How Do You Waterproof a Tent?

In all the outdoor activities, there are some pieces of gear that are as vital as a shelter. Nonetheless, everything wears out with time, including rain jackets and tents with water-repellant coatings. Eventually, the apparel begins to leak, but you will be too busy to notice until one day you wake up amidst a storm and realize that you have been sleeping in a puddle. To avoid such an embarrassing incident, you need to equip yourself with skills on how to maintain your tent and keep it waterproof. By just taking care of the tent, you will have achieved a great milestone in keeping your tent waterproof.

Waterproof a Tent

When oils and dirt accumulate on the waterproof fabric, they tend to destroy it, thus jeopardizing its effectiveness. Therefore, it is very vital to wash and dry the tent whenever you use it. In addition, it is vital to avoid stepping on it when it is on the ground, when you are taking it down and when setting it up. Here are some tips on how to repair a tent that is becoming soggy.

Don’t be Over-Reliant on the Weather.

You might be absolutely certain that the Weather will be absolutely great when you go camping. Even so, it is recommended that you confirm that your tent is waterproofed properly. You might not know if the Weather will change or if you will have to camp at another place with unfavorable Weather. Also, be mindful about morning dew, especially if you are using a tent that is not water-repellant because it might get wet.

Check the Tent’s Waterproofing Rating

The tent’s hydrostatic head, which refers to its waterproofing rating, indicates the degree to which the tent is waterproof. It indicates the depth of the water column that the tent can withstand before beginning to leak. For example, a 4000mm HG tent can withstand a 4000mm deep water column. The hydrostatic head for each tent is different. Tents with higher HH are more waterproof.

When to Re-Waterproof

You need to examine your tent and establish if it needs any repairs. Tents that are properly maintained through proper cleaning after use do not need maintenance every year.

However, there are varying reasons that may make your tent soggy without the need for repairs. Sometimes, water may collect under your tent, especially when there is a ground tap draining water under the tent. Your tent may also get soaked and destroyed by water when there is a fly that is sticking to the body of the tent, especially when proper stacking out has not been done on a double-walled tent. However, if there is no reason whatsoever, mainly when you have been doing your outdoor activities on a rocky and dusty place, this can be a sign that you need to waterproof your tent. The first step is to hand-wash the tent using a gentle soap and place it under shade to dry up. Identify the problems with your tent and address them each at a time.

The Seams

The seams in a tent are always taped in the factory. However, with time, the seam’s lamination chips or comes off, creating an avenue for water to get into the tent. The seams are part of the body in a single-walled tent, and they rest on the fly in a double-walled tent. You should use a silicone sealant designed to reseal tent seams such as Gear Aid’s Silnet. You will need to turn the fly or the tent inside out because the sealant has to be applied to the seam’s interior. If there is a peeling tape, you will have to remove it to create a space along the seam’s length where a thin layer of the sealant will be spread. The sealant layer should be about a millimeter thick. Moreover, it is vital to seal all the seams at once because the leaking one leads to delamination of the others. Give the sealant about 6 hours to cure under a shade. This will give your tent enough strength to serve you for years.

The Fly

Rips may develop on your tent’s fly; thus, you will need to examine every inch of it. You can use the waterproof Tenacious Tape or Gorilla Tape to seal them off if they exist. Patching the fly means that the tent regains its waterproofing abilities. Single-walled tents are mostly made of waterproof materials possibly made from Gore-Tex that may require you to use a component like Nikwax TX.Direct for technical waterproofing purposes.

Note that the application mode for every waterproofing agent is different; thus, you should read the instructions for use on every product. You can also waterproof tarps and flies using Nikwax SolarProof, which protects the fries from the sun’s damage and provides them with waterproofing ability. It involves spraying Nikwax over the seams, and then even it put using a sponge or piece of cloth. Make sure to wipe out the excess Nikwax. Give it enough time to dry before you can start using the tent again. Check the materials making up the tent before applying any waterproofing component to avoid damages on the fabric. Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield can be used on tents made up of nylon.

Ground Cloth or Tent Base

The ground cloth and the tent’s base are susceptible to wear and tear primarily because they are always in contact with the ground. Repairing these parts is the same as repairing a fly. It is vital to examine the parts carefully and repair the tears using the waterproof patch that is suitable for the material. A wash or spray can then be used to waterproof the fabric. Put the tent under a shade and allow it to dry with the fly off.

Waterproofing a Polycotton Tent

There is a difference between the regular tents and canvas or polycotton tents when waterproofing is concerned. Despite the fact that these tents have a water-repellant coating, weathering is required before they can be used. On the stitched areas, these tents have holes that may let water into the tent; thus, they require to be hosed down lightly, allowing the expansion and tightening of the material that makes it, thus improving its waterproof capabilities.


Tents are just like jackets. You need to know when to repair them before you can get soaked while wearing what you thought was your ultimate protection against rains. Therefore, it is essential to always check and repair damages on your tent to keep it waterproof. Make sure to check the material making up your tent and the right waterproofing component for that material before you can start patching it up. This helps avoid completely destroying your tent. Check the tent’s waterproofing rating, do not over-rely on the Weather, and always wash your tent after use. Always check the seams, the flies, and the base before you go camping.