by Kevin

October 29, 2021

How to Waterproof a Tent

Long are when people had to put poles at the middle to support then spread a breathable fabric over it to create a shade while camping or doing outdoor activities. 

Thanks to the growth of technology, polyesters, textiles, and other materials have helped create tents that serve an essential purpose in our day-to-day lives. Tents have been in use for quite some time now, and several issues get raised concerning the use, maintenance, and the best ways to create waterproof on worn-out tents. 

To anyone owning a tent and dealing with leakage seams on the tents, this article will give you tips and the best ways to solve the misery – how to waterproof a tent. With this, you will have a chance to enjoy your shade in sunny and rainy seasons without having any worries. 

Bearing in mind as time goes by, even the new tents will wear out, but your tents will serve you for a very long time due to good maintenance that brings about having waterproof tents. 

Depending on the intended purpose, tents come in different forms, such as shapes, sizes, and designs. Below are a few different types of tents used for outdoor activities and the best way for their maintenance and tent waterproofing:

Types of Tents

Types of Tents to Waterproof

1) Dome Tent

These are the most common types that have a dome shape. It’s made of two poles crossing each other in the middle and bending to each end of the tent.

It has a rainfly at the top that protects the users from rain and sun. It has a rounded edge, which ensures that the shower is not held at the top of the tent, leading to breakage.

Pros:

  • The tent is lighter than other tents;
  • Has ample space;
  • Designed in a way that it keeps dirt and rain outside.

Cons:

  • It tends to break quickly on harsh winds;
  • Limited on the number of people it can hold at a time.

2) A-frame or Wedged Tents

This type of tent was widespread back in the day, but its popularity has dramatically decreased recently. It is a simple type of tent, and just like the name, it is an A-shaped tent.

The tents were made of canvas and had a steel pole at the middle that supported the tent. It has a support structure between two bars at the center, giving the tent its unique look, referred to as the wedge.

Pros:

  • Its setup is easy;
  • It is surprisingly very stable;
  • It comes in a variety of sizes to choose from.

Cons:

  • It is heavy to carry;
  • Not spacious due to its shape;
  • It is bulky when packed.
Ways to Waterproof Tents

3) Multi-Room Tent

It is a unique type of tent that has multi-rooms within it. The primary purpose is to ensure that privacy is considered. The tent can have up to a maximum of 5 rooms.

Pros:

  • It has many rooms thus plenty of space;
  • Privacy is encouraged.

Cons:

  • The tent is heavy and bulky;
  • The setup is challenging due to its size.

Backpacking tent

In cases where much long-distance trekking is involved, one must carefully consider a tent that makes the activity easy and can withstand all kinds of weather.

A backpacking tent is the best choice due to its small size, lightweight, simple set-up, and durability due to the tent’s materials; hence, it can withstand all weather changes. Learn how to pack light for backpacking so you have enough space for a backpacking tent.

Pros:

  • It is easy to set up;
  • Made of durable materials;
  • Less bulky due to its small size.

Cons:

  • Light materials hence can be blown easily by the wind;
  • Limited capacity as it is small in size;
  • It can only hold a limited number of people at a time.

Tents vary in different size, weight, shape, and durability. Depending on the activity you engage in, you should carefully choose a tent that meets your requirements. Due to their outdoor purposes, tents are made of solid materials to ensure reliability and efficiency in all weather conditions. 

Ways to Waterproof a Tent

Tents, just like houses, need comfort since they provide shelter, and a leaking tent does not guarantee that. When people are out doing activities, they need to get assured of good cover and protection in the tents provided. 

No one wants to sleep in a tent that drips water when it rains; therefore, we have provided some tips to ensure that the tent remains waterproof, thus providing comfort and confidence to the end-user. We will give you three options to on how to waterproof a tent:

Tips on Ways to Maintain Tents

Option 1: Sealing Tent Seams

Tents come with seals that wear out after some time. Having made all the plans to experience some memorable time while camping, a worn-out seam would be the last thing you wish to have in such a scenario. In case a Sealant wears out, it lets water in, causing leakage in the tents. Should I seam seal a tent after it leaks? YES, as it can be solved.

Having a leaky seam is not the end of a tent, and the fact that no one can prefer sleeping in a puddle, repairing the worn-out seam would be the only option left. Sealing increases the life span of a tent while in use.

Here are some of the things you will need to ensure effectiveness in sealing:

  • A rag or cloth;
  • Rubbing alcohol/spirit;
  • A seam sealer.

The step-by-step process on how to seal seams:

Step 1: Ensure that the tent is put up in a dry, brightly lit room to quickly examine all of the seams. The seam gets sealed inside out of the fly and the inner part of the tent. For ease of access while sealing, turn the tent inside out.

Step 2: If the seam tape loosens, slowly and gently remove the peeling sections and retain the entire area.

Step 3: Prep the seams by cleaning them with a cloth and rubbing spirits/alcohol.

Step 4: Put on the new seam sealer to the damaged seams.

Step 5: If one seam fails means that the other seams will also fail sooner or later; hence it is wise to apply the sealer to all the seams.

Step 6: Let the new seam sealer dry completely effectively.

Waterproofing a Tent

Refreshing the Urethane Coating on the Tent

Have you noticed stuff that is flaking off from the inside of your tent? If the answer is yes, then it is high time to apply a new urethane coating that acts as a primary moisture barrier in the tent thus works as waterproof.

What you need to refresh the urethane coating on a tent:

  • Rubbing alcohol;
  • Tent sealer (which must be the right type for your tent. If unsure, consult your tent manufacturer);
  • A cloth or sponge with a coarse side.

A step-by-step process on how to apply the tent sealant:

  1. Put your rainfly or tent floor flat and gently brush off the flaking coating using the rubbing alcohol and the sponge.
  2. Smear a thin coating of the tent sealant to the tent floor or the whole fly as per the directions on the sealant bottle.
  3. Before packing the tent, wait for the new coating to dry for at least 24 hours.
  4. Wash your hands after handling coated tent fabrics to avoid exposure to flame retardant chemicals.

Refresh the DWR on a Tent

A durable water repellent (DWR) ensures that the tent or the rainfly sheds the water. If the rainwater is not beading on the fly anymore, the DWR needs to be changed or refreshed.

What you need:

  • A clean, damp cloth;
  • Clean water;
  • A spray-on water repellent product.

Here’s how to apply the waterproof spray:

  1. Set up the tent for the application and spray down the rainfly with clean water (in the situation that you just washed the tent, you don’t have to wait until it dries for you to spray with the new DWR coating).
  2. On the exterior of the rainfly, apply the waterproof spray.
  3. After some minutes, take the clean damp cloth and wipe off any excess layer.
  4. Ensure that the tent dries entirely before packing it away.
How to waterproof your tent

Tips on Ways to Maintain Tents

  • Always clean your tent after use to prevent the accumulation of mud or dust.
  • Dry your tent correctly after use to prevent the creation of molds in moist areas.
  • If the waterproof wear out, treat the tent with a vinegar mixture and a teaspoon full of a soap dish.
  • After cleaning and drying to remove the moisture, store the tent in a loose bag or spacious and breathable area free from sharp objects.

Final Thoughts on How to Waterproof a Tent

Having a good waterproof tent is as good as having a good roof for the house since they both serve the purpose of shelter.

Therefore, an excellent waterproof tent that is free from rain leakage gives you an exceptional outdoor experience and comfort since you do not worry about any climatic change. 

As the saying says, a “stitch in time saves nine,” the tips discussed above on how to waterproof the tents will significantly increase the durability of the tents and ensure that you have a great experience using the tents.

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About the author 

Kevin

Kevin loves bouldering. Mainly because he can practice it alone without considering other people. Although he rediscovered this hobby in the last three years, the boulders turned out to be his most visited landmarks.

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