The Most Effective Ways To Re-Waterproof A Tent

The Most Effective Ways To Re-Waterproof A Tent

If you’ve been one that has had continuous trouble on how to re-waterproof a tent, worry no more! If the canvas on the tent you own is starting to become brittle, you can fix it using a chemical that is safe and effective in protecting both tents and equipment from water. Let this article be of assistance to you. 

Keep in mind that if your tent is looking a bit worse for wear, it is time to re-waterproof it. There are plenty of ways to do this, and it depends on the material. Nylon can be treated with silicone spray, while polyester and polyurethane can be treated with spray-on waterproofing. The most important part of this is that you cover all the seams. Don’t forget the zippers, too!

Waterproofing a Tent | Image Source – Youtube


What Does “WaterProof” Really Mean?

Waterdrops on Brown Tile | Image Source – Pexels

“Waterproof” is an ambiguous word. For example, if you drown your phone in water, then water is not the reason that your phone is broken. Perhaps what you should call a phone “water-resistant” instead. The IPX8 standard is one of the highest certifications for water resistance. It means a device can be 30 minutes underwater at a depth of a meter. However, there are multiple water test standards, so it’s important to know what a “waterproof” phone is tested for. For example, the IPX7 standard is protected against water immersion of up to 30 minutes at a depth of one meter. The IPX7 certification can not protect your device from a drop in a pool of water.

How Does Waterproof Fabric Work? 

Spacious Tent | Image Source – Pexels

Waterproof fabrics are designed to keep moisture from getting through. There are two main ways that waterproofing is done, using either a fluorocarbon coating or by using a PTFE membrane. In the case of fluorocarbon coating, it is made to repel water. The fluorocarbon molecules are much larger than water molecules and thus, do not stick to the jacket and leave it with a waterproof surface. A PTFE membrane, on the other hand, traps water between two layers of the membrane, preventing water from passing through. The membrane is bonded to the jacket and has holes in it, allowing the jacket to be breathable.

What Causes A Tent To Lose Its Waterproofness?

Leaky Tent | Image Source – Youtube

There are many reasons why a tent might no longer be waterproof. If you have a tent and you notice that water is leaking through, then it’s time to check the seams. A small crack and particles of dirt in the seams are common reasons for any tent not to be waterproof. Also, dirt in the seams can cause water to leak through. If you find any dirt or cracks in the seams, you should use a waterproofing agent to fix them. One of the best products you can use is seam-grip. This sealant is waterproof, will keep your tent intact, and will protect it from the elements. There are many situations and reasons why your tent can no longer be waterproof, but the most common and effective way to fix it is to apply a seam-grip.

When to Re-Waterproof?

Re – Waterproofing a Tent | Image Source – Youtube

The right time to re-waterproof a tent is before you need to use it! This will ensure that your tent is in top condition and there will be no leaks when you’re camping. The first step to waterproofing your tent is to stuff it with spare clothes and leave it for a week. The air inside the tent will be damp by then. After the week is up, you should wipe down the inside of the tent with a cloth to remove any dust or dirt. The next step is to put on a pair of rubber gloves. You should then apply waterproofing spray to the inside of the tent from each corner to the ground. The final step is to let it dry for 24 hours and you can use it again!

What Should You Do Before You Reproof Your Tent?

Scotchgard | Image Source – Amazon

Before you waterproof your tent, you must treat the floor and seams with Scotchgard or a similar product. This will help you waterproof the tent and your sleeping bag. Check all the seams of the tent and add more Scotchgard if necessary. If the tent has a floor, you want to make sure that it’s waterproof. You can do so by brushing a Scotchgard-treated coating onto the floor and letting it dry for a couple of hours. 

When you reproof your tent, you need to clean the tent’s shell, tauten the ropes and furbish the tent pegs. Clean the tent shell before applying a new coat of rubberized waterproofing. Clean it with mild soap and warm water, rinse it and let it dry. When you tighten the ropes, it will be a lot easier to get the right tension if you use a hammer to pound in the pegs than it will to push them in by hand. If you do pound in the pegs by hand, take care not to bend them over at the top or they will snag your new coat of rubberized waterproofing. In addition, you should wash out the tent after you clean it and let it dry.

How To Reproof Your Tent?

Find The Leak

Rain on Tent | Image Source – Flickr

It is essential to find the leak in your tent that needs to be fixed to fully waterproof it. You’ll have to identify where the water is coming from and the right sealant you need to use. Once you’ve found the source of the leak, you can apply outdoor waterproofing sealant. This can be done either over the hole or patching the hole. While this is not very hard to do and only requires a bit of work, it is something that can be done to help you get the most out of your tent!

Supplies You’ll Need 

Rubbing Alcohol

Wet and Dry Cloths

Water and Soap

Tent Waterproofing DWR Spray

Seam Sealer

Seal The Seams

How To Re-apply The Urethane Coating

Urethane Seal Coat | Image Source – Amazon

Applying a urethane coating to a tent might seem a little challenging, but it’s very easy. The first step is to cover the floor with plastic and tape it down to ensure water doesn’t seep through. Next, apply the urethane and allow it to dry. Finally, apply a second layer to ensure the water is repelled. A tent is essential in keeping you dry and warm when camping. Without it, it would be impossible to camp in the rain or snow. It’s also a great way to keep critters and bugs out. If you’re going to be in the wilderness for an extended period, you may want to consider a bigger tent so you have space to store food and other items.

How To Re-apply The DWR Coating

Durable Water Repellent | Image Source – Amazon

If your tent has a DWR coating, you can re-apply it to your tent if it begins to wear off. The most basic option to re-apply is simply a spray bottle of water. Simply apply some water to your tent and use a towel to get extra water off. This method only really is effective for certain areas of the tent, but it’s a great way to make your tent look new again! Another way to re-apply DWR is by using a spray bottle with a water and soap solution in it.

If you have a tent that doesn’t have the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coating, then you might want to look into how you can re-apply for that coating. The DWR coating is a surface treatment that makes it more difficult for water to bead up on the outer surface of the fabric. This keeps the water from hitting the fabric, which will eventually form into water droplets and drip off the side of the tent. The goal is to try to keep those water droplets from ever forming in the first place!

Clean The Tent Seams

Tent Seam | Image Source – MSR

Cleaning the seams of a tent is a lot more essential than you’d think. First, you’ll want to fill a bucket with warm water and soap and mix it well. Next, you’ll want to remove the seams of the tent and scrub them clean using the mixtures of water and soap. Then, you’ll want to dry the tent seams using a dry towel and make sure the tent seams are completely dry before you place them back together. After that, you’ll want to place the tent back in the bag and store it in a cool, dry area. It’s important to clean the seams of your tent so you don’t have mold or mildew forming on the inside!

Brush On Tent Seal

Brushing on The Tent Seams | Image Source – REI

Brushing on a tent seal can be done by any camper because it’s easy to do and not very expensive. First, you must have a brush that’s made specifically for this purpose. Using the wrong kind of brush can ruin your tent before you even use it. Use the brush to clean the tent and remove as much dust and debris as possible. Then, you can use the seal to create an extra layer of protection for the tent. This will ensure that the tent stays in good condition for multiple uses.

Wipe Excess Before and After Applying and Let Dry

Microfiber Cloth | Image Source – Amazon

Before applying a tent seal it is important to wipe off the excess from your tent. The tent seal will not work if you apply it over wet tent fabric! Also, it is important to let your tent dry after you apply the tent seal. You do not want to trap moisture or you will get mold. Tent seals can help you minimize the effects of bad weather and have a great time camping.

Steps in Restoring Waterproof Surfaces 

Step 1 – Set Up Your Tent

Person Setting Up a Tent | Image Source – Pexels

Before you go camping you first need to get a tent. Put the tent up before the rest of your supplies because you need to make sure you have enough space for it. Make sure you check the tent and make sure there are no holes in it. If there are holes you need to patch it and if there is no fabric to patch it with you need to buy some.

Step 2 – Wash And Wipe Your Tent Clean

Washing a Tent | Image Source – Pinterest

Once you arrive at your campsite and you have set up your tent, it is important to make sure that your tent is clean. For starters, wipe down the mesh areas of your tent to get rid of dust and any lingering dirt. You don’t want the people that are camping with you to get sick, so make sure that there are no contaminants in the air. The last thing you want is a family member to get sick when you are having a good time. Then, wash your tent down from the outside and make sure that it is completely dry before putting your belongings inside. Washing it down will also allow you to spot any areas that need to be patched up or repaired. So, wash and wipe your tent clean!

Step 3 – Coat Your Tent With Waterproofing Spray (DWR)

Spraying on Tent | Image Source – Nikwax

You’ll want to start spraying the outside of the tent. If you want maximum protection, you’ll want to make sure you spray the inside of the tent too. This will allow the rain to bead up and roll right off instead of soaking right through to the other side.

Refresh The Urethane Coating

Urethane Coating | Image Source – REI Co-op

Cleaning your tent is one of the most important parts of your tent maintenance. It’s important to do this to keep the tent in good condition and to remove any dirt or stains that can damage the tent. First, remove the tent from your camping spot. Then, spray the urethane coating with mild soap to remove any stains and spots from the tent. A mild scrub works best on the non-coated spots. Then, let the tent air out and use a towel to wipe off any excess soap. Finally, rehang the tent in a dry airy place. If you follow these steps, your tent will remain in good condition!

Refresh The DWR

DWR on Tent | Image Source – REI Co-op

You have to remember how you can refresh the DWR in your tent. By doing so, the tent will be able to stand up against water and will be more comfortable and enjoyable to sleep in. So, here are the steps:

  • When you first get back to camp, open up the tent and let it air out. Make sure you turn it inside out, so you can get all the water out of the tent and make sure it’s ready for another round. 
  • Soak the tent in a tub of water then let it dry out completely. 
  • Before you do this, you should do a shake test to make sure the water is completely out of the tent.
  • After you do that, you can then store the tent properly, and hopefully, it will last for the rest of the trip.

Leave All Parts To Dry

Outdoor Tent Set-Up | Image Source – Flickr

You should always make sure to let your tent dry fully upon following the above steps to ensure no trapped moisture can lead to various other tent issues later on. 

Suggested Products for Re-waterproofing a Tent

Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning, Waterproofing, and UV Protection

Nikwax Tent Cleaner | Image Source – Amazon

How do you keep your gear in good condition for years to come? This product is an excellent choice to restore and waterproof your porous fabrics. Whether your item is a tent, a backpack, a fly, an umbrella, a boat cover, or a patio cover, you’ll find that the product works well on it. It offers two capabilities: waterproofing and adding UV protection. This lets your gear look good for longer.

Product Specifications

  • Material – Plastic
  • Brand – NIKWAX
  • Item Dimension – 2.6 x 2.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Weight – 1 Pound

Price – $18.25

Available onAmazon

STAR BRITE Waterproofing Spray, Waterproofer + Stain Repellent + UV Protection for Tops and Tents

Star Brite Water Proofer | Image Source – Amazon

With STAR BRITE waterproofing spray, you don’t have to worry about your tent failing you. It prevents moisture from getting through the material, repels stains, and protects the tent from UV rays. It’s a spray that’s simple to apply, and you don’t have to worry about over-spraying and damaging surrounding surfaces. It’s a great product, and it’s affordable enough that you can use it on your tent or even give it as a gift to others who enjoy camping!

Product Specifications

  • Brand – STAR BRITE
  • Style – 128 Ounce Gallon
  • Item Dimension -‎12.75 x 8 x 4.5 inches
  • Weight – 7 Pounds

Price – $39.42

Available onAmazon

Nikwax Cotton Proof Waterproofing

Nikwax Cotton Proof | Image Source – Amazon

While Nikwax takes care of all your clothing, it takes care of your tent as well! Nikwax spray will make your tent water repellent and protect it from persistent moisture. Not only that, but it will maintain the breathability of your tent. This means you’ll get more comfortable in your tent than ever before. The water repellent spray is easy to use. Simply spray it on the outside of your tent and wait for it to dry. It’s that easy! Never worry about rain again.

Product Specification

  • Brand – Nikwax
  • Item Volum – 300 Mililiters
  • Item Weight – 0.3 Kilograms
  • Surface Recommendation – Fabric

Price – $12.99

Available on – Amazon

Tips For Tent Waterproofing 

Tips and Tricks | Image Source – Pixabay

How Often Should I Waterproof My Tent?

If you live in a wet region or are outside in the rain frequently, then you know how frustrating it can be to wake up next to a pool of water in your tent. Not only does this make your sleeping bag damp and uncomfortable, but it can also cause mildew to grow. Keeping your tent waterproofed is not just about practicality; it’s also about being compassionate to the people who used to own the tent before you. Most manufacturers recommend that you waterproof your tent every year. However, the best way to keep your tent waterproof is to clean it and reapply this once a month. It is a good idea to check your tent for rips and tears before you camp, as this will help you know where you need to fix your waterproofing.

Don’t Rely On The Weather

One of the major tips is never to rely on the weather. Always and always make sure to bring a waterproof tent with you so that you don’t face any disappointment. You’ll want to leave those things to the experts. 

You May Need More Than One Coat

Do multiple coats of waterproof coating as opposed to having one massive coat. This way, you don’t have to have doubts about it. Many people don’t follow this rule and don’t have good results with their waterproof coating. Follow the right steps and you’ll have a good result without having to wait too long.

Check Your Groundsheet

When camping in the middle of nowhere, it’s best to be prepared. Make sure your tent has good groundsheet. A groundsheet is a waterproofing material that prevents water from seeping into the tent. They’re usually made of thin, waterproof material and are usually taped to the bottom of the tent. They’re not as durable as the rest of the tent, so it’s best to be careful when setting up camp. After your tent is set up, make sure to check if any parts of the groundsheet have torn, otherwise, rainwater will seep into your tent and dampen your sleeping bag and clothes.

Check The Tent Waterproof Rating

A good tent will be shipped with a waterproof rating label. You should check this label before making your purchase. This label is found on the tent wall and will be a rating of a tenth of an inch for weatherproofing.

These labels can get a bit confusing as manufacturers use different terminology. You will see that some label their tents as waterproof while others label them as water-resistant or water repellent. The difference is that waterproofing is the highest degree of protection while water repellent is the lowest.

Keep in mind that water repellent means that water will bead off of the tent. This means that it will leak in the rain. Waterproofing means that it will not leak in the rain.

Should I Use DWR Spray On My Backpack, Sleeping Bag, Etc.? 

When you’re shopping around for the right jacket or other outdoor equipment, it’s important to understand the features it has. For instance, a weather-resistant technology that can repel moisture and water. DWR spray does just that. You can use it on your camping or mountaineering backpack, sleeping bag, or any other outdoor gear. A lot of parks and outdoor equipment have this technology, and you can use DWR spray to make it even better. Hence it would be wise to have some basic knowledge on whether to use what and where!

What Seam Sealer And DWR Spray Should I Use?

When it comes to camping, having the right equipment to use is just as important as knowing how to use them. if you’re in a very rainy area, make sure you know to use a quality waterproof sealant. This can help to make sure your tent will not leak, keeping you and any of your belongings dry. Having prior knowledge on which seam sealer or DWR spray to use would be of extreme help at the time of camping. 

Never Have A Leaky Tent Again

 If you are one of those who are fond of going on a jaunt in the woods, you should ensure that you leak-free tent. There are a lot of tents which are flimsy and they do not sustain the heavy rain. Even if they do, they give in to the first storm and you end up drenched and uncomfortable. This can lead to a bad camping experience and you will not want to go back to the tent again. At such times, the best thing you can do is to go to a tentmaker or a distributor and get a tent that is made of strong fabric. However, make sure to follow prior precautionary steps to avoid experiencing a leaky tent again.

FAQs Related to “How to Re-Waterproof a Tent?”

Urethane Coating | Image Source – Amazon

What Is The Best Tent Re-Waterproofing Spray?

It depends on the material of the tent. Most tents are made up of nylon, you will have to choose a water-resistant material. It is a good product but it may not be a good fit for your tent. It is available on Amazon. You should also see other options on Amazon like Water-Tight or Clear-Guard.

When Should I Re-Waterproof My Tent?

You should re-waterproof your tent once it has been in contact with water. Waterproofing is a coating that is added to the fabrics of the tent, which is not intended to last forever. While some tents have waterproofing that can last up to five years, others will last as little as six months, depending on the use and care of the tent. There is nothing wrong with the tent itself, it is just the waterproofing that is wearing away. So when you notice that it starts to leak, it is a good idea to re-waterproof it.

Is it Compulsory to Re-Waterproof a Tent?

Waterproofing the tent is a must. The waterproof coating wears off to a certain extent due to sunlight and rain. So whenever you are planning to use your tent, you should re-waterproof it. Waterproofing the tent is an essential part of tent care.

How Can I Find The Best Supplies for Re-Waterproofing a Tent?

If you are planning on re-waterproofing your tent, you must have the right supplies. You can find all the supplies you need at Amazon.

How to Refresh The Urethane Coating?

The urethane coating on a tent can be refreshed with a household cleaning product called, “Citrus Fresh.” It is a product that is used to deodorize and clean mold and mildew stains. It will clean away any stains and also freshen the tent and make it smell clean and fresh. This product is not harmful to the material of the tent and will not harm the people in the tent.


To conclude, it is important to know that have a re-waterproofed tent when you are heading on a camping trip. This way you can enjoy yourself and still have a tent to sleep in when you get home. Likewise, if you want to save yourself a headache, you should waterproof your tent before you leave for your trip. This way, you know that you’ll have a nice dry tent to sleep in and you won’t have to worry about waking up in a puddle of water.

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Luu Duc Hoang

Luu Duc Hoang

I am just a simple man, carrying around his laptop in a backpack. “Traveling combined with volunteering is always what I aim for”

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