Weatherproofing Your Camping Tent

If you’ve purchased a tent that is weatherproof, you may be a little shocked to find yourself soaking wet in the middle of the night on a camping trip. Read your tent’s label and understand what it really is saying.

If a tent says it’s water resistant or weather resistant, it means it resists the ailments. It will probably do fine if a light, short rainfall should come along. If a heavy rain comes along that lingers for several hours, that’s another story. More often than not, the tent fabric’s resistance will eventually weaken and water will start to penetrate through the fabric into your tent. If you are looking for greater protection than a water resistant or weather resistant tent provides, here are some tips for weatherproofing your camping tent.

When you go shopping for camping tents, avoid the ones that say weather resistant or water resistant. Bypass those and go straight for the ones that say waterproof. These tents are not supposed to leak as most have been treated with a sealing agent. The fabric of these tents is also more tightly woven which helps to keep water out.

If you are concerned that a waterproof tent won’t allow your tent to breathe as you’d like or you feel it’s too stuffy to bear, you do have another option. Use your water resistant or weather resistant tent. Just place it on top of a ground cover and place a rainproof tarp or cover over the tent itself like a canopy or drape the tarp or cover directly over your tent.

Another option is to seal your tent with a chemical sealer. These can be purchased in most camping stores. It’s best to purchase a sealant that is made specifically for camping tents. All-purpose sealants may not work well with your tent’s fabric. Follow all the instructions on the sealant. Most people apply two coats of sealant to their tents even if the directions don’t call for two coats. Make sure your tent has dried thoroughly between applications. This takes around 48 hours. If you are concerned about your tent’s seams, consider using a wax or brush on gel to seal them. You should seal seams both on the inside and outside of the tent. Again, two coats are generally better than one.

Don’t wait until you’re camping to find out if your tent is now weatherproofed. Whether you’ve purchased a new waterproof tent, or you’ve sealed your original tent, test it out at home. You can put your tent up in advance of a heavy rainfall that may be coming your way, or you can simply set it up and give it a heavy soaking with a water hose. Hopefully you’ll find your tent is indeed weatherproof. If it hasn’t kept the water out, allow your tent to dry and apply another coat of sealant to it, or a first coat to a new tent. Let the sealant dry completely and do another home test.