How Often Should I Waterproof My Tent

How Often Should You Waterproof Your Tent?- Easy Guidelines

It is important to keep your tent waterproof if you want to have a successful camping experience. Not wanting to find out too late that you should have waterproofed your tent is the last thing you want to happen. When you go camping, your tent is one of your most valuable possessions, and you want to make every effort to keep it in good condition. Fortunately, waterproofing a tent isn’t that difficult; nevertheless, how frequently should you waterproof your tent? I’ve been wondering about this since the very first day I was caught in the rain while camping.

When should you waterproof your tent, and how often should you do it?

Performing frequent inspections of your tent will assist you in determining when it is required to waterproof your tent.

To determine when it is necessary to waterproof your tent, you should undertake frequent inspections of your tent.

The process of going through and waterproofing your tent is rather simple.

Why your tent needs to be waterproofed

When you’re camping, your tent is your sole source of protection, so if it can’t meet that very minimum standard, what’s the point? No one likes to get caught in the rain when on a camping vacation. Aside from that, we all know that having water inside a tent may be detrimental to its durability. The ability to keep a tent as dry as feasible has a significant impact on its overall lifetime. A fully waterproofed tent not only keeps out the rain, but the coatings also serve to protect against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation to a small extent.

Waterproofing is like to medication for your tent in that it helps it last longer and allows you to enjoy being outside more.

They are, in fact, quite frail.

If water is trapped inside your tent for an extended amount of time, mildew and mold may grow, causing the tent to become brittle and unusable.

How to inspect your tent to see if it needs to be waterproofed

One of the most beneficial habits to establish is to regularly examine your tent. Not only for waterproofing purposes, but also to ensure that everything is in proper operating condition in general. The following are some items to check for when determining whether or not your tent needs to be waterproofed. Do you notice any peeling on the inside of your rainfly or on the floor of your tent when you’re camping? If this is the case, it is possible that the tent has a urethane coating on it. The urethane coating on your tent is a component of its waterproofing capabilities.

  1. It is likely that you are in good shape if there is no flaking, unless, of course, you observe it not operating in person.
  2. Do you notice that water does not condense into droplets on the surface of your tent?
  3. As previously said, this must be done on the exterior of the rain fly and is quite simple to complete because you will just be spraying a waterproof spray onto the rain fly.
  4. After a few minutes, you may use a soft cloth to carefully wipe away any extra residue left by the spraying.
  5. Have you ever had a seam that leaked?
  6. This one involves a little more effort than the other two, but it is very necessary.
  7. If you notice that some of the seam tapings have come loose, you may remove them and patch them up using a seam sealant to make them more secure.

The seams should first be cleaned and then sealed with rubbing alcohol, allowing it to dry completely in between each application. It’s possible that flipping the tent inside out will make this process easier.

When to inspect your tent

Every time you go camping, you should examine your tent to make sure it is in good working order. You don’t always get the chance to do so, unfortunately. In any case, simply perform brief checks whenever you get the opportunity. If you are going camping, you should make sure that you have enough time when you get at your campsite. Unless you have some spare time when camping, you are doing something wrong with your vacation. Bringing the waterproofing supplies with you may be beneficial in the event that you notice something that has to be corrected during your examination.

How to waterproof a tent

Every time you go camping, you should examine your tent to ensure that it is in good condition. You may not always have the opportunity to do so. Simply do brief inspections whenever you get the opportunity. The time should be available when you arrive at your campsite if you are going camping. If you are camping and you do not have some spare time, you are doing it incorrectly. In the event that you uncover something that needs to be addressed during your examination, having the waterproofing supplies on hand might prove to be quite advantageous.

  1. Using a seam sealant to keep the seams sealed
  2. Urethane coating is being applied. By covering the surface with a durable water resistant (DWR) layer,

Choosing the proper sealer and sealant for your tent is critical, so make sure you do your research before purchasing. In order to protect the different types of fabrics used in your tent, you will need to use different types of sealants. Typically, silicone or polyurethane are used in the manufacture of tent waterproofing materials. Fabric sealers and sealants will be required for each of the two distinct types of fabrics. On the box or bag that your tent was sent in, you should be able to easily identify the type of fabric that it is constructed of.

  1. It’s possible that you’ll find it on a tag that’s hidden someplace inside your tent.
  2. On the bottom of the rain fly and the interior of the tent, there are seams that need to be sealed up.
  3. If the seams are soiled, use rubbing alcohol and a cloth to thoroughly wipe them off.
  4. In most cases, the urethane coating is sprayed over the whole length of the rain fly.
  5. Adding a fresh layer of the coating might provide you with peace of mind for your forthcoming vacation, and it is a simple procedure to complete.
  6. The most straightforward method is to create a long-lasting water repellant.
  7. Simply spray it on evenly on your fly (as long as it is clean) and wipe it down with a moist towel after a few minutes to remove any remaining excess coating.

Make sure to allow the tent to dry fully before proceeding with any extra instructions that may have been included with the spray bottle. This spray coating should cause rain to condense together and fall directly off of your tent’s roof and sides.

Other things to keep in mind

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to every element of your tent, including the waterproofing method you choose. To ensure the longevity of your tent, it is essential to follow any unique suggestions that they may have for your particular tent. In a pamphlet that should come with your tent or on their website, you should be able to find their recommendations. It is possible that they will include special sections on waterproofing that will be of assistance. It is preferable to have the necessary repair supplies on hand before to the need for them than to wait until after the event.

Maintain the condition of your tent, and it will maintain the condition of you.


When it comes to waterproofing your tent, there is no particular period of time that you should adhere to. In order to ensure that your tent is in proper functioning condition before each camping trip, you should examine it prior to each trip. A properly waterproofed tent not only protects you, but it also protects the tent itself. There are three methods for waterproofing your tent, and all of them are quite inexpensive, simple, and quick to complete. If you take good care of your tent and follow any particular manufacturer’s suggestions, it will last you for many more camping excursions in the years to come.

My Favorite Camping Gear

I go camping in the Appalachian Mountains (pretty darned wet). We’ve been using the same Keltytent for over four years, taking anywhere from six to twelve trips every year. It’s a great tent. It’s never been waterproofed before. It retains its water-repelling properties and functions admirably. Our last excursion took place in torrential rain for more than 12 hours, yet the children in the tent remained dry. If you have a problem, I’d recommend waterproofing it. It appears that you are squandering a significant amount of money right now on stuff that you do not require.

answered May 28, 2012, 16:02 p.m.

Russell Steen has received 31.9k21 gold badges.

  • (+1) I now have six tents, which range in age from four to fourteen years, and have not waterproofed any of them. They are all still completely waterproof. I believe that if it does not leak, it is not worth the effort. Testing at home was added on May 28th, 2012 at 16:09. We take our tent out once a year to inspect it and leave it out in the rain. The most we’ve ever had to do was reseal the seams (particularly around the toggles that keep the doors open and so on), but other than that, we’ve never had to replace the waterproofing completely. at 13:20 on June 30, 2014

I agree with Russell Steen that it should be done on demand, but I would add that it is dependent on the flysheet fabric used. For example, silnylon that has been coated on both sides should not require treatment (except from the application of seam sealant). Except when torn or worn out, fabric coated with polyurethane should not leak, but the proofing would prevent it from collecting water, keeping it drier (and lighter to carry).

answered Jan. 27, 2013, 10:23 a.m. The following number of badges are owned by nsandersen: 6016 silver badges11 bronze badges

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In the event that you’re on a camping trip and the skies suddenly open, the last thing you want is to get drenched from the inside out. Waterproofing is essential in a tent, and while most modern tents come equipped with waterproofing, you will need to keep the waterproofing in good condition if you want it to be effective for long periods of time. As a general rule, you can get away with waterproofing your tent every couple of years if you follow these guidelines. On the premise that you will be utilizing the tent for between two and three weeks every year, this is the cost of the tent.

In this post, we will discuss the frequency with which a tent may need to be waterproofed, as well as the best method for accomplishing this task.

When Do You Need To Waterproof Your Tent?

There are some campers who will put off waterproofing their tent until they are certain that it is absolutely necessary. If you are prepared to take a chance on something, you may fall into this type of people. Many people wonder if they should waterproof a brand new tent before using it for the first time. Obviously, as soon as you realize that the waterproofing is deteriorating, you should start the restoration procedure. Although it is generally recommended to establish a timetable and follow it, it is not always possible.

When calculating how frequently you should waterproof a tent, there are a number of elements to take into consideration.

  • The type of tent you are using (polycotton or cotton tents, for example, do not often require reproofing because these fabrics are naturally waterproof and do not typically come with a waterproof covering).
  • On each camping trip, the weather conditions are taken into consideration (direct sunshine may have an impact on the tent’s waterproofing just as much as rain)
  • It is important to know how waterproof your tent is (the HH rating on your tent will tell you how waterproof it is). It is possible to wait longer between waterproofing applications by increasing this value.)
  • And

What Makes A Tent Waterproof?

The application of a waterproof coating to a tent is one of the most successful methods by which manufacturers waterproof a tent. In most cases, a polyurethane coating will be applied first, followed by a Durable Water Repellent. When these two get together, they become a force to be reckoned with You will be provided with a Hydrostatic Head rating for your tent, which will inform you how waterproof it is, as we have previously said. When it comes to fabric, this grade relates to how water-resistant it is and is determined by how much pressure is required to drive water through the cloth.

Normally, 8000 hours should be the bare minimum, especially given the changeable weather in the United Kingdom.

  • Water should not be allowed to enter the tent through the zips, which should be covered. The besttentzips will be covered with plastic or fabric, which will function as a barrier
  • The seams of the tent will need to be examined for tiny holes or perforations before being used. The seams should also have been sealed, and this applies to the areas where toggles and other components have been sewed into the main tent fabric as well. The ground sheet of the tent should be of the bathtub variety if it has been sewed into the structure of the tent. The fact that they rise up at the edges is really beneficial in keeping water from getting in. Furthermore, the HH rating of the ground sheet should be increased in order to account for groundwater contamination. Take note of the sort of waterproof coating that has been put to the tent’s surface. Some are more effective than others in their respective fields. One of the initial lines of defense against water, this helps rain to roll off the tent instead of seeping through the fabric
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How To Waterproof A Tent

Applying another layer of waterproof coating to a tent is one of the most crucial steps in reproofing it. On the market, there are many various alternatives to choose from, but Fabsil is usually regarded as one of the most effective solutions available.

This comes in the form of an aerosol can and is quick and simple to apply to your tent. However, before you begin spraying, you must ensure that the tent is properly set up and ready.

  • The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure your tent is clean and dry before you start. Pitch the tent and give it a good cleaning before allowing it to dry completely
  • If you are using an aerosol water repellent, make sure that it is uniformly sprayed across the surface of the object being protected. Alternatively, there are materials available that may be painted onto the tent with a brush and applied with a roller. Which one you choose is mostly a matter of personal choice
  • Nonetheless, both are effective. As soon as you have done applying the solution, wipe the fabric with a clean, dry towel to remove any excess and to clean up any drips. Alternatively, if you have experienced water seeping through the seams, seam sealers can be purchased and put after the waterproof coating
  • You should now allow the tent to dry completely before removing it from the ground.

It is advisable to conduct your reproofing on a dry, cloudy day to provide the greatest results. These moderate circumstances will allow the tent to dry without causing any damage to the recently placed protective covering. Look no farther than ourBest Tents Guide for some fantastic tents!


The experience of sleeping in a tent is one of life’s great experiences, but when the weather turns bad, you’ll need a tent that will give superb waterproof protection from the elements. Your tent will be equipped with a waterproof covering as well as various other measures that will keep water from getting inside. It will also be labeled with an HH rating, which indicates how water-resistant it is. However, you will need to reapply a waterproof coating from time to time in order to ensure that the tent is still acceptable for usage in rainy weather conditions.

If, on the other hand, you use the tent more regularly, you may find that you need to apply a fresh coating more frequently.

When should I re-proof my Tent?

All new polyester tents, caravan awnings, and driveaway awnings are pre-treated with waterproofing before being shipped out to the customer. The quantity of waterproofing provided is formally specified by the Hydrostatic Head rating that has been assigned to the product. For the uninitiated, a higher HH rating signifies that your tent should be waterproof for a longer period of time before it needs to be re-proofed. When water hits the tent’s protective covering, it is able to bead up and drip to the ground instead of soaking through the fabric and onto your head.

  • The majority of the tents that we sell here at World of Camping are weatherproofed to 3000 HH or higher, which is more than enough to withstand the majority of the British weather.
  • In reality, though, if you have been taking your tent away for a couple of weeks every year for a few years, you may discover that you need to re-proof it in the majority of situations.
  • A perpetual cloud cover with no rain would most likely provide the finest circumstances for a long life!
  • If you’re ready to take a chance, simply wait till it starts to leak, and then go ahead and do it.
  • Just make sure the tent is clean and dry before you start working in it.
  • Fabsil is available in an aerosol can with a 600mm diameter that may be sprayed directly onto the tent surface.
  • Alternatively, the liquid can be decanted and administered with a hand-held spray cannon, similar to the sort used to water plants.

When pitching a smaller tent, it’s preferable to apply the Fabsil while the tent is still in place.

No matter the method you pick, be sure to choose a lovely, dry day so that everything has plenty of time to dry thoroughly before packing it up again.

A typical 2-person tent has a floor area of 6 square metres.

Some tents these days have seams that have been taped.

Even on a brand new tent, it is not uncommon for a little amount of water to leak through the seams (unless it has taped seams).

Usually, cotton expands after it has been wetted a couple of times and seals itself, but if this is not the case, a small amount of seam sealer will solve the problem.

Tents made of cotton or polycotton should not require waterproofing because they are inherently waterproof and breathable materials. Please seek professional guidance before attempting to proof a cotton tent.

Do You Need to Waterproof a Brand New Tent

When you’re roughing it beneath the stars, a tent is the most effective kind of protection. This implies that it must be water resistant! While you may have splurged and purchased a brand-new tent, there’s a risk that it may not be as practical as you would have hoped. This may appear to be paradoxical, given that you may expect a new tent to be ready to use immediately out of the box. As a result, a frequently asked question from new tent owners is: Is it necessary to waterproof a new tent? It is possible that you may need to waterproof a new tent in order to prevent water from seeping in on a particularly wet night.

Except if you’re purchasing a really high-end tent, you’ll want to spend some time waterproofing it before you use it for the first time in most cases.

We’ve put up this comprehensive guide on tent waterproofing to assist you in deciding whether or not you should waterproof your tent and how you should go about doing so successfully.

Are All Tents Waterproof

Our answer?: yes, and no. However, while nearly any tent that is expressly built for camping will be constructed of water-resistant materials, this does not always imply that the tent will be completely waterproof. Confused? The reasoning is reasonable; after all, how could something be both waterproof and not waterproof at the same time? At the end of the day, there are two possible reasons why something built of waterproof materials could not actually be waterproof. To begin, while the materials themselves are waterproof, the seams in the fabric themselves are not, which is a problem.

  1. Despite the fact that the textiles can handle a lot of water, the rain and snow will continue to travel until they reach the route of least resistance, which is usually the holes created by the stitching at the fabric’s seams (or the holes in the fabric itself).
  2. In a tent, this can result in a constant flow of water directly over your lovely down sleeping bag, resulting in a restless night’s sleep.
  3. The problem, assuming that the tent fabric is indeed waterproof, will very certainly be caused by a loss of the durable water repellent (DWR) coating that was put to the exterior of the fabric or by a loss of the sealant that was applied to the interior of the tent.
  4. When the DWR coating or interior sealant of a tent begins to wear away, the small holes in the tent fabric that enable water vapor to escape but prevent water droplets from entering get blocked.
  5. In other words, condensation occurs on the inside of the tent as a result of water vapor from perspiration, body heat, humidity, and human respiration building up on the inside of the tent.

The condensation on the inside of the tent isn’t actually rain, but it is produced by a failure in the tent’s waterproof fabric and can still cause your clothes and sleeping bag to become wet, making for an uncomfortable night’s sleep.

How Can I Make My Tent More Waterproof

Once you’ve grasped the concept of how waterproof tents might fail to be waterproof, you can begin to take efforts to improve the waterproofness of your own tent. First and foremost, you must evaluate whether the problem is caused by leaking seams or by a deteriorating waterproof fabric. It is possible to purchase seam sealer to coat the stitching and prevent water from seeping in if the problem is a leaking seam. Most high-quality tents are sold with seam tape already attached to keep the seams from leaking, but this tape eventually wears off.

  1. Seam sealant is often applied to the seams by brushing it on, creating a moisture barrier, and then laying the tent out to cure for around 24 hours.
  2. If this is the case, you may need to apply seam sealer to your new tent in order to keep it watertight.
  3. If this is the case, repairing the holes with fabric patches (such as Tenacious Tape) and seam sealing the edges will aid in restoring the waterproofing of your tent.
  4. The type of coating you use, on the other hand, is determined by the nature of the problem.
  5. If you see that this is starting to happen, you’ll want to get some tent sealant to prevent further damage.
  6. The tent fly should be laid down on the ground and rubbing alcohol and a sponge used to scrape away any flakes of sealant from the inside.
  7. You’ll most likely need to let the tent dry out for 24 hours or longer before you can put it away properly.
  8. When appropriately applied, these chemicals aid in the removal of water from the tent, which prevents the pores of the fabric from being clogged, enabling the tent to breathe more freely and reducing condensation rates.

What’s The Best Waterproofing Tent Spray

If your tent’s DWR coating has to be reapplied, you’ll need to purchase some waterproofing tent spray to do it. Given the wide variety of tent sprays available, it is best to check with your tent manufacturer to see if they have any suggestions or preferences for their particular tent. If you can’t find any ideas from your tent maker, you may try a spray like the Nikwax Tent and Gear SolarProof spray, which is designed to protect tents from the sun. In general, Nikwax is a safe pick because of its extensive selection of high-quality waterproofing sprays and treatments for a variety of items, including everything from boots to rain coats.

It is customary to put up the tent and then spray it with clean water to remove any remaining dirt.

Once the solution has been sprayed evenly over the tent fly, allow it to set for a few minutes, and then wipe away any excess DWR with a moist cloth. You’ll be ready to go as soon as the tent has dried completely.

Do Homemade Waterproofing Tent Sprays Work

It’s likely that if you look about on the internet for waterproofing supplies, you’ll come across some information on how to produce your own waterproofing tent spray. While this is an appealing choice since it can save you money in the short term, it is not something we would advocate in the long run. Sure, some of these improvised solutions could work, but if they don’t, you might find up right back where you started (with a tent that isn’t waterproof) or even worse, you could end up damaging your tent completely.

In our opinion, the best course of action is to Stick to tried-and-true techniques of tent waterproofing, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for tent care and maintenance.

How Often Do You Need to Reapply Tent Waterproofing

Tents should be waterproofed anytime they begin to exhibit indications of wear and deterioration. This might indicate that water is leaking into the tent via the seams or that you have seen peeling on the interior of the tent. Add some more waterproofing to your tent if you are in doubt; it will not harm it, and we always advocate going cautiously and waterproofing your tent anytime it begins to show indications of failing.


A tent, which is lightweight, portable, and simple to set up, may help keep you warm and dry while on a camping trip. Having saying that, all tents require a little TLC in order to work to their maximum potential. “Do I need to waterproof my new tent?” you might wonder. You’ll quickly discover that there isn’t a straightforward solution to this question. While some tents are ready to use right out of the box, others might benefit from a coat of seam seal to help prevent leaks from forming during transport.

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Before embarking on your first vacation, set up the tent in your backyard to ensure that it is ready.

The Best Way To Waterproof A Tent

With the arrival of the summer months, it’s possible that you’ll be planning your first outdoor excursion in quite some time – and you’ll want to be certain that there are no unpleasant surprises waiting for you when you arrive at your campground. The good news is that most tents are either coated in a waterproof membrane or treated with a waterproofing compound in order to prevent moisture from seeping through the fabric and into the structure. In time, this coating will wear away and need to be replaced with a waterproofing spray– if you don’t, you and your belongings may find yourselves waking up a little moist after an unexpected downpour!

Here’s a quick guide to the best way to waterproof a tent:

  • If at all possible, choose a day that is warm and dry. Clean all of the tent’s components with care. To maintain your urethane coating, you should clean it every few months. To maintain your DWR (durable water repellent) coating, you should clean it every few months. Allow for complete drying of all components.

Assuming, of course, that you’re looking for something a little more extensive, please see below for our in-depth guide, which also includes some helpful suggestions and recommendations. The waterproof coatings on your tent should last for quite some time, so if you’ve only recently purchased it, you shouldn’t have to worry about applying any additional coatings. It is possible that the coating on your tent may become readily evident to the naked eye, at which time it will be necessary to reapply the coating.

The most straightforward approach to verify is to just spray some water on it yourself. If the water does not bead on the exterior or if you see that it is soaking through in certain spots, it may be necessary to reproof the area.

How to re-seal the seams

Water tends to leak in at the seams where different pieces of fabric have been sewn together, therefore it’s critical to ensure that the seams are well sealed before using the cloth. Seams should be coated with a waterproof coating, much like the rest of the tent, although this will wear away with time. Additionally, certain seams may have flaps covering them to provide additional protection.

  • Choose a dry day to apply the proofing materials outside or in a dry location indoors, such as a garage, where you may allow them to dry
  • Set up your tent – you’ll be sealing the seams on the inside side of the tent and the bottom of the fly sheet, so it’s simpler if you flip the fly sheet inside out so that it’s easier to get to the seams
  • And To clean the seams, carefully apply rubbing alcohol to a soft cloth or sponge and gently work it in, eliminating any portions that are flaking off
  • Apply the seam sealer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Always use the appropriate type of seam sealer — polyurethane-coated materials require a different type of seam sealer than silicone-treated materials. Allow for drying

Tip: Even if only a little portion of the seam is allowing water to enter or seems worn, it is recommended that you reproof as many of the seams as possible to ensure your safety. Repairing broken or falling apart seams is necessary if the garment is to be used again.

How to re-apply the urethane coating

Due to the possibility of flaking off of the urethane coating over time, it is recommended that you replace any flakes that you see anyplace under or near the rainfly or on the tent’s floor.

  • Prepare the material on a dry, flat surface by laying it out
  • Remove the flaky portions with care by scrubbing them off. Apply a thin layer of tent sealant in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Again, be certain that you choose the appropriate sort of sealant for your tent. Allow for a minimum of 24 hours of drying time.

How to re-apply the DWR coating

The DWR (durable water repellent) is responsible for causing water to bead up on the outside of your flysheet and preventing it from soaking in.

  • Ascertain that the exterior of your tent’s flysheet is clean, and if required, spritz it down with water – you don’t need to wait for it to dry
  • Spray the tent fly with a waterproofing spray and distribute it evenly. Any excess coating should be removed using a gentle, wet cloth. Allow for drying

Waterproofing a polycotton tent

It is worth mentioning that when it comes to waterproofing, polycotton and canvas tents are a little different from conventional tents. Despite the fact that they have a water-repellent covering, they must be weathered before they can be used. This is due to the fact that there are little holes where they have been sewn, which might allow water to seep through. By lightly hosing down the canvas, the weave tightens up and the cloth swells, making the tent more water-resistant.

Don’t rely on the weather

Although you may be convinced that you will have wonderful weather for the duration of your camping vacation, it is always a good idea to make sure your tent is adequately waterproofed. You are unsure whether the weather will suddenly change or whether you will be forced to divert and camp somewhere with less favorable weather conditions. You should also be wary of dew on your tent in the early morning hours. It is possible for dew to seep through your tent if it is not water resistant.

You may need more than one coat

If you know that the weather is going to be unusually severe, or has the potential to be so, it may be worthwhile to apply an additional waterproofing coat to be on the safe side, just in case. Allow your tent to dry completely after applying the first coat before proceeding with the second.

Check your groundsheet

If your groundsheet isn’t up to par, this might be a contributing factor to water entering your tent. Water may be kept out of a tent by using a bathtub-shaped groundsheet that has been sewed into it. The groundsheet becomes a part of the tent and the sides are turned up.

Check the tent waterproof rating

This is determined by the tent’s waterproof rating, commonly known as the hydrostatic head (HH), which determines how watertight a tent is. The hydrostatic head indicates the maximum depth of a column of water that the tent can endure before it begins to leak through the sides and bottom. Using the example above, a tent with a 4,000mm height headroom (HH) would be able to hold a column of water 4,000mm deep. As you may guess, the hydrostatic head waterproof ratings of various tents vary widely as well.

Hopefully, you now have a thorough understanding of how to re-proof a tent, and you will be prepared for not just the upcoming camping season, but also anything the British weather throws at you in the future.

If you believe that your tent is beyond repair, Winfields has the most recent models from the most reputable companies, ensuring that you will discover the perfect home away from home for you and your family. More camping and tenting basics may be found by clicking on the links below.

Should You Waterproof a New Tent? (How to Do It and Why)

Have you ever questioned whether or not you should waterproof a brand new tent before putting it to use? Because I’ve had some negative experiences with new tents in the past, I now make it a point to waterproof them before putting them to use for the first time. It is recommended that you waterproof new tents before using them for the first time. Typically, rainfly and floor seams require more sealant, and errors in the manufacturing process might result in leaks at other seams as a result. The addition of UV and rain protection will also help to extend the life of the tent’s fabric.

Does a New Tent Need to be Waterproofed?

Waterproofing a new tent should be one of the first things you do before putting it to use in the wilderness. Using this method, you may correct any errors in the sealing procedure that were introduced by the manufacturer. It also allows you to check it before releasing it into the wild. In the future, newer tents will almost certainly be tape sealed on the inside. The term refers to the process of sewing a waterproof tape into the inside seams of a tent’s seams. The seams do not need to be sealed unless there is a visible flaw in the construction of the seams.

According to my observations, they aren’t generally sealed quite as well as they should.

How to Seal the Rainfly and Floor Seams

Increasing the seal on the rainfly and floor is a rather simple process. To begin, turn the tent and rainfly inside out and inside out again. It’s possible to totally reveal a seam once the tent has been turned inside out by spreading the material apart. Allow the sealant to cure completely after brushing it onto the seam in an equal application. If possible, work in a well-ventilated environment because sealants typically contain a high concentration of chemicals that you should avoid breathing in while working.

If the tent has been used or if there is something on the seal, clean it first.

Coleman Seam Sealer is a product that we endorse.

How Often Should You Waterproof a Tent?

Some individuals believe that you never need to waterproof a tent, while others believe that you need do it at least once a year. What’s the genuine answer to this question? I’m somewhere in the middle of the two. Unless the tent begins to leak, you will not need to waterproof it again if you have already waterproofed the floor seams and rainfly when you purchase it. Tents that are more than ten years old are still in excellent condition and withstand the elements without issue. Unless you’re experiencing difficulties, I’d recommend saving money and not worrying about waterproofing your tent beyond the first time.

Why Tents Leak

During the manufacturing process, tents are sewed together to form a whole. The needles create holes in the seams, which can allow water to seep in. Tents are often sealed from the inside using tape to prevent leaks from occurring in the major portions of the tent. Please remember that not all tents are water-resistant.

Some of the most inexpensive tents are typically referred to as “water-resistant.” As a result, they are only capable of withstanding a mild misting, and not much more. It is important to seek for a dent with a higher MM grade to ensure that it will not leak.

How Waterproof Should a Tent Be?

During the production process, tents are sewed together. The needles create holes in the seams, which can allow water to seep through. Tents are often sealed from the inside with a piece of tape that seals the major sections of the tent. Be aware that not all tents are water-resistant. Tents that are “water-resistant” are usually found among the most affordable models. As a result, they are only capable of withstanding a mild misting, and nothing more. If you want to be confident that your denture won’t leak, seek for one with a higher MM rating.

Don’t Confuse Condensation for a Leak

Just because the inside of your tent is damp does not necessarily imply that it is leaking! In most cases, condensation will be the source of the water forming within your tent. When heated wet air comes into contact with a colder surface, condensation occurs. When you’re inside your tent, this is something that happens all the time. It is possible that the moist air that you are inhaling will come into touch with the colder sides of your tent, resulting in condensation forming on your tent’s walls and roof.

The fact that you have a small amount of condensation building up on the inside of your tent is not the end of the world, but it’s good to keep things dry when there’s no reason to be bothered with it.

  1. Make sure your tent is well ventilated by rolling back the rain fly or leaving the vestibule entrance unlocked. Instead of accumulating within your tent, this allows the warm, humid air to exit from your tent and leave. Wet Clothing or Shoes Should Be Removed– If possible, dry your wet clothing and shoes outside of the tent while you are camping. Keeping them inside raises the humidity level in the house. Cooking and boiling water should be done outside of your tent– There are several situations in which cooking and boiling water inside your tent may seem like a good idea. This will result in a significant amount of condensation on the interior of your tent as a result of the warm damp air being forced directly into your tent. Avoid Camping Near Bodies of Water– Areas near bodies of water, such as lakes, streams, rivers, and other bodies of water, have greater humidity levels. If you camp near these bodies of water, you’ll have to deal with more condensation than you would if you were camping in a different location. If possible, avoid putting your tent in a low spot. – Cool air condenses in the valleys and valley bottoms of the terrain. Due to this, the walls of your tent become colder, resulting in increased condensation.
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Whatever you can do to keep wet air out will be beneficial in the long term.

Adding a Tarp to Keep Water Out of Your Tent

The most effective approach to use a tarp to keep your tent dry is dependent on where you’re camping and how much rain there is. If you’re in a forested location, you should consider using a ground cover of some sort. Using a tarp is simple; simply put it down before erecting your tent and fold the edges under the tent on all four sides to keep the elements out of your tent. You’ll avoid the problem of groundwater seeping into your tent and the rain collecting on the tarp and pouring directly under your tent.

The sand will absorb the water, preventing it from accumulating under your tent or in your sleeping bag.

When it comes to camping, I believe this is the finest application for a tarp.

This entails considering the direction of the wind in order to prevent windblown rain from reaching your tent.

Waterproofing a Tent Floor

If you use your tent frequently, you may find that the urethane covering has begun to flake off. If you see this happening, you’ll need to reapply the urethane coating to the surface. The process of waterproofing a tent floor is almost as simple as sealing the seams. All that’s left is to clean everything up before applying the new layer of paint. Simply cleaning with a rough substance (such as the back of a sponge or scotch brite) together with alcohol and a tent sealant appropriate for your particular type of material will suffice to get this job done (Either silicone-treated fabric or polyurethane-coated fabric).

Then, following the directions on the container, apply the fresh sealant. It’s really that simple. Make sure the floor has had at least 24 hours to dry before putting it back together.

Related Questions

What is the most effective method of waterproofing a tent? The quickest and most straightforward method of waterproofing a tent is to follow these steps:

  • All of the tent’s surfaces should be cleaned and resealed. Floor and rainfly should have their urethane coatings redone. Apply a fresh coat of DWR (durable water repellent) on the outside of the tent. Allow for drying time between each stage.

Is it possible to waterproof the interior of a tent? On the interior of the tent, you apply a sealer to the seams and a urethane coating to the floor, and on the exterior of the tent, you apply DWR (durable water repellent). You don’t want to use the DWR on the interior of the tent since it will cause it to rot.

Do I Need to Waterproof My Tent? (Important Tips)

The subject of whether or not you should waterproof your tent is one that is frequently questioned. And, to be quite honest, it’s a fantastic question. It’s a question you should ask yourself (and answer) on a daily basis before embarking on a camping trip of any kind. Learn how to detect whether your tent needs waterproofing (for both new and old tents), how to properly waterproof it, and more in this article.


Tents are intended to shield you from the elements, including the sun, snow, rain, and other precipitation. The capacity of a tent to repel water accounts for a portion of its overall protective properties. When the waterproof coating begins to dissolve or wear away, the tent’s ability to shield you from the elements diminishes significantly. Even if you take extra special care of your tent, the waterproof covering will ultimately begin to crust and fade over time, regardless of how well you maintain it.

How Long Do Tents Stay Waterproof?

The following factors influence the length of time a tent’s waterproofing characteristics will last:

  • The frequency with which it is employed
  • A measure of the length of time it is exposed to direct sunlight
  • How nicely it was taken care of. If it has been cleaned correctly
  • The first Hydrostatic Headrating of the tent

And so forth. There is no quantitative formula that can be used to determine when the waterproofing characteristics of a material will begin to wear away. Simply assume that they will. For more information, seeHow Long Does Tent Waterproofing Last for more information.

What About New Tents?

Even some new tents will require additional waterproofing to be applied to them in order to function properly. This is very dependent on the waterproof rating of your new tent, whether or not it has any flaws, and the sort of weather you want to camp in during your trip. Always remember that the majority of new tents will have a waterproof covering with a minimum strength of 3000 HH. This will keep water away from your tent during most rainstorms, light snow, and any dew that may collect on your tent’s surface.

  1. A fabric’s hydrostatic head (abbreviated as HH) is a precise measurement of the amount of water that it can reject.
  2. You can get a higher or lower HH rating for your tent than 3000 depending on the individual tent you have.
  3. As a result, it’s possible that you’ll need to waterproof it.
  4. Let’s have a look.

Do I Need to Waterproof My Tent?

To determine whether or not you require tent waterproofing, it is important to test the tent.

This is true whether the tent is brand new or an old one that has seen better days. To put the test into action, simply follow these steps:

  1. Create a clean, flat place for your tent to be set up outside. Close the tent’s entrances and windows to keep the elements out. Set up the vestibule and rainfly as necessary. Make use of your outdoor hose by attaching it to a spray nozzle
  2. Spray the tent with water

Recommendation: When you turn on the water, don’t direct it to a certain location. Create the illusion of a rain shower by directing the stream upwards and allowing it to softly fall on the tent to maintain uniformity. Any type of water leaks in your tent indicates that it has to be waterproofed immediately.

How to Waterproof a Tent

Waterproofing your tent is easy and may be accomplished in three simple steps. To complete the project, you will just require cleaning supplies (dish soap and a sponge), seam sealant, and tent waterproofing spray.

Step 1: Clean Your Tent

Clean your tent well before applying the seam sealant and waterproofing spray. Remove any dirt and filth from the tent before proceeding. Prepare to clean a tent by erecting it outdoors in your yard and bringing out some soap (dish soap will suffice), an absorbent sponge, and, if desired a soft cleaning implement such as a toothbrush. Identify problem spots on the fabric that need to be spot cleaned, such as regions where dirt or mold has crusted or discoloured the fabric. For further information on how to clean a moldy tent, consult our guide on how to clean a tent with mold, which outlines the necessary measures to take.

After spot cleaning, fully wash the entire tent with water and dish soap, scrubbing it with a soft sponge to remove any remaining dirt.

After you’ve soaped up your tent, make sure to properly rinse it.

If this is not the case, you can leave your tent damp and move on to step 3.

Step 2: Apply Adhesive Sealant to the Seams

Typically, the seams of a tent are the first area where water begins to leak into the tent. We do not advocate missing the process of sealing the seams with a high-quality sealant since it is equally as crucial as waterproofing the tent fabric. There are a variety of seam sealers available on the market, but you should look for one that is quick to bind, watertight, flexible, and dries clear when applied. Gear Aid – Seam Grip WP Sealant Adhesive is the adhesive we recommend for this job. If your sealer does not come with an applicator, you may simply distribute it across the seams using a brush.

Step 3: Protect the Tent and Rainfly With a Waterproofing Spray

Check the material of your tent before purchasing a waterproofing spray to ensure that you are purchasing the correct product. Tents made of nylon and polyester require a different type of waterproofing spray than tents made of cotton or canvas. If you have a polyester or nylon tent, we recommend using Nikwax TentGear Solarproof to keep it protected from the sun. When it comes to cotton or canvas tents, Nikwax Cotton Proof is the product to use.

The method you use to apply the waterproofing spray may vary depending on the product you choose and the type of material used to construct the tent. With Nikwax TentGear Solarproof, on the other hand, the procedure is incredibly straightforward:

  1. Set up your tent on a flat, clean area that is free of debris. You’ll also need to waterproof the rainfly, so place it on the ground next to the tent while you’re at it. Additionally, if you employ an atent footprint, you may protect it against water infiltration as well
  2. Using a hose, thoroughly wet the whole exterior of the tent
  3. Apply the waterproofing spray to the whole exterior of your tent as well as the rainfly of your tent. Using a towel, wipe away any excess drops.

Finally, allow your tent to dry completely before putting it away in its storage space. For additional details, please see our tutorial on how to waterproof a tent in three simple stages for more information.


The majority of new tents will be waterproofed at the manufacturing facility. In certain cases, the waterproof rating may be inadequate, and/or there may be minor faults in the seams or fabric that enable water to seep through. To determine whether or not you need to waterproof a new tent, set it up in the yard and sprinkle it down with a hose to see how it responds. If water seeps through the cracks, you’ll need to waterproof the area.

How often should you waterproof your tent?

You should only waterproof your tent when it is absolutely necessary. By evaluating its waterproofing qualities, you can determine whether or not it needs to be re-waterproofed. As previously said, set up your tent in the backyard and spray it off with a garden hose before heading out. If it starts to leak, you’ll have to waterproof it.

What should I use to waterproof my tent?

You can waterproof your tent with a waterproofing spray that you can get over-the-counter. We recommend the Nikwax TentGear Solarproof, which is available in a variety of colors and sizes. The tent is not only properly waterproofed, but it also has added UV protection, which helps to extend the life of the tent by preventing the sun’s destructive rays from entering. Tent Hacker is made possible by donations from readers. It is possible that purchasing through links on our site will result in us receiving an affiliate commission.

How often do I need to seal my tent?

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. Okay, first and foremost, I must dispel a common misconception: your tent will not survive indefinitely, no matter what you do. In fact, depending on how much sun exposure your tent had last summer, it may already be reaching the middle of its tent-life expectancy period. UV light, dampness, and grit are all factors that cause the nylon and polyester fibers of a tent to break down.

It was on that long-ago Rainier climb that I packed my treasured, but very old, Swedish climbing tent, which I’ll never forget.

In any case, when it comes to seam sealing, it should only be done when it is absolutely essential, which should not be too often.

As long as they’re in good condition, everything is OK.

If that were to happen, my first step would be to bring it back to Marmot and have them re-tape the seams since I believe that using an after-market sealer would be a waste of time and resources.

Kenyon manufactures a product called Recoat 3 that is specifically made for this purpose.

What can you do to guarantee that your tent lasts as long as possible?

One, keep it out of the sun as much as possible; if possible, place it in the shade of a tree.

Two, maintain it as clean as possible. After each usage, sponge-mop the areas that have become unclean. Three, keep it as dry as possible. Keep it in a ventilated cotton bag to keep it from getting too hot. It should also never be dried inside of a clothes dryer.

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