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How to Waterproof a Tent


Spending the night in a leaking tent can be a horrible and very uncomfortable experience. Luckily there’s a way to help ensure your tent is waterproof and leak free. Below I’ll discus how to waterproof a tent to prevent rain water from getting inside.

Many newer tents come form the manufacturer with taped seams that are water resistant. However, as you may know if you’ve even been in one of these tent that water resistant is not the same as water proof. By water proofing your tent with a quality tent sealant you can protect your camping equipment, and keep yourself comfortable and safe from the rain.

Items Needed to Waterproof Your Tent

To water proof your tent you’ll need the following items. A tent, water proofing spray, tube of seam sealant, disposable gloves, and a water can, outdoor shower, or hooked-up garden hose. Before you get started you will want to make sure the tent is clean and dry. You should then setup the tent in your yard and make sure the fabric is not bunched together or overlapping.

Applying the Tent Waterproofing Spray

When you’re ready take the water proofing spray and apply it to your tents fabric. For older tents you may need to apply the solution to both sides, inside and out. As the spray dries you should notice a glossy sheen that indicates the solution has been applied successfully. While the first layer is drying you may want to apply a second coat of the water proofing spray to ensure a good shield against rain.

Applying this type of water proof solution may effect the breathability of the fabric of your tent. It will also add weight and stiffness to the fabric. You should carefully monitor the results as you apply the solution so that it goes on evenly. The spray can take a long time to dry depending on the temperature and humidity. If after drying the surface is still sticky to the touch you can try sprinkling some talcum powder on it. You can read more about tent waterproofing spray here.

Applying Tent Seam Sealant

Now that you’ve waterproofed your tent’s fabric you are ready to move on to sealing the seams. For this you’ll need a tube of seam sealant. The stitching of your tents seams often has many tiny holes left behind due to the stitching process. With the application of a seam sealant you can seal these holes to avoid leakage.

Make sure you are in a well ventilated area and put on your disposable gloves so you don’t get any of the sealant on your hands. This type of sealant can be very hard to get off of your hands, or remove from under your finger nails so wearing gloves is a must. Now apply the seam sealant to both sides of your tents seams. Let the tent seams dry for several hours. After everything has dried you may consider applying another coat for better seam protection. You may also want to apply the tent seam sealer to your tents floor, or rainfly.

Testing your Tent For Leaks

Now that the waterproof spray and seam sealant has completely dried you’ll want to test the finished sealed tent for any leaks. With the tent still setup you can spray the tent with a garden hose, use a water can or outdoor shower to dowse the tent while looking for any water getting through. If you notice any leaks, you’ll want to dry that area and reapply the spray or sealant accordingly.

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