[Camping Guide] How To Waterproof A Tent Effectively

how to waterproof a tent

Tents are generally designed to keep us dry in the slightest of rain conditions. The harsher these conditions, the less the tent is capable of standing up to them. The weather is also very unpredictable and this is even more so in those tropical regions.

Therefore, you need to ensure that your tent is fully waterproof and protected from tough conditions. In this article, you will learn a few new tricks and tips that you could use when it comes to keeping your tent waterproof.

These tips will ensure you are ready for whatever the weather throws at you and you can easily keep all your personal belongings dry. We have also included a few great products that can be used for these purposes and they will certainly improve the longevity of your tent.

How To Waterproof A Tent

waterproof tent

1. Clean your tent

This might be one of the basic steps when it comes to maintaining a tent, but many people often neglect to do this. They will simply just apply the coatings and hope for the best. The problem with just adding the coating is that the debris and dirt will still be kept on the tent and this could even lead to your missing a few crucial holes.

Thoroughly clean your tent to ensure that you are covering every aspect when coating with tape and when coating with spray. A clean tent is generally also a happy tent and regular maintenance will definitely improve the longevity of it.

2. Ensure the bottom is leak-proof

Even though this might not make sense to everybody, the floor of the tent is generally the first place the water start getting in. The best way to get around this problem will be to ensure that you have some sort of tarp or a tent footprint that will keep the bottom dry.

A decent tent footprint is rally affordable and will keep your tent protected from the bottom. The tent footprint will not only offer another layer of protection, but it will also make the floor a little softer if you are camping in rugged areas. The Grizzly Tarps is great for covering your tent from the top and from the bottom.

3. Seal the seams

The seams of the tent are generally the first place water tends to get through from the top. Sealing the seams are fundamentally important and once you have the securely sealed; there should not be any more leaks.

There are also a few effective ways that you can go about sealing off these seams, with the first one being the tape method. With this method, you will need some waterproof tape to ensure you are covered.

The second method that we really recommend is getting some waterproof silicone spray. The Coleman 2000016520 Seam Sealer​ is an affordable, but still effective method of keeping those seams sealed. This spray is available in 2oz cans and can seal up an entire tent.

4. Buy a decent rainfly

The rainfly usually comes with the tent, but if you are looking to waterproof one of your older tents, you might need to consider looking into a new and modern rainfly. These rainfly's will keep the water from landing on the tent and they can evacuate the water some distance away as well.

Most of the times, the tent will only drop the water next to the door or let it run down the walls. This might also cause water buildup underneath the tent and before you know it, you might be sleeping or rather floating on a water bed. The rainfly will ensure the water is evacuated a safe distance from your tent.

5. Recoat your tent often

Coating it once might do the trick, but generally, you will need to coat it before every trip. This is even more imperative if your tent has taken on some rain from the previous trip. We also advise people to ensure that the tent is coated before every trip where strenuous conditions can be expected.

Make sure you do clean the tent once again before applying this coating. Leaving it out to dry in the sun is also the best way to ensure it is fully ready. If you expect some tough conditions, a good tip will be to carry along some sort of added coating, just in case you spot a missed leak.

A Few Things To Avoid

tent waterproofing

There are much more tips and tricks that you could find, but we do not recommend or condone any of them. Some of these tips are a little dangerous and could potentially damage the tent. Here are a few things you shouldn’t try:

1. Lighting a candle

By lighting a candle, you will be creating heat and this heat could help to evaporate some of the water or moisture. We do not recommend this as the candle is not very stable and if you have plastic walls, they could melt.

This is not even to mention the hot wax that could potentially drip on the floor and burn down your tent or create a massive hole.

2. Ducktape

Ducktape is not really that effective against a lot of water and in this case, the cons do far outweigh the pros. The ducktape will be hard to remove and could even tear your tent.

3. Adding grease to your rainfly

The rainfly should generally be waterproof already and adding grease could potentially remove this coating. We do not recommend anything that is not recommended by the manufacturer unless you are willing to buy a new rainfly.


Now that you know what to do and what to avoid, you should not have any excuse when it comes to being soaked by the rain. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below and let us know if you think we might have missed any other helpful tips to waterproof your tent.


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