HOW TO RAINPROOF YOUR TENT
Most Tents will already be Waterproof when you buy them. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to be taken out into a rainstorm and plopped down on any terrain and you will have a warm, dry time. You won’t. While these tents have done a lot of work already for us, there are a few more things we should do to make sure they are field ready.
We want to do three things to truly waterproof our tent. We want to make sure all the ties are tight. We want to make sure our Groundcloth is ready. And we want to seal the seams.
On the Rainfly, we are going to want to make sure the ties are tight when put over the tent. Doing this in the Rain is going to be very annoying and it can actually not be done right, as the Rain can make the ties sag. Do this at home. If the chords are not reflective you may want to buy some and replace them. Not only are these chords easier to see at night, just in case you must tweak them during a night, but they are also strong enough to be tied in a Hitch Knot. A Hitch Knot is perfect for Rainflies as we can adjust them if we need to without a lot of time.
Groundcloths are a great aspect of a tent, but can be improved upon. Groundcloths keep the water out of the tent in most wet conditions. But, if it gets too wet, a Groundcloth can actually collect water, and filter it into your own tent. What we want to do is make sure that the seam around the bottom of the tent and the Groundcloth are one. Tuck the Groundcloth into that seam and seal it. If you want to, you can make an extra patch for the groundcloth. Take off the groundcloth and measure it while on a tarp, marking around it. Cut the tarp and stitch it into the groundcloth and into the seam around the tent. This is only really needed for older tents, most newer tents simply need the groundcloth tucked into the seams and sealed.
SEAL THE SEAMS
Sealing the Seams is going to be the hardest part of this process. On older tents, you will need to seal and waterproof every seam. To do this you are going to to need to use a sealant on the inside of all the seams and then let dry. Then repeat. After that application is dry you are going to need to get a waterproof spray and cover the OUTSIDE of the seams and again let dry.
If you have a newer tent, you will see the seams are Tape Sealed. Tape Sealed means that are sewn and stitched with a tape inside of it as a sealant. These will not need to be waterproofed. But odds are the Rainfly seams and the seams on the floor will still need it. When you are using a sealant on these seams make sure you are doing it from the INSIDE of the tent. To do this, take the tent and flip it inside out. Push the seams all the way up to reveal the stitching. Also, because of the chemical attributes to the sealant, make sure you are doing this where you can get enough air. If this tent is not brand new, you may need to clean out these seams first with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol. Make sure you make a complete and smooth seal. Let it dry and then do it again.
Taking these measures are going to make those rainy nights out in the wild so much more comfortable and dry that you will be very pleased you did it. Dryness and safety during these times is paramount. And all it takes is a little bit of time and a little bit of know-how.