Ensuring your tent is still waterproof is a must before you set off on your camping trips. Even if you’d bought a waterproof tent years ago, the effectiveness of the water resistant materials can deteriorate over time, leaving you with a tent that could potentially leak and endure further damage.
There are many ways of waterproofing your tent to keep it in the best condition it can possibly be in, but perhaps the most effective way of doing so involves coating your tent in a hydrophobic spray.
Hydrophobic sprays, otherwise known as waterproofing sprays, act as a barrier between the tent and the rain, and due to their composition, allow water to slide straight off- hence the name hydrophobic. These sprays are handy to use before a trip, and can be sprayed over an assembled tent any time during dry weather to give its protection against the elements a boost.
It’s important to re-waterproof your tent periodically to keep it functioning as properly. No waterproof spray is permanent, and some sprays don’t last as long as others. Make sure to check if the spray you are using is resistant to UV or if it will evaporate quickly over time.
How To Use Waterproofing Sprays On A Tent
For the best results, follow the directions listed on your waterproofing spray bottle. In addition to this, there are several other general tips and tricks to keep in mind when waterproofing your tent using waterproofing spray.
- Make sure your tent is clean and dry before re-waterproofing it. This will prevent you from needing to clean it for another while, thus prolonging the waterproofing sealant you’re about to use. Waterproof sprays often become less effective with continuous exposure to water, washing or general wear. If you clean your tent before applying any spray, it will increase the spray’s longevity if you don’t wash it again for a while.
- Make sure there is no leakage due to physical damage on your tent. Using a waterproof spray can only help so much – if your tent has a hole in it causing it to leak, then you’re best patching it up before applying any sealant. Luckily, we have a guide for patching tents.
- Make sure your tent is laid out as flat as possible when spraying each individual section. This gives it a much more even coat and also makes you less likely to miss any parts of the structure with the spray.
- Hold your spray approximately six inches from the surface you’re spraying. Of course, you should follow the advice written on the bottle, but as a general rule of thumb, holding the bottle around six inches away is ideal.
- Sometimes your tent only needs a spot-repair. Testing your tent’s water resistance after washing it can help determine whether or not it needs a full spray of if there are only some areas of concern. This can save you leftover spray, along with time.
REMEMBER: If you’re planning on camping in bear country, be wary of any scents that waterproofing sprays may have. Luckily, most sprays that are manufactured are odorless, but it’s always good to double check.
#1 Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Spray
- KIWI Camp Dry Performance Fabric Protector Spray restores durable water repellent on fabrics and apparel to prevent "wetting out"
- Maintains the appearance and breathability of all FABRICS, including performance materials like GORE-TEX
- Ideal for light colored boots, coats, jackets, fleeces, hats, gloves, ski pants, patio furniture, tents, tarps, boots, hunting apparel, outdoor gear, boat covers and more
- Long-lasting water protection
- Walk with pride, whatever the weather
Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Spray works by creating a barrier of silicon between the tent and the elements. This layer of silicon is secure, breathable and durable, and can last as long as six months with steady wear. Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Spray is inexpensive and effective, and easy to get ahold of should you need more.
The odorless properties ensure that Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Spray is safe for travelling into bear country and other areas where wildlife may be attracted.
#2 Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof
- 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, fly, backpacks, awnings, boat covers, umbrellas, patio furniture, and panniers
- Water based, non-persistent, and contains no PFCs, optical brighteners, or added scent
Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof is effective in a variety of ways when it comes to waterproofing a tent. It’s durable, long lasting and breathable, leaving it as a formidable force against heavy rain. Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof is also odorless, meaning it’s safe to use in bear country, and anywhere else that animals may be attracted.
Nikwax Tent and Gear Solarproof also boasts the added advantage of being solarproof, meaning it can block UV rays. This is great for tents as UV rays can slowly damage the fabric by weakening it or beaching it over time.
#3 Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield
- WATER REPELLENT SPRAY: One Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield Spray, 13 oz can, that protects fabrics against the elements
- IDEAL FOR MANY OUTDOOR ITEMS: Water repellent spray is ideal for use on tents, outerwear, rain gear, umbrellas, patio furniture, outdoor gear, backpacks, luggage, canvas tarps, boat covers and more
- SAFE FOR MANY FABRICS: Use this fabric spray on polyester, nylon, polypropylene, cotton, leather, suede and more
- BREATHABLE: Water repellent spray does not impede fabric breathability
- ODORLESS: Fabric spray dries odorless
Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield is a reliable, easy to apply waterproofing spray which comes in handy for if you need to waterproof something quickly. One coat should be enough when using Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield, making it one of the faster options when looking for an effective waterproof spray.
#4 303 Fabric Guard
- Restores lost water and stain repellency to factory new levels. Safe for all fabrics and dries residue-free.
- Greatly increases water-based stain resistance, keeping fabrics dry and maintaining color fastness. Use on upholstery, cushions, umbrellas, life jackets, suede, canvas, and other outdoor fabrics.
- Directions – Use product outdoors only, in supplied packaging. Spray product onto fabric until evenly wet, overlapping areas in a crisscross pattern, and let dry. Do not oversaturate. Treated material must be protected from rain/dew until completely cured. Cure Time: 12 – 24 hours dependent on temperature. If these steps are performed correctly, the material will be water repellent at this point.
- All 303 products are good for use up to 5 years after the date of manufacturing if unopened, and up to 2 years after the date of opening. Proudly made by a family-owned company in Chicago, IL.
- PLEASE NOTE - Due to the pandemic, it has been challenging securing quality sprayers. We are aware that the sprayers we are currently using sometimes have quality issues. If you receive a bottle with a faulty sprayer, please contact us directly for a replacement. We are actively working on a solution and appreciate your understanding.
303 Fabric Guard has the benefit of being available in many different sizes, leaving you with more options in terms of spending. It’s a slightly more expensive option and isn’t tailored specifically for tents, so it can be used on a variety of outdoor furnishings. 303 Fabric guard is best used on canvas tents as opposed to other fabrics.
It offers complete water protection, and is durable, long lasting and odorless.
#5 Star Brite Waterproofing Spray
- Star brite Waterproofing with PTEF restores water repellency to virtually all marine fabrics from boat covers to bimini tops. It is also the easiest, most effective way to waterproof car covers, tents, tarps, foul weather gear, convertible tops and more.
- Star brite Waterproofing is also great for use on new fabrics, greatly extending their service life by providing an additional barrier to moisture and damaging UV rays.
- It’s easy to use; simply spray the fabric to be restored, and allow it to dry for 6 hours before use. Always apply Waterproofing outdoors, taking care to not breathe the solution.
- Waterproofing is safe for on all marine fabrics, including Sunbrella. 22 oz covers – 80 square feet coverage*
- Coverage may vary slightly depending upon amount of product applied per square foot
Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is a reliable, durable spray, which protects items from water, staining and UV damage. The solution can be used on multiple outside surfaces, as Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is made for the marine industry. However, as a result, it could potentially damage certain fabrics or leave an undesired effect. Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is also odorless and breathable, making it ideal for getaways to bear country during the rainy season.