Modern tents are wonders of technical innovation and performance. They’re lighter, stronger, and more effective than ever before, but still require some basic maintenance to stay at their best. One of the worst things that can happen while out camping is to feel the drop, drop, drop of leaky seams and bad waterproofing in your tent. Today we’ll be covering the best tent waterproofing spray to help you find out how to effectively.
- 1 Best Tent Waterproofing Sprays
- 2 Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Tent Waterproofing Spray
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Tent Waterproofing Sprays
Tent waterproofing sprays are designed to replenish the natural waterproofing of your tent. The vast majority of modern tents are made up of a ground cover, mesh tent body, and a waterproof raincover.
Over time though the waterproofing material starts to wear away. Regular maintenance on your tent includes periodically replacing the waterproofing.
Tent waterproofing sprays offer an effective and easy to apply barrier that protects from leaks and stains.
Below we’ve reviewed several of the best tent waterproofing sprays to help you pick out the best one for your needs.
Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent
Kiwi Camp Dry is a heavy duty water repellent aerosol. It’s a silicone based spray designed for use on tents and other outdoor gear.
It’s reasonably priced and comes in 10.5 oz bottles, large enough to provide total tent waterproofing. As a silicone spray it’s safe on multiple fabric types or other outdoor gear like leather for boots and Gore-Tex for rain coats.
It creates a water repellent layer that’s still breathable. It does a good job at protecting against rain and water spray ingress but isn’t machine washable, so keep that in mind when applying it to gear other than your tent.
Overall, Kiwi Camp Dry is an affordably priced silicone tent waterproofing spray with multi fabric capability.
Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield
Scotchgard is famous for their laundry and fabric products. Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield Protector is a multi fabric aerosol available in 13 oz cans.
It’s designed to work on materials such as nylon, polyester, and many more. A single can can effectively waterproof up to 60 sq ft of modern tent material or 20 sq ft of heavier material such as a period canvas or cotton tent for reenactors.
Scotchgard recommends you reapply their water shield seasonally for best results. If you’re looking for a quality waterproofing agent to use on your tent, boots, and other outdoor gear this is a great option.
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard is an aerosol based tent waterproofing spray designed for use on multiple fabrics. It’s formulated to provide the best water repellency with a single application.
It’s suitable for use on all types of tent fabric but works best on those with an existing silicone-coating. It comes in a 10.5 oz aerosol can and is priced on the higher end of the market
One thing to keep in mind is that Atsko requires a full 24 hour dry time and a minimum of a 72 hour curing time under ideal conditions. This isn’t an instant on product, but a durable and long lasting coating.
If you’re looking for an excellent silicone waterproofing spray suitable for use on all tent types he Atsko Silicone Water-Guard won’t let you down.
Grangers Tent + Gear Repel
Grangers Tent + Gear Repel is a spray bottle style waterproofing coating. It’s designed to be used on any type of outdoor gear and can help refresh your tent’s DWR for the upcoming season.
As a pump spray style bottle it contains no VOCs or other potentially harmful chemicals. This also allows you to control the size and density of the spray more closely.
It goes on quickly and dries within just a few hours. It’s formulated to help prevent stains from sticking while still allowing your tent or rain gear to breathe.
Word to the wise though, be very careful as you’re pumping it on. It’s easy to miss a spot with a hand pump bottle so you want to make sure every part of your tent is thoroughly covered.
If you’re looking for a high quality tent waterproofing spray in a hand pump style bottle Grangers Tent + Gear Repel should be high on your list.
Atsko Water-Guard Extreme Repellent Aerosol
http://www.atsko.com/water-guard-extreme-12-oz-aerosol/ is a more specialized version of their standard Water-Guard spray. It still comes in an aerosol can but is designed with high-performance fabrics in mind.
It’s safe for use on tent and outdoor gear fabrics such as Gore-Tex. It provides a breathable water repellent layer that doubles as a UV protectant.
This helps prevent your tent and other gear from fading over years of use in the hot sun. It also keeps rain and other water from penetrating to the interior.
Another added bonus is the inclusion of a fungicide. If you’re getting ready to put your tent away till next season it’s not a bad idea to refresh the waterproofing. The fungicide helps prevent mold or mildew from forming if there was a little water trapped inside.
Overall Atsko Water-Guard Extreme is an excellent tent waterproofing spray that’s safe to use on just about any performance fabric.
Nikwax Tent and Gear SolarProof
Nikwax has a well deserved reputation for making some of the best cleaning and maintenance supplies available for hiking and outdoor gear. Their Tent and Gear SolarProof spray is a combination waterproofing and UV protection spray.
One of the best things about Nikwax is how versatile it is. Unlike many tent waterproofing sprays it can go on to wet or dry fabric. It has a water based formula and contains no VOCs or PFCs. Nikwax is made to be as environmentally friendly as possible, something really important to hikers and campers everywhere.
It acts as a DWR coating and can greatly reduce water infiltration when combined with a quality silicone or polyurethane interior coating. Even better, it’s reasonably priced and widely available.
Nikwax Tent and Gear SolarProof is one of the best DWR coatings on the market. If you’re looking for a tent spray that combines waterproofing and UV protection Nikwax is a great choice.
303 Marine & Recreation Fabric Guard
303 Marine & Recreation Fabric Guard is specifically designed with marine applications in mind but does a good job on tents and other outdoor gear. It’s capable of protecting against both fresh and salt water while also giving you strong UV protection.
It can even provide effective seam sealing alongside fabric waterproofing. It comes in a hand pump spray bottle or concentrate for extensive use. The formulation is effective on all fabric types including high performance fabrics or traditional materials like cotton and canvas.
For tents that you expect to take into serious downpours or along the coast 303 Marine & Recreation Fabric Guard offers comprehensive protection.
Star Brite Waterproofing Spray
Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is a pump style spray suitable for use on all fabrics. It provides effective protection from water, stains, and UV radiation.
It’s available in either a gallon jug or a 22 oz spray bottle. The bottle can protect up to 80 sq ft of fabric. It’s suitable for use on a variety of different fabric types including nylon, polyester, and cotton canvas.
Star Brite won’t affect the color, breathability or flammability of the material being treated. This makes it effective on tents, boots, and other rain gear.
If you’re looking for an affordable and effective tent waterproofing spray that treats a large amount of fabric Star Brite should bear consideration.
Buyer’s Guide to Buying the Best Tent Waterproofing Spray
Picking between different tent waterproofing sprays can seem a bit difficult. At first glance there isn’t a whole lot to separate one product from another. Once you dig a little deeper though you’ll see that there are actually several key factors to keep in mind.
Price and Capacity
The good news with tent waterproofing sprays is that they aren’t that expensive. You can get a high-quality spray in a good sized bottle for between $10 to $20.
Depending on the size of your tent you’ll probably need about a 12 to 16 oz bottle to properly coat the rain cover.
Aerosol or Spray Bottles
You have two applicator options when picking out the best tent waterproofing spray, aerosol or hand spray bottles. Aerosol sprays come in metal cans, a lot like hair or bug spray.
They’re great for producing a really fine, consistent mist pattern and give you a very smooth application process. The problem comes with how they work. They contain both the waterproofing agent and a propellant.
This gives you a pressurized system that produces the fine aerosol mist. Some of these propellants are less than stellar for your health and the environment. If you’re looking for a more natural method you might consider a hand spray waterproofing agent.
These come in bottles a lot like your standard window cleaner. They have a small hand pump that produces the mist or directed stream. They require no propellent and so are additive free, but they don’t produce quite as consistent or fine a mist.
PFC and VOC free
When you’re considering any tent waterproofing spray you need to look at what chemicals it contains. Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the two most important to keep your eye out for.
These are chemicals that were once common in solvents and other industrial applications but that have now been discovered to have potentially harmful effects. VOCs in particular have been found to cause skin and eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and potentially long-term damage to the renal system and liver.
PFCs have been used for decades as a highly effective waterproofing agent. Unfortunately, the same properties that make them so useful for protecting against water and oil can lead to potentially nasty human effects.
Check the labeling of your tent waterproofing spray to be sure it doesn’t contain either of these substances.
Choosing the Correct Spray for Your Tent’s Fabric
Before you purchase a tent waterproofing spray make sure that you find out what type of material your tent is made of. The two most common are silicone-coated fabrics and polyurethane-coated fabrics.
These act as a physical barrier to prevent water from penetrating into the tent.
Most tents also have what’s known as a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) coating. This causes water to bead up on the outside layer of the tent or rain cover and prevent it from saturating the fabric.
Check your tents manual to find out what kind of coating it has and what you’ll need to refresh it.
Depending on where in the world you’re camping it can be a good idea to add UV protection alongside waterproofing. If you’re frequently out in the sun your bright and beautiful tent will start to fade over the years.
Depending on the type of material your tent is made from it can also weaken the structure. Choosing a tent waterproofing spray that also offers UV protection can help slow this process and protect your gear from wearing out prematurely.
Tents are only effective when they can keep the elements out.
Once your tent starts to leak you need an effective tent waterproofing spray to reseal it and keep you and your gear dry.
As long as you carefully consider the type of tent you have and what conditions you’re camping in it’s easy to find the best tent waterproofing spray for your needs.