When And How to Reproof Your Tent

Do you think your tent needs reproofing or are unsure about how to reproof your tent? If so we are going to cover everything you should know about when and how to reproof your tent.

Nothing is worse than a tent that is letting water in. Your tent is essential in keeping both you and all your gear dry. If it is raining and item in your tent gets wet how will you be able to dry them?

Taking care of your tent is essential so it, in turn, can do its job and take care of you.

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Leaky Tent V Condensation

A common mistake to make, especially if new to camping, is mistaking condensation in your tent for your tent leaking. Moisture can build up in your tent from many things and will gather on the inside of your tent fabric making it look like your tent is letting in water. You can learn more about condensation in your tents and how to reduce it by reading the following post – How To Avoid Condensation in Your Tent

Most tent fabric nowadays is pretty waterproof. It will take a while for use and the elements to take their toll on tent fabric before reproofing is needed.

When To Reproof Your Tent

If you have been out in a new tent you will have noticed how the rain beads off the fabric when it rains. Much like a newly waxed car. However, once the water starts to lay on a tent or starts to seep into the fabric, it needs reproofing.

There are several factors that will cause the waterproof barrier to deteriorate. These are the lengths of use and what weather the tent has been used in. As well as how the tent is cared for between uses. Spot cleaning of the fabric. Like taking off bird poo or mud. You should never use a detergent on your tent fabric. If you need to spot clean try and use an appropriate cleaner such as Nikwax Tech Wash. This should never be used neat and you should always follow the directions on the bottle.

If you have purchased a second-hand tent, I would always reproof it before first use. As you cannot always rely on the seller to give accurate information about if or when this was last done. Similarly, if you are taking a tent out that hasn’t been used in a few years this would also be a good idea.

As a rule of thumb, we reproof after roughly every 6 weeks of use or every two years.

Types of Reproofer

There are several good reproofer products on the market today. We are not only speaking about how the solution is bought and applied. As you can buy them in pump sprays, aerosols or liquid that you can choose how to apply. But whether the reproofer is a water-based or silicone-based product. So you have plenty of choices when choosing what you will use.

We prefer different reproofers for different gear. For shoes, jackets, backpacks etc we prefer NikWax TX Spray or wash in. However, when it comes to our tents we prefer Fabsil from Grangers. We also prefer to use this in liquid form and we brush it onto our tents rather than spray it.

We find that using the liquid wastes less of the product and gives better coverage. As you will be reproofing your tent outside you have to consider the conditions you will be reproofing in. Ideal conditions are for it to be dry and preferably with a light breeze to aid drying time. However, if you were to use an aerosol when there is even a slight breeze you may waste some of the product as the air catches it and carries it off.

How to Reproof Your Tent

There are 4 steps we take when it comes to reproofing our tents. You may not need to do all 4 yourself depending on your tent. Steps 1 and 4 although, are a must.

So what are the 4 steps? Well, they are 1, Pitch 2, Clean & Inspect 3, Seal & 4, Reproof. The time it will take to complete this task will depend on a few factors. How many tents you are doing, the size of the tent, and the weather (this will determine drying time)

Pitching

The first thing you will need to do is pitch your tent or tents. This could be in your garden, local park, or when you are on-site while away on a camping trip. You don’t need to guy the tent out fully unless you think this will help you or you are on a campsite.

Tech Wash

Clean & Inspect

The next step is to clean your tent. For cleaning the fabric we would recommend tech wash such as Nikwax’s Tech Wash. As this is normally used in a washing machine you will need to dilute it before you use it. for best results follow the instructions on the bottle. Rinse and allow to dry thoroughly.

Seal

When we talk about sealing the tent we mean to seal seams. This is anywhere that has been machine stitched.

Taped Seams

Most tents are seam-sealed in the factory at the time of production. This is done by placing a clear sealing tape over the stitches. These can, over time lose effect. Either they start to peel away or degrade. This is the next thing you will want to inspect is all seams. It is easier if you take out any internal rooms for this. This way you can check every seam thoroughly and also have good clear access when it comes to resealing them.

Stormseal Seam Sealer

To reseal we recommend using either a brush-on seam sealer or one with a padded applicator. We use Stormseals Seam Sealer as we find it really easy to apply and work with.

If you find that any of your seam-sealed areas have started to peel away we recommend trimming them with scissors. This will save any more being caught or pulled away. Then simply apply your seam sealer as per the instruction on the product you are using.

***Ensure that any product you have applied is dry before packing away. This may dry at a different rate from your reproofer on the outer of the tent so always make sure to check this!

Reproofing

Now it is time to reproof the outer of your tent. Any products we have used are already mixed ready to use. For reproofing we prefer to use Fabsil by Grangers. We also prefer to use this in liquid form where we apply it using a paintbrush or pad.

applying fabsil

As I stated above we prefer to brush this on and it is always best to decant the liquid into a small tub or paint bucket to make it easier for you to use.

When reproofing it is best to work in sections. Start at the top of the section and work your way down. This way you will catch any runoff as you go. Work your way around the whole tent making sure you cover every inch of material. Remember to apply to both sides of the zip covers and underneath any covered ventilation panels. Do not use mesh panels that allow for ventilation.

Allow the tent to dry completely before packing away ready for use.

Take-Aways

Taking care of your tent is essential if you want it to last. As we said at the start if you look after your tent and gear it will in turn look after you!

By reproofing your tent regularly you will not only stop it from leaking but you will help it to keep looking as good as the day you bought it. Many reproofers now come with UV protection that will help to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays. Without UV protection your tent may start to lose its colour and become faded.

For a few pounds and a couple of hours of work, you ensure that you and your family will stay dry inside the tent while on holiday.

If you have any other tips for keeping your tent looking as good as new why not share, leave a comment down below.

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2 thoughts on “When And How to Reproof Your Tent”

  1. Hi Michelle, what an insightful post. You left nothing out in this detailed explanation of how to take care of your tent. I wasn´t aware of how often you had to reproof the tent, but it makes sense. 

    If you want something to last for a long time and to look like it´s new, you have to upkeep it.

    Thanks for sharing all the valuable information, which I can share with friends who are avid campers.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Dana for your kind comment. Some new campers are unaware of how often you need to reproof or even how easy it is to seal the seams if the tape starts to disintegrate. With the right care, a tent can last many years.

      Reply

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