The Best Way to Waterproof Your Tent

Aug 3, 2023

The Great British outdoors – where unpredictable weather reigns supreme, switching from sunshine to downpours in the blink of an eye. As you plan your first outdoor escapade in a while, you'd better be prepared for any surprises that Mother Nature throws your way. And that means ensuring your tent is properly waterproofed.

Now, before you start panicking, fear not! Most tents come pre-equipped with water-repellent coatings to fend off moisture. But here's the catch – those coatings don't last forever. Over time, they wear away, leaving your tent vulnerable to soggy intrusions.

Let's get you acquainted with the best way to waterproof your tent:

  1. Pick a Warm, Dry Day If Possible: Mother Nature can influence your tent's waterproofing endeavors. A sunny, dry day is your ally when it comes to sealing your tent's fate against the elements. So, choose a nice clear day to re-waterproof your tent!

  2. Carefully Clean All Parts of the Tent: Your tent has seen its share of adventures, and a bit of dust and grime is only natural. But, before you embark on your waterproofing quest, give your shelter a good scrub down. A clean canvas is a receptive canvas, after all!

  3. Seal the Seams: Ah, the sneaky seams! Those stitched spots on your tent's fabric are perfect entry points for unwelcome rain. But fret not, we have the secret to seal the deal. Choose a dry day, set up your tent, and get to work on those seams. Cleaning and sealing them will ensure your tent remains an impenetrable fortress against water's advances.

  4. Refresh the Urethane Coating: Over time, that trusty urethane coating on your tent can start to flake and peel. Don't let it leave you high and wet! Give it some love and attention – scrub off the flakes, apply a thin layer of tent sealant, and let it dry. Your tent will thank you for this rejuvenating treatment!

  5. Refresh the DWR (Durable Water Repellent) Coating: Meet the superstar of waterproofing – the DWR coating! This magical layer keeps water at bay and helps those raindrops bead up and roll away. Show it some appreciation by cleaning your flysheet and applying a generous coat of waterproofing spray. Say goodbye to soggy mornings!

Now, you might be thinking, "Give us more details, please!" And we hear you! Here's our in-depth guide, complete with handy hints and nifty tips to tackle waterproofing like a seasoned pro.

How Often Should You Reproof Your Tent?

New tents, like fresh recruits, usually come prepared for battle with their waterproof coatings intact. But as time marches on, those coatings can wear off and leave your tent exposed. Keep a keen eye out for signs of flaking and water seepage. A water spray test is a handy trick – if the water fails to bead up on the outside or starts to soak through, it's time to reproof.

How to Re-seal the Seams

Those seams may hold your tent together, but they're not always watertight. Fear not; we have a plan! Choose a dry day, turn your flysheet inside out, and clean those seams meticulously. A bit of rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth or sponge will do the trick. Then, apply the appropriate seam sealer for your tent material. Let it dry, and those seams will be as secure as Fort Knox!

How to Re-apply the Urethane Coating Is your tent experiencing a flaky crisis?

Worry not; we've got a solution! Lay your material on a flat, dry surface, and gently scrub off the pesky flakes. Now, it's time for some TLC – a thin, even coat of tent waterproof like Fabsil will do wonders. Let it dry for at least 24 hours, and voila – no more flakey woes!

How to Re-apply the DWR (durable water repellent) Coating

The DWR coating is your tent's guardian angel against water infiltration. Don't let it retire early! Clean your flysheet and apply a generous coat of waterproofing spray. Wipe off any excess with a soft, damp cloth, and let it dry. Your tent will be ready to laugh at raindrops, guaranteed!

Waterproofing a Polycotton Tent

Polycotton and canvas tents deserve special treatment, and we've got the secret! These unique tents have a water-repellent coating, but they need a little time to weather and tighten up those stitched holes. A gentle hosing down works wonders, giving you a waterproof fortress for your adventures.


  • Never Trust the Weather: Waterproof your tent, rain or shine – you never know when the weather will flip its mood.
  • Double the Waterproofing: For unpredictable weather or extreme conditions, consider applying an extra coat of waterproofing spray. Let the first coat dry before applying the second.
  • Check Your Groundsheet: A well-sealed bathtub sewn-in groundsheet keeps water out and ensures dry dreams during your camping escapades.
  • Mind the Tent Waterproof Rating: The hydrostatic head (HH) reveals how waterproof your tent is. A higher HH means it can withstand greater water pressure. Choose wisely!

And there you have it – the ultimate guide to waterproofing your tent like a seasoned pro! Rain or shine, you're now ready to face whatever the great outdoors throws your way.

If your old tent is beyond saving, fear not – WM Camping has the latest tents from top brands, ready to become your home-away-from-home.