Why Is My Tent Sticky

Why A Tent Gets Sticky and How To Fix It

When you have a sticky tent or rain fly, it can be quite difficult to set up. Having to peel apart the panels because they are sticky and glued together is a nuisance, whether you are working on your own or with the assistance of a fellow camper. As a result, the entire process becomes far more difficult and time consuming than it needs to be. The inside walls of your tent or rainfly become sticky as a result of the breakdown of the polyurethane coating that was initially put to the surface as a waterproofing layer on the surface.

After washing, let it to air dry for a few hours before using it.

Pack it loosely in a mesh bag or hang it to dry for long-term storage.

Check out these tips for ensuring that your tent is ready for your next camping trip before you go.

What Causes A Tent to Become Sticky

It is not always the case that the obvious solution to your dilemma will be found. One of the most prevalent reasons of a sticky tent is a breakdown in the waterproof coating applied by the manufacturer during manufacturing. Polyurethane, which is effectively a liquid plastic, is used to make the majority of waterproofing materials. After drying, the liquid hardens into a waterproof coating that is usually also heat resistant, and it is this layer that protects your tent from the elements while yet enabling the nylon or polyester to breathe.

PU Delamination

With time, the polymers that make up polyurethane begin to decouple from one another, a process known as delamination, causing your tent to lose its shape. This causes the covering to get sticky, which can make setting up your tent a nuisance. Not to mention that there might be an unpleasant stench associated with it, and no one wants to sleep in a tent that smells like a campfire. Not only may age eat away at your tent’s covering, but failing to properly dry it off before storing it might also cause your tent to cling.

  • The water is unable to evaporate, and as a result, your tent suffers as a result.
  • Always try to dry your tent before storing it.
  • ID 101467856 is a unique identifier.
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In addition to the above-mentioned factors, one of the most common causes of polyurethane delamination is excessive tension when rolling up your tent. Just like water molecules cannot evaporate from a moist tent that has been stored, gas molecules from the polyurethane covering may not be able to dissipate if your tent is too tightly packed in your vehicle. Off-gassing is a natural process that occurs with practically everything in your environment. Your furnishings, your devices, your home, and your automobile (think of the new-car scent) all emit gas molecules that contribute to the smell that you are accustomed to experiencing.

A tightly wrapped tent prevents the gas molecules from escaping and causing them not only to smell terrible, but also to delaminate the polyurethane material underneath the surface.

The trapped gas can also be damaging to your health since the tent covering emits molecules from a type of chemical known as plasticizers, which can be dangerous if inhaled in large quantities. For such a simple difficulty to avoid, it is preferable to just load your tent in a haphazard manner.

How to Remove The Stickiness From A Tent

For whatever reason, you failed to air out your tent when you arrived home, or it’s been around the block a couple of times and the coating is starting to adhere to it. If your tent and rain fly are stuck, you may attempt the following methods to unstick them before shelling out the cash for a new one.

Baby Powder

It is possible to fulfill your sole objective of making the tent and rain fly less sticky simply by sprinkling baby powder all over the fabric and allowing it to dry. The powder will prevent the polyurethane polymers from adhering to one another and will allow the material to flow over itself without attaching to it. While this will get you out of a jam, it will do nothing to repair the harm to your polyurethane coating. This implies that no matter how simple your tent setup is, you’re going to have a difficult time if it rains on your next camping trip.

Washing Machine

Using a washing machine to remove the previous waterproofing is one of the quickest and most effective methods. Because the polyurethane is going to flake off during the wash cycle, you’ll probably prefer to do this in a laundromat rather than at home. All you have to do is run the tent through the cold wash cycle around three times with a mild powdered detergent. Once your tent has been thoroughly cleaned, you should allow it to air dry. If there is any leftover delaminated coating, you should be able to scrape it off with a soft-bristled brush at this point.

After removing the old polyurethane, you can use a fresh sealant to re-coat the outside of the tent and rain fly to ensure that they’re waterproof once again.

Hand Wash

A laundromat is an alternative if you don’t want to use your own washing machine and don’t want to take the possibility of ruining your clothes. Otherwise, you can always use some elbow grease and scrub away. Put the tent in your bathtub and soak it for a few minutes in warm, soapy water before scrubbing it clean with a stiff-bristled brush. After you’ve done washing away the old polyurethane, you’ll want to rinse your tent well with cold water to remove both the polyurethane flakes and the soap from it.

Re-run the process with the bag and rain fly if they are both sticky as well.

Cleaners for Washing a Tent

It’s always possible to do your laundry at home if going to the laundromat isn’t an option or if you don’t want to take a chance with your own washing machine. Put the tent in the bathtub and soak it for a few minutes in warm, soapy water before scrubbing the coating off with a stiff-bristled brush. As soon as you’ve done washing away the old polyurethane, rinse your tent well with cold water to remove both the polyurethane flakes and the soap residue. Once everything is clean, it may take several rinses to completely dry the tent, but once it is, it may be left to dry naturally outside.

Continue with the technique until the bag and rain fly are no longer sticky. Once all of the parts have dried completely, you may begin resealing them all together.

Waterproofing a Tent and Rainfly

After you’ve cleaned, rinsed, and allowed your tent to air dry, you’ll be ready to apply a fresh layer of waterproofing to it. Tent Sure is a popular product that you may test, and it is also known by the brand namesSEAM GRIP +TF. With this polyurethane-based solution, you can just spray it directly on the tent and it will dry to form a new protective coating. Check Out the Most Recent Offer Nikwax TentGearis a product that protects your tent fabric from water and ultraviolet rays while still allowing it to breathe – which is important to have in order to avoid condensation buildup.

  • It is not made of polyurethane, yet this is one of the reasons why it is more breathable while still maintaining its water resistance.
  • In addition, it is not based on polyurethane, but it still does an excellent job of waterproofing your tent.
  • If you prefer to use a paint-on alternative, make sure to apply it while the tent is still put up on a flat area.
  • To summarize, no matter which product you choose, you’ll want to allow it ample time to dry before storing or using your tent for the second time.

Sealing the Seams

If you have sewn seams, they will require a little more attention in order to remain waterproof. Using a seam sealant such asGear Aid Seam Grip or Peregrine McNett Seam Grip after they’ve been cleaned and dried is recommended. These products come with an applicator brush that you simply connect to the tube and then use to apply the sealant down the length of the seam, which takes only a few seconds. You’ll need around 1oz of sealant per foot of seams, so plan on having a large supply on hand — especially if you’re also sealing your rain fly at the same time.

Check Out the Most Recent Offer

Preventing Your Tent From Becoming Sticky

As previously said, aging, being stored moist, and not being able to off-gas are all factors that contribute to your tent being sticky. It is impossible to prevent your tent from becoming outdated, but it is possible to discover trouble areas before your entire tent becomes a sticky mess. In many situations, these areas may be spot treated using a waterproofer that can be applied directly on top of the old polyurethane. When it comes to storing the tent moist, I recommend avoiding it if at all possible and planning for how you will cope with it if you can’t.

Finally, if you have the room, you may let your tent to off-gas by storing it hanging up while not in use.

Otherwise, don’t roll it up too tightly, put it in a mesh bag or other breathable bag, and plan on unpacking and repacking it on a regular basis to prevent mold from growing. Check Out the Most Recent Offer

Closing Thoughts

One of the most likely reasons for your sticky tent is that the original polyurethane coating has failed. To remove the old coating, use either your laundry machine or a scrub brush to remove it. Then reapply the new waterproofing layer and seam sealant to the surface. However, as is true in most situations, avoiding a problem is far less difficult than dealing with it once it has occurred.

Why is My Tent Sticky & How to Actually Fix it?

I’ll never forget the day I hauled my tent out of the basement since it had been sitting there for a year without being utilized. After returning home and putting it through its paces, I noticed something different: it was difficult to spread because the folded pieces were glued together. After a lengthy time of storage, I didn’t pay much attention to it at first since I assumed it was just a natural reaction to the environment. However, when camping, I realized that the tent is no longer as water-resistant as it used to be.

How did my tent get sticky, and what does that have to do with its ability to withstand water?

Because they are stored moist or too tightly, they have the appearance of being sticky.

If the water resistance has been impaired, there is a significant possibility that the polyurethane coating has been worn away.

Stored Wet

When your tent is stored moist, it might get sticky after a lengthy time of storage. This is one of the causes of sticky tents. As soon as we stop camping, the most convenient thing to do is to put everything into the next trash can, where it will be stored in a haphazard manner until our next expedition. We don’t always take the necessary precautions to guarantee that our equipment is dry and properly packed. When your tent is packed in a wet condition, the moisture that accumulates on its surface has nowhere to go to dissipate.

If this is your condition, the best course of action would be to get it cleaned up as soon as possible.

To clean it, take a soft sponge and some non-detergent soap and work it in.

Stored Too Tight

When tents are packed tightly, they can acquire a sticky residue that can cause them to become unusable totally. This is mostly owing to the phenomenon of outgassing and offgassing. It is highly recommended that you continue reading if you are not familiar with the word. Outgassing is the process through which gas molecules are released from a variety of different types of substances. One classic example is the fragrance of a freshly purchased automobile. Even if you have never had a new automobile before, you are certainly familiar with the distinctive fragrance that comes with practically every new vehicle, regardless of the brand.

The fragrance of new vehicles is comparable to that of used cars since car manufacturers frequently employ the same compounds.

Not only would your tent get sticky, but it might also be detrimental to your health.

You should make sure to properly store your tent when you are through with it after you have used it. Instead of using the compact sac that came with the tent when you purchased it, use a mesh sack or fold it loosely into a plastic bag to store it.

The Fly’s Waterproofing Degradation

After conducting extensive research on the issue of stickiness across the internet, I came to the conclusion that the deterioration of the PU coating is the most typical cause of the phenomena. Your tent may be sticky if it is fairly old and has been kept for an extended length of time. This is especially true if your tent has been stored for an extended period of time. First and foremost, we must grasp what PU coating is in order to comprehend this problem. Polyurethane is just a synthetic substance that may be found in a variety of forms, the most common of which is liquid.

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They did, however, want to keep the ventilation system in place.

It should be noted that the covering will not remain intact indefinitely.

However, if the tent is too old, the natural deterioration process takes over and takes its toll.

How to Fix a Sticky Tent?

I remember being absolutely upset when I first had to deal with my sticky tent because I felt like my money had gone to waste because it was so sticky. I went on a search for a solution and came across various recommendations from folks who had encountered the same problem. Nonetheless, I would state right away that the following proposed methods will not resolve the waterproofing problem in the event that the PU coating has been destroyed. Instead, I’m going to concentrate entirely on the sticky problem for the time being and deal with the weakened water resistance afterwards.

Baby powder is one that I personally suggest because it is inexpensive and somewhat healthy in terms of its ingredients.

I wouldn’t recommend spreading it internally, though, because it has the potential to produce irritating irritations if breathed on a frequent basis.

The powder technique, on the other hand, is mostly appropriate in cases of stickiness caused by PU coating deterioration.

How Can I Restore It’s Water Resistance?

By this point, we’ve just spoken about how to remedy the tent’s sticking issue. However, as previously stated, if the Polyurethane layer has been weakened, this will have no effect on the waterproofing of the product. To restore the desired water resistance, you must first ensure that the PU coating has been removed — this will be detailed in further detail later in this article. After then, you may need to perform many actions in order to recover it.

Before applying any of the following solutions, make sure that you thoroughly clean your tent and allow it to dry completely – dirt traces or dampness will cause the coating process to be significantly slowed or stopped altogether.

Tent Sure

When it comes to waterproofing your tent, one of the most often used products is Tent Sure, which can be purchased for a reasonable price on Amazon (it is also available under the names Gear Aid Seam Grip + TF Tent Fabric Sealant). The material will dry to a non-visible layer, which will allow your tent to retain its flexibility while drying. When it comes to floor sealing, Tent Sure can be useful, but it is clearly not sufficient in this regard. If you want to thoroughly seal your floor, you need also include a couple of seams in your design.

When it comes to determining the proper application location, While this product is mostly used for waterproofing tents, it may be used to a variety of other objects as well.


Nikwax is another another well-known brand in the realm of waterproofing products. It has improved water repellency while keeping breathability, which is really crucial when it comes to tents, which is something I appreciate about this particular model. If your tent does not allow for enough ventilation, you may find yourself suffering from condensation when camping. I can’t tell you how many times my sleeping bag has become dripping wet because of this exact reason. In contrast to Tent Sure, Nikwax should be sprayed on the exterior of your tent rather than the inside.

Allow it to dry for a couple of minutes to allow the new coating layer to adhere to the surface.

I’ve also conducted some preliminary research on a few common consumer queries regarding this particular product.

When comparing the two types of spray, evaluations revealed that the spray kind is significantly more desired, useful, and simple to use.

How to Pile Off The Current Coat?

First and foremost, it is critical to recognize that removing the leftover Polyurethane will be a time-consuming and difficult operation. When you discover your tent in a sticky state, which you assume is the result of Polyurethane deterioration, it is almost certain that just a portion of the coating has worn away, while the remainder is still intact. If you want to restore your water resistance, you can use the goods indicated above in their current form – it is possible that this is all that is required.

I’ll admit that I’ve never personally used this strategy; nonetheless, a check of forums turned up several instances of the same procedure.

While using protective gloves, just brush the nylon until the solution begins to progressively turn milky in color.

After that, remove the tent and soak it in clean, cold water to ensure that all of the ammonia is wiped away.

If you believe the ammonia is still present, you may want to repeat the washing process several more times to be sure. After that, reproof your tent with Tent Sure or Nikwax, as it is no longer water-resistant in any way, shape, or form.

Should I Buy a New One?

To be honest, that is a difficult question to answer because the topic matter may be highly subjective. The purchase of a new tent would not be the first thing I would do if I had to make a decision. The reason for this is that a tent is a costly buy, and I would not want to abandon it so soon after making the purchase. However, the age of the tent is also a consideration. In the event that your tent is old and has served you or your family for a significant number of camping trips, I would recommend purchasing a new one.

if the polyurethane coating has been damaged, I recommend that you first try to repair it with Nikwax or Tent Sure, which are both significantly more affordable and easily accessible.

It is possible that the coating removal technique may not be suitable for everyone.

However, I am unable to generalize about each and every one of you – which is why I have opted to provide each and every plausible option I could discover.


There are three primary explanations for the stickiness of your tent. First and foremost, it is possible that this is the case when the product is stored in a damp environment. As a result, water was unable to evaporate, resulting in a sticky sensation and maybe mold growth as a result. If this is the case, you should properly clean the area and allow it to air dry outside. Another reason is to pack the tent as tightly as possible – perhaps by utilizing the original sack that came with the tent.

Use a mesh sack or fold it loosely the next time you pack it up to avoid tangling the contents.

Some products, such as Nikwax or Tent Sure, help to increase the water resistance of textiles.

I hope my essay was helpful in answering your questions.

Why Is My Tent Sticky? And How To Fix It?

Almost all campers will be perplexed when they first pull their tents out of the warehouse after several months of storage and preparation. Because the folded components attach to one another, they are difficult to stretch out completely. Even more aggravating, they are no longer as highly water-resistant as they always were.

So, what is it about my tent that is sticky? And, more importantly, what can be done to rectify it? All of your questions concerning this issue, as well as some other frequently asked questions, will be answered in this post. It is vital to keep your tent in excellent condition.

Why Is My Tent Sticky?

One of the most typical causes for your tent to get sticky after a lengthy period of storage is that it was moist or that it was compressed too tightly when it was being kept. But why is this so? It is straightforward to comprehend. Mold will grow on wet canvas, making it stickier. Mold and mildew are inherently sticky, so they will adhere to wet canvas more strongly. At the same time, if your tents are packed too tightly, the chemicals used to manufacture them (plasticizers in particular) will be unable to release their fumes.

In addition to causing you troubles when unfolding the tents, they might cause the Polyurethane coating to wear and break, reducing the water-resistance of the tents and other products.

When a result, as the housing deteriorates, the tent’s stickiness will rise as a result.

How To Fix Them?

The three causes of sticky tents discussed above will be addressed by three distinct solutions, which are as follows: a.

If you stored your tent when it was still wet

In the event that you discover foul odors and mold upon unwrapping the tent, use a non-detergent soap and a soft sponge to completely clean the tent. You should make sure that your entire tent is stretched out, or even better, that it is set up so that you can rarely miss any spots. After that, the mold will be gone, and the tent will no longer be sticky and emit foul aromas.

If you compacted your tent too tightly when storing

Avoid putting the item back into the compact sack that it came in when you first bought it. Instead, fold it loosely and place it in a mesh bag or a large plastic bag to keep it safe. This will allow the off-gassing process to go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

If the stickiness results from the deterioration of the PU coating

It is a little more difficult to deal with the degradation of the PU coating than the other two causes listed above, despite the fact that it is regarded an indirect cause. A variety of powders would have to be applied throughout the tent’s outside to achieve the desired effect. In order to avoid inhaling potentially hazardous powders, we do not recommend doing this on the inside of the tent. You should only use a modest amount of powder since using too much will waste your time and cause the powder to get clumpy, while using too little would be useless.

In terms of the most appropriate sorts of powder, we believe that baby powder is the ideal option due to its low price and high level of health safety.

Because powder layers act as a non-sticky ply in the centre of the tent, they have the potential to prevent surfaces of the tent from adhering to one another.

As a result, you may be aware that this strategy is effective in all three scenarios. However, we typically believe that it is only appropriate in this situation as a last resort because it wastes more time and money and is more of a temporary solution.

Preventing Your Tent From Becoming Sticky

As previously stated, the most common reasons for a tent getting sticky are that it was either stored when it was damp or that it was packed too tightly. A sticky tent is frequently caused by one or more of these factors, and in certain cases, it is inevitable. By following a few easy guidelines, you can avoid this from happening in the first place! First and foremost, you must make certain that your tent is totally dry before storing it away. When you arrive home from a camping trip, it’s quite simple to just put your tent in storage without checking to see if it’s damp.

However, before you begin storing your tent, make sure to unpack it and check to see whether it is still completely dry.

The most important aspect of packing your tent is to ensure that everything is packed neatly, but not too tightly.

As a result, make certain that the tent is packed with enough room for it to properly off-gas, or release the chemicals that were employed in its construction.

Waterproofing a Tent and Rainfly

One of the most effective methods of ensuring that your tent does not become wet is to waterproof it. The presence of rain on a camping trip is sometimes unavoidable, therefore waterproofing your tent will be quite beneficial in the long term. In order to accomplish this, you must first seal the seams of your tent using a seam sealer. After that, you should check to see if the urethane coating is still intact. You might consider refreshing the urethane coating if you notice items peeling off on the rainfly or the tent floor.

Last but not least, you may cover your rainfly with a durable water resistant coating, often known as DWR.

It isn’t difficult to accomplish because you can get DWR at your local outdoor store or even online.

However, if you have just washed your tent, you won’t have to wait for it to dry any longer.

Allow it to settle and dry for a few minutes, and then you can simply wipe away any extra coating and store your tent away. Before storing your tent, make sure that it is totally dry and free of any moisture.

How Can I Restore Its Water Resistance?

PU coating is responsible for the water-resistance of your tent, as previously explained. Because of this, the tent’s water resistance will be reduced as it gets downgraded. Unfortunately, this is just a matter of time until this happens. In other words, there is no way for you to avoid this occurrence.Once the PU cover ceases to function properly, the first and only thing we can do is recoat your tent with a new water-resistant coating.Before using the following products to recoat your tent with a new water-resistant coating, make sure that you have completely removed the old PU coating, cleaned, and dried the tent thoroughly.Have you completed this task yet?

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If you answered yes, continue reading.

Tent Sure

Tent Sure, also known as Gear Aid Seam Grip + TF Tent Fabric Sealant, is a waterproofing substance that is widely available at a low cost. It is available in a variety of colors. While the majority of people use this on their backpacks, jackets, and other similar items, you can also put it on your tent. When it dries, it will form an invisible protective barrier around your tent, keeping it secure from water while also allowing it to retain its flexibility. It is possible, however, that additional Tent Sure will be required to obtain the best possible outcome if you wish to seal the canvas floor.


Nikwax is another excellent option, similar to Tent Sure. In contrast to Tent Sure, you should spray the Nikwax on the outside of your tent to protect it from the elements. The fact that it can provide not just water resistance but also breathability is particularly significant. When using either of the items, you should be sure to distribute the ingredient uniformly across the whole surface area, leaving no missing areas. To adhere the new coating to the tent, simply wait a few of minutes for it to dry completely.

Should I Buy A New One?

The answer to this question is dependent on a variety of things. Despite this, the underlying idea is straightforward. If you are able to rescue your tent, do not abandon it. If you are unable to sell it, simply give it away. If your tent is too old and in poor shape, you may have to make the difficult option of removing it from your campsite. Despite the fact that you have attempted all three of the procedures listed above, there is no way to restore it to a usable condition. On the other hand, if it is not extremely old and the steps you take on it have the potential to have some beneficial effects, you may still utilize it and save money on your already tight financial situation.

If the weather is pleasant and there is no severe wind or heavy rain, any tent will suffice for the occasion.


According to some theories, the combination of wetness, tight packing, and heat causes the polyurethane coating on the rain fly to deteriorate, become semi-liquid, and become sticky.

Alternately, something sticky may have been left on it from the previous time you used it.

Q: How do I keep my tent dry in the rain?

A piece of any waterproof material can be used to provide a protective barrier between the floor of your tent and the ground below its footing. Using this method, water will be able to flow around or beneath your tent without entering your dry zone. If you had anticipated rain when you put up your tent, you can simply tie paracord to add an additional tarp roof to the top of your tent to protect you from the elements. This roof will serve as an additional strengthened barrier to protect you from the rain and wind that may be on its way to your location.

  • Although a little fire will not be able to keep rains at bay, it will be able to remove the dampness from inside your tent, giving you the sensation of being warm and dry.
  • Consider different angles of the ground and your tarps while you set up your complete camp in order to reduce the effects of wind and rain on your equipment.
  • Moreover, it is vital to select a place that is higher in elevation and away from bodies of water.
  • Despite the fact that trees can function as rain shields in the rain, water can continue to fall even after the rain has stopped.

Q: Do tents leak when it rains?

Despite the fact that most tents are waterproof, they can nevertheless leak while it’s raining outside. Some low-quality tents aren’t completely waterproof, which is a problem. In other cases, if you do not put it up properly in a suitable place, rainwater may find its way into your home and make a home for itself. Is it true that touching the tent causes it to leak?

Final Words

After everything is said and done, there are three major reasons for the stickiness of your tent:

  • Because you kept your tent while it was still damp, it has become contaminated with mold and mildew. You packed your tent too tightly, preventing any off-gassing from occurring from the chemicals in it. Because to the deterioration of the PU coating, your tent loses its non-stick layer.

And, in accordance with the three causes listed above, we have provided you with three potential solutions to the problem:

  • Ensure that your tent is well cleaned before using it. It should be stored in a loose manner to allow for air circulation. Developing a new water-resistant and non-stick coating to replace the existing PU cover is essential.

Hopefully, this post has answered your query, “Why is my tent sticky?” in a straightforward and understandable manner. And what can be done to rectify it?” However, if there is anything that is still unclear and you would want to inquire, please leave a comment below this page to let us know. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

How can I revive my tent’s super-sticky rain fly?

When you join up for Outside+ today, you’ll receive a $50 discount off an eligible $100 purchase at the Outside Shop, where you’ll discover a variety of brand-name goods handpicked by our gear editors. Hmmm. This is a challenging task. There isn’t any evidence of mildew on the tent, is there? Was it kept in a tight container for an extended length of time? A combination of moisture, heat, and tight packing may have led to a slight deterioration of the polyurethane coating on the fly, causing it to become semi-liquid, which is causing the fly to adhere to the fly box.

It has been brought to my attention that this was not unusual in older tents, particularly ones built a decade or more ago. This might be the case if there is a highly homogeneous stickiness throughout the surface.

Black Diamond Lighthouse

Tent in the Shape of a Lighthouse If you haven’t used it in a while, it might be due to anything else, such as the surroundings. So here’s what you should do: Fill a large bucket or plastic tub halfway with warm water and a little amount of Dawn soap, then swish the fly about in it for a few minutes at a time. After that, carefully clean it and let hair to dry naturally in the sun. Perhaps there is some residue from the tree or something else causing it to stick. If it doesn’t work, you’ve got a problem on your hands.

  1. If this is the case, it is most likely time to purchase a new tent.
  2. Marmot’s Aeolos 2P ($335; marmot.com) is another option that I like since it has two doors and two vestibules for simple in-and-out access as well as enough gear storage.
  3. This summer, I’ve been experimenting with a Lighthouse and am really pleased with it.
  4. It contributes to extending the tent’s useful life to the greatest extent possible.
  5. Check out the more than 400 must-have products for this year’s outdoor adventure, including tents.

Why is My Tent Fly Sticky? 3 Causes and Solutions

Since this site is sponsored by its readers, any purchases made after clicking on a link on this site will result in me receiving a commission from the store. As an Amazon Associate, I will receive a commission on qualifying purchases made by you. Every camper, no matter how seasoned they are or how inexperienced they are, will face a sticky tent fly at some point. There are a variety of reasons for this, but it’s critical that you are able to avoid or treat it before it progresses to something much more detrimental to your camping equipment.

When there is an excessive amount of moisture on the fly, it begins to adhere to itself.

Your search for further information regarding the causes and remedies of a sticky tent flap has brought you to the correct site.

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about maintaining the condition of your tent fly.

Looking through the top tent coating sprays on Amazon might be beneficial, regardless of whether your equipment is new or old. Personal preference is Nikwax, however you are welcome to go over the other selections as well.

What Causes a Tent Fly to Get Sticky?

When it comes to setting up or taking down a sticky tent fly, it may be a difficult, confusing, and time-consuming process. A number of factors contribute to the stickiness of your tent fly, which include:

It Was Wet When You Wrapped It Up

Tents and rain flys have a tendency to get sticky after being stored for an extended period of time, especially if they were wet while being stored. When liquid deposits such as morning dew, drink spills, and tree sap are left on the surface of a tent fly, the fly can become sticky as well as clingy. What happens after that? Because mildew and mold have an intrinsic adhesiveness, they develop and coat the damp tent canvas, which becomes sticky as a result of the mold and mildew.

Tight Packing Locks Moisture

Plastic textiles are utilized in the production of tent flys, and they must be off-gassed on a regular basis. When tent flies are too tightly packed in storage, however, these polymers do not have enough time to begin to decompose and off-gas. The vacuum created as a result of this phenomenon leads the fly canvases to adhere to each other and become difficult to unfold, resulting in their eventual deterioration.

PU Delamination is Another Cause

An outdoor tent’s polyurethane covering acts as both a non-stick and a water-resistant layer. Whenever a tent material begins to delaminate, it loses its ability to resist water and becomes more sticky as a result. If your tent has been damaged beyond repair, it should be recycled. In case you’re weary of erecting a tent and dealing with the flies, consider the advantages of camping in a hammock instead.

How Can You Clean a Sticky Tent?

Was it because you failed to dry out your tent and fly after a camping trip that you noticed the coating was starting to become sticky? You are not required to spend the money on a new one at this time. If you want to get your tent fly back in shape as much as possible, try trying the following tent cleaning techniques. Tent cleaners are a good option: When attempting to clean a sticky tent, there are several different types of cleansers to choose. A common tent cleaning is the all-purpose water-basedGrangers Tent + Gear Outdoor Cleaner, which is available at most sporting goods stores.

Also appropriate for use on accessories such as awnings, outdoor furniture, and boat coverings, among other things.

To use this product on your tent fly, follow these steps:

  • It is essential to first ensure that its surface is clear of residue in order to achieve optimal efficacy
  • Afterwards, moisten the outside surface of the tent fly with water. 5 liters of water should have 100 mL of Granger’s tent cleaning in it. Using a soft brush or sponge, apply the mixture to the afflicted region and gently clean it
  • After a few minutes, thoroughly rinse the tent fly’s surface with water. Tent fly should be completely dry to avoid moisture collection.

Because of its efficacy and non-abrasiveness, liquid or powder detergents are both appropriate options for cleaning a sticky tent fly. Liquid detergents are more successful than powder detergents in removing sticky tent fly stains.

You might also consider using liquid detergents, but keep in mind that they may clog the exterior of the tent fly, making the tent stickier and cause additional problems. Making use of powdered detergents is recommended.

  • Make a coat of washing powder and apply it on the outside of the tent. Gently scrub the area with a brush and then rinse well
  • Allow the fly to dry for a few hours
  • After that, spray some waterproofing spray on the exterior of the tent fly and allow it to dry completely
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Home treatments that might be useful include: Water, baking soda, and vinegar are all acceptable solutions for cleaning a sticky tent, but you must exercise caution while using them. If you use these home treatments incorrectly, it is possible that your tent fabric could get discolored or that the material will become damaged. Always make sure that the tent fly is fully washed after washing, especially if you are using vinegar to clean it. Avoid using harsh home cleaners such as bleach, intense dish soaps, and spot removers on the tent’s exterior covering if at all possible to avoid damaging the coating.

Please do not machine wash or machine dry this item.

Machine dryers, on the other hand, create so much heat that they could easily wear out a tent fly.

How to Keep a Tent Clean and Soft to the Touch

Considering that tents are intended for outdoor use, they will become coated with trash and dirt over time, as well as jagged, necessitating the need for some cleaning after a while. Some pointers on how to maintain your tent clean and nice to the touch are provided below:

Use Spray-On Waterproofing for Your Tent

Spray-on waterproofing restores water repellency and increases the breathability of your tent fabric, while also guaranteeing that it retains its softness and flexibility. The water-based Nikwax TX Direct Spray-on is a good example of a spray-on product. Nikwax is excellent for use on all waterproof clothing and gear, and it helps to prevent condensation from forming. It is simple to apply, UV-resistant, devoid of PFCs and VOCs, biodegradable, scented (which provides a pleasant aroma to your tent fly), and its DWR improves as it dries on its own.

To use Nikwax, simply follow these instructions:

  • It is possible to restore water-repellency and increase the breathability of your tent fabric with spray-on waterproofing while still maintaining the softness of the cloth. Water-based Nikwax TX Direct Spray-on is an example of a spray-on product. When used on all types of waterproof gear, Nikwax helps to prevent moisture from accumulating. It is simple to apply, UV-resistant, devoid of PFCs and VOCs, biodegradable, scented (which lends a pleasant aroma to your tent fly), and its DWR grows as it dries on the surface of the fabric. Your tent fabric will stay clean longer if it is coated with Nikwax. Follow these instructions to apply Nikwax:

Store the Tent Fly Loosely in a Dry and Safe Place

Tents that have been carelessly stored in barns and garages are prone to humidity and heat, and they can quickly become the source of unexpected problems. A dripping tent fly breeds mildew, has a musty odor, and damages the PU covering. Bugs and mice may also wreak havoc on the tent flap fabric much more quickly than you would expect. REI goes into great length regarding how vital it is to let every single drop of moisture to dry before storing the tent, footprint, and fly, and how to do so properly.

If it’s more convenient for you, you may also store the tent fly in a mesh bag, as long as it doesn’t endanger the tent itself.

Take a look at the latest post on tents keeping heat as well!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, if you know how to care for your tent’s rain fly, it can be a very durable outer covering.

There’s little question that if you don’t use the appropriate strategies described on this page, your system will fail within a few months or years. The good news is that you now know everything there is to know about the subject. The following is a concise summary of the post:

  • Before storing your tent and rain fly, make sure they are completely dry. When storing the fly, try to maintain it as loose as possible to avoid moisture and stickiness. The most common reasons of a sticky tent fly are dew in the morning, tree sap, and delamination.

Help, please. How to fix a sticky tent?

And then there’s this from their frequently asked questions: (so maybe it can be treated) What does it imply when the seams of my tent come apart? Your tent sticking together indicates that the waterproofing on your tent is beginning to wear out and needs to be replaced. It is during this process that the natural components of the waterproofing begin to break down, which is what produces the stickiness. If this occurs, please refer to the following question for advice on how to re-waterproof your tent in the event that this occurs.

  1. The use of Aquaseal reg; Polycoat for re-waterproofing your tent is highly recommended by us.
  2. Use the product in a well-ventilated location.
  3. 3.Apply the product evenly with a medium-bristle brush.
  4. Polycoat should be applied to the outside of your tent in order to achieve this result.
  5. It may be necessary to apply two applications in high traffic areas (such as tent flooring).
  6. For the record, HYOH.

My tent is sticky (no smartass responses please 🙂

  1. I have a Moss tent that is 20 years old. It had been stored aside for several years. The tent, and especially the bags, are now extremely adherent to one another and difficult to remove. The tent works perfectly well, is still waterproof, and hasn’t poisoned me with fumes or anything, but it’s a pain to put together and take apart every time. Anything I can do to resolve the situation without causing damage to the tent
  2. If so, have you tried gently hand-washing it in your bathtub with a little amount of Woolite or Dreft
  3. Repeat the aforementioned wash procedure on it, allowing it to soak for a few minutes before re-waterproofing it
  4. Dreft (in POWDER form!) would be my recommendation. Soak it for a while, rinse it twice or three times just to make sure and get all of the suds out, let it dry mainly before pitching it to dry completely. Moreover, wash everything individually, including the fly, tent, footprint, and so on. Due to the fact that liquid detergent clogs pores, it is not recommended for use with ‘breathable’ fabrics such as those used in outdoor clothes, tents, and sleeping bags (primarily nylon). I hope this is helpful
  5. May the sticky substance be a result of the seamtape they used? Also, if the tent has screened logos or other graphics on it, do they appear to be flaking away? I would think that after 20 years, it is time to replace the tent
  6. Washing the tent with powdered detergent is an excellent method to keep the tent clean. I would set up the tent and allow it to dry before applying unscented talcum powder on the smooth PU covering of the tent. Make use of a cloth to avoid applying too much product. This was done using a Walrus Starstreme XV, and it worked perfectly every time. If at all possible, avoid storing your tent rolled up or folded after you have finished camping. If you have the space, such as a basement, you may pitch the tent or put it inside out over a couple of clotheslines to dry. YMMV
  7. I have an ancient Eureka that developed this condition after being left in its bag for an extended period of time. It’s only that the silicone on the inside of the cloth is adhering to the inside of the fabric. I’ve been attempting to utilize the tent a little more frequently lately, and the situation has improved a little. It’s been hanging inside out for a while now, but I haven’t done anything with it in the last couple of months because I purchased a new tent that actually fits in my saddlebag (poles and everything)
  8. BIG -EandStasher1 such like this
  9. My MSR Huba Huba is a fantastic tent, however it is also really sticky to the touch. If the material feels like it’s coated with bee’s wax, it probably is
  10. I’ve had this problem with the rain fly on some of my tents while setting them up beneath a tree
  11. I came across this on GORP: () Tom, please accept my condolences. I’m sorry to have to notify you that your old dome is most likely no longer functional. The tent may have been clean and dry when it was packed, but ambient moisture may have caused some mildew to develop on the coating after it was packed. More than likely, the stickiness is the result of long-term storage in a warm environment. It’s important to realize that significant advances have been achieved in the science of synthetics while working with coated textiles. In certain cases, early versions of products may not live up to their reputation or claims compared to what is now available. There are a few things you may try first before giving it the heave-ho. One of these is a wash recommended by the people at Rainy Pass Repair and Maintenance (recipe follows). Even as a last resort, you might attempt an application of a recoat solution from Kenyon Consumer Products. While there are no assurances, the cost of a new tent is far less. Tent Wash and Mildew Remover for Rainy Pass Phase I consists of the following steps: 1 gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup Lysol make a great cleaning solution. Set up your tent, then wash in the mixture with a sponge and allow it to dry fully before putting it away. Phase II consists of the following steps: One gallon of boiling water should contain one cup salt and one cup lemon juice (no pulp!). Tent should be washed with this mixture and allowed to dry. Before storing the tent, thoroughly rinse it with fresh water and allow it to dry fully. Another entry from the Sea to Summit blog series (great Aussie company that sells outdoor accessories) PU COATINGS ON TENT FABRIC IN SOFT OR STICKY FORM. This is the only remedy available for the problem of softening of PU coatings with age that has been identified so far. If the fabric layers have become ‘blocked’ together, carefully separate them. It is conceivable that this will not be achievable without causing some coating damage. Set your household iron to the cotton setting, not the steam setting. Working carefully over the whole fabric with a piece of clean Xerox paper (80gsm or heavier) always between the iron and the cloth, iron the fabric. Continue to move about to avoid overheating. Ironing will harden the coating and force moisture out of the coating. Using Seamgrip®, it is possible to repair or replace sections of the coating that have been damaged or removed (for best results, hold the fabric up to the light). If they are particularly large, this may not be feasible. Finalize the process by spraying the coated face of the fabric with a silicon or Teflon-based water repellent, regardless of whether you used Seamgrip or not. Your local outdoor retailer will offer a product that will meet your needs. Store the tent unrolled with the coated sides facing out to minimize self contact, as you should always do.

rboettposser noob 205

On November 5, 2002, I became a member. Oddometer:2,497 nwagood ideas are located at nwa. What about a tent that has a strong cheese scent to it? In my opinion, it suffered some sort of heat damage while being stored in a garage in Florida for a lengthy period of time. It’s a eureka / timberline that’s been around for 20 years. Is it possible that the heat caused it to malfunction in some way? Cheese? Serve it with a glass of wine and you’re all set. Actually, I would suppose that smelling like cheese indicates the presence of mildew.

It’s possible.

Even though it’s a Moss (expensive and really fine), I still enjoy it a great deal.

Increasing the frequency with which you use the tent is usually a good idea in general.

Once it’s pitched, spray the rain fly with scotchguard to protect it.

If you’re looking for a Mountain Hardwear brand, they strongly discourage you from doing so.

After washing, it doesn’t attach to anything at all.

Although, given its age, there is probably not much PU coating remaining, it is still a fairly durable product in spite of this.

Is it by chance that it’s an Outfitter?

That, and resealing all of the seams, to be precise.

It is possible that old nylon coated with urethane will become sticky as it degrades and begins to delaminate as it degrades.


The Losi 3P may be found in the most recent REI Catalogue.

Eureka informed me that the material degrades and that there is little that can be done to prevent it.

The key to extending the life of your items is to pack them very loosely in separate bags and store them in a cool, dry location from the beginning. Under your bed is usually the ideal spot to spread out your belongings. To be honest with yourself, you actually desire a new tent in the first place.

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