Duluth campfire tent.

-- Last Updated: Jan-21-05 7:26 PM EST --

I have been admiring the Duluth pack campfire tents for years and years. In keeping my kids fed and house renovations, it is hard to justify the $500 these things take, even though they are certainly worth it. I have never found one of these used or discounted. Does anybody ever see these great tents for sale used or know where to look? Thanks.

Feel the Same
Always liked the design, but too rich for me! I found a tent last year that’s intrigued me, I would like to see one up close instead of just pics. Here’s the link, it’s a similar design, but nylon. WW


Looks pretty good.
Yep, that is similar in design, probably a lot lighter as well. Nice tent. I imagine is would be real nice having a camp fire right outside the opening as those campfire tents were designed for. I’ll end up with one sometime I’m sure. That MSR version would be great for back packing as well and canoe trips where packing light is needed. Thanks for the tip and Campmor is a great source both in quality and price.

Nylon and Campfire Sparks
Just remember that even tiny campfire sparks will burn holes in nylon. This can happen to tents that are a pretty long distance from a fire. Flying sparks have virtually no effect on canvas, so the canvas model might be better if you want to enjoy a fire just outside the doorway.

Baker/Campfire Tents
Bill Mason referred to Baker tents as “campfire” tents. …a rose by any other name…

I too have been fascinated by Baker tents for years, but have never been able to justify the expense OR the extra weight of canvas – as least for the type of canoe/camping I typically do - maybe someday. I think of Baker tents as appropriate for “base camp” situations (like Mr. Mason’s Film Board expeditions), but hardly practical for typical “new-campsite-every-day” tripping. While some Baker tents can be had for less than $500, some are in the $900 to $1,000 range and up… plus poles. Even at the “lower end” these tents are a serious investment. But, man – what a set up!

Here’s a list of available Baker tents from my bookmarks:



(the company listed above – Horizons Unlimited – claims they manufactured the tents Bill Mason used)




The Duluth campfire tents:



Guideboatguy is quite right to caution about the flammability of nylon. I hope I never forget how flying sparks ruined a nylon canopy I stupidly set up too close to a bonfire some 16 years ago at my wedding reception… Also note that unless cotton canvas duck is treated with a flame retardant it is also flammable. While flying sparks do not have the instant and devastating effects they have on nylon, cotton can and will burn if untreated. Be safe!

Thanks for the tip…
Being able to have the campfire outside the front of the tent was one of the main reasons I keep seeking one of the canvas campfire tents. Nylon is great, but eventually you have to pull yourself away from the warm campfire and crawl in that cold tent. Be nice to sit just outside the tent or fall to sleep with a blazing campfire not so far off. I remember camping trips when I was a kid with the big canvas tents. That was over 30 years ago and dad still has it and it is quite heavy. Last forever though. There is a place for both nylon and canvas and it would be great to have both.

Canvas tents
I too was raised with canvas tents – and there’s nothing like ‘em! In my mind canvas is “real” while nylon is “cheesy” by comparison. We used canvas “wall tents” in scouts and my family always had canvas “umbrella tents” when I was a kid (LOTS of years ago). I still have a large old Coleman canvas tent (30 years old if it’s a day – back when the name Coleman was synonymous with good quality) that I drag out once in a long while and enjoy for “car camping”. Unfortunately even though I’ve always babied that old Coleman the years have taken a toll and the canvas and especially the cotton stitching is beginning to decompose. That old tent is now fragile and “on its last legs”, still I have a strange sentimental attachment to it, so I can never bring myself to get rid of it. I can’t imagine having similar “feelings” about a nylon tent… Still, for my typical outings I use one of our rip-stop nylon jobs these days. They’re lighter, more rot resistant, more tear resistant, easier to set up… the list goes on…

But the thought of sitting in a Baker tent, warm and cozy, watching the embers in the campfire… Mason style… Makes me want to dust off the old cast iron stew pots & steel tri-pods, kerosene lanterns, double-burner Coleman stoves (I have three of them for some inexplicable reason) and all my other “old school” heavy-weight, heavy-duty camping gear… Actually… makes me long for a staff of porters! ;^)

Baker Tents
Yep, this post brought back memories of our old Boy Scout Baker tents. Down here we’d use folding army cots in them and had the wood frame mosquito net rigs for sleeping bug free.

Good to see I’m not the only one!
I like to travel light, even when going by boat when there are no portages to worry about. For that reason, I don’t see myself getting a canvas tent anytime soon.

BUT, canvas tents are cool. Canvas tents evoke images of folks in red & black or green & black wool jackets, wide-brimmed hats, and lace-up leather boots that go 2/3 up to the knee. I’m nostalgic about old-time camping methods the way some people are nostalgic about old cars or old houses. There’s no good reason for it, it just seems like something that is “closer to the source” or some such thing, which is strange, since I’m only old enough to have experienced the “remnants” of that kind of camping. If I ever do get a canvas tent, first on the list would be one of those special tents for winter camping.


Arkay, you are right that untreated canvas can burn, but it is a very lucky thing that you just about have to “try” to make it happen. Usually, the worst that will happen is a spark will leave a tiny black speck if it can’t roll or bounce off right away. I once spent a few hundred hours rebuilding augers that are used for soil borings, and the sparks from arc welding were landing in my lap the entire time. It took several weeks of a nearly constant shower of sparks for my cheap cotton overalls to finally burn through in one spot (better fabric would have have lasted even longer). The fabric only burned through in a deep crease, where the sparks would often collect in clusters, and then just sit and glow for a while before cooling (with such “cheap” clothing, I was prepared for a possible fire, and it did eventually happen after the burn hole got big enough to have frayed edges). When a flying spark hits nylon, it sails through about as easily as a bullet goes through paper, leaving a nice neat hole at the point of impact. Not good if that nylon is your tent!! Gotta take note of the wind direction when deciding where to put the fire and the tents :slight_smile:

Duluth Tent, Campmor tent
That tent doesn’t come with poles. You need to use your tracking poles adjusting them to the right height. I don’t think our paddles would work. however Backpacker Magazine gave it a great review and editors choice award (just got the mag 2 days ago)

As for buying a tent from Duluth, canvas gets heavy when it gets wet. I have a jungle hammock with a canvas bottom, 2lbs dry near 10 lbs after a night in the rain.

My favorite item for sale from Duluth is a tarp for the weight savvy person. It is 27lbs.

Jason S.