Updated On May 18, 2020

How To Waterproof A Tent

Camping is one of the best recreational activities that you should do in your lifetime. It not only gets you in touch with nature, but it also gives outdoor surviving skills. For example, camping helps you learn outdoor survival skills like lighting up a fire using stones and firewood, establishing shelter, and hunting.

To camp outdoors, you need to be prepared. This means that you need to have the gears and tools necessary to create the best camping experience. Tools that you need when camping include flashlight, matchsticks, a solar shower bag, a bag, and most importantly a tent (Although some may use an RV instead)

A tent is the most significant tool camping since it’s the outdoor shelter. It will not only shelter you during sleeping hours, but it will also protect you from wild animals and rainy weather.

Now, the weather can be unpredictable and thus you’ll want to be prepared during camping. One of the most important things you need to check your tent. Your tent needs to be completely sealed and waterproof especially if the weather gets rainy. The simplest way of doing this is by re-sealing the layers of the tent, thus preventing water from getting through.

To waterproof a tent, you must first determine the reasons as to why it isn’t. Thus, the main causes of tent leakage include

  • Tears and rips.
  • Permeable tent fabric

Most causes of tent leakages are related to the tent’s fabric. If your tent fabric is light and single-layered then it’s likely that your tent might leak during rainy weathers. This is because tents with light fabric and single layers have low hydrostatic head rate hence they can’t withstand heavy rainfalls.

Also, tents can be water permeable due to tears and rips. This happens when the tents aren’t well taken care of. Note that, tents are fabric and fabric is delicate. Hence, if it’s kept in environments that can poke it or pierce it, it’ll most likely tear up and rip.

Lastly, non-weathered tents are likely to be water permeable. Most people don’t take this to account but new tents must be weathered. Weathering doesn’t make your tent waterproof rather, it helps you determine the parts that allow water to pass through your tent.

Tents can be made waterproof. Thus, let’s take a look at how it can be done:

1. Sheltering a tent

Not every ten contains double layers. Furthermore, double-layered tents can be expensive. Thus, the cheapest solution for your tent is by sheltering it.

Sheltering a tent involves adding a cover on top of your tent. The cover will shield your tent from allowing water from getting inside by acting as an extra impermeable layer. The best sheltering materials for your tent include fabric, plastic covers (probably the best sheltering materials since its total impermeable to water), etc.

2. Taping a tent

This is the best method used to seal ripped tents. Tapes are naturally impermeable, making them a good sealing substance. Not only ripped out parts but also sowed parts tend to allow water. Sowed tents tend to have sewing pores in which allow water to pass through. To avoid this, tape all the poring parts of your tent (especially the edges of your tent)

Note that, the method is a temporary solution to waterproofing your tent. It can’t serve as a permanent solution because tape wears out especially when it gets in contact with water.

3. Patch your camp base layer

A camp base layer is likely to wear the first because it lays on the rough ground. Rough grounds can tear, poke, or scratch the base of the tent thus making it permeable to water. Thus, it’s best you cover your tent base with a hard sturdy material that will protect the base from piercing substances.

4. Selling tents seams

Seams in tents tend to wear out especially if the tent has experienced harsh rainfalls a couple of times. When they wear out, they leave out spaces in which allow water to get inside the tents.

Now, to seal a tent’s seam you’ll need a seam sealer. There are two types of seam sealers used in tents. These include

  • Polyurethane sealer- it’s used in tents made from polyurethane fabric.
  • Silicone sealer- it’s used intents that can be treated with silicone

Note that, these sealers are specific to these types of fabrics. They can never be used to seal other fabrics apart from the allocated ones. Thus, its best to determine your tent’s fabric first before buying a sealer.

Once you are done applying the seam sealer, leave the tent to dry off so that the sealer might stick.

5. Refresh the durable water repellent coating of the tent.

The durable water repellent coating tends to wear out just like the tent seams. This causes water entry in the tent via the fly of the tent. To solve this problem, you need a waterproof spray.

The waterproof spray restores the coating’s impermeability to water and thus making your tent waterproof again.

6. Repair the inside coating

In a multilayer tent, the inside layer is the one responsible for shielding the internal parts of the tent from water. Thus, if the water is getting inside your tent through the fly then it’s probably because the inside coating has lost its water impermeability ability.

To fix this you’ll need to apply a tent sealer. Again, make sure you check the ten’s fabric to purchase the compatible sealer.


Apart from adding double layers and all of that, a tent needs to be kept in a safe environment. This is because a tent is made from fabric and hence fabrics need high extensive care to preserve their usable life.

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