There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and seeing a pool of water inside your tent while you’re out camping. Even if your tent is brand new, there’s still a chance of leaking. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your tent is of poor quality, but even if it is, you can easily fix that. Your best bet is getting a tent waterproofing spray to reinforce your tent’s waterproofness at a low cost.
However, keep in mind that there’s a difference between a waterproof, water-resistant and water repellent tent. You can think of all these labels as levels.
- A water-resistant tent is made of tightly knitted fabrics that create a barrier. Water has a harder time seeping through tight-knit fabrics, such as synthetic plastics than loose-knit fabrics, like polycotton or canvas. However, even polycotton and canvas tents can be reinforced to improve their water protection levels.
- A water-repellent tent offers superior protection than a water-resistant tent, and it basically means that besides the natural water-resistance of the tent, a layer of water repellent is added to the exterior surface. You can think of the repellent as your duck features. There’s an old saying that goes “like water off a duck’s back”, and that’s precisely what a water repellent does.
- Waterproof tents provide the best protection. Although nothing can truly be 100% waterproof, a well-built tent that’s reinforced with a tent waterproofing spray can come pretty close. Waterproof tents are usually made of sturdier fabrics, feature a bathtub groundsheet and a well-developed rain fly. They are capable of withstanding continuous rain and heavy pressure for longer than a water-resistant and water repellent tent would.
How Can You Make a Tent More Waterproof Than It Already Is?
Well, as briefly aforementioned, you can apply a sealant or a waterproof spray. However, before you apply an extra layer of sealant, you need to properly clean the tent, and apply a layer of isopropyl alcohol, in order to ensure a smooth application of the sealant. And while most tents come with a layer of DWR (durable water repellent), the layer can wear off as a result of many external factors, so you might need to retouch it. Typically, you won’t need more than a single good coat, but if you want to make sure the tent is optimally protected, apply two coats. However, the second coat shouldn’t be applied until the first one is fully dried.
How to Waterproof a Tent With Spray?
It’s relatively simple. Set the tent up and spray the rainfly with clean water. If you’ve already washed the tent, you don’t have to wait for it to dry before you apply the spray. After you’ve applied the spray, give it a couple of minutes and wipe off any excess coating with a damp cloth. Once you’ve done that, just let it dry completely before packing it in your trunk for your next adventure.
When using a waterproof tent spray, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area. Ideally, you’ll do it in your yard on a dry, warm day. Some campers waterproof their tents on the campsite, and that’s the preferred solution for those who don’t have enough yard space to pitch up their tent at home.
How Long Does Tent Waterproofing Last?
This will heavily depend on how you use and store the tent. You need to make sure the tent isn’t stored in direct sunlight or a hot area. Instead, you want to store it in a dry, cool place, and you want the tent to be dry before you store it as well. Further, don’t machine wash the tent, otherwise, you might strip the tent’s fabrics out of their protection. Instead, handwash the tent with some clean water and a piece of cloth. If you’re looking to give the tent some deeper cleaning, don’t scrub too hard, because that would just remove the protective layers. If you must scrub, however, make sure you re-proof the tent with a spray.
Your tent needs re-waterproofing if you notice that water doesn’t bead on the surface anymore, you’re experiencing leakage, and layers start to show signs of peeling. You can do this every time you go camping, but most experienced campers suggest that refreshing the waterproofness of the tent should be done after about a dozen heavy uses.
Keeping the tent well-ventilated is also essential to prolonging its waterproofness. Even the condensation from the moisture of your breath can affect the waterproofness. So unless there’s heavy rain pouring through the ventilation portals, you want to keep them open. If it’s raining, you can close them, but make sure you open them as soon as it stops raining. Not only will this help minimise condensation, but it will also help keep you cool.