How To Waterproof A Tent: 3 Effective Methods

How To Waterproof A Tent
Waterproof Tent

Nothing is more frustrating than water leaking inside your tent while camping. If you are depriving yourself of enjoying camping in the rainy season, learning how to waterproof a tent is a must. Enjoy your camping experience to the fullest by ensuring no water drips inside your tent. 

This article has the best three methods to help waterproof your tent without extra hassle. 

To waterproof your tent, first, select a dry day so that you can do your job outdoors. Next, prepare your tent by cleaning and patching up the holes. Then depending on the tent’s condition and water leakage problems, choose the methods of seam sealing, refreshing urethane coating and applying a DWR coating to waterproof the tent. 

Are you interested in learning more about waterproofing a tent? This article has everything covered for you. Dig into this article to know the easiest and most effective ways of waterproofing your tent.

Steps To Prepare a Tent Before Waterproofing a Tent

Steps To Prepare A Tent Before Waterproofing A Tent​
Steps To Prepare A Tent

Before starting your tent waterproofing service, you must prepare the tent first. The first thing you need to do is make your tent dirt-free and build a strong foundation by patching up the holes. Follow the below instructions to make the tent well-prepared for waterproofing. 

Set The Tent Up

First, bring the tent into a spacious area and set it up so that you can easily access the inner and outer parts of the tent. 

Clean The Tent

Use a soft bristle brush and clean the tent by gently swapping away the dirt. Next, check every corner, especially between the zippers, for cleanliness. If you notice any mildew or fungus, make soapy water by mixing water and mild soap and clean those areas. Remember to rinse away the soap residue with a damp cloth.

Look For Any Damage

Before waterproofing your tent, ensure there are no holes or damage to the tent’s body. So, carefully inspect the tent and see whether there are any holes, wear and tear. If you find any damage, like holes or tears, use a tent’s adhesive tape to patch the holes securely. 

Note: The adhesive tapes must be the ones that are specially designed for repairing tents. Also, instead of adhesive tape, you can use tent repair kits that contain patches and seam sealers.

3 Effective Methods To Waterproof A Tent

Learning how to waterproof a tent will save you money from buying an expensive tent. You can waterproof your tent in three different ways. Depending on the tent’s condition, you must decide which waterproofing method to use. The methods are- 

  1. Seam sealing 
  2. Recoat the urethane coating. 
  3. Apply a DWR coating.

1. Seam Seal Your Tent

Seam Seal Your Tent
Seam Seal Tent

Seams are those areas of the tent where two pieces of fabric are joined together through the stitches. Generally, you can find seams on the tent’s body, floor and rainfly. If you see water leaking through the tent body or rainfly seams, it is time to seal them. Now, to seam seal your tent, collect the below waterproof tent materials

  • A rag 
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Applicator brush 
  • A Tent Seam sealer (depends on the type of the tent’s fabrics, for example, polyurethane tent waterproofing requires a different seam sealant/sealer than a silicone fabric tent )

Once you collect the appropriate materials, follow the steps below to seal your tent’s seams. 

  • Identify The Seams: The seams on the tent body are clearly visible. However, you might face problems while sealing the seams on the rainfly. To avoid problems, put the rainfly inside out to reach the seams underneath the rainfly. Hence, following this will help you reach and seal the seams.
  • Preparation Before Sealing: Prepare the seams for sealer application by cleaning them with rubbing alcohol and a rag.
  • Apply The Seam Sealer: Take an applicator brush and apply the seam sealer on the exterior seam lines by focusing on the tiny needle-like holes. To save your tent from heavy rains, apply seam sealer on high-stress areas like pole attaching points and corners.
  • Wipe Off The Excess Seal: Remove excess sealant from the tent by wiping after applying seam sealer on the seams. Take a clean and dry cloth and gently wipe on the tent.
  • Allow The Seam Sealer To Dry: Do not touch the seams until it is complementary dry.  Also, do not fold the tent without drying the seam sealer. It will take up to 6-7 hours to fully dry. 

That’s all about seam sealing your tent. Isn’t it easy? You can quickly seal your tent’s seams by yourself if you have the proper materials. Once you use seam sealer on your tent, it will remain waterproof for years. However, if you backpack or store the tents in harsh conditions, you must reseal the seams after 5-7 years.

2. Recoat The Urethane Coating

Recoat The Urethane Coating

If you see the urethane coating flaking off from the tent floor and rainfly, it is time to refresh the flaking urethane coating. Collect the below materials to recoat the urethane coating of your tent-


  • A sponge with an abrasive side 
  • Rubbing alcohol 
  • A tent sealant 

Once you collect all these materials, follow the below steps to make your tent waterproof by refreshing the urethane coating. 


  • Lay Down The Tent: Find a suitable place to place your rainfly from where you can work on it efficiently.  
  • Scrub Off The Coating: Take rubbing alcohol and apply it on the rainfly and the floor area. Next, use a sponge to scrub off the flaking urethane coating from the tent rainfly.
  • Apply The Tent Sealant: Once you finish scrubbing and the rainfly is clean, apply an even layer of tent sealant where the urethane coating has worn off. Ensure the layer of the tent sealant is thin. 
  • Dry The Tent Sealant: Do not pack your tent immediately after applying the tent sealant. Let it dry for at least 24 hours, and then pack it. 

That is it! In this way, you can refresh the urethane coating of your tent rainfly and floor and keep the water running inside the tent.

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3. Apply Durable Water-Repellent Coating

Apply Durable Water-Repellent Coating
Water-Repellent Coating

You can apply a durable e water-repellent (DWR) coating to make the tent surfaces waterproof. Find the best tent waterproofing spray from your nearest store or Amazon and use it on your tent. Collect the below materials to waterproof your tent with a DWR coating-

  • A durable water-repellent spray
  • A Clean damp cloth. 

Here’s how you can restore the waterproof surface of your tent by using a waterproofing tent spray-

  • Set Up The Tent: Choose a spacious and well-ventilated area to set up your tent. The backyard is the best place to do this job; however, you can place the tent in your garage. Make sure the tent is dirt-free.


  • Use The DWR Coating: Once your tent is set and all cleaned up, apply the DWR coating over the tent’s surface. The DWR comes in a spray bottle, so gently spray it over the exterior surface of your tent and ensure no area misses out.  Do not forget to spray the floor’s outer surface area as well.
  • Wipe Off The Excess DWR: After spraying the DWR, take a dry cloth and wipe the excess DWR with this cloth. Wiping off the excess DWR will provide an even coating to your tent.
  • Allow The DWR Coating To Dry: It is the last step that you need to take. After cleaning off the excess DWR, let it dry so it gets attached to the tent’s fabric. You must leave the tent in a dry place for at least 11-12 hours or overnight to help it dry. 


This is how you can regain the condition of your tent and make it waterproof like a new one! So, once you make your waterproof, you do not have to worry about the weather condition and enjoy your camping without getting wet.

Watch the video to learn How To Waterproof A Tent?


How Often Should I Waterproof My Tent? 

The frequency of tent waterproofing depends on what condition you store your tent in. If your tents are kept in harsh conditions, spraying a DWR over them before making a new plan for every camping is the best thing to do.

However, if you store your tents in a good backpacking, your tent will not require waterproofing treatment for at least 4-7 years

What Is The Best Way To Waterproof A Tent? 

The best and easiest way to waterproof your tent is by spraying a durable water-repellant spray over the tent’s surface. It helps the tent refresh its urethane coating and regain its longevity. The DWR spray makes your old tent provide service like a new one. 

Do You Need To Waterproof A New Tent? 

If your newly bought tent does not have a seal on the seams or does not have a waterproof coating on the fabric, you must waterproof your new tent. Mostly, cheap tents are not adequately sealed or have waterproof properties.

So, use a tent sealant and waterproofing tent spray to waterproof your tent. 

What Material Makes A Tent Waterproof? 

Generally, most of the weaves used to make tents, among them nylon and polyester, are naturally water-resistant. However, mylar composite is already completely waterproof by nature. Typically, silicone is added in the manufacturing process to make nylon and polyester waterproof.

How Long Do A Tent Last? 

The longevity of a tent depends on its usage and maintenance. A typical tent will live for about 15 years. However, if you take care of the tent properly, even if you only camp five nights a year, it may last you 30 years.

Final Words

That’s all that you need to know about the techniques related to waterproofing your tents. Knowing how to waterproof a tent will save you from spending your money on buying a new tent. Now that you know the waterproofing steps, you can easily follow them and make your tent repellant to water. 

Remember, only spraying a durable water-repellant is insufficient to make your tent waterproof. To avoid leakage, seam sealing is a must thing to do. Also, you must find any holes in your tent where water may leak. Following these simple steps, make your tent waterproof and have an excellent camping experience.

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