Author Topic: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions  (Read 1767 times)

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Offline Nyimbo

Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« on: September 10, 2018, 02:09:05 am »
I have a REI Half Dome tent with 3 summers use and I'll guess it has about 100 nights of use.  I don't know the number of nights in the rain but regardless on nights I spent in the rain I was as dry as could be, I always used the outer rain cover raining or not.

Until the the beginning of the last week of the last tour I had heavy-heavy rain for 2 nights and I got a a bit of water inside on the first day but after the 2nd day in the rain it was no longer waterproof. Water was covering the floor and even a bit of dripping from above.  Seemed like it happened all at once.

So the question is do I have to buy a new tent or can it be re-water-proofed effectively. Obviously I'd prefer to get a lot more use from the tent as it otherwise seems in good shape.

Thanks, Keith

Offline John Nettles

Re: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2018, 03:19:52 am »
It may have just been very high humidity and condensation causing water to form on the inside of the tent.  I would try a couple more times when the humidity is not 100% and see what how it is.

If it wasn't caused by the above, you can buy water repellent and spray onto your tent.  There are various products out there so do your research before buying and applying (usually on the underneath side of the fly and/or on the inside of tent floor).
If you don't want to deal with spraying your tent fly, you probably can call REI and purchase a new fly only.  Heck, with their great customer service they may give you one.
Best, John

Offline DarrenBnYYC

Re: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2018, 11:20:02 am »
You may need to simply re-seal the seams of the tent. You can buy commercial sealer for this purpose, but I have always found it to be too thick to use effectively.

Provided your fly is nice and clean, mix pure silicone (e.g., GE Silicone II 100% silicone sealant) with odorless mineral spirits in a ratio of 1:4, and stir it for a very long time until the silicone is completely dissolved (I use a power drill and an L-shaped tent peg). Then use a small paint brush to work the liquid into all the seams of the tent.

I have also had success applying a light coat of the thinned silicone to an entire fly, a nylon (non-waterproof) jacket, and a set of leaky nylon rain pants to make them all 100% waterproof. But I would start with the seams before you try the whole fly.

As John mentions above, there spray-on waterproofing coatings that will help the water repellancy of the fly - I would seam seal and then try one of those sprays first. Just be sure the fly is very clean (or the coating won't stick) and that you use a spray that is compatible with nylon material. I am sure you will get many more years of life out of your tent.

Offline Nyimbo

Re: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2018, 01:17:03 pm »
Thanks guys, sounds like I can do a little project and get my tent back to working.   

I did say the tent otherwise in good condition but I remembered after posting that there is one spot on the elastic strings in the folding poles that looks like it is wearing more than all the other spots on the string.  It may be the next place to cause me problems.

Thanks, again

Offline John Nettles

Re: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 01:51:01 pm »
You can buy replacement shock cord.  It is relatively easy to repair.  Just have very little slack in it when you put it together. 

Offline RandyOakley

Re: Waterproofing Tent Advice-Suggestions
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2018, 09:17:04 am »
Test the waterproofness of the fly fabric and the tent floor by using your mouth to try to draw air through the fabric.  If it is air tight, the fabric is watertight.

If so -- re-seam sealing may help.

If not, trying to re-waterproof the fabric is likely a lost cause.

FWIW: UV exposure degrades tent fabric more than rain.

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