How To Prevent Tent Rain Fly From Sticking Together

Why is my tent rainfly sticky and how do I fix it?

@claytone Thank you for getting in touch with me! Essentially, the polyurethane coating on the rainfly of your tent has degraded with the passage of time. Moisture, heat, or any combination of these factors might be causing the problem. Before you wipe off the polyurethane coating and reapply it, you’ll want to check your tent to make sure there aren’t any holes or other concerns (which is unlikely considering that it has been sitting unused for a while). We’ve had a number of individuals in the community who have come to us searching for answers to difficulties that are quite similar to yours.

Half Dome 2 Plus Rain Fly (as a replacement).

You can alternatively follow the methods outlined in our Expert Advice Article, How to Waterproof a Tent, which includes a section on removing the PU treatment from the tent using rubbing alcohol and a sponge before reapplying a waterproofing solution to the tent.

At REI, we think that spending time in nature is essential to living a fulfilling life.

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 may be an unpleasant stench associated with it, and no one likes to sleep in a stinky tent.Age isn’t the only factor that may wear down your tent’s coating — failing to properly dry it out before storing it can also cause your tent to adhere to your gear rack.

Keeping your tent wet or damp can lead to mold, mildew, and other serious problems.

If that is not feasible, air it out as quickly as you can after you get at your destination.ID 101467856 Aleksey Sverbeev |


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.

For such a simple problem to avoid, it is preferable to simply pack your tent in a haphazard manner.

How to Remove The Stickiness From A Tent

In addition to improper tent assembly, one of the most common causes of polyurethane delamination is over-tightening the tent. Similar to how water molecules cannot evaporate from a damp tent that has been kept, gas molecules from the polyurethane covering may not be able to dissipate from a tent that is too tightly packed. Most things in your environment emit gases, which is known as off-gassing. Your furniture, gadgets, home, and automobile (think of the new-car scent) all emit gas molecules that contribute to the smell that you perceive.

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.

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. As a result, you’re better off packing your tent in a manner that is as loose as possible.

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

You have a number of alternatives to consider when selecting the finest tent cleaning for your specific needs. Powder detergent will be your greatest pick because it is both effective and non-abrasive, making it an excellent choice. The use of liquid detergent is also an option; however, it will clog the pores in the cloth and result in additional problems. Personally, I’d stick to powdered milk instead. Another alternative is to use water and vinegar, but the scent of your tent will not be pleasant afterward.

All of the cleaners have the danger of discoloring the fabric, but ammonia is the one that is most likely to damage the color of your tent.

It’s also a good idea to wear gloves no matter which cleaner you use, regardless of how effective it is. Check out our page on How to Keep Your Tent Clean While Camping for the finest tips and tricks for cleaning off everyday dirt and grime while keeping your tent looking and operating at its peak.

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 yet allowing it to breathe – which is important to have in order to minimize condensation accumulation.

  1. It is not made of polyurethane, yet this is one of the reasons why it is more breathable while still maintaining its water resistance.
  2. In addition, it is not based on polyurethane, yet it still performs an excellent job of waterproofing your tent.
  3. 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.
  4. To summarize, no matter whatever product you use, you’ll want to allow it adequate 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.

Quick Answer: How To Prevent Tent Rain Fly From Sticking Together

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.

Why is my tent rain fly sticky?

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 covering it with it. In addition to preventing adhesion between the urethane polymers, the powder allows the material to slide over itself freely.

How do you fix sticky rain flies?

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, rinse it completely and allow it to air dry away from 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.

Does PU coating wear off?

For example, consider the following. Pour warm water and a few drops of Dawn soap into a large bucket or plastic tub and swish the fly about in it for a few minutes. Rinse well and allow to air dry away from direct sunlight. The fact that it sticks might be due to tree residue or something else. What happens if this doesn’t work? You’ve got a problem on your hands.

Can you waterproof a tent?

An overview of the most effective methods for waterproofing a tent is provided below. Clean all of the tent’s components with care. Seams should be sealed. Reapply a new layer of urethane to the surface. Renew the DWR (durable water repellent) coating on your vehicle.

Can you wash a tent fly in the washing machine?

Unfortunately, a tent should never be washed in a top-loading washing machine in order to retain its correct condition. I don’t advocate washing it in a huge, industrial-sized front loading washer on a gentle cycle, hanging it to dry, then spraying it with weatherproofing and UV proofing sprays unless you really have to.

Why is my tent wet inside?

What is the source of condensation in tents? Because of the presence of people, heaters, and a lack of ventilation, the air temperature in the tent might become warm and humid. During the condensation process, moisture condenses into liquid form when the heated air within the tent comes into contact with the comparatively chilly tent fabric.

Where are Eureka tents made?

From durable canvas wagon coverings and horse blankets to handmade camp tents and storefront awnings, our foray into the outdoors began with goods made in our Binghamton, New York workshop – all of which are still in production today.

Our trademark has always been superior quality and long-lasting performance.

What to do if it rains while camping?

If you’re planning on camping in the rain, here are some ideas to keep you happy and dry when the liquid sunlight begins to pour from the sky. Locate an Appropriate Tent Site. Make the Night a Little Brighter. Create an outdoor living room with a fire pit. The People Have the Power (and the Food). Increase the number of layers. Choose the color orange. Hang up, then go somewhere else. Include a Bivy Bag.

See also:  How To Make A Tent From Pvc Pipe

How do you clean rain flies?

Make a minimal cleaning effort. Make use of a non-abrasive sponge, cold water, and a non-detergent soap to clean your windows. Gently clean filthy areas with a soft brush, paying particular attention to covered sections of the floor and flies. Wash your clothes using mild dish soap and water instead of strong home cleaners such as bleach and stain removers or laundry presoaking solutions.

What is the best waterproofing spray for tents?

The Most Effective Waterproofing Spray Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent is a water repellent that is effective in all weather conditions. The Solarproof Waterproofing Spray from Nikwax is a must-have for any tent or outdoor gear. Atsko Silicone Water-Resistant Coating. Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield is a high-performance water shield. Gear Aid Seam Grip TF Tent Fabric Sealer is a seam gripper that seals fabric seams. Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is a product manufactured by Star Brite.

How do you waterproof a tent for cheap?

It’s as simple as pitching your tent, spraying it with water, and then applying the Nikwax mixture with a sponge to the entire thing. Because of the size of your tent, you’ll most likely need to utilize the entire 1-liter pouch, which costs around $39 dollars.

Why do tents leak when touched?

When a tent’s canvas is touched during a rainstorm, the tent begins to leak. What causes this? When you place your finger on a wet canvas, surface tension will pull the water to your fingertip. When the humidity is high, whatever is left will still attract condensation more than the rest of the inner tent surface, causing it to seem to leak from that location.

How do you remove sticky stuff from a tent?

Machine wash the tent/fly in a mild detergent in a top-loading washing machine (top-loaders are ideal because they allow for greater agitation). If the cloth is really sticky, you may want to use woo-lite as your detergent, since this will aid in the removal of the stickiness. Allow the tent/fly to dry completely in the open air (do not put in a dryer or use heat on it).

How do you keep a tent floor dry in the rain?

The 7 Best Tips for Keeping Your Tent Dry When Camping in the Rain Don’t forget to bring your groundsheet with you. A groundsheet, which may also be referred to as a ground cloth or even a ground fly by some, is simply a piece of waterproof material that is used to cover the footprint (or the bottom) of your tent. Place a tarp over the area. Take, for example, your campfire. Make a slant for the weather. Camp in a hammock. Dry bags are ideal for storing your equipment. Make use of high-quality rain gear.

Can I put a tent in the washing machine?

Tent and fabric seams can be torn apart by washing machines, which can also melt textiles and delaminate waterproofing.

Even while your tent may be washed in a front-loading washer, it is nearly always preferable to wash it by hand instead. Hand wash and rinse the tent with a sponge and non-detergent soap, being careful not to scratch it.

Does waterproof spray work on tents?

Washing machines have the potential to shred fabric and tent seams, melt textiles, and delaminate waterproofing membranes, among other things. Though your tent may be washed in a front-loading washer, it is nearly always preferable to hand-wash it. Hand wash and rinse the tent with a sponge and non-detergent soap, being gentle.

Why do tents get 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. Meanwhile, when your tents are packed too tightly, the chemicals used to manufacture the tents (plasticizers in particular) are unable to escape into the environment.

Sticky rain fly?

Posted on August 24, 2016 at 10:20 a.m.3422286 In preparation for trail events, I pulled up my old REI quarterdome 2 and set it up as a vehicle camping tent. Hasn’t it been rolled up (put away clean and dry) and stored in the stuff sack for at least the last eight years or so now? Anyway, as I opened it up, I noticed that a) there was a distinct fragrance of old camping equipment, which reminded me of my childhood, and b) the rain fly was quite sticky on the bottom. The PU coating did not appear to be flaking away in any areas (save on the inside of the bathtub corners on the inner tent), but it was so tightly bonded to itself that I had to physically pull it apart to get it apart.

  • Is there anything I can/should do to clean/revitalize it?
  • It’s a fantastic little tent, and I’m certain that I can re-do the silicone on the bathtub floor corners without difficulty.
  • @ 11:05 a.m.
  • According to my observations, that rain fly is cooked!
  • I have observed this on three different MSR rain flys, which is an unpleasant and all-too-common event.
  • Jen, August 24, 2016 at 11:14 a.m.3422300Jen, August 24, 2016 at 11:14 a.m.3422300 JCH is correct, and I agree.
  • We’re out of luck till that time.

At 11:38 a.m.

Aw shucks, I’ve got a few of tents that I haven’t used in years, including some REI polyurethane flys.

@ 12:18 p.m.

put it up and run it through the hose test.

They are quite adequate for vehicle camping.

Do not utilize your new Cuben mid-range for vehicle camping, under any circumstances!;) At 12:25 p.m.

Yes, there is a tent.

As it happened in my case, the material had a second sort of coating on it that would not come off cleanly, despite extensive use of rubbing alcohol to scrape it.

@ 12:33 p.m.

I couldn’t wait to get that dog out of the bag — it was my first experience with a “ultralight” tent (HA!).

@ 12:42 p.m.

I also sent an email to REI to see what they had to say.

on August 24, 2016 3422326 You might want to consider returning it to REI.

I’ve started storing all of my tents and flies in net bags, in the hopes of avoiding this problem.

Because these models are no longer produced, I’m debating whether or not to submit them to SD and see what they recommend.

Yep, I just had a look at the current QD version, and I think mine is a far superior version.

I can see now why I used it for such a long period of time.

If it doesn’t work out, it’s not a big deal, but it’s worth a chance because it’s such a cute little shelter.

The furthest reaches of the North.

Take notice that washing the item in hot water (the nylon will be fine) and loads of a good stain-removing laundry detergent will often totally delaminate the old PU coating before recoating it will often completely delaminate the old PU coating before recoating it.

David ThomasBPL [email protected] Geographical location: North Woods The furthest reaches of the North.

In order to ensure that the PU is always against uncoated nylon, I’ve had some luck rolling it like a roll of paper.

This is made simpler if the first rolling was done extremely loosely and with a huge diameter, as was the case with this one.

BPL [email protected] Location: Alabama Ben H.BPL [email protected] I recently experienced a very similar experience with an old REI vehicle camping tent that I had purchased years ago.

They suggested using soap and scrubbing for roughly two days.

As I have stated, that does not appear to be an efficient use of my time.

I wasn’t too satisfied with the REI guarantee because I was aware that MSR was working to resolve their PU coating issues.

While it appears to be a bit excessive to expect service from an old product, the PU coating that was utilized appears to be a time bomb on the verge of detonating.

The consensus on the internet is that PU deterioration/delamination is caused by keeping the tent in a moist environment.

I don’t have any clear proof either way, but it’s something to keep in mind in the future.

The consensus on the internet is that PU deterioration/delamination is caused by keeping the tent in a moist environment.

I don’t have any clear proof either way, but it’s something to keep in mind in the future.

I had a tent that had been sealed in the box since it was sent to me from the manufacturer.

But, certainly, the sleeves are pulled up tightly.

My Hubba fly was replaced by MSR, and another tent fly from the same vintage was also replaced by MSR.

It didn’t appear to be anything that could be fixed.

Dan McHale uses it to rejuvenate his really old packs, and he highly recommends it for this purpose.

The failure of urethane coatings on outdated packs, on the other hand, is a huge turnoff.

This, as well as many other essential things, are manufactured by a local firm called McNett.

It may be acquired at most sporting goods stores, as well as fabric businesses like as Seattle Fabrics.

Tent Sure is easy to recoat and dries in a short period of time.

Instead, you must thoroughly stir it since it hardens so much at the bottom while it sits in the shop that shaking will not effectively mix it together.

The pack in the photo below is a 15-year-old McHale Pack that has been restored to its original condition.

Every time I use this product, I am blessed with good fortune.

It is not advisable to fill with costly goods since the urethane soaks through once the previous coating has been entirely removed.

Some of the original covering may be retained and get reassimilated, which is very interesting stuff to see.

It has a thin appearance and is hardly perceptible.

The black area on the bottle’s right side is an abrasion that has been sealed with SEAM GRIP to prevent further abrasion.

Exactly the same thing happened to me with my first REI tent!

For vehicle camping vacations, I currently have a Tarptent Cloudburst 3 that I love.

Take a look at it.

on August 25, 2016 3422439 ” MSR replaced my Hubba fly, as well as another tent fly from the same vintage, which had gone bad as well.

“It didn’t appear to be a fixable problem.” Another well-known brand manufactured by the same plant at the same time was subject to the same restrictions.

Donna Leadfoot CBPL [email protected] Middle Virginia is the setting for this story.

Because I only use the tent sometimes, I purchased a couple cans of waterproof tent spray and sprayed the fly with it.

You have absolutely nothing to lose.

For vehicle camping, I purchased an Alps Merrimac 3P tent for $80, which is a really beautiful tent.

If the fly gets a hole in it, the spray will come out. There are a variety of brands available on the market. Simply perform a Google search. MSR – JCHBPL [email protected]: JCHBPL [email protected] So far, they have taken the place of:

  1. Orange (gen 1) Hubba Fly
  2. Yellow (gen 2) Hubba Fly
  3. An Orange (gen 1) Hubba Fly. It was a surprise to me, and thanks to Cascade, that they sent a Green (gen 3) Hubba Hubba Fly in substitute of the Orange fly when the Orange fly went missing. When asked about this particular one, CS stated that “we have yet to see a green one go bad.” They aren’t allowed to say it anymore

I stated to Cascade that the Orange fly had been housed in my garage and that I accepted the possibility that I was to responsible. It didn’t make a difference to them. Since then, all of my tents have been stored loosely in large mesh laundry bags inside my air-conditioned house, so it seems unlikely that heat or moisture played a role in the degradation. In all three situations, the first sign of problems was the beginning of the seam sealing tape becoming yellowish around the edges. The dreaded stickiness became visible at this point, and the tape began to deteriorate, eventually developing little white bubbles and flaking off the surface.

I was unable to get SD to replace one for me; but, they did provide me with a voucher for 40% off one of their products.

The response from REI was essentially “amazing!

We have a variety of professionals to assist you in making your decision on which new one to purchase!” I responded by email, stating that I was disappointed because the tent wasn’t THAT old, had been well cared for, and had always been stored dry (I was also DILIGENT about drying out my gear before storing it – after destroying a TNF tent by NOT drying it out before flying home with it soaking wet.), and that MSR would replace the tent with one of their own.

That did not elicit a response from them.

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.

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.

While doing so, the PU coating serves as a water-resistant and non-stick layer in one. When a result, as the housing deteriorates, the tent’s stickiness will rise as a result. Read more:Should you purchase a low-cost tent?

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.

See also:  Where Can I Pitch A Tent On The At Trail

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.

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.

How Can I Restore Its Water Resistance?

PU coating is responsible for the water-resistance of your tent, as previously explained. As a result, when the tent is downgraded, its water resistance will be reduced. Unfortunately, it is just a matter of time until this happens. In other words, there is no way for you to avoid being affected by this occurrence. When the PU cover ceases to function properly, the first and only thing we can do is re-coating your tent with a water-resistant finish. Make certain that you have completely removed the previous PU coating from your tent, as well as washed and dried it well, before beginning to use the following ingredients to build the new protective housing for your tent.

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. After that, just wipe away any extra spots and bask in the glory of what has just transpired.

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. When placed between your tent’s floor and the ground, a piece of any waterproof material can serve as a protective barrier. It will allow water to flow around or beneath your tent without allowing it to enter your dry region, which is important. 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?

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 campsite. Campers should avoid areas near waterfalls and areas where there may be flooding, of course. Furthermore, it is vital to select a place that is higher up and away from bodies of water, if possible.

Trees should also be avoided. Water can continue to pour even after the rain has stopped because trees serve as natural umbrellas. Falling trees and lightning, on the other hand, will never be our good pals.

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.

It is contaminated with mold and mildew since you kept your tent when it was still damp. As a result of your over-packing, the chemicals in the tent are unable to off-gas. This results in your tent losing its non-stick layer as the PU coating deteriorates.

  • 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!

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.

  1. When there is an excessive amount of moisture on the fly, it begins to adhere to itself.
  2. Your search for further information regarding the causes and remedies of a sticky tent flap has brought you to the correct site.
  3. In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about maintaining the condition of your tent fly.
  4. Looking through the top tent coating sprays on Amazon might be beneficial, regardless of whether your equipment is new or old.

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
See also:  How Much Does A Tent Cost For Camping

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. When washing tent material with an agitator, the fabric may become stretched and damaged. 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:

  • Because Nikwax has a tendency to discolor surfaces, it is important to cover the working surface first and to ensure that all tent zippers (if any) are locked before beginning. Maintain a distance of approximately 6 inches between the Nikwax container and the tent fly. The product should be sprayed evenly across the outside of your tent, taking care not to leave any areas untreated. Hold on for approximately 2-3 minutes, then wipe away any excess product with a slightly moist cloth. Examine the area once again to ensure that you have not overlooked anything
  • Allow the tent to dry naturally for a period of time.

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:

  • Clearly, if you take good care of your tent’s rain fly, it will serve you well for many years to come. There’s no question that it will fail after a few months or years if you don’t use the right strategies described on this page. Fortunately, you now have a thorough understanding of the subject matter. An overview of the post is provided below:

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. In this post, I will go through each scenario in detail and then show you multiple techniques for re-waterproofing your tent to choose from.

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.

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.

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. There is no way to avoid this; however, there are ways to work around it, which will be discussed further down the article.

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. You might be amazed with how effective the Tent Sure is if your backpack or jacket has a number of leaks.


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.

  1. I’ll admit that I’ve never personally used this strategy; nonetheless, a check of forums turned up several instances of the same procedure.
  2. While using protective gloves, just brush the nylon until the solution begins to progressively turn milky in color.
  3. After that, remove the tent and soak it in clean, cold water to ensure that all of the ammonia is wiped away.
  4. If you believe the ammonia is still present, you may want to repeat the washing process several more times to be sure.

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.

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