How To Waterproof A tent: Getting a Cozy Sleeping Space When Hiking

If you are out camping, once you set up your tent, the last thing you would wish to hear is the sound of water dripping into that little cozy resting space that you made for yourself. This would most definitely pass for a deal breaker.

Thankfully, before you get there, I would love to help. I want to give you one of the best ways to keep water out of your tent. If you follow every point that I am going to give you, you will get the coziest sleep every night at the camp.

How to Waterproof a Tent

I must admit that waterproofing your tent is actually not tricky at all. There are a number of methods that you can use including these.

  • Sealing the seams
  • Refreshing urethane coatings
  • Refreshing durable water repellent (DWR) coating

Sealing the Tent’s Seams

Quite a number of tents will come with their seams already sealed. But with wear and tear, the sealant will still wear out.

When this happens, your tent will start to leak. If this is the case with your camping tent, applying a seam sealer will easily help to keep the moisture or water from seeping through and giving you a cold and very uncomfortable night sleep.

If you inspect your tent and find out that the seams are leaking, here is the best thing that you should do.

Step I: Preparation

Get a rag, some rubbing alcohol, a seam sealer, and a drop cloth. Make sure that the sealer is the right type for your tent and if possible, the one that’s recommended in the user manual.  Remember that unlike the polyurethane-coated fabric tents that most people have and which will use any form of sealer silicone-treated fabric tents will take very different sealers.

In case you are unsure of what fabric type your tent comes in, I suggest contacting the manufacturer to confirm.

Step II: How to Seal the Seam​​​​

Sealing the seams won’t eat up your time at all. In order to seal the seams once again, here is what you should do:

  • Set up your tent to dry (this can be done on a sunny spot or even a brightly lit room)
  • Set the tent with the fly on the inside out.
  • Examine the tent while keeping more focus on the seams of your tent.
  • If you see any lose seam tape on the underside, remove the peeled sections gently.
  • Prepare the seams (gently clean the seams with a rag dipped in rubbing alcohol).
  • Apply your new seam sealer around the seams. Make sure you work on all seams
  • Once you have applied the seam sealer in every corner, allow it to dry.

NOTE: Seams are always sealed from the underside of the fly. When peeling off falling areas, do not peel off areas that still intact.

Refreshing Urethane Coatings

While inspecting your seals before applying the sealant, it is important that you also examine the whole tent. And if you get to notice some substance flaking off from your tent in the inside of the rainfly then you need to buy a new urethane coating and apply.

Technically, the urethane coating that you will find from the inside of the tents and on the floor of the tent are the tent’s primary barrier when it comes to rain.

To refresh the coatings get a sponge that has an abrasive side, rubbing alcohol, and the right tent sealant (usually recommended by the manufacturer).  

Then lay out your rainfly and the tent on a flat surface preferably the floor. Start by gently scrubbing off the previous coating using the sponge that has been dipped into the rubbing alcohol.

Once the process is done, you will apply a thin layer of the coat of your new tent sealant to the entire tent floor. Make sure all the areas that you need are covered before allowing the new coating to dry for about 24 hours. If you find that the tent has properly dried, you can then pack it in.

A great tip when refreshing urethane coatings is to wash your hands properly after handling these coatings as it reduces any forms of exposure to the chemicals that are flame retardant.

waterproofing tent

Refreshing Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Coating

Finally, the last process when looking for how to waterproof a tent is to refresh the tent’s Durable Water Repellent (DWR) Coating. This simple process will help your tent’s rainfly to shed out water easily instead of holding it.

You will need the following to see this plan through.

  • Waterproof spray
  • A clean, damp cloth
  • Water

Once you prepare the waterproof spray, you should set up your rainfly by spreading it flat on the floor. Then spray down your rainfly using clean water before applying the waterproof spray evenly on the exterior of the tent’s rainfly.

Let the rainfly stay in the same position for some minutes before you take the damp cloth to wipe off excess coatings. You can now allow the tent to dry properly before you pack it in the bag for storage.

NOTE: Waterproofing your tent will help to boost the lifespan of your tent. It will help you to enjoy a reliable tent that leaves you with the most memorable camping experiences once you hit the outdoors.

Care and Maintenance Tips for Tents

In order to prevent any forms of damages on your tent, it is important that you actually take proper care of your tent. To do so, there are a number of things that can always be of great help to you. Let me mention some of the most common ones.

Read the User Manual First

Always read the user manual and instructions of use so that you use your tent in the right way. User manuals are usually included for a reason; and while you might choose to ignore, they could easily save you a lot of money.

Be Gentle with Delicate Areas

In case you are using the zippers, you should be very gentle. The same applies to your tent poles. This will prevent them from getting broken or possibly damaged at the tent’s edges. Remember, it doesn’t cost you a thing to be gentle.

Have a Tent Washing Plan in Place

Because the tent will catch dirt, dust, and stains, it is important to have a routine washing plan to help maintain the tents color and also prevent it from becoming a health hazard too. When washing your tent use mild detergents.

Do Not Store Your Tent While Still Wet

Again never store your tent without folding it properly or while wet. A wet tent will weaken the fabric and leave you with one that has the lowest resistance. No one would love to spend their money only to waste it by making the wrong choice.

Don’t Machine Wash/ Dry Your Tent

You should also never wash your tent with a machine or dry it with a machine either. A washer such as a top loader will easily stretch your tent fabric out of shape. It can also damage the mesh and the seams.

Driers can also leave you with the same results. They can easily generate too much heat that will expand your tent and leave it out of shape.

Wash Your Tent Manually in Mild Detergent

The best thing to do is to wash your tent manually and then hang it out to dry. Avoid the harsh detergents that you might have at home including bleaches, spot removers, and perfumed home products as this will damage the tent’s durable water repellant coating.

Keep It Away From Sharp Objects

Finally, laying your tent over uneven areas, areas with pebbles, stones, twigs, or sharp objects can easily damage the tent. These sharp objects might prick, tear, or scratch your tent leaving it with a bad finish and quite an unattractive look.

Be wary of the camping areas that you visit and more importantly, always make sure that you clear out an area before you can lay down your tent for the night. It will easily leave you with a smooth and comfortable sleep.

NOTE: Being extremely gentle with delicate areas such as the tent’s floor and fly will help your tent to enjoy some of the most ideal care tips. It will allow you to easily keep dust away and maintain the radiance of your tent every single day.

how to waterproof a tent

Conclusion:  If you are looking at the most ideal way on how to waterproof a tent I suggest going with any of the top three tips that we have given you here. They are basically easy to understand and you won’t have to spend so much time around any of them.

Nonetheless, you should remember that paying attention to the proper care and maintenance tips is what will save you from having to spend so much fixing the damages in your tent. So, it is important to clean your tent, store properly, and always carry out a routine checkup whenever possible.

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