Do Tents Need Waterproofing?

Camping is awesome. Spending a night outdoors can help you feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and reconnected to the world around you. That is if you’re dry. Lets find out the answer to the question do tents need waterproofing?

A wet night of camping can be one of the worst, longest experiences to get through. Being underprepared and having the wrong type of gear or worn-out equipment can turn a special night into a nightmare.

Your tent is your home away from home. It’s essential you have the right tent for the camping trip you’re planning. But no matter what type of camping you’re doing, no one wants a leaky tent.

Like all your outdoor gear, your tent will start out awesome, shiny and new, then degrade over time. Without care or maintenance, a tent will stop beading the water on the outside. You might see the waterproof coating flaking off, especially on old tents. Water will begin soaking through the panels or in at the seams.

Keeping your tent waterproof is easy. All it takes is some planning and a few pre-emptive actions to keep you dry and happy, sleeping outside.

How often do tents need waterproofing?

A new tent’s waterproofing should last for a few years, especially if it’s a good one. Practically all tents come with a good-quality waterproof coating on them from the factory.

The amount you’ll need to re-waterproof your tent depends on a few variables. The amount of camping, type of camping, and camping climate all contribute to how often you need to waterproof your tent.

Even if you’re a light, fair-weather camper, it’s still a good idea to waterproof your tent every two to three years.

A good rule of thumb is to waterproof your tent once a year, no matter how much you camp. A regular overhaul will make your tent last a lot longer.

Inspect your tent before going camping. Try to do it a couple of days before you leave. Then, if you do notice any signs of failure, you’ll have time to waterproof your tent and let it dry completely.

Can you waterproof a tent from the inside?

Applying a seam sealer to the inside of your tent can help increase its waterproofing. Most seam sealers come in a tube of glue-like gel that you apply directly to the seam—applying sealer to the seams to help moisture coming through.

You can spray waterproof coating on the inside of your tent, but this is often unnecessary. Rain will hit the outside of your tent, so focus on applying any waterproof coating to the outer sheet of your tent.

Remember to waterproof your tent outdoors. The liquids, sprays, and gels tend to be pretty intense chemicals, so try to do it in a well-ventilated setting. You’ll want to leave your tent set up for at least a day or two, so take a look at the forecast to get a couple of days of continuous dry weather.

Before applying any waterproof coating products, your tent should be clean and dry. You can clean your tent by rubbing it down with a soapy sponge, making sure you get any dirt and grime off the groundsheet.

Next, open the zips on the inner and outer and rinse off the soap in a bucket of clean water. Hang up your tent to dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before applying waterproofing. If it’s wet, it will reduce the product’s effectiveness.

Do tents lose their waterproofing?

The waterproof coating on all tents wears away with time, use, and exposure to the elements. No matter how good your tent is, constant battering by the sun, wind and rain will make it deteriorate and lose its ability to bead and shed water.

Maintaining and storing your tent can add months, if not years, to its waterproofing. There are a few core rules to follow to maximize your tent’s waterproofing.

First, never store a wet tent. If you put away your tent while it’s still wet, mildew will build up, and a good tent can rot into ruin. Even if it doesn’t destroy your tent, it will be a real pain to clean next time you get it out to go camping. Try to clean and completely dry your tent after each outing.

Instead of tightly folding or rolling your tent in its carry bag, you can stuff it loosely in a big, airy bag. You can use a garbage bag, but a light cotton, breathable bag is best. This prevents fold lines from developing, which can increase wear and let moisture in.

To get the most out of your tent, waterproof it regularly. Your tent is like any other piece of equipment; the better you maintain it, the longer it lasts.

As soon as you notice that your tent is wearing out or letting in water, give it a good clean and waterproofing. Start with going round all the seams, looking for holes or other signs of wear and seal them with sealer.

Once the seam sealer is dry, set up your tent and spray or brush it down with a waterproof coating. If you’re spraying it, stand a few feet away and cover the panels in a thin, even coat. Try not to saturate the canvas. Same with brushing it on; a thin, even coat will do.

Will Scotchgard waterproof a tent?

You can use Scotchgard waterproof spray to waterproof a tent as well as boots, jackets, tarps, and other outdoor gear. Follow the instructions on the side and remember to do it outside.

You can find plenty of tent waterproofing products from sprays to liquids to brush on, seam sealants, patch kits, tape, and more. In general, the more you pay, the better the product, but you can also take a look at reviews to see which one is best.

One key thing to remember is to make sure your tent is dry before stowing it. After you’ve sprayed, brushed, or sealed your tent, give it a full 24h to ensure all the waterproofing has fully soaked in and dried.

Waterproofing your tent is a quick, easy job that pays off hugely. An hour or two of prep will ensure a whole season of dry, cosy nights enjoying the Great Outdoors.

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