One of the biggest let-downs in the world is when you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of pattering rain coming from inside the tent. No time is good for finding out your tent isn’t completely waterproof, especially when it’s dark and damp outside.
New and old tent models alike can sometimes be less water resistant than we think, so preventing leaks from ever happening is pivotal to staying comfortable while camping. For those who have woken up to the dreadful dripping, and for those who never want to experience a sodden sleeping bag, here is a quick guide for waterproofing a tent.
There are 3 ways we’ll be discussing in this guide:
1) Applying high-quality sealant
2) Applying or refreshing the durable water repellent (DWR)
3) Investing in a rainfly and/or tarp
First, before getting into the waterproofing process, there’s a couple of things to consider: the age of the tent and if there’s any previously discovered leaks. Depending on when you purchased the tent, it may or may not already have a protective coating applied to the material. You can always test this when washing the fabric to see if water beads up or not. Secondly, even if there’s no rain, your tent can still leak if the ground beneath the tent is wet.
Most tents are factory taped, not sealed. Therefore, water can still seep through the places where the tent wall and floor connect. In order to keep these places from soaking in moisture, you can either lay down a tarp/ground cover or add sealant—but the latter is the only way to ensure complete impregnability.
To sum up the process of waterproofing a tent, you do the following:
Waterproofing doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. With a little preparedness, you can prevent leaks on your next camping trip by investing in a tarp or footprint, some waterproofing spray, and a few hours to following the above stated tips. Combine all of these together, and you will stay dry no matter the weather.