Last year the tent floor leaked in a few spots of water here, even though we put a tarp down first. We let the tent air out and dry in the garage before putting it away for the year. Can you add extra waterproofing to a tent and floor?
Yes you can! Here’s how.
Selecting the Right Waterproofing Products
Before diving into the actual waterproofing process, it's crucial to select the right products that will effectively provide a waterproof barrier for your nylon camping tent. With so many options available on the market, it can be overwhelming to make a decision. Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the right products for your tent.
First, consider the type of waterproofing product you want to use. There are two main types:
- Waterproofing sealants are applied using a brush or roller like GEAR AID Seam Grip Waterproof Sealant and Adhesive for Tents and Outdoor Fabric (you can learn more about it here ) Most people brush this type of sealant over the seams of the tent since they are prone to leaking. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.)
- Spray-on waterproofing or waterproofing sealants. Most campers like Nikwax Tent & Gear Care (you can learn more about it here.) In the past I used Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield (you can learn more about it here) for outdoor projects. It worked but still allowed the fabric to absorb rainwater and get heavy. I recently switched to this silicone based fabric waterproofing spray Atsko Silicone Water Guard ) and while it is a little more expensive, works so much better and only needs one coat! Water beads right off the fabric and doesn’t let it absorb water while still allowing the fabric to breathe – this is very important when you are waterproofing a tent.
The absolutely wrong and most dangerous product to use is Flex Seal. Do Not use Flex Seal on your tent! Flex Seal creates a rubberized coating that does not let air penetrate the tent fabric and can cause dangerously high levels of carbon dioxide inside.
How to Waterproof Your Tent
Before waterproofing your nylon camping tent, it's important to properly prepare it. Repair any holes or rips and make sure it is clean and dry.
The first step in applying waterproofing to your tent is to focus on the floor. This is important because the floor is where most of the moisture and water will come into contact with your tent.
Spray the waterproofing product of your choice in a thin, even layer paying special attention to the seams and edges. Allow it to dry and reapply a second coat if needed. Mine didn’t. Yours might.
Most tent waterproofing sprays work for both the floor and the sides, but it's important to read the label to make sure. Mine does. Next applying the waterproofing spray to the sides of your tent, make sure to work in small sections and spray evenly. Be sure to pay extra attention to any seams or areas where water may have a higher chance of seeping through. Use the same technique to waterproof your tent’s rain fly.
Just like with the floor, it's important to apply multiple layers to the sides to ensure maximum protection if needed. Allow each layer to dry completely before adding the next one. It's best to apply the waterproofing spray on a warm, dry day, so that it has ample time to dry and cure before you use the tent. I left both tents in my backyard over a weekend to dry and cure before putting them away.
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