Best Tips On How To Weatherproof A Tent From Storm And Snow

by Ally Mash | Last Updated:   October 8th, 2022
Best Tips On How To Weatherproof A Tent From Storm And Snow

Camping is one of the best ways to have fun. It brings back nostalgic memories and helps you spend time with your friends and family. Imagine sitting around a fireplace and telling fun stories, cool right? However, the fun would dwindle quickly if it starts to rain with the water getting into the tent.

You would probably scramble around, trying to figure out how best to prevent water from getting into your tent. So that you and your belonging would not get drenched.

Another problem you may face is being exposed to very high temperatures where condensation can occur inside the tent. You can however prevent all that from happening by learning how to waterproof a tent. It will shield you from all the elements of the weather.

These eventualities make tent waterproofing an important and needed skill. You must acquire the knowledge and needed skills. This guide will put you through steps on how to waterproof your tent.

Why Do You Need To Weatherproof Your Tent?

Summer camp with tents in forest at rainy weather

Weatherproofing a tent means making it resistant to the damage caused by weather conditions in any season. Comfort automatically goes out of the window if you have to deal with a wet tent, a hot one, or even a very cold tent.

Apart from this, your camping gear would not function if they are waterlogged. For example, you can’t sleep in a sleeping bag if it is wet, hiking shoes can cause blisters if worn when wet.

There are so many benefits to having a cozy and warm space to camp in. However, even though camping tents come with waterproofing properties, the reality is that they will lose their waterproofing properties over time.

Even tents of the highest quality go through this but some factors accelerate this process. Some of them are:

Amount of Sun Exposure

How To Weatherproof A Tent

The sun is one of the primary factors that depreciate the waterproofing abilities of a tent. The sunlight’s ultraviolet ray causes a lot of damage to a tent it comes in contact with. It is common knowledge that the harmful UV ray of the sun is harmful to the skin. Exposure to a lot of sunlight reduces the ability of a waterproof tent’s tear strength.

The ultraviolet rays degrade the tent and reduce the extent to which the tent can withstand heavy rainfall. You can extend the life of your waterproof tent by protecting it from extensive exposure to sunlight. So, if you are a lover of camping during the summer, you must constantly waterproof your tent to prevent it from losing its quality.

Age and Use

These are normal factors that are not even dependent on the quality of the tent. Although low-quality ones would deteriorate on time, high-quality ones also do if they are used frequently, and exposed to different weather conditions.

Over time, different elements constantly batter the tent’s material causing a reduction in the quality of the tent’s fabric. The constant change in the rain and sun cycle depreciates the quality of the fabric. Dirt also causes matter to get absorbed into the material of the tent. This reduces the efficiency of the tent against harsh weather conditions such as wind, heavy rainfall, and constant sunshine. All these events reduce the capacity of the tent to withstand weather conditions.

While the concept of age and use come together, they affect the quality of a tent differently. A tent can be new yet due to constant usage in harsh weather conditions, the quality depreciates faster than normal. Also, a tent might not be constantly in use but the lack of maintenance with the age factor can also damage your tent real fast.

How To Weatherproof Your Tent From Rain

How To Weatherproof A Tent

What rain does is that it pretty much gets into your tent and leaves behind a soggy and wet mess. You might be wondering how rain would get into your tent. Well, it can get in from either the fabric or the seams of the tent. Thankfully, we will explore the different ways how to waterproof a tent.

Waterproofing Through The Tent Fabric

Rain water droplets on blue tent

The major part of a tent is the fabric. To waterproof your tent, it is important to know the material of your tent’s fabric. This will give you the technical know-how on how to waterproof a specific tent fabric. The guide below shows you how to waterproof a tent through the fabric.

  • Firstly, set up the tent on a sunny day
  • Make sure the tent is wet (you can use a sprinkler to get it wet)
  • Apply the sealant to the part of the fabric that is leaking
  • After application of sealant, let it dry for some hours

If you don’t want water to enter your tent from the fabric, one way to go about it would be to block it from both the interior and the exterior. The tent’s fabric already has coatings on both sides that serve to prevent water from coming in.

For example, the DWR coating on the exterior part of the tent fabric ensures that the water just slides off the tent rather than soak through it. On the exterior part, there is also a urethane coating that stops moisture from getting in.

So, you have to make sure that these coatings are renewed from time to time. This will keep your tent waterproofed and ensure water cannot penetrate the fabric.

Another useful tip to try out when waterproofing your tent is to use waterproof sprays. It is very easy to use and all you have to do is make sure you spray every part of the tent properly and allow it to dry.

Silicone spray is the most preferred type of waterproof spray. This is because it is very resistant to water and allows the rainwater to roll off the material without penetrating it.

Waterproofing through the use of water spray

A useful tip to try out when waterproofing your tent is the use of waterproofing spray. It protects your tent against leaks. It is very easy to use and all you have to do is make sure you spray every part of the tent properly and allow it to dry.

Silicone spray is the most preferred type of waterproof spray. This is because it is very resistant to water and allows the rainwater to roll off the material without penetrating it.

To use a waterproofing spray to waterproof your tent:

  • Spray the waterproofing spray uniformly on the outer part of the jacket from 15cm – 20cm away.
  • Hang the jacket on a washing line while spraying to maintain a uniform and even coating.
  • Inspect every rear of the jacket to make sure that no area has been missed while using the waterproofing spray.
  • Clean off the excessive spray on the jacket.
  • Let the jacket dry.

The Tent Seams

How To Weatherproof A Tent

The tent seam is another part of the tent that water can seep through. It is usually taped on the side but for good measure and extra protection.

The first step in waterproofing your tent is identifying and deciding which seams to seal. it is important to note that although all tents need waterproofing, you cannot waterproof every seam. The tent seams that need tent waterproofing are the part of the tent unprotected from rain. Such places include the seams on the fly and tent floor.

Secondly, in the attempt to waterproof a tent, you have to decide the side of the material you want to seal.

The next step is to prepare the seam. You have to remove any part of the old sealants that still peels. You can use a toothbrush to do this. Clean the seam by rubbing alcohol and leave the seams to dry.

Apply the seal sealant to all the parts of the seam and wait for it to dry.

Upon confirmation that the seam is dried, you have to check for leaks. You can do this by putting the tent under a sprinkler to confirm any leaks. If you discover that there are any leaks you can reapply the seam sealant in the leaking places.

Also, you might want to use a seam sealer on the parts of the tent that are stitched together. In doing so, you will prevent moisture from seeping through the stitches, making sure you are 100% protected.

For a visual representation of how to seal a tent, have a look at the following video:

Apart from additional coatings and sealing the seams of the tent, for extra measures, you can also:

Cover the tent with a tarp

In situations where it rains heavily, extra protection is always advised. If you can find one, you can use large-sized tarps and place them over the tent, and then use ropes to hold it down.

Tarps are quite strong and waterproof so you are guaranteed protection from the rain to a very large extent.

If you are using the tarp, you can add extra poles to reduce the pressure on the already existing poles.

To use the cover tarp to waterproof your tent, you need to have a proper understanding of the terrain on which you want to pitch your tent. Different terrain requires a different approach in using the tarp as waterproof for your tent.

For instance, the tarp should not be under the tent if you are camping at the beach. The tarp should be inside the tent so water does not seep into the tent through the sand camp which has a different feel and texture.

You can also place the tarp over your tent as a means to waterproof a tent. Placing the tarp over the tent should be done with the consideration of the wind. The intensity of the wind can be a factor in the difficulty of placing the tarp over the tent.

Dig a Trench Around the Tent

If you are expecting a lot of rain, it is advisable to dig a trench all around the tent. This will ensure that the water from the rain is collected in the trench and keep the floor of your tent dry.

Weatherproofing The Rainfly

How To Weatherproof A Tent: rainfly

The rainfly is another part of a tent and its purpose is to protect the tent from extreme weather conditions. As it is the first thing that comes in contact with these weather conditions, it would most likely deteriorate faster than the other parts. Some tents allow you to use the rainfly independently from the tent. This gives the tent support by the poles and also reduces the weight of the tent.

Weatherproofing the fly follows almost the same process as the tent and all you need to do is:

  • Turn the fly inside out for easier access to the seams
  • Clean the fly with a damp cloth
  • Spray the sealant across the surface and if there is any excess, wipe it off
  • Leave to dry

Do You Need to Waterproof a Tent that is new?

How To Weatherproof A Tent: Used Tent
How To Weatherproof A Tent: A newly pitched tent

If you buy a cheap tent, chances are high that you will have to waterproof it. You can carry out a short inspection and check the seams and the fabric of the tent for the protective coatings.

How often should you waterproof a tent?

Maintaining a tent as often as possible is the key to making it last longer. Waterproofing is one way to make it last longer.

How often you waterproof your tent depends on certain factors.

  • The weather condition for each camp trip.
  • The waterproof rating of the tent
  • The type of tent being used

Periodic maintenance should also be carried out on the tent as often as possible. For waterproofing, how often you waterproof your tent will depend on how often you use it. For example, if your tent is used for an average of 2 to 3 weeks, then you should waterproof your tent every year. Also, don’t forget to inspect the coating from time to time to see if it’s worn out and in need of replacement.

How To Weatherproof Your Tent From A Storm

How To Weatherproof A Tent from a storm

A storm is quite bad because it could get everything in your tent wet. There is also a chance that the wind can blow the tent away if it is not properly positioned.

The annoying thing is that these storms can come at any time and just catch campers unawares and unprepared. So, if you are caught up in a storm somewhere while camping, you can follow these tips to help you weatherproof your tent from a storm.

Pay attention when pitching the tent

When setting up, there are some things you should look out for. These are the peg points, their positioning, the guy ropes, the spot where the tent is set up, and many others.

For example, to start with, you should make sure that all the poles provided alongside the tent are used. This gives it more stability and increases its chances of withstanding a storm.

Another factor to take note of is the peg points. The ideal positioning of these pegs is at a 45° angle away from the tent and anything outside that would affect its stability.

Most tents also come with a Velcro which comes in handy when you have to attach the tent fly to the poles. All of these including the guy ropes should be taken advantage of to secure the position of the tent.

Pick a sheltered location

To weatherproof your tent from the storm, you have to pick a spot where the wind is not facing you directly. You can opt for spots behind trees, bushes, or even buildings; anything that would cushion the effect of the wind when the storm starts.

You should steer clear of the bottom of the trees when scouting for setup locations for your tent. Especially the large ones as the branches can fall on the tent if the wind is strong. Another thing is to avoid small valleys or holes where water can pool up!

Use Extra Guy Ropes if needed

The function of guy ropes is to hold the tent down and reduce the pressure on the tent poles during extreme weather conditions. This means that using extra guy ropes for your tent gives it extra protection against powerful winds and helps to keep the tent up.

You can always get extra ropes to use when you go camping for safety purposes.

Take A Repair Kit Along

The reality is that even with all the precautions and the tips stated above, there is still a chance that wind could overpower your tent and tear. If this happens, you would want to be prepared by having a repair kit with you.

In the kit, everything you need to fix the torn tent would be available. So, if your tent gets damaged, you would not be left stranded in the middle of nowhere with no shelter.

How To Weatherproof Your Tent From Snow

How To Weatherproof Your Tent From Snow

Camping during winter is fun but without insulation, it can be a nightmare. Winter is a whole new ball game entirely as it is not only cold, it is also wet.

If you are planning a winter camping trip, you should have all the bases covered. The most important thing is making sure you have the right tent, which is a 4 season tent. If that’s covered, you can proceed to learn how to properly insulate your tent to stay warm.

You can keep warm in your tent during your winter trips by following some of these tips:

Use Smaller Tents

In winter, the size of the tent matters as it determines how fast the tent would be able to warm up. The idea is that the lesser space, the faster heat spreads. A small tent would heat up faster than a large one. So with a small one, you are conserving energy and warming up much quicker.

Use The Correct Tent

tent buying guide

If you know you are going to be going camping during winter, you should prepare adequately for it. One way to do that is by purchasing the correct tent for the season. As mentioned earlier, this should be a 4 season tent.

These tents are designed with thicker materials and insulation materials making them better suited for winter conditions. So, you would be doing yourself a great disservice by buying a tent that was designed for summer for instance.

Winter tents can withstand snow, were designed to keep you warm, and are more stable. It is important not to skimp on quality in this aspect as it can ruin your camping experience.

Consider the Floor Insulation

One way to ensure that your tent is always cozy during winter is by making sure the floor is insulated. You can easily do this by putting a tarp on the floor (one big enough to cover the entire floor surface of the tent).

This would prevent moisture from coming in from the floor and keep it warm You can even go the extra mile by adding blankets.

Use A Thermal Blanket on the sides

If you are going to be camping in the snow, it is good to take along a thermal blanket. You can use this around the top and the sides of the tent for an extra layer of insulation.

Take a portable heater

You don’t want to be stuck outside in the snow without having something to warm you up at the very least. You can get a tent heater online that is either fueled by propane or electricity for an increased level of comfort.

Key Insights & Takeaway

the 4 seasons for camping with a tent

Camping is a very fun activity and it can be a perfect time to bond with friends and family members but you have to do it right. As the saying goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”

The same can be said about camping in harsh conditions. If you are well prepared, even a storm or heavy rainfall won’t ruin your time with friends and family.

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Ally is an avid outdoor enthusiast who has spent most of his free time backpacking through South America, Iceland, Vietnam, and Europe. He loves sharing his experience through blogging. His mission is to get more people in the mindset of protecting our planet by sharing its beauty.