When Was the First Camping Tent Invented?

The concept of camping has been around for centuries. While there have been many advancements in the camping gear we use today, the basic idea of sleeping outdoors remains the same. But one important piece of equipment has remained a staple in outdoor activities for centuries – the camping tent.

The first recorded use of a tent was in 1590, when the Venetian adventurer Giovanni da Verrazzano used them during his exploration of North America. However, it wasn’t until 1673 that a patent was granted for a canvas tent with poles and ropes that could be easily set up and taken down. This patent was granted to Dutchman Jan van der Meer and is credited as being the earliest form of camping tent.

In 1785, French inventor Jean-Pierre Blanchard patented another kind of tent design, this time using metal poles instead of wooden ones. These tents were known as ‘Bell Tents’ due to their shape and were widely used by military forces during both World Wars. The Bell Tent design is still popular today.

In 1827, Scottish inventor William Crighton patented the ‘Portable House’, which was essentially a collapsible canvas structure with metal poles, similar to modern-day tents. This design allowed for easier transportation and was popular amongst campers for over 50 years.

By 1900, canvas tents had become increasingly popular amongst campers thanks to their lightweight construction and ease of setup. During this period, several companies began manufacturing ready-made tents that were made from waterproofed fabrics such as cotton duck or canvas. These tents are still widely used today.


The first recorded use of a tent dates back to 1590 however it wasn’t until 1673 when the first patent for a canvas tent with poles and ropes was granted to Dutchman Jan van der Meer that camping tents truly became popular. Since then there have been several advancements in camping tents technology but their basic design remains largely unchanged from its original form.

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Chris Powell