How To Waterproof A Tent?

Having the greatest waterproof tent is vital for anyone who plans to spend substantial time in the wilderness. Camping in the rain is never pleasurable. Although the majority of tents are highly water resistant, none of them are completely waterproof. However, you can significantly improve your chances by following a few simple techniques to thoroughly waterproof your tent. How to waterproof a tent? Read on.

Parts of tents that are more susceptible to water intrusion

Seam sealants

A tent’s seams join its panels, and because of the pores between each stitch, they are more likely to leak water. A tent needs all of its seams to be sealed in order for it to be waterproof.

How To Waterproof A Tent


When it comes to coping with wet weather, poor-quality zippers are the worst. These zippers frequently become caught, and they may also let water inside the tent. It is advisable to inspect the zippers as well before purchasing a tent.


Requirements to make a tent waterproof

All, with the exception of the seam sealant and waterproof coating solution, are reasonably self-explanatory. Some coating solutions that resemble pastes are acceptable, although spray-based coatings are preferable. Avoid washing the tent’s sponge with steel wool or other abrasive materials because doing so could damage the fabric of the tent.

If your seam sealer does not come with a brush, you can apply it with a paintbrush. Seam sealers are paste-like and normally come with a brush for the user.

Sprays DWR Wash

The fact that Durable Water Repellents (DWR) spray like this one from Nikwax is breathable is its finest feature. You won’t feel uneasy in your tent if you use these sprays. The majority of waterproof sprays totally seal the pores that make a person feel heated and smothered within.

DWR washings preserve the water droplets’ contact angle with the cloth at a high level. Because of this, water droplets might accumulate and eventually fall from the sides.

Sprays DWR Wash

Tent waterproofing spray made of silicone

The most popular method of waterproofing is silicone sprays that repel water. The silicone layer has a tendency to close all holes with its molecules, preventing water molecules from entering. Finding the ideal waterproofing spray may be challenging with a wide variety of products available on the market at different price points. One of the best options for silicone spray is the WD-40 water-resistant silicone spray.

Tent waterproofing spray made of silicone

Wax waterproofing coating

The fact that wax does not mix well with water makes wax-coating a fairly excellent approach to prevent water penetration. However, due to its impact on breathability, this method is not as popular as DWR wash.

Wax functions precisely like oil; it forms a membrane over the tent fabric and closes all the pores and holes. Water molecules cannot enter at all. In addition, applying wax to a tent’s huge surface area is more laborious than using a spray-on solution. Because of this, it makes sense to use waxing on the zip and seams, which are the most susceptible spots.

Wax waterproofing coating

How To Waterproof A Tent?

1. Choose a dry day to waterproof your tent.

It’s challenging and nasty to waterproof a tent indoors. So, perform it outside on a dry and ideally warm day.

2. Tidy up your tent

If a tent isn’t as clean as feasible, waterproofing will fail. The fabric of the tent won’t be affected by the new coatings and sealants; they will stick to the dirt and filth. Therefore, you must brush the tent to remove any remaining dirt and grass blades.

If you’re having trouble, think about utilizing a lint roller to assist you. It will gather up every stray hair and piece of animal fluff that may be evading your efforts to fling them out.

3. Seam-seal The Tent

The tent’s seams are the main cause of wet tents. Friction and exposure to the weather can wear down the tape that prevents them from letting the elements in.

Check your seams first, ideally in direct sunshine. Peeling pieces should be carefully removed without affecting the sealant around them.

Then, using a (clean) rag, wipe the exposed seam with rubbing alcohol. Gentle handling is required to prevent further seam damage.

You may apply the seam sealer once the seam is clean and dry. You might wish to reseal the entire tent if all of your seams appear to be frayed.

4. Waterproof the floor and rainfly by applying a urethane coating.

You need to reapply the urethane coating if the interior of your rainfly or tent floor is peeling. The tent floor and rainfly will be watertight as a result. Starting anew is preferable to patching up the seams.

The first thing you should do is make an effort to scrape off as much of the original coating as you can. So take your rubbing alcohol; however, you’ll need an abrasive side sponge rather than a cloth. Clean the floor and rainfly’s surface with rubbing alcohol and a sponge but don’t touch the seams. 

The interior of the rainfly or the entire tent floor should then be coated with a thin layer of urethane coating. Remember that it takes 24 hours for the coating to completely dry, so make sure you apply this on a day when there won’t be any rain during that time.

5. Apply the durable water repellants to the outside of the tent

Your tent requires a fresh coat of long-lasting water repellent if you notice that raindrops no longer bead up on the exterior of your tent and rainfly (DWR). Because it doesn’t matter if your tent is wet, this is simpler to complete than the other waterproofing processes.

So, to clean the outside of your tent, you can either use a damp cloth or just spray it down without thinking twice. Then, using your container of DWR, liberally spray the tents and rainfly outside.

7. Use a Tarp to Increase Waterproofing

While waterproofing a tent is important, sometimes we overlook doing some DIY before a trip. We occasionally forget to pack the rainfly. Even worse, sometimes we don’t notice the tent needs new waterproofing until it starts to rain. Putting up a tarp is a simple solution, whatever the cause. Always pack an extra durable waterproof tarp or you can buy this one in case of an emergency.  


It’s crucial to keep your tent dry because a leaking tent is not ideal while going camping for the weekend. You can do this by investing in a pricey waterproof tent or by using the aforementioned techniques to make your current tent watertight.

Not the best situation to be in, living in a tent that suffocates us. To be able to breathe, feel comfortable and enjoy the weather without getting wet, a decent hydrostatic head with strong fabric, seams, and zippers is what we seek. A waterproofing spray of any kind can be used for that purpose.

Happy tenting!


Scroll to Top