How To Waterproof A Tent?

All backpackers need one essential gear. What is it? Is it a backpack? Yes, but that is not what I was thinking of. Is it a bevy bag? No, and stop thinking about things that are used for carrying other stuff. I am thinking of a waterproof tent.

As I wrote in another post, nobody knows what the weather will be like in five minutes, in an hour or in a day. No matter how much you watch the news, no matter how you think you know it, you don’t.

This is the reason why it is best to be on the safe side and have a tent that can withstand even the worst weather. A waterproof tent is exactly that. It is not only excellent for bad weather, but it will give you a nice shelter for sunny, nice weather as well.

There are two ways to get a waterproof tent. First is obvious, you buy one. A waterproof tent is not a lot more expensive than a non-waterproof one, so it wouldn’t make sense to not buy a waterproof tent, when you can be secure and safe from the weather for only a little bit extra.

The second way to  getting a waterproof tent is to make your existing tent waterproof. This can be gotten with an investment of around ten bucks, and two hours of your time. If you want to make a tent that you already have waterproof again, you have to first see if your tent is fit for such transformation. Only tents that have two walls are fit to be made waterproof.

This is very important, because no matter how much waterproof coating you apply to a tent, if it has only one layer, it will be soaked with water in a heavy rain, and the water will get into the tent. If you don’t have a double wall tent, the second wall can be replaced with a waterproof rainfly, but then it won’t look very pretty. You basically have to decide: do you want to buy a brand new double wall tent, or you are willing to sacrifice some beauty and have a tent with a waterproof tarp on top of it.

The way to make the wall of the tent waterproof is to apply a waterproof spray to the wall. The best way to do this is to set up the tent in the garden, and soak it with the waterproof spray. You don’t have to do it in the garden necessarily, but you must do it in an open space, because the waterproof spray can be poisonous, you mustn’t inhale it.

If you have soaked the wall with waterproof spray, you need to leave it to dry for thirty minutes or so. When that time is up, you have grab a soft piece of cloth and apply the waterproof spray all over the wall of the tent so that every spot has the same amount of waterproofing material over it.

The best waterproofing spray is the Nikwax in my opinion. It is easy to use, and not very expensive. If you want to read more about waterproofing a tent, you can do so on one of the below websites.

The best sources on waterproofing a tent are:


What Is The Wall Of A Tent Made Of?

The wall is probably one of the most important part of any tent. It sserves as a layer between the outside world and the inside of the tent. It helps keep the camper dry, free of the damage of the elements. It is basically the meat of the tent, the wall is what can singlehandedly decide if the tent is useful, or quite honestly useless.

As anybody who has ever been camping knows, it is impossible to forsee what the weather will be like not an hour from now, but just in the last minute. The weather is a tricky system, and no matter how much you watch the weather forecast, how much you claim that you sense when the rain is coming in your bones, the reality is that it is impossible to forsee when it will start to rain.

This makes having a waterproof tent mandatory. It will be able to protect you against the fierce storms, but in order to have such a protection, you are going to need a great one. The key feature of waterproof tents is the waterproof fly, that covers the whole tent, adding an extra protective layer to it. Without a fly, the tent is not completely waterproof, and it is very hard to keep the inside of it dry.

Tents that have a waterproof rainfly are called double wall tents. The origin of the name is pretty obvious, the inner wall is the first one, the outer wall is the second, those two provide a nice two-wall layer that protects the interiors of the tent nicely.

The outer fly is usually made of silynylon. Silinylon is basically nylon with a waterproof silicone coating applied to both sides of the tent, in order to make it not only waterproof, but more durable, and less prone to tears.

Silinylon is a very popular material when it comes to manufacturing waterproof camping gear. If you own a bivy bag, you have a silnylon gear. You don’t even have to be a camper to own a piece of silinylon. Umbrellas and raincoats are both made of silinylon.

The inner walls of double wall tents can be made of silinylon as well, but these layers don’t have to be as waterproof as the outer wall. The inside wall can be made of polyester, which is not as waterproof as silynylon, but it doesn’t let water inside the tent either.

The inner wall can be made of mesh as well. The mesh is the best of the materials on the list in the sense that it provides plenty of ventilation, which makes it impossible for condensation to occur. The condensation can make your camping experience a real nightmare. It is not very nice to wake up covered in a thick layer of water inside your own tent that was said to be waterproof. I would advise you to buy a tent that has a mesh wall, or at least a small mesh window, if you can find one.


Waterproof tents are the best on the market. Great waterproof tents are also double-wall tent, because they have an inner wall and an outer waterproof rainfly. Both walls can be made of silynylon, but the inner wall can be made of polyester or mesh as well.

What Are Tent Poles Made Of?

The best tents are all durable, and they have a solid structure. All in all we can say that these tents have a solidity that makes them stay up even in the fiercest of storms, and gives them stability even when the  wind blows heavily. This structure is a must because most tents are not very aerodynamic. For example tents with a dome design could be blown over very easily if they didn’t have a solid structure. The worse tents in terms of aero-dynamism are the family tents. These are huge, because they have to provide space for up to at least four people.

The reason why the best waterproof family tents tents don’t fall over in heavy wind is that they have poles that keep the walls of the tents solid and stable. These poles ensure that no matter how much it rains, no matter how strong the wind the wall of the tent will stay in place, so the tent won’t collapse onto your head.

The stakes are used for securing the tent to the ground, so the tent won’t move anywhere no matter how bad the weather gets. The stakes are usually pierced into the ground through the guyouts. The guyouts are kept strict so that they keep the wall of the tent strict as well.

The poles can be made of a few materials. Most poles are made of fiberglass nowadays. Fiberglass is a genius material that is perfect for manufacturing poles, because it is very strong, very durable, but at the same time it is light. Lightness is an important option when it comes to tents, because many times the camper has to carry all the weight of the tent with himself or herself. Just think of backpackers. Backpackers need to carry everything with themselves, so they must have tents that are as light as possible, so they have space for the food and clothes in their backpack. This is the reason why the best waterproof backpacking tents are all very light.

A broken fiberglass tent pole.

A broken fiberglass tent pole. Source:Flickr

Other tent poles are made of aluminium. Aluminium is a durable material, it is no wonder that these tent poles used to be popular. However they are a lot heavier, which means that they are not ideal for backpackers, or anybody who has to carry their tent for a long time to get to their destination. Due to this problem aluminium poles are out of fashion and the market consists almost entirely of fiberglass poles.

As far as stakes go, most of them are made of aluminium. It is more important for stakes to be durable and hard, because the stakes have to be pushed into the ground. And stakes have to be pierced into the ground even if the ground is hard, rocky or solid. With this in mind even if the stakes are not made of aluminium, they are most likely made of stainless steel. The downside to steel is similar as aluminium. It is very heavy. Some tents can have up to fifteen to twenty stakes. You can imagine how much weight twenty stainless steel stakes are going to add to the weight of your tent. To get around this problem some stakes are made of plastic. Plastic is a lot lighter, but it is a lot less durable as well, and it not only breaks easily, but it can be very hard to pierce into solid ground. If your tent came with plastic stakes, I advise you to replace at least a few of those stakes with aluminium stakes.


Poles and stakes have a very important role to play in giving stability to the tents. As a result they have to be durable themselves as well. The best poles and stakes are both solid and lightweight. Poles can be made of aluminium, but most of them are made of fiberglass. Most stakes are made of aluminium or stainless steel. If the accessories of your tent are not made of these materials, I advise you to replace them, because you are not using the optimal accessories.