How To Waterproof A Tent

Last Updated on December 17, 2021

While gearing up for a camping trip in monsoon season, the first question most of you are probably asking is whether the tent will leak while on the trip.

It’s a legit concern that makes some campers buy a new instant tent every other time they go out camping since most of the tents lose their waterproof coating over time. But you don’t have to resort to such measures, fortunately!
With a bit of craftiness on your part, you can waterproof your tent by yourself.

Things to consider before starting to waterproof your tent

  • Before you start the process, check if your tent really needs waterproofing at all. To know which part of the tent needs waterproofing, submerge the tent underwater and notice from which part of the tent bubbles emerge from. These are the areas of the tent you should give extra care.
  • Choose a dry sunny day to waterproof your tent to avoid a sudden downpour.
  • Make sure the tent is clean. Sweep through the entire surface of the tent so that there’s no dust left in it.
  • Dry your tent completely before the process if it’s still wet or damp in some parts.

How To Waterproof A Tent

A tent may leak through three areas, which are seams, fabric and rainfly. To make sure that your tent remains dry and prevents water from getting into the tent, you need to waterproof these areas. Follow the methods to waterproof each of them.

1. Sealing the tent seams

Sealants usually wear over time making the water leak through. To fix a leaky seam here’s what you’ll need :

  • A soft cloth or a sponge
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A seam sealer. You should pick the seam sealer depending on the fabric of your tent. Usually, tent fabric is of two types, most tents use polyurethane-coated fabric and the other one is silicone treated fabric.

To seal the seams, start with turning the flysheet inside out for easier access. It’s helpful to do that as you’ll seal seams on the underside of the flysheet and the inner side of the tent body.

Clean the seams gently using rubbing alcohol and a soft rag or sponge. Remove any bits that are starting to peel off on the underside of the flysheet. Apply seam sealer according to the instruction of the product, make sure to apply it on all seams. Allow the seam sealer to dry for 8 – 12 hours.

2. Revamping the Urethane Coating on the Tent

It’s time to apply a new urethane coating if you’ve noticed stuff flaking off of the coating inside of your rainfly or on the floor of your tent. To refresh urethane coating, you need to lay your rainfly or the floor on a dry, flat surface. Use rubbing alcohol and a rag to dust off the coating from your rainfly.

According to the instructions the bottle of tent sealant, apply a thin coating to the whole fly or tent floor. Now, leave the new coating to dry for at least 24 hours.

3. Refresh DWR Coating

The DWR is what makes water drops into tiny little beads that roll off and prevent soaking your tent. If, however, the water sits on the tent fabric and that part begins to darken slightly, It’s time to renew your DWR.

Before applying DWR spray, make sure that your tent’s flysheet is clean spraying it down with water if necessary. Apply the waterproof spray evenly on the rainfly, covering the entire area. If you have applied excess coating then wipe it off with a rag. Dry your tent completely before packing it.

Waterproofing your tent cheap and it’s not hard to do it by yourself. It’s a must-do to maintain the durability of your tent and keep you comfortable in any weather condition. You should waterproof your tent 2-3 times a year in general.

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Author: Euell Gibbons

Outdoorsman and proponent of natural diets. He loves camping, hiking and exploring the great outdoors. Camping is a way of life for him - as soon as he can get away from work, he's out there!

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