A lot of us must be planning to have a little outdoor getaway into the woods. But these days one can never trust the weather. The sun might be shining bright upon us with a clear sky at one minute, but before you know it, there could be heavy rainfall. So having your tent waterproofed is necessary to make sure that you’re prepared for any sudden changes in the weather such as rain.
Most of the tents these days are already covered with some kind of waterproofing agent. To make sure that your camping experience doesn’t get ruined due to rain . But, these waterproofing agents can wear out over a period of time which could cause the water-repellent coating to tear up. These tiny little leaks wouldn’t catch an eye until the water comes pouring through it during a rainstorm. The best way to make sure that your tent is waterproofed is to apply a water spray on it. If there are parts in your tent where the water pours through, then you should get it waterproofed. You can apply a water spray from either side (from inside or outside) of the tent and it will give you the same results. Lets check out the best way to waterproof a tent
There are three places a tent leaks- through the seams, fabric and Rain Fly. The following aspects needs to be taken care of to make sure that your tent stays waterproofed throughout your trip:
- Seal the seams.
- Refresh the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating.
- Refresh the urethane coating.
Well you must be wondering about how to do all these things. So here is a detailed guide to make sure that you waterproof your tent properly before leaving for a camping adventure!
HOW TO SEAL THE SEAMS
Most of the tents these days have seals already seamed. So if you have recently bought a tent you have nothing to worry about. Yet, the lamination cover on these seams will wear off over the period of time which will allow the water to pour in during the rain. Thus, it is necessary to make sure that the seams are sealed properly.
Seams are the points at which two pieces of fabric are stitched together. It is the easiest way for the water to enter inside the tent. Sealing the seams is rather an easy task and it shouldn’t take more than 25-30 minutes. It’s the part where you have to let the tent dry which consumes most of the time. One must let the tent dry for not less than 7 to 8 hours.
You’ll need the following things to seal the seams:
- An old or tattered cloth
A sealant which is suitable for the fabric of your tent. (Different types of fabric need different types of sealant and it is necessary to choose the right type of sealant for your fabric. Make sure that your fabric doesn’t get damaged in the process. Most tents these days come with polyurethane-coated fabric. If you’re not sure about the type of the fabric that was used in the making of your tent, then you must contact your tent manufacturer before buying a sealant.)
- Rubbing alcohol
A small paintbrush (Usually all the sealants these days come with an applicator but if it’s missing, you can use a paintbrush to apply it.
- Safety gloves
Once you gather everything you need, you should find a nice spot where you can easily let the tent dry for hours. Waterproofing the tent indoors is better but it can only be done if you have enough space. But, waterproofing it outside is also not an issue. You just have to make sure that the tent can be left out to dry for hours once the process is completed.
Just follow these simple steps:
- Set up your tent in a room with enough lights or a dry, sunny spot outside which provides enough light to examine all the seams properly.
- If any of the seams are tearing apart, then you must apply a tape on the reverse side to hold the seams together. You cannot seal the seams until you apply the tape on the reverse side of the torn part or the seams. If the tear is severe, apply a second layer of sealant to make it durable.
- The seams will be sealed in the inner part of the tent body and on the underside of the fly. So, to get easier access to the seams, turn the fly sheet inside out.
- Now if there are any seal bits that are peeling off, remove them.
- Gently clean the seams by applying rubbing alcohol and a tattered cloth.
- Let the seams dry off properly before applying the sealant.
- Once the seams are cleaned and dried properly, apply the sealant using an applicator or the paintbrush.
Shop Seam Sealer from here.
REFRESH THE DWR (DURABLE WATER REPELLENT)
DWR stands for Durable Water Repellent sheds water from Rain Fly. Rain fly is a waterproof outer layer to be pitched above the Tent. The most effective way to spray water on rain fly and if drops of water are seen it’s a sign to apply Durable Water Repellent.
- Start by washing Rain Fly and there is no need to let it dry.
- Apply Water Repellent Spray on the Tent and leave for a few minutes.
- By using a warm cloth wipe off excess spray.
- Let it dry before you pack it off.
There are many water repellent sprays available in the market, let’s have a look at Top Picks-
Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent-
This is the best water repellent spray which can give two thick coating to a rain fly in a 10.50 ounce bottle. Also it can be used on other items too like Tent Fabrics, Outdoor Gear and shoes. It is available on any store and provides silicone based protection to the Tent.
Nikwax- Tent & Gear Waterproofing & Solar proofing Spray-
This spray serves both the purpose of rain and sun too. This spray also cleans dirt and grime from the material and can also be used on all the products tents, tarps, umbrellas and many others.
Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield-
This product suits well on nylon and polyester fabrics of Tents. This company has given other best seller products like Sticky Notes and Scotch Tapes. It comes in 10.5 ounce cans.
Atsko Silicone Water Guard-
It works for Tent which has been seam sealed. It too comes with a Silicone based protection and comes in 10.50 ounce aerosol. As per product specifications, it takes 72 hours to fully dry the tent so the tent needs to be assembled in a secured area for 72 hours.
Gear Aid Revivex Instant Waterproofing Spray-
Coming from brand Mcnett which also makes a favorite go to product seam sealer comes with silicon based protection and can also be used on paper maps. It comes in 5 ounce aerosol which can only be used in small tents. For bigger tents, 2 bottles will be needed.
REFRESH THE URETHANE COATING
Coating can peel off as the tent starts getting old. As soon as you observe flakes on the floor of the Tent or under the rain fly, it shows a need to apply a fresh coat. It works as a barrier to water entering the Tent.
- Apply Alcohol on the sponge and rub off the flakes from the Tent.
- Let it dry for a day or two.
- Take a bowl and pour sealant.
- Apply the coating of Tent Sealant on the Tent and make sure to wash your hands quickly as the sealant may contain harmful chemicals.
Things to avoid while Waterproofing-
- Never use a candle to check for any tears in the Tent as there are chances that the Tent can catch fire.
- You may have searched on the Internet. Grease can work as a barrier to water also it keeps water out but there are chances that the coating can be damaged.
- On fragile parts, Duct Tapes should not be applied.
Frequently Asked Questions-
At what interval Tent need a reproof?
To decide whether waterproofing is needed or not, there are two ways. First is to check whether there are any flakes in the Tent. And the second one is to water spray on the Tent and check whether it gets soaked at any place which shows a sign of reproofing.
How to waterproof inexpensive Tents?
Sometimes we buy camps for Family camping (Also a cheaper one) and we doubt whether it would survive in rainy weather. There is a solution to this also. We can get a basic tarp from a hardware store and hang on to the tent. Also we can use Nikwax Tent & Gear Waterproofing & Solar proofing Spray can be applied to the tent which is affordable and works in both rainy and sunny weather.
How many coats are required?
If we are going camping where there are chances of adverse weather conditions it is always advisable to apply double coating. But take a note let the first coat dry and then apply the next.
It seems it is difficult to take care of a tent and use it for years for many memorable adventures. Don’t worry it is not as difficult as it seems, once you get to know the correct way out it will be done easily. Hope this article has helped you to understand the method and get the best available products for the same. All these efforts will be fruitful as there is no better feeling than to walk down the woods on a rainy day and of course dance in rain.