Camping in the backcountry can be an experience that refreshes your mood, relieves stress, unplugs you from technology, and helps you to rediscover nature. While these are some wonderful aspects of camping, there are also some practical elements you have to be aware of. Whether it is physical precaution, safety, or preparation for hazards, you need to be ready for your surroundings.
While all of these elements need preparation, no single aspect is more critical than your shelter – your tent. And the first risk you have to expect while camping is sudden rain or downpour. That’s why it’s crucial to make your tent waterproof before you encounter a wet terrain.
One question beginners may wonder is why you should make tent waterproof? Aren’t the materials supposed to be built for this anyway? Unfortunately, not all tents come with waterproof features. And even for the ones that do, it’s always advisable to reinforce the water-resistant features before you venture out. You can have some of the best waterproof tents available today, but knowing how to maintain and sustain your gear is paramount to real camping.
Your tent is arguably the most crucial part of your gear because it’s where you rest, sleep, and get shelter from the elements. And one of the most dangerous and frustrating things that can happen is to have a leaking tent. It can dampen your camping experience in more ways than one. Rain and flowing water can creep up on you unexpectedly in the wild. And it’s essential to know how to make your tent waterproof. Knowing how to do it yourself will keep you ready for any eventuality later on.
There are specific measures you can take to keep the rain out of a tent effectively. These steps can be applied before you venture out, as well as during your camping duration. We want to make sure that you get a working knowledge of these steps. That is why this guide is structured in such a way that it’s easy-to-understand, cost-effective, and practical.
Waterproof sprays are one of the most popular products for making tents waterproof. They come in a variety of models and content. While some can include a tent-wash feature, others can have additional protection for UV rays.
The best waterproof sprays for tents are the ones that come with clear instructions and are easy to apply. If you opt for this method, make sure that you do not just skim through the content. Read the instructions carefully so that you can draw out the best results for your tent. Backcountry camping can bring a variety of wet risks to your tent. And knowing how to use waterproof sprays will ensure that your tent gets protection under all circumstances.
Tarp covers are an age-old but efficient means of protecting your tent from the rain. Short for tarpaulin, tarps can be set up in a variety of styles and positions. But the main purpose is to cover the entire area of your shelter. This ensures that the water does not fall or flow within your shelter. There are different shapes and sizes that are available. So, you should choose one that fits not just your tent but the terrain you’ll be camping in.
Some tarps may come with poles and stakes included, while others may come in a handy zip bag. Either way, they remain one of the best ways of waterproofing your tent. Tarps are also a convenient option if you do not want to treat your tent fabric with other chemicals and waterproofing products.
Another great way to waterproof your tent with a tarp is to place it underneath the tent. In this position, the tarp can prevent rainwater from seeping through to your tent. Also, it gives you an additional layer of insulation between your body and the ground. Putting tarps above and underneath your tent will also help with your tent’s durability and maintenance. Regardless of whether you decide to use another method as well, it is always recommended to put a tarp underneath your tent.
Cotton canvas materials work really well in waterproofing your tent. They may be slightly more expensive options compared to the other items mentioned here. But if you’re willing to invest a small extra amount, canvas waterproofing is the way to go.
To make your tent waterproof, you ultimately rely on the fabric that separates you from the rain. Very few other materials can perform this role as well as a waterproof cotton canvas for tents. This type of canvas uses the natural fibrous qualities of cotton and synthetics to give you the best waterproof tent structure.
If you’ve just bought a new waterproof canvas tent, give it a test run before you go camping. Set it up in your lawn or backyard and give it a good splash of water. The fabric can expand and contract at minuscule levels to retain a water-tight exterior. This pre-camping test will make sure it works well when you’re actually out there in the backcountry.
In addition to making your tent waterproof with these measures, there are other related steps you can take to keep the rain out of a tent.
- Find a suitable location to pitch your tent. Higher ground helps the water to flow down and away from your tent. Also, level surfaces prevent your tent floors from tears and abrasions.
- If your tent came with a footprint, make sure it is seamed or taped to the walls of your tent. Allowing gaps in between may encourage water seepage and leaks when it rains.
- Keep your tent ventilated unless the downpour is entering your ventilation opening. This will minimize any condensation that happens from your breath and keep your interiors cool and fresh.
- If you’re using a rain-fly, make sure it’s as firm and tight as possible. A general rule of thumb is that you need to be able to bounce a small object (like a coin) over its surface. Also, make sure that it does not come into contact with the walls of your tent.