Whether you are going camping alone, or with family or friends, you will be worried about your tent leaking if it starts raining during the trip. A tent that allows rain to come in can spoil your camping trip and turn it from a fun and adventure-filled activity into a disaster – well certainly a trip that is uncomfortable and cold. Thankfully, there are ways of rain-proofing your tent.
Select a dry, sunny day to erect your tent in your backyard. If your outdoor living space is too small for the tent, use your basement or garage. Then start the following:
Clean the Tent
Before you start rain-proofing your tent, you need to clean the fabric. Otherwise, it will be impossible to waterproof it. If you apply the sealant prior to cleaning, it will cover just the dirt and wash off in the rain and even wind.
Use a soft sponge and warm water to clean the tent gently. This should be done manually. Don’t be tempted to put your tent into your washing machine. It will ruin the fabric and may result in more harm than good. It may damage your washing machine too.
Inspect the Rainfly
The rainfly covers your tent. Stretch out the rainfly upside down. Make sure it is stretched taut. This will let you see if there a pin-size holes in the rainfly. If yes, you will need to treat it to seal the minute holes.
Make sure the ties are tight when you position the rainfly over the tent. You want to do this at home before departing for your camping trip. Use a hitch knot to fasten the ties, as you can adjust them for sagging with spending too much time.
Check the Seams
Shift your attention to the seams of the tent. Typically, tents have tape-sealed seams. Look for a narrow band along the seams. If you see it taped, the seams are waterproof and do not require treatment.
Check the seams along the tent floor. They too should be tape-sealed or you would have to treat them with a silicon-based seam sealant. Apply the sealant to the seams from the inside of the tent so that it does not wear off. You can use the same sealant for the rainfly. Spread the sealant using a piece of cotton fabric. Allow it to dry thoroughly. Thereafter, you can repeat the sealing process on the outside surface of the tent.
You can use a waterproofing spray on the inside of your tent. Usually, such sprays are not meant for the inside as it affects the breathability of the fabric. However, if you select a high-end waterproofing spray, it should not affect the fabric’s ability to breathe.
What to Keep Away from Your Tent
Many campers are tempted to use grease and lard on their rainfly in an endeavor to rain-proof it. While this may keep rainwater at bay, it will also damage the rain-proof coating of the fabric. Also, if you use lard, it will attract critters and bugs while you are camping. Furthermore, it is just too messy to be handling a tent that is coated with grease or lard.
Duct tape too is not meant for tents. You will find it difficult to take it off and in the bargain, you may end up tearing the fabric.
Word of Caution
When using sealants and sprays on your tent, make sure you do it outside or in a well-ventilated part of your home. The fumes that come out from the sealant and spray are noxious and shouldn’t be inhaled. So keep windows and doors open while applying the waterproofing and leave them open until the chemical dries.
Lastly, when you are camping, make sure your camping gear isn’t pushed too far into the sides of the tent. This will cause the sides to protrude outward. If this happens, it will exert pressure on the tent walls, causing them to get wet if the treatment is not done properly. On the other hand, if you can keep your camping gear away from the sides of the tent, you don’t need to worry if the skies open up during the trip.
The Bottom Line
Rain-proofing your tent is not that difficult and you can do it over the weekend so that your tent it ready for the next camping trip. Tents are an expensive investment and a little elbow grease will go a long way in keeping that investment safe.