If you have looked after your tent then the chances are you have managed to go on many adventures with it. Over time, the wear and tear of the great outdoors and assembling then putting away can take its toll. One of the most common features to go wrong is its resistance to water. This is why there comes a time when you have to find out how to waterproof a tent.

The last thing you want is to be having to fix a leak when you are trying to enjoy a camping trip, so it is best to be prepared and treat it before the problem worsens. Because of this, we have created the following advice on waterproofing so you can make more memories with your tent.

How To Waterproof A Tent

Waterproofing a tent is one of the easier tasks for prolonging its lifespan but there are certain things to remember before you get started.


First of all, make sure you are choosing a dry day. This might seem silly but check the forecast to make sure no grey clouds are coming. Using a damp cloth and a little soap, clean the inside and outside of the tent, on every side.

Resealing Tent Seams

Leave it to dry then check the seams. These can be a common area for a leak to make its way through. So, after turning the tent inside out, remove the flysheet to make it easier to manoeuver and use a silicone sealant that is made for seams, and apply to the inside. If you notice a part of seam leaks then it can be a good time to seal all of them, smoothing the sealant and leave it for several hours to dry.

Waterproofing The Tent Fly

The fly of a tent can be a common area for a leak so it is always a good idea to take a close look for rips. If you find one, Gorilla Tape can be used to get rid of the issue. Then, use a tailor-made waterproofing product to protect the area.

A similar approach can be used for the groundsheet which is prone to fraying over time. Re patch rips then apply a waterproofing spray and leave to dry.

Reapply Urethane Coating

Although they are designed to last for years, they can fray and flake which is a sign that you need to reapply the urethane coating. Use a flat, dry surface such as your garage floor to spread the tent out.

Then scrub off any flaking bits and areas to smooth the surface. When you have removed the flakes, apply the tent sealant you have selected and adhere to the instructions before leaving it to dry for the recommended time.

Reapply Durable Water Repellant

Otherwise known as DWR, this coating is the main defense on the outside of the flysheet that causes raindrops to roll down rather than make their way through. Often used on waterproof garments this is a useful product for your tent. Again, clean and dry the surface before applying a healthy coat of the DWR.

You can wipe any pools of spray with a damp cloth then leave it to dry for the recommended time.

When To Waterproof A Tent

You know it is time to waterproof a tent when there are small leaks in certain areas or the inside has much less resistance to heavy rain than it used to. If you have not used your tent for a couple of years it is a good idea to test it by hosing it before you take it on a trip.

Tips For Waterproofing A Tent

It might surprise you to hear that there are different types of materials used for tents which is why it is important to know yours before you buy a sealant. Also, try not to rely on what the weather is supposed to do and go on a trip with a potentially unprotected tent. The elements can decide that they want to change in the blink of an eye which can leave you wet and cold in the middle of the night.

Always check it for waterproofing after you have applied the sprays and sealants. Sometimes you will need to apply a second coat and it is better to find this out before rather than after a trip.

How To Protect A Tents Waterproofing

Without adequate maintenance, a tent will lose its ability to repel water much sooner than it should. Even the best products give you a certain number of years of waterproofing before you need to take action. However, there are certain things you can do that help to protect your tent for longer.

Because mold is a major reason a lot of tents lose their waterproofing, make sure you rinse the tent when you have finished using it and allow it to dry properly before you put it away. Store it in a cool dry place as well.

Do Camping Tents Lose Their Waterproofing?

Even with adequate maintenance, a camping tent can lose its waterproofing with regular use after a couple of years. Most will last longer but when this starts to happen, it can mean the start of regular waterproofing. After a while, it might be best to invest in a new tent rather than keep having to make repairs every time you want to take it out.

Luckily, there is plenty of great value to be had with camping tents if you are looking for an upgrade.

Is An Inflatable Tent Waterproof?

Just like other types of tents, an inflatable tent can be purchased in both waterproof and non-waterproof versions. The better products do have a good amount of waterproofing and are no different in terms of effectiveness compared to the poled variety.

Not only are they waterproof, but inflatable tents can withstand a fair amount of abuse from the elements which is why they are becoming increasingly popular.

How Long Does Tent Waterproofing Last?

Some products remain fully waterproof for many years, especially when they aren’t used so much. If you use your tent at least a few weeks a year then you might find that the waterproofing is not so reliable after a few years. A lot of people choose to risk a trip without checking the waterproofing which can mean a wet night in the woods if your luck is out.

Should I Replace or Repair A Leaking Tent?

Some repairs are easier than others. For example, a snapped or broken pole will usually require you to order a new one if the manufacturer allows. Otherwise,

It can be time to invest in a new tent. Waterproofing is a simple task but not something you want to keep doing which is why a lot of people look to a new tent. Because technology changes and new features are always being added to new models, this can be a worthwhile purchase if you are unable to get a bit more life out of your old tent.