soils.