Canvas tents have sort of an old-school appeal. It seems like if we camp in a canvas tent, their nostalgic vibes will transform us into more rugged versions of ourselves.
Though I can’t say that I am any more rustic now than before, I have purchased a Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent and it definitely feels like I should only be wearing flannel when I use it.
There are plenty of tents to choose from nowadays and knowing what you’re getting into before you swipe that card can make one anxious.
But never fear! I have thoroughly examined the Teton Mesa inside and out and even compared it to its peers. Let me inform you of both the good and the bad of this little dandy.
Hands-on Review of the Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent
The Teton Mesa canvas tent is a good option for frequent family campers, scout troops, and backcountry woodsmen. This capable 4-season tent is made of sturdy materials, but the workmanship can be inconsistent with frequent quality control issues such as split seams.
PROS: Reasonably priced, convenient big doors, lots of gear organizers included, compact when packed up, 4-season capable
CONS: Sewing quality issues on seams, wonky roof bar, must be staked down
Outdoor Empire Score: 4.0
Workmanship & Durability 3 | Ease of Use 4 | Comfort 5 | Features 4 | Versatility 4 | Value 4
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We look at six attributes when rating tents: workmanship and durability, ease of use and setup, overall comfort, features, versatility, and value. Each tent is given between 1 and 5 points (worst to best) per attribute. Then the average value is the overall Outdoor Empire Score. This way we are comparing apples to apples and weed out some of our own biases.
Durable but Less Than Perfect Workmanship
While the treated, waterproof, cotton canvas walls and the thick PVC floor are durable materials, the stitching on my Mesa tent had some flaws. And some raw cut fabric edges were exposed around the door.
On the interior, there were a few spots where the material wasn’t folded over completely along the double-stitched seams, which made the material pucker a bit. Over time those spots may fray or come undone.
Of greater concern was a poorly stitched seam on the roof along the sleeve where one of the spring rods is inserted. There was about a two-inch hole where the stitches completely missed the top layer of fabric and another spot where the stitching went off the seam. These could lead to leaks or the roof tearing in the future.
Apparently, I’m not the only one to see this sort of thing. There are a few reviewers on Amazon who have seen similar issues.
These sorts of flaws indicate to me what might be a lack of quality control in the manufacturing process. That’s not what you’d expect from a pricier tent like this.
That said, the nice thing about these is they come with a lifetime warranty and they are repairable. I should be able to get these issues taken care of one way or another.
And I do love how the webbing used throughout the tent (stake loops, carry bag, etc.) is a high-quality nylon webbing. This material stands up to dirt, sun, and wear over time way better than the cheaper polyester webbing you find on some tents.
Easy to Use but Watch Your Fingers
Despite what you might think the Teton Mesa tent is easy to set up. It is not freestanding so you do have to find solid ground to stake it down on. But it only takes me about 10-15 minutes to set up by myself.
The stakes are a little different, like big nails painted black with a hook on the side to catch the stake loops. They are functional, but I already saw a bit of rust forming on some when I was just seasoning the tent in my backyard. So you’ll have to make sure they are extra dry when you pack them or else corrosion will set in. Too bad they’re not just stainless steel.
One part that I don’t love about setting the Mesa up is the crossbar along the roof. It functions sort of like a cam where you use cotter pins to lock the bar straight (see photo). It functions, but it’s a little tricky to hold the bar straight under tension, line up the holes, and insert the pin. It’s only a matter of time before my fingers wind up pinched.
The Mesa weighs in at 71 pounds total split up over the carry bag, a stake bag, and a pole bag. It’s not light, but I can easily carry the whole thing by myself at once.
Comfortable Outdoor Livin’
The 10 x 10 ft Teton Mesa tent I have is said to sleep six people. It can do that, albeit a little tight. This size does, however, fit my family of five plus a dog and a little gear quite comfortably. Especially if we use cots so we can stow our bags underneath them.
For four people or fewer, it will feel like you’re livin’ large.
The 10 x 14 ft Mesa will sleep a party of eight. It’s very comfortable for a family of 4-6 and would be super roomy for 2-3 hunters with cots and all their gear inside.
For advice on what size tent to get, check out our tent size chart here.
The tall roof makes it easy for me to stand up straight throughout the interior and I am 6 ft 1 in.
The two big windows in the doors combined with two zippable vents up in the eves allow for ample ventilation. Canvas is naturally breathable as well so this is a great tent for airflow.
Big Doors and Extra Storage
I find the big doors on either side of the Teton Mesa to be very handy. I prefer it over designs with two smaller doors and windows. The big doors make it easy to pack big gear like cots and screaming toddlers in and out.
A no-see-um mesh window in each door allows you to let in a lot of air or daylight when needed.
The canvas color is darker than some alternatives, which is nice if you have trouble sleeping while camping. But I prefer a lighter fabric at least on the roof to let in more ambient light, like on the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow.
As a bonus, Teton Sports includes a bunch of storage and organization accessories with the tent. There are no pockets sewn into the walls for things like flashlights and books. But they do include two multi-pocket organizers, two single big pocket organizers, and two screen lofts.
All of these can be attached to the sturdy metal rings along the roof. This makes it easy to keep things tidy. Though, the lofts will cut into your head space and I have to duck down if they’re up.
Electrical cord access points are near the doors. This is a convenient way to route an electrical cord to a heater inside during the winter, or maybe a CPAP machine if you need one. It keeps the cord out of the way of people stepping in and out of the tent. Though, I’m not sure two are necessary.
The awning is a handy feature and can be rolled up when not in use. Rain does pool up on it, so it’s almost better to stow it in heavy rain or snow. But it’s great for a bit of shade or to leave gear outside overnight, but be sure to keep frost from building up on it.
Goes Almost Anywhere
No need to fear the weather with this tent. Rain, wind, snow, bring it on!
The heavier components create a more robust structure on these canvas tents compared to something like an inexpensive nylon dome tent.
Being able to camp year-round makes this a highly versatile option as a car camping or family tent.
However, you’re not gonna take it backpacking and if you have a tiny car you might want to opt for something more compact.
The carry bags are probably my favorite of any tent I’ve seen. Once down, you fold the tent in half, then half again, and then you roll it up.
The carry bag lays out flat like a big T-shirt. You simply set the rolled-up tent on it, flap the sides over it and attach all the solid buckles and cinch it down.
It’s like a tight little burrito and no swear words escape my mouth in the process.
Plus, it has multiple handles and a shoulder strap that make it easy to chuck in and out of the car.
The pole and stake bags are simple and functional, made of canvas and vinyl. I like how the poles break down into thirds instead of halves like on the Kodiak Flex-Bow or White Duck Prota. This makes them break down a bit smaller.
All packed up, the Teton Mesa is the most compact of any canvas tent I’ve seen, making it easier to fit in the trunk of a car.
Great Value for Families and Hunters
Hunters and outfitters who spend extended periods of time in the woods, especially in the spring and fall when the weather is iffy, will definitely benefit from the Teton Sports Mesa Canvas Tent.
At this stage in my life, most of the camping I do is car camping with my family on weekends and during school breaks. This tent is great for that kind of use.
The price of the Teton Mesa is on par with the Kodiak Flex-Bow. And it’s a bit cheaper than a White Duck Prota or a Springbar. While still not cheap, it is on par with nicer nylon family tents from reputable brands like REI or Nemo.
I did run a customer service test where I sent an inquiry to see how long it would take to respond. They got back to me within two business days, which is acceptable.
Despite some quality issues in the sewing on my Teton Mesa, I suspect that is not the norm. Hopefully the lifetime guarantee will help me out there.
The Teton Mesa offers decent value for the price and is sure to make your camping trips more reminiscent of the good ole days. Especially if you grow a mustache, sip bad coffee from a dented steel mug, and mill about in your flannels grunting frequently.
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Wanna’ keep looking? Check out our Buyer’s Guide for the Best Canvas Tents!
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored. We purchase the Teton Mesa tent so we could do this review. The links in this article are affiliate links which means we might earn a small commission if you click on a link and make a purchase. This costs you nothing.