Does Waterproofing Spray Actually Work on Tents?

When you plan a camping trip, there are a few things that you need to have in mind. The most important thing is to check the weather – see if it is expected to rain or not. If the forecast predicts rain, staying home is the best thing to do.

Still, the weather can be somewhat unpredictable at times. A bit of rain can always surprise you during your trip. If that ever happens, you will need to have a good, waterproof tent that you can use. If the tent is not waterproof, you will need waterproofing spray to make it water resistant!

Yes, such waterproofing sprays exist, and they are very convenient. If you have never used one before, no worries – I can tell you all about it. So, stick around for the entirety of this guide if you want to learn everything about making your tent waterproof with a waterproofing spray!


does waterproofing spray work on tents

Does Waterproofing Spray Actually Work on Tents?

If you have never used waterproofing products before, I can see why you might not expect them to work. I was skeptical about them, but as I applied the first waterproof coating on my tent, I realized I was wrong. The waterproofing sprays work very well; the same goes for tents of all kinds.

Many campers decide to go with waterproof camping gear from the get-go. If you look into waterproof camping tents, you will find that they can be a bit more expensive than regular tents. They will have quality material and water repellency, but is that worth the extra money you spend?

I would say no – plenty of great tents do not have good water repellency in the beginning. If you have such a tent, you can make it completely waterproof by using such waterproof sprays on your trips. This option will save you some money but provide you with the same amount of protection from water.

Since there are various water proof sprays you can look into, I recommend you read their instructions well. For example, some sprays are suitable only for a canvas tent. Others might be suitable only for a nylon tent. It depends on the manufacturer and the spray itself.

So, before you get such a spray, check the type of material used for your tent. That will tell you the type of spray you need to get. If you follow my instructions, I do not doubt you will be able to waterproof a tent without any problem.

How Long Does Waterproofing Last on a Tent?

There is no way to tell how long the waterproofing will last on your tent. First, it depends on what kind of waterproofing you have. Is the tent material waterproof, or are you using a waterproofing spray?

Any type of waterproofing on tents can wear out after some time. How much you use the tent, how you use it, and how you take care of it will play crucial roles. The more you use the tent, the more often it will need waterproof treatment. The same goes for using the tent, especially if you take camping trips in rainy, humid weather.

Another thing to think about is how you take care of the tent. I always recommend cleaning, airing out, and drying the tent after using it. When it comes to waterproofing tents, the most important part is drying the tent. Before you store it, you must ensure it is dry.

Then, you need to store the tent in a dry, cool place. Even the best waterproofing spray will not work well if you keep the tent in a humid area. The waterproofing will wear out, and the tent material will stay wet, leading to mold growth.

To save yourself a lot of trouble and money, I recommend taking proper care of the tent from the moment you get it. You can try to experiment with the material to see if it is waterproof or not. But remember to always dry and store it after use. If you do that, the tent and its waterproof coating will stay in great shape for a while!

Can You Make a Tent More Waterproof?

You can always waterproof your tent or make it more water-resistant than it is! The first way to do so is using the mentioned DWR coating spray. If you do not know, DWR stands for durable water repelling, which you must have on your camping tent.

But this is only one of the ways to make your gear waterproof or improve its water resistance. The other is to check and see the state of the tent. If there are any rips or tears, that might be why your tent is leaking.

Depending on how bad the tears or how big the holes are, there are a couple of things to consider. If the material is too damaged, the best thing would be to get a new tent and throw the old one out. If the tears are not that bad, you can use some seam sealant and apply it over them.

You must sew the holes shut and apply the sealant or seam tape. You can get whatever you like – I recommend the seam tape for leaky seams or tiny holes only. But the final decision is always yours.

Once you seal all holes and tears, you can apply an extra coat of waterproof spray to improve the existing waterproofing on the tent. If you do everything right, I do not doubt you will have no leaking in your tent.

How Often Do Tents Need Waterproofing?

As mentioned before, the tent will tell you how often you must waterproof it. With waterproof nylon tents, you will not need to use waterproofing spray often. With regular canvas tents, you might need to waterproof the material more frequently.

Try to experiment with the tent before taking it on a trip. Drizzle some water on the tent, let the water sit on the material, and see if there are any leaks. Also, do the experiments after each trip to check if the waterproof layer has worn out.

Such experiments will prove helpful in determining if you need to apply a new waterproof coating or not. But remember to take a tent waterproofing spray on your trip just in case!

Do You Waterproof the Inside or Outside of a Tent?

When it comes to waterproofing various outdoor gear, there are different tactics you need to use to waterproof things. With tents, most waterproofing sprays are meant to be used on the outside of the tent. A general assumption is that there is a lesser need to waterproof the inside.

But with waterproofing, it is not enough to know how a waterproof spray works. You will also need to know how to waterproof the tent and prolong the effectiveness of the waterproof coating. If you want to learn how to do this, here are the steps you should follow:

Step 1 – You need to clean the tent to perfection. If you went on a trip recently, consider giving the tent a nice wash on the inside and outside. Make sure there is no dirt or debris before washing it. Once it is spotless, leave it to dry completely.

Step 2 – Get the waterproof spray and a cloth. Start by applying the spray all over the tent material. The same goes not only for tents but for all outdoor furniture. Then, leave the spray to do its magic for a few minutes before you move on to the next step.

Step 3 – With the cloth, go over the materials where you applied the spray. Remove all excess water. Then, leave the tent to dry in the sun or a place with constant airflow. Even if you need to leave it overnight, do not be afraid to do so.

Step 4 – After the tent is dry, store it away in a cool and dry place. Take it out only when you need to use it. With that, you will be able to prolong the effectiveness of the waterproof spray. After a few uses of the tent, repeat the same process.

Best Waterproof Spray for Tents

To help you waterproof a tent without much problem, I have given you all the steps you need to follow. Now, I want to tell you more about the best tent waterproofing sprays you can find on the market. Here are my top 3 choices, so make sure to check them out:

Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent

The Kiwi camp spray is a great waterproof spray that can work on all types of gear. Not only can you use it on your tent, but you can also apply it to your backpack, boots, and other outdoor equipment. This spray is very cheap, so you would not have to save up to get it.

KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent ,For Tents, Tarps, Boots, Boat Covers, Patio Furniture and More, Spray Bottle, 10.5 Oz (single unit)
  • Ideal for tents, tarps, boots, hunting apparel, outdoor gear, boat covers and patio furniture
  • Treated material stays odor free after drying
  • Contains silicone

The spray comes in a small green can. You can check the can to see the instructions and ensure you are using it as you should. You will notice that it says the thing you are waterproofing must be clean and dry.

Make sure that you shake the can before use. Then, with the can in an upright position, spray the waterproof coating all over your item. The coating should be all over the item, while you can apply a second coating a few hours later.

It will take 48 hours total for the item to be waterproof. Then, you can use it even if it starts raining outside. You will be completely safe since the Kiwi spray is very effective and gives long-lasting waterproofing.

To find out more information on the spray, click HERE.

Star Brite Water Proofer + Stain Repellent + UV Protection

This second spray has many uses. This spray can do everything from waterproofing something to making it stain repellent and even giving it UV protection. It is also suitable for tents, boat tops, covers, outdoor clothing, gear, etc.

STAR BRITE Waterproofing Spray, Waterproofer + Stain Repellent + UV Protection - 22 OZ (081922SS)
  • ULTIMATE PROTECTION FOR OUTDOOR FABRICS - Waterproofing plus UV and stain protection for boat covers, car covers, bimini tops, sail covers, tents, jackets, backpacks, boots, awnings, patio covers and...
  • PRESERVES FABRIC QUALITY - Does not change the breathability, color, or feel of fabric, ensuring original texture and appearance
  • EXTENDS FABRIC LIFE - Great for use on new fabrics, greatly extending their service life and revives old fabrics by providing an additional barrier to moisture, stains and damaging sun rays

On the spray bottle, you will see that it is recommended for use on canvas, nylon, acrylic, or leather. So, only use it on such tents for waterproofing. Also, remember that this is a bit more expensive than the previous option. The spray has high efficiency and is great at waterproofing and stain-proofing. Its UV inhibitors will protect the materials even in the strongest sun rays.

Before you get the spray, look into the various options you have. You can choose between marine-grade waterproofing, sail and canvas cleaner, and a water-based spray. Each can be used on various materials, so check to see which one will be best for your tent.

To find out more on the spray, click HERE.

Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning, Waterproofing, UV Protection

Of all waterproof sprays, the Nikwax is the one I love using the most. The bottle is compact and easy to use, while the spray will make your tent repel water like never before. It is the best thing you can use to waterproof your tent, but it comes at a higher price than the other two options.

Nikwax Tent & Gear, Tent & Gear Solarproof, 500ml, Spray Waterproofing and UV Protector, Rain Protector, Restores DWR Water Repellency on Outdoor Fabric, Rain Fly, Canvas, Backpacks
  • The only waterproofer designed to protect against UV damage and enhance water repellency of all weatherproof textiles.
  • Easy to use spray-on waterproofing for all synthetic tents, packs, and outdoor covers
  • Adds water repellency, increases fabric strength, and protects against UV rays

Considering that you can use the spray for waterproofing, cleaning, and UV protection, the price is worth it. You can also use it to waterproof other types of gear, patio furniture, and even your umbrella. It is very effective in all cases!

The spray is water-based, PFC-free, PFAS-free, solvent-free, and aerosol-free. This makes the Nikwax spray the best tent waterproofing spray.

If you want to order or learn more about it, you can do that by clicking HERE.

Andrew Mullen

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