How To Waterproof A Tent In Cheap

How To Waterproof A Tent?

Isn’t it a shame when you need to reschedule your plans just because it starts to rain? Those camping gears you have been keeping in order, the campfires you planned with your loved ones surrounded by the wonderful nature and all that stuff, just plain ruined because of some water!

If you are well aware of the weather conditions and bought yourself a best waterproof tent, you don’t need to worry about your trip but if you don’t own one then you might need to make some remedies to waterproof a tent. Still, the ones that are waterproof will work perfectly for a while and then the waterproofing coating starts to wear away and ultimately will require waterproofing solutions unless otherwise, you decide to go for a new tent.

Well, buckle up, because we have brought you some amazing tried and tested methods to waterproof your tent at the ease of your home. You just need to follow certain steps for waterproofing so that you don’t have any problems when you go camping.

Know How To Waterproof An Old Tent In Cheap

  1. Seam Sealers
  2. Waterproof Sprays
  3. Tarp & Footprints

These three are the best tent waterproofing methods which are commonly used and are easy to understand. You don’t have to worry about the hassles of various things going out of control. These methods are pretty easy to follow once you get the grip of it, and once it’s done, you will not wake up feeling damp and cold in the morning.

Waterproof A Tent in Cheap Using Seam Sealers

What is a Seam Sealer?

Seam sealants are chemical coating compositions that are generally used in the automotive industry primarily for the purpose of seals against air leaks and to waterproof sheet metal overlaps during the assembly of a vehicle. In simpler words, it is a coating applied to an object to avoid any leaks so that it keeps the seam from getting moisture in between panels while waterproofing it. It is one of the best and cheap way to waterproof a tent.

In terms of camping, Seam Sealing is the process of treating the stitch holes and seams in gear, made from waterproof fabric to prevent them from leaking when it rains or snows to achieve maximum waterproofness.

Benefits of Using Seam Sealer

There are many benefits of using seam sealer to waterproof your tent and it is also the most famous method people have been using for a long time now. These points will give you a broader idea of whether to go with this method or not.

Below are the pointers stating the benefits –

  • The tent will last for years once you seal the seams.
  • It is easy to apply and does not amount to many problems.
  • There is no mixing required as it is a single part adhesive.
  • It is over-paintable in nature so you don’t need to worry about it being detected by anyone.
  • It contains a minimalistic odour when applied.
  • Extremely weather resistant, i.e. heavy rains or winds will come and go but your tent won’t go anywhere and you being perfectly safe and sound inside.

Generally, a large branded tent comes with seams all taped up and doesn’t require any further sealing, but there is nothing wrong with double checking. On the other hand, a cottage manufactured tent does not usually come with proper waterproofing solutions and it needs to be sealed so that the water or dew does not seep into the tent.

So, make sure to check the brand before buying and if you do buy, make sure that the seams are all taped up or you have to seal them to waterproof a tent.

How to Apply the Seam Sealers?

Water can potentially find its way into any tent via needle holes in the seams or due to an accidental pinhole or tear. Whether the bought tent or tarp came seam-sealed and fully waterproof, eventually you may want to keep your tent in a good condition for its prolonged life. Lucky for us, the seam-sealing process is very straightforward and fairly simple.

The steps to be followed to waterproof a tent are as follows –

  1. The bottle of seam sealer is available at any sports goods shop and you need to buy one.
  2. Choose a sunny day and set up your tent outdoors.
  3. The seam sealer bottle will have an applicator top with it. After setting up camp, you need to take the bottle, shake it well before opening the cap and apply the product on all the threads, inside and outside.
  4. Let the sealer dry in the sun for a few hours.
  5. Repeat the application to the seams on the tent as well as the rainfly and let them dry off for a few more hours.

Top 3 Best Seam Sealer To Waterproof A Tent

Don’t let the water drops hit you and your family out there in the woods during rains and ruin the whole trip and the whole experience for everybody. Therefore, here are the top three seam sealers you can choose from to waterproof a tent.


#1. Gear Aid Seam Grip WP Waterproof Sealant and Adhesive for Tents and Outdoor Fabric

gear aid seam sealer

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The Seal seams and repair holes in tents, tarps, awnings and camping gear with a waterproofing technique that flexes with the tent fabric and stays for a long time to give your tent an extended life. It can be used on all kinds of fabric and it seems to moisture cures all seams. One of the best seam sealers available in the market to waterproof a tent.

P.S – Use the product on the tent in a humid surrounding like in a hot shower to arrest all the drips.

Specifications:

  • Seal seams and repair holes in tents, tarps, awnings and camping gear like Thermarest sleeping pads
  • The waterproof formula dries overnight to a permanent rubber seal that flexes with fabric and won’t peel or crack over time
  • A one-ounce tube seals up to 12’ of seams; includes two applicator brushes for both sealing and repairing fabric
  • Bonds permanently to outdoor fabrics including nylon, polyester, canvas, and vinyl
  • Packaging may vary
  • Urethane-based seam sealer and repair adhesive for permanently sealing seams and repairing rips, tears and holes in outdoor gear
  • Self-leveling, moisture cure adhesive works on all types of fabrics and surfaces, including neoprene, PVC, rubber, and leather.
  • Flexible, waterproof formula seals tent seams, patches holes, and is unaffected by extreme cold or heat. 
  • Safe for use on natural and synthetic fabrics; provides excellent adhesion and abrasion resistance
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Pros
  • Good flow from the bottle that grips seams and fabric well.
  • A 100% waterproof seam
  • Stays for a long time
  • Reasonable price
  • Flexible with almost all fabrics
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Cons
  • Messy to apply
  • Looks a bit tacky on the final application
  • Takes a lot of time to dry

#2. Gear Aid Sil Net Silicone Seam Sealer

gear aid seam grip sil silicone sealant

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This seam sealer is mainly used for silicone treated products or silnylon fabrics. It works perfectly in just one application and seals the seams, even small rips or tears. If you have a silicone-based tent that required sealing the seams and can’t find the right sealer for such a fabric, this product is highly recommended.

P.S – Apply some talcum powder after drying of the sealer to make it look less sloppy.

Specifications:

  • Durable – Tough silicone rubber adhesive bonds permanently to silicone-treated fabrics
  • Flexible – Once cured, it’s an elastic seal that flexes and stretches with gear
  • Waterproof – Provides a water-tight seal that won’t peel or crack over time
  • Weather-Resistant – Long-lasting sealant is not affected by extreme heat or cold
  • Packaging may vary
  • Silicone seam sealer for Ultra-light Silnylon backpacking tents; seal critical seams in one application
  • 1-1/2 oz. tube seals critical seams on most ultralight two-person tents. 
  • Use on silicone-treated tarps, shelters, backpacks and rainwear to keep water out. 
  • Permanent placement is unaffected by extreme heat or cold but can be removed with mineral spirits
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Pros
  • Works best on silicone-based material
  • Also, durable and holds the seams well
  • Does not drip
  • Soaks into the seam with right viscosity
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Cons
  • Requires thinning before application
  • Appears slick after drying

#3. Coleman Tent Waterproofing Seam Sealer

coleman seam sealer

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It is a waterproof seam sealer that works it magic on tents, tarps, backpacks and more that comes in a bottle form with foam applicator pad. Its urethane formula helps the product is drying up faster than other non-urethane products. After application of the coating, it can appear a bit messy when dried but that does go away after a while. But overall it is a good product to use and apply within a reasonable price range.

Specifications:

  • Waterproofs seams on tents, tarps, backpacks and more
  • 2-oz. bottle with foam applicator pad
  • No mixing required
  • Fast-drying water-based urethane formula
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Pros
  • Quite reasonable in price
  • Durable sealer that protects any leaks
  • Easy to use applicator pad
  • Dries quickly
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Cons
  • Looks messy after application
  • The tip of the bottle keeps coming off

Waterproof A Tent Using Waterproof Sprays (DWR Coatings)

What is Waterproof Spray?

Durable water repellent, or DWR, is a coating added to fabrics at the factory to make them water-resistant. It is easy to go product that makes a tent waterproofing a breeze and an essential item to add to your essential camping gear list.

One of the drawbacks about the waterproof sprays is that they wear off over time and re-treatment is recommended when necessary. If your tent is going to get lots of sun exposure, or if you just want to take extra waterproofing precautions, you can use a spray-on treatment if you don’t have enough time to use seam sealers.

Benefits of using Sprays To Waterproof A Tent

No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to a soaked sleeping bag. And in order to stay dry, it’s important to make sure your tent is waterproofed completely as a few cracks can lead to big leaks. This is the time when the waterproofing sprays come into existence which can be your best friend during times of tragedies.

Some of the benefits of using waterproof sprays are:

  • It protects your fabrics and other items against outdoor rainy weather.
  • It is efficient in enhancing water repellency and keeps dirt off the tent.
  • Such sprays reduce the effects of UV rays on the tent material.
  • Cheaper than sealers.
  • It helps the rainfly of your tent to shed all the water helping to stay dry inside.

How to apply the spray?

Applying a waterproof spray is not that difficult if you follow the steps that are mentioned. Always carry a go-to waterproof spray when you are out camping to avoid any sudden leak in your tent. All you need to use the spray is a damp cloth and some water.

After this follow these steps:

  1. Set up your camp outdoors like usual and spray it with clean water.
  2. If you have already washed your tent, don’t let it dry completely before spraying the DWR coating.
  3. Apply the waterproof spray evenly over the exterior of the rainfly.
  4. Wait for a couple of minutes and wipe off any excess coating off the tent with the damp cloth.
  5. Wait for some time to let the spray dry completely and you can then pack the tent and leave for your camping trip.

Top 3 Best Waterproof Spray | Tent Waterproofing Spray Review

We have found out the best three waterproof sprays and reviewed them to help you make a rational choice for buying such a product so that you are always prepared for any uncertainty that follows.


#1. Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield Tent Waterproofing Spray

scotchgard outdoor water shield waterproof spray

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This waterproof spray is bundled with 2-Pack Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield and is a multipurpose spray that can be used not only for your tent but also on any fabric in your house that needs waterproofing like coats, furniture fabric and can be used on all synthetic outerwear and apparels, etc.

It helps your material to repel water and keeps it dry for a long period of time. If the coating starts to fade after a while, you can spray it again over the fabric in the same manner as mentioned above to extend the life of your tent.

Specifications:

  • Bundle includes 2-Pack Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield, 10.5-Ounce
  • One coat coverage
  • Maintains fabric breathability
  • Repels moisture during use and in storage
  • Dries quickly
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Pros
  • It gives one coat coverage to the tent fabric.
  • Maintains breathability even after spraying.
  • It dries quickly.
  • The tent can be easily folded back after the spray dries off.
  • It is easy to apply.
  • Best Spray To Waterproof A Tent
  • The best tent waterproofing product
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Cons
  • Does not work properly on leather products.
  • A strong chemical spray odor.
  • The packaging is a little disappointing.

#2. Nikwax Tent & Gear Solar Proof Tent Waterproofing Spray

nikwax waterproof spray

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This product restores and adds water repellency to different fabrics while giving it an extra edge of UV protection to prevent the fabric from any sun damage and also doubling the lifespan of your gear. It is a spray-on application that works great on tents, backpacks, awnings, boat covers, patio furniture, etc.

Nikwax Tent and Gear spray will maintain the breathable performance of gear, preventing moisture build-up on the inside of gear that will keep you dry all along the trip.

Specifications:

  • Restores and adds water repellency to weather-proof fabrics
  • Adds UV protection to prevent sun damage and double the lifespan of gear; works best after application of Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarwash
  • Spray-on application
  • Great for use on tents, flys, backpacks, awnings, boat covers, patio furniture, and panniers
  • Water-based, biodegradable, and contains no PFCs, VOCs, optical brighteners, or added scent
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Pros
  • It also cleans your gear.
  • An added advantage of UV protection that increases the life of the gear.
  • Easy application
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Cons
  •  Applying too much spray can cause messiness
  • Does not apply to the tent that is already waterproof (if you planning to reduce the UV damage)

#3. Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy-Duty Water Repellent

kiwi heavy duty water repellant spray

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It is a heavy-duty spray that can be used on many types of fabric to make it waterproof. It has a negligible odor after it dries up and is easy to apply. The spray has a strong chemical smell when applied and will leave the shape of whatever item you spray on the surface.  Just like the other two products it applies in one coating, sometimes two and has no hassles in the application.

Specifications:

  • Ideal for tents, tarps, boots, hunting apparel, outdoor gear, boat covers, and patio furniture.
  • Keeps water out, allows material to breathe.
  • Silicone bonds to leather/fabric to create an extremely tough water barrier, while still allowing the article to breathe.
  • Treated material stays odor free after drying.
  • Contains silicone.
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Pros
  • Heavy duty product
  • Quantity for price
  • Can also be used on nylon and synthetic fabric
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Cons
  • Strong smell from the product on application
  • Sometimes you need to apply the coating twice for best results

Know How To Waterproof A Tent With A Tarp

What Is A Tarp?

A tarp is a large sheet of strong, flexible, water-resistant or waterproof material that provides good shelter from the sun. If you don’t have any liquid sprays or sealers with you, keeping a tarp & a footprint or either of them in your backpack means you can always tie up some waterproof shelter to sleep, as it covers the floor of your tent and will protect your tent base sheet from wear and tear while keeping it clean.

You can use tarp either on top or below your tent depending on the weather and terrain you are setting up the camp, while a tent footprint is used as a ground cloth under camping tents to prevent the wear and tear of your tent against the ground. There are two main types of groundsheet – solid and mesh.
Either way, it’s a protective barrier that will extend the life of your tent.

Benefits Of Using A Tarp & Footprint

Tarps & Footprints provide an extra layer of the sheet to the bottom or the top of the tent for added protection from water or dew you might experience on your camping trip. It is like an insurance policy to your tent and a crucial part of your camping gear. If you don’t have a sealer or a waterproofing spray in hand, these options will come in handy against rain and morning dew. There are many benefits of using these that are listed below:

  • A tarp or footprint protects your tent floor against the jagged, tent floor-wrecking ground, thereby increasing the life of the tent.
  • They can help waterproof the floor or top of your tent.
  • They help in stopping the formation of condensation while keeping the campsite tidy.
  • Also, they help make it easy to pack away your tent in muddy or wet conditions.
  • It also helps to protect the ground and allow it to breathe and even double as an emergency shelter or stretcher.
  • A tarp or a footprint creates another layer, that slightly raises you off the floor that in turn reduce the amount of heat loss to the ground.

How To Waterproof A Tent With A Tarp & Footprint?

Using them increases the durability of your tent and they also keep it warm and dry to help you rest in complete peace. There are different terrains present and you need to choose the right kind of tarp & footprint for different terrains for maximum comfort. Some pointers to keep in mind before setting them up in your tent:

  • In woodlands and fields, be sure to put a tarp under the tent and don’t forget to fold it under so that it doesn’t extend beyond the edge of the tent.
  • When you are camping on a beach, make sure to put the tarp or footprint inside the tent so that water does not seep inside the tent.
  • A third way to place the tarp is to put it over the tent or possibly in combination with one inside and/or under the tent.

How to attach them?

  • Most manufacturers make footprints or tarp with a series of tabs and grommets that match the locations of the grommets on the tent body where the poles are inserted.
  • When you are pitching the tent, make sure to place the footprint or tarp grommets above the tent body grommets so that the pole tip attaches first to the footprint/tarp and then to the tent body.
  • You get a strong and firm footprint/tarp attached to your tent.

When you want to set the tarp on top:

  • Lay the tarp out on the ground where you want it to go.
  • Peg out the double guy lines from each of the main pole eyelets but leave some slack in the guy lines.
  • Get a pole, insert into an eyelet, and push the tarp up with the pole.

Repeat for the other side of the tarp, then adjust the guy lines to give the correct tension.

Top 3 Best Tarp & Footprints | Tarp Review

You can buy some really good tent footprint/tarp for various models of tents in order to waterproof a tent.  These enable you to protect the bottom as well as the top of the tent, and can help with pitching your tent as you place the footprint or tarp where you want the tent prior to pitching, which helps get the location right. We have found three of the best brands to help you make a rational decision before investing.


#1. OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp for Picnics, Tent Footprint, and Sunshade

OUTAD Waterproof Camping Tarp

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The material of the tarp is made up of high-density Oxford fabric that makes the product waterproof. It comes in three sizes, that are small, medium and large depending on the size of your tent. The mat is easy to carry around in the camping gear that also includes a drawstring bag and can be used as a tent footprint, picnic mat, and for camping.

Specifications:

  • Material: high-density 210D Oxford fabric construction makes it waterproof.
  • Folded dimensions: Small (6.3 x 4 x 0.8 inches), Medium (8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches), Large (6.3 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches).
  • Unfolded dimensions: Small (59 x 87 inches), Medium (71 x 87 inches), Large (94 x 87 inches).
  • Portable: The mat is easy to carry with the included drawstring bag. Weight: Small (11 ounces), Medium (13.4 ounces), Large(17 ounces)
  • Tarp can be used as tent footprint, picnic mat, and for camping.
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Pros
  • Easy to carry
  • It is a multipurpose tarp (used as a footprint, picnic mat or for camping purposes)
  • Comes in different colors
  • Holds up firmly against the tent
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Cons
  • It is a little slippery.
  • The grommets are small and less in number.
  • The material is thick.

#2. Outry Waterproof Multi-Purpose Tarp

outry waterproof multi purpose tarp-tent stakes

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This tarp is also made from Oxford fabric making it ripstop and waterproof and comes with a bag to hold the product. It can be used as a tent footprint, hammock rain fly, picnic mat, ground cover, etc. therefore increasing the purposes of the tarp.

The material is thinner than the above product because it is made from tent material rather than the actual tarp material but is pretty strong on the outside. This Tarp is best in order to waterproof a tent.

Specifications:

  • 210D oxford fabric makes it RIPSTOP and WATERPROOF.
  • 6 Grommets in size M/L and 4 in size S, each hole is 8mm in diameter.
  • Folded size and weight: S-(6.7″ x 4.7″ x 1.6″, 12.7oz), M-(8.3″ x 5.5″ x 2″, 16.6oz), L-(8.3″ x 6.3″ x 2.8″, 20oz).
  • Stuff sack and tent stakes(consist of grommets’ quantity) are included.
  • Can be used as tent footprints, hammock rain fly, picnic mat, ground cover etc.
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Pros
  • Thinner fabric than the last product
  • Easy to fold and carry
  • Dries up faster than most products
  • Comes with extra tarp hardware
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Cons
  • The material can lose its durability when exposed to direct sunlight
  • The tarp grommets are weak
  • The tarp bag is smaller than expected

#3. Vigor Hammock Rain Fly, Waterproof Tent Tarp

Vigor Hammock Rain Fly, Waterproof Tent Tarp

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The tarp is not made of cheap plastic but comes with six Reflective Guylines with tensioners and four Trigonal Stakes, with the four corners and the two wings applying double materials and enhanced nylon ribbon, that further ensures the durability of the tarp.

The whole product is easy to carry around making your trip pleasant. In addition to being waterproof, the product also provides sunshade as well as snow shade. It is also a multipurpose tarp that can provide a number of experiences.

Specifications:

  • nylon
  • THE STRONG RIPSTOP MATERIAL AND WORKMANSHIP–Vigor camping tarp is NOT a cheap plastic, come with six Reflective Guylines with tensioners and four Trigonal Stakes, the four corners and the two wings apply the double materials and enhanced nylon ribbon, this further ensures the durability of Vigor tarp. The bilateral swallow-tailed design can ensure the good ventilation.
  • 1.6LB LIGHTWEIGHT AND PORTABLE — Vigor professional rain fly is really lightweight, approximately 1.6lb, entire package equal to a glass of water’s weight. it is convenient to fold and take in trips, make your trip easier and pleasant.
  • EXCELLENT SUN AND SNOW PROTECTION AND WATERPROOF –Vigor is made of 210T ripstop parachute nylon fabric. waterproof up to PU2000mm. Not only a water-repellent rain fly, but also a great sunshade/snowshade. Even in the varying weather conditions, Vigor can provide the perfect protection.
  • LARGE SIZE AND IDEAL FOR MULTI-PURPOSE — Come with a brochure to show you how to set up the tarp for various purposes. Vigor camping tarp has 10 x 10ft large size, which can provide ample space for your hammock or tent. It also can be used as the car shelter, or shelter your equipment, clothes, pets or grains.
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Pros
  • Stainless alloy eyelets
  • Provides snow shade as well as a sunshade
  • Comes with a brochure as to how to set up the tarp for various purposes
  • You get a free replacement of the product within three years of purchase
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Cons
  • A little heavier than other products
  • The tarp grommets are weak
  • Tarp sizes are not apt

As a person who is always ready for any mishaps and proactive in nature, you probably would have checked the weather before going on the trip but you can never be certain of the forecast. Any sudden changes in the weather will just ruin the whole trip.

Hence, using waterproofing solutions is not a big deal and is quite a simple technique when you get into it. With proper precautions and measure and various methods to do the job, you can ensure your tent to be dry on the many trips to come in the future.

This is all about How To Waterproof A Tent In Cheap, do share your feedback in comments about the blog.

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