How to Waterproof Nylon Tents

by Eric Cedric
Care of the tent begins at home with seam sealing and waterproofing.

Care of the tent begins at home with seam sealing and waterproofing.

Almost all nylon tents are factory seam sealed and treated with a waterproof coating. Over time this coating wears down and the seams need resealing. This makes the tent waterproof again, letting you enjoy time in the tent protected from the elements without drips or leaks. When your tent is in need of new waterproofing and seam sealing, do it at home and bring your tent back to its original waterproof condition.

Pitch the tent in your backyard or other flat area on a dry and sunny day. Shake the seam sealer bottle vigorously and remove the cap. The seam sealer cap looks a bit like a sponge bottle. There is a wet-tip sponge at the end of the bottle.

Tip the bottle upside down and wipe the seam sealer tip-sponge along each seam on the tent and rain fly. Wipe this along the seams inside and outside the tent. Let the seam sealer dry for at least 12 hours.

Take down the tent and remove all poles, stakes and lines. Zip up all windows and doors. Fill a large sink with cool water and add the Tech Wash into the water. Stir the wash with a stick to agitate the waterproofing agent. Add the tent and the rain fly and hand stir them in the waterproof Tech Wash.

Hand wring the tent and fly taking care not to stretch or rip the mesh windows. Hang the tent and fly out to dry thoroughly on a laundry line.

Make sure the tent is completely dry before putting it away for storage. Failure to do so leads to mold, mildew and nasty odors in the tent.

Items you will need

  • Tent Tech Wash waterproofing detergent
  • Sink and cool water
  • Laundry line
  • Seam sealer

Warning

  • Never dry a tent in a dryer, nor wash the tent in a washing machine. Hand wash and hang to dry.

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits

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