The Best Way To Waterproof A Tent

The Best Way To Waterproof A Tent
Pavlo Lysyy June 23, 2023 6 mins read time

Camping in warm weather is probably one of the best ways to spend time outdoors. Who doesn't like to immerse themselves in the bountiful beauty of nature by embarking on a memorable camping expedition? Yet sometimes nature has an unpleasant surprise in store in the form of rain. No one can predict that it won't rain on a camping trip, even if they only go camping in the warmest months of the summer. Fortunately, today the vast majority of tents have a waterproof membrane to prevent water from penetrating the fabric. However, it will wear off with time, and you will need to reapply it; otherwise, you and your gear may end up being not in the best conditions after rain. If you want to be best prepared for any weather, and be sure that rain won't can't find a way inside your shelter read on to learn everything about the best ways of proofing your outdoor dwelling so that it can serve you for ages.


Basic actions

The following is a step-by-step instruction on the basic approach to proofing a canvases: If at all possible, for proofing select a day that is warm and dry. The first thing that you need to do before you start to waterproof your shelter is to carefully clean every element of the shelter and make sure that there is no dust or places covered with mud. After you're done cleaning, you can start the process. Seal the seams, then renew the urethane coating and the DWR (durable water-repellent). After you finish the process, leave all the parts for some time so that they can dry perfectly. Of course, this is only the basic instruction. Keep reading to learn more about the process of waterproofing canvases, including all the details, important aspects, and some handy hints and tips.

How often should your tent be reproofed?

If you just bought the tent, you shouldn't need to apply any additional coatings because it should persist for a long time and it should already be waterproof. When the flaking of the coating on your shelter becomes obvious to the naked eye, you will know that it is time to reapply it. The best way of verification is to perform the test yourself oneself by using a water spray. If the water does not bead up on the exterior or if you see that it is soaking through in certain locations, then it could use a new coat of water-resistant membrane.

How do you reseal the seams?

Because the places where the various pieces of the canvas have been sewn together create an ideal environment for water to seep through, it is essential that you make sure the seams are properly sealed. The seams of the shelter should have a waterproof covering just like the rest of the construction; however, with time, it will wear off. To provide an additional layer of defense, certain seams might have flaps covering them. The steps outlined below are the best way to reseal the seams.

  • Select a dry day outside or an interior location, such as a garage, where you may apply the proofing components and then let them dry off.
  • You will need to seal the seams on the inner side of the canvases as well as the underside of the fly sheet, so it will be best for you to do so if you turn the fly sheet inside out. This will also make it simpler for you to access the seams.
  • Rubbing alcohol and a gentle cloth is the best way to perform a thorough cleaning of the seams, during which any flaking or peeling material should be removed.
  • Use the seam sealer by the instructions that come with the product. Be sure to get the correct kind of seam sealer; polyurethane-coated fabrics require a different kind of seam sealer than those that have been treated with silicone.
  • After you have completed the process, leave all of the parts to dry completely.

How should the urethane coating be reapplied?

The urethane covering tends to peel off with time; therefore, you will need to apply a new coating to the tent floor and wherever else you've seen urethane peeling off, whether that be under the rainfly or anywhere else in the construction. The instructions below are the best way to reapply urethane covering.

  • Arrange the material on the dry surface so that it is flat.
  • Scrub the peeling parts with special caution to remove them and not damage the material.
  • Sealant should be applied in a very thin layer, as specified in the product's instructions. Once more, double-check that you purchased the appropriate kind of sealant for your tent.
  • At a minimum of 24 hours, let it sit out to dry.

How should the DWR coating be reapplied?

The DWR, which stands for "durable water repellent," is the component of your flysheet that causes water to bead up on the exterior and prevents it from penetrating. A chemical treatment, DWR is not waterproof but does reduce condensation formation, aiding breathability. Over time, the effectiveness of the DWR coating may diminish due to wear and tear, and exposure to dirt, or ultraviolet (UV) rays. When the DWR starts to lose its effectiveness, water may no longer bead up. This can result in potential water ingress. The steps outlined below are the best way to reapply DWR.

  • You should make sure the outside of your tent's flysheet is clean. If required, you can spritz it down with water, but you don't have to wait for the flysheet to dry before moving on to the next step.
  • Spray the fly of the tent with proofing spray in a uniform layer.
  • Use a gentle cloth that is slightly damp to remove any extra coating.
  • After you have completed the process, leave all of the parts to dry completely.

Making a tent made of polycotton waterproof

When it comes to the ability to keep out water, shelters made of polycotton and canvas are a little different from standard shelters. Even though they have a covering that prevents water from penetrating, you still need to let them weather before you use them. This is because the areas where they have been stitched have little holes that can allow liquid to penetrate. The weave of the material can be made more waterproof by giving the shelter a quick spray of water. This causes the material to expand and tighten at the same time.

Additional Ideas

It is always a good idea to make sure that your outdoor dwelling is waterproof, even if you are certain that no rain is expected throughout the length of your camping vacation. You don't know if the weather is going to change abruptly or if you're going to have to take a detour and camp somewhere with weather that is less favorable than where you were originally planning to stay. You also need to be careful of the dew that may form during the early morning hours. If your canopy does not have a water-repellent covering, then the dew may penetrate it.

If you anticipate the weather to be very foul or there is a chance that it may rain severely, it is a good idea to apply an additional layer of proofing so that you can be certain that your belongings will remain dry even under the heaviest rain.

Water may be getting inside your shelter because the groundsheet isn't up to par; this could be the problem. A fantastic method for preventing water from getting inside is to equip it with a bathtub-style groundsheet that has been sewn in and incorporated into the structure of the shelter itself.

Check the tent's waterproof rating. The shelter's waterproof rating is the hydrostatic head (HH). The hydrostatic head is the water column depth the shelter can withstand before leaking. For example, a 4,000-mm HH shelter can hold 4,000-mm water columns.

You now ought to know how to proof a tent and be ready for the camping season in any inclement weather, whether it's rain or snow.


🏕  Do I need to waterproof my tent after buying it?

If you just bought your shelter, it should already be waterproof, and you won't need to do anything further to make it so. It is best to reapply the proofing membrane when you begin to notice that the coating is flaking off if water does not bead up on the exterior, or if it enters certain spots.

📦  What is a tent's waterproofness?

To measure a shelter's waterproofness, the hydrostatic head (HH) is used. The water column height that a shelter can withstand without leaking is referred to as the hydrostatic head. The best shelters on the market can have an HH rating of up to 8000 mm.

💡  Is it necessary to let the tent dry after I waterproof it?

Yes, it is necessary to let the canvases dry. Allowing them to dry completely is the best way to ensure that the coatings adhere properly to the fabric and maximize the effect.



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