View Full Version : Tent Waterproofing

06-20-2009, 08:59 AM

I have a 2-person REI dome tent that I purchased 11 yrs. ago while I was working in southwest, CO. The tent is is still in geat shape, but the rainfly no longer sheds water. I have used the silicone sprays in the past with mixed results, especially as a tent gets older. Are there any other options out there to improve the water shedding ability of a rain fly?



06-20-2009, 09:36 AM
On a whim, I used a spray waterproofer that I had on hand for shoes, boots. It works fine and hasn't affected the tent material in the least. My tent is about the same age as yours so I figured if it messed something up, I had already recouped my investment.

06-21-2009, 10:02 AM
Call REI and see what they would recommend. I am sure they sell several different waterproofing systems.

06-21-2009, 12:55 PM
Try applying some seam sealer to the seams, inside and out. That may help.

06-21-2009, 03:15 PM
Call REI and see what they would recommend. I am sure they sell several different waterproofing systems.

No doubt call REI, you may even be able to buy a new rainfly. Another thing to keep in mind is that most tents are treated with a flame retardent agent, and you spraying all kinds of stuff on it may negate that. :frown:

06-21-2009, 05:08 PM
Nikwax makes a few water based products for waterproofing boots.I think they make one that replaces the DWR finish on Gore-Tex items that is applied by washing the item in the washer.

06-22-2009, 08:24 AM
Mora521 is right, buy the appropriate Nikwax product and wash your fly with it. I know they used to make a product for Silnylon a few years ago.

After you wash it, get a seam sealer, mix it with mineral spirits, and paint it on the seams with a small brush.

06-22-2009, 01:22 PM
I coated my older Kelty Zen in ScotchGuard on the outside only, and it has improved the water repellency considerably. However, it did make the fly somewhat stickier when it is folded in the bag; I have to pop the creases out when I set it up now. Kind of a push if you ask me. I think a silicone based product might make that problem even worse.

DWR coatings on waders are engineered in at the factory and once they get damaged (typically by being crushed down by dirt on a microscopic level), they can become ineffective. Wader manufacturers recommend that you wash the waders to remove the dirt which is interfering with the chemical forces repelling the water (Van Der Waals forces, maybe?). They they recommend that you spray on Revivex liberally, which you should then bake in place by either running a warm iron over the wader or flopping them around in the dryer for about 10 minutes on its lightest setting (but still with a tad of heat).

The same process would probably work for a tent; I would do that rather than use another spray-on product, and I certainly think it would beat silicone, because it would remain breathable. With silicone, you might as well paint the tent in polyurethane, I'd say.


06-22-2009, 01:41 PM
Pineman, I was at my local outdoor store during my lunch break and found 2 products that may help your rain fly out:
Nikwax Tech Wash
Nikwax Tent & Gear Proof Spray

I have used their products on all my jackets with good results, however, these were a little more expensive than I remember.

06-22-2009, 01:47 PM
Thanks for all the input fellas. Still haven't decided which way to go, but you have presented some good options. The Nikwax products are sold by REI on their website, so I may end up going with them. Since the tent is still in great shape besides it's water shedding ability I will definetly feel it's worth a few bucks in an attempt to keep it going for a few more years.