How to Waterproof your Tent

Tips for How to Waterproof your Tent for Camping

Some practical tips and suggestions for avoiding leaks and keeping dry in your Tent…

Waterproof Your TentThere is not much worse than going camping, having your tent and your camp site all set up, only to have a downpour of rain, especially in the middle of the night, and find your airbed floating on a pool of water or with saturated bedding from a leaking tent!

Yes… it will make for a great ‘camping adventure’ tale some time down the track…. but I think that might be one ‘adventure story’ you might prefer to pass on…

Most decent priced tents come with a fly just for this purpose, although some may still not achieve their ultimate, keeping you dry and cosy goal. While having a fly is still one important factor in keeping you dry, it is not the starting point, it is really more the finishing point…  a little like ‘icing on the cake’ so to speak.

Really, making your tent waterproof needs to start where possible when  you are choosing the tent you buy.  Now there are really no guarantees when it comes to this, even though some Companies like Coleman have gone to elaborate lengths to achieve a standard where they do offer one.

So it is not so much about choosing the ‘perfect’ tent, as it is about choosing the best tent to suit your needs and make sure you are able to carry out your own ‘waterproof your tent‘ exercise before taking it out in the field. This is one reason it is good to check out reviews of tents before you purchase, just to get a good idea of what is on offer.

If you already have purchased your tent and you are feeling like maybe it’s too late…. especially if you have had a not so comfortable leaking tent experience… then don’t give up.  All hope is not lost…. By applying these tips you should be able to do a lot to make sure you don’t have ongoing repeat episodes of your camping disaster.

Some Tips to help Keep you Dry on your Next Camping Trip

  • Pick a nice warm and sunny day if possible, or do it under cover if possible… it needs to be dry to do this.  You are going to apply seam sealer to all the seams on  your tent. This will work to repel any leakage, so make sure you take your time and do a very particular job… don’t rush it. Plus you will want to make sure the floor of your tent is sealed to prevent moisture seepage through the tent material.  Obviously you will need to purchase enough sealer prior to embarking on this important step. You can choose from a selection over here at Amazon at super discounted prices. Repeat this each year as a part of your tent maintenance.
  • Purchase a fly, if your tent did not come with one, or use tarps to make your own extra cover in place of a fly.  You might want to have a couple of extra tarps as well if you want to put one down under your tent, and perhaps as an awning for outside as well.  Obviously choose the best sizes to suit your size tent and what you want to achieve with your campsite and don’t forget extra ropes and solid stakes.
  • Check the weather forecast for where you are intending to go camping, prior to heading off.  You may even choose a different location if you find that there are any bad storms expected where you might have intended to go camping.
  • Choose your camp site with care: Don’t set up your tent in a spot that could be subject to flash flooding, and keep water runoff in your thoughts as you decide on the best spot to put up your tent.
  • Also consider trees and the possibility of branches falling on your tent. While not directly related to getting wet, certainly if a sharp branch pierces your tent and puts a hole in it, then water will follow!
  • One last tip when you are putting up your tent: Make sure that the tent, the rain fly and nay tarps are nice and taut.  If you make them loose at all, then they are going to be more subject to water pooling that could lead to leakage.  Making things nice and tight will help water to run off and not seep through seams or even the tent material.

Coleman Instant Tent 8 RainflyThe Coleman Instant Tent 8 is one of my favorite larger camping tents and even though it has a ‘keep you dry’ guarantee, despite this I would still waterproof your tent, even thought the newer versions have the ability to add a fly, which is a great extra feature, and certainly some cheap insurance to help keep you dry in wet weather.

Check Out The Coleman Instant Tent 8 Rainfly Here

A tent is not meant to be permanent accommodation, however, there are still a lot of things you can do to make it way more comfortable for the time that you are wanting to or even needing to use it.

The Wind Ridge Instant Tent

One sealer that i can recommend is the McNett Tent Sure Floor Sealant with a foam brush to the floor on the inside of your tent.  You will need to make sure that your tent is erected in a dry place where it won’t get wet during your maintenance session.

Take a look at the video below where you can see a demonstration of how to apply a waterproofing over the floor of your tent, as a part of your annual maintenance.

Waterproofing the Floor of your Tent, while not as roomy as the Coleman range, actually comes with the rain fly included

Waterproofing your Whole Tent

Now this sounds worse than it needs to be in practice, and by going this extra mile, especially when you don’t have a tent that is made from a waterproof material, then it is going to be essential. Obviously you are going to need a larger quantity of water proofing substance when you are actually coating your whole tent. One brand that comes in larger bottles and has an excellent customer rating is the Starbrite Waterproofing & Fabric Treatment. This is just another ‘insurance policy’ that will help make your camping trip a success, and is well worth the relatively small expense and the time it takes.


  1. Lawani says

    Don’t get me wrong, Coleman makes some fine tents for their price range. But I’ve always preefrred Eureka. They are a bit more expensive but, in my experience, offer a very durable and well designed product. For example, I’ve been out twice in the past three weeks with my Eureka Backcountry II tent, which is over 15 years old and gets at least 30 days use each year between my oldest boy and myself.Given your preferences and budget, I’d take a look at the Eureka Suite V6. It’s a spacious 2-room tent (can be configured as one room, of course) that offers 6’9 of height. The fly provides good coverage against storms, plenty of vents and windows, and there’s a nice vestibule that can turn into an awning if you add an extra pole. A modified dome tent with three poles and clips, it should setup easy. Pricewise, at around $270, it’s well within your budget.Nevertheless, I wouldn’t buy any tent sight-unseen. A trip to your local camping/outdoors store will probably help you make up your mind better than all the answers you’ll get here.

    • Lynne says

      I think Eureka make some excellent tents… it is mostly about what suits each individual. I like the coleman range of Instant Tents because of the height and the sturdiness of the faric. Still I agree the Eureka range is excellent especially if you are looking for a backpacking tent.

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