All manufacturers make their tents waterproof in order to handle the elements when you’re out camping. But, most models are only water-resistant and not sturdy enough to handle extreme weather conditions such as rainstorms and need a little help to become fully waterproof. That’s why we’ve prepared the following guide on how to rainproof a tent.
How to Rainproof Your Tent
So how to waterproof a tent? There are mainly three effective methods that you can apply to ensure that your tent is rainproof. This includes tightening your ties, making sure the seams are completely sealed and preparing your ground cloth.
What is the best way to waterproof a tent? Read on to find out how to apply these solutions and what to do if your tent for rain leaks.
1. Tighten the Tent’s Ties
One of the first things you want to do when setting up your tent is to tighten your ties. Now, it’s best to do this while it’s still dry, instead of waiting for the rain to start because it’s practically impossible to do it when it’s wet.
If you know it’s going to rain when you arrive at your campsite, do this at home and use reflective chords. This is very important. If your tent didn’t come with reflective cords, make sure to buy them so you’re able to see them at night when your tent needs a bit of tweaking.
When buying the chords, test them to make sure they’re able to tie a hitch knot. This type of knot is adjustable and ideal for rain flies.
2. Seal or Tape the Seams of Your Tent
How to make a tent waterproof? This is by far the toughest part of the job, especially if you have an old tent. That’s because you’ll need to waterproof and seal the seams individually.
This includes applying a sealant on the seams’ interior so you can stay warm camping and then leave it to dry. Repeat with each seam and spray generously with a waterproof spray on the tent’s exterior. Leave it to dry.
Newer tents, on the other hand, must be tape sealed. This means sticking and sewing the inside of the tent until it’s been sealed. You don’t need to waterproof these, but the floor and rainfly seams need it.
Always apply a sealant on the interior of the tent by flipping it inside out. You’ll need to shove the seams upwards to see the stitching.
Make sure you have enough air to activate the chemical properties of the sealant. If sealing an older tent, dab a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol and clean the seams before you apply the sealant. Allow the sealant to dry before you re-apply.
3. Reinforce the Ground Cloth
Ground cloths are one of the most important parts of the tent as they’re designed to keep the water out when it’s raining. However, a ground cloth can also do the opposite when the rain gets too much, causing the water to get into your tent.
We obviously don’t want this to happen, so it’s important to apply a few improvements to our ground cloth. The point is to connect the ground cloth to the seam which is below the tent. To do this, fold the ground cloth into the seam and close it up. You can also create an additional patch for the ground cloth if you’re able to.
Remove the ground cloth, measure it without taking it out of the tarp and mark all around it. Remove the tarp and sew it into the ground cloth as well as the seam surrounding the tent. Note that this particular step is only required for older tents because newer models only require you to tuck and seal the ground cloth.
And that’s how you can rainproof a tent! These methods will ensure that you remain nice and toasty inside and your tent is heated and completely unaffected by the elements outside. It’s important to maintain a clean and dry tent when it’s cold out.
That’s the only way to keep yourself warm and prevent things like hypothermia from interfering with your trip. The best part is that these methods are easy to apply with the right information and tools.
Another important thing to keep in mind if you’re camping in winter is to protect your RV pipes from freezing so you’re not left without any water out in the wild.
What to Do in Case the Tent Floor Leaks?
How do you waterproof a tent? Part of learning how to rainproof a tent is knowing how to prevent floor leaks. You see, the tent floor is where most leaks tend to happen. In fact, a leaky floor will cause your tent to get wet from something as simple as vegetation moisture even if it’s not raining outside.
That’s why it’s important to place a tarp beneath your tent, no matter how new or well-constructed your Toogh tent is. The tarp will keep the vegetation and rocks out and prevent them from ripping the inside of your tent floor.
Most manufacturers tape their tents without sealing them. This leaves room for water to enter through the floor and walls. However, seams that have been taped by the manufacturer usually contain a bit of waterproofing material between the stitches.
Although helpful, this doesn’t offer you much in the way of waterproofing a tent. That’s why you need a seam sealer. You must apply a thick layer of it on the seam and let it dry. This will instantly improve your tent’s ability to keep water out.
Afterward, be sure to spray the entire floor with waterproof spray, starting with the tent’s interior. Make sure the tent floor is soaked in the spray and spread the liquid evenly with some cloth.
You should preferably do this outside to speed up the drying process, plus your lungs won’t be happy about you spraying inside. The gas is incredibly harmful and should be inhaled so it might be a good idea to keep your tent windows and doors open while you do it.
Once dry, do the same thing on the outside part of the floor so you can insulate the tent for cold weather. Make sure it’s completely soaked with the liquid, distribute it with a cloth and give it some time to dry.
What About Leaking Tent Walls?
When waterproofing your tent walls, you must follow the same steps as the floor. This includes soaking the walls with the same waterproof spray that you used before, spreading the liquid using the same cloth and allowing it to dry completely.
The walls won’t need as much waterproof spray as the floor if you’re doing this right after finishing the floor. Simply squeeze the waterproof spray liquid from the cloth you used before onto the wall to maximize resources.
A rainfly should always be your first option when setting up your tent. The rainfly is a plastic layer that’s typically utilized to cover the entire tent to prove an extra layer of waterproofing on top. Most tents nowadays contain a complimentary rainfly but some manufacturers require that you buy it separately.
If that’s not the case with your tent, you could always purchase a tarp online. You can use the same type of tarp that was used under your tent. Whatever happens, don’t let the rain fly touch the tent’s interior. Fix the tarp in place by placing rocks on top of the edges.
Things You Must Avoid
There’s all sorts of information on the Internet about how to rainproof a tent or even about wearing a lightweight rain poncho. Most of this advice is effective for short-term purposes but won’t do you any good in the long run. One of the most popular tips is to apply a coating of lard or grease directly onto the rainfly.
Apparently, this is meant to keep the water out but it will also strip your tent of its original waterproof coating. Not only that, but the grease is quite unpleasant and will turn your tent into a disgusting looking (and smelling) abode. Plus, critters and bugs will be attracted to the lard as well.
Some online “experts” will tell you to apply duct tape. But, the problem with this solution is that it can be difficult to remove and will compromise the tent walls.
Yet another popular tip is to seal the holes in your tent with dripping candle wax. This isn’t a great idea as it could cause a fire hazard and cost you your shelter in the middle of nowhere. Rather spend a bit of money on some tarp and the sealing materials we’ve mentioned earlier and apply the tips provided to keep your tent waterproof.
Learning how to rainproof a tent is a valuable skill for any outdoor lover. At some point in your camping journey, you’ll need these skills to keep yourself warm, dry and safe.
A good quality tent will protect you from the wind, hail, rain, and snow. But, you need to be proactive in taking the necessary steps to keep out your biggest enemy – water!
Keep in mind that your tent is your primary and only form of shelter when you’re in the wild. But, without proper waterproofing, it won’t do you much good.
The good news is that tightening ties, sealing seams and connecting the ground cloth to your tent’s seam are all quick and easy methods to apply. All you need are a few inexpensive materials and a couple of hours to spare over the weekend.
Rather spare that than to try ineffective advice offered by inexperienced campers. In the end, you’ll thank yourself for it.
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