If you’re in a rush, the best tent waterproofing spray is the Nikwax Tent & Gear Waterproofing & Solarproofing Spray.
Anyone who has spent a night in a storm knows one simple truth: you don’t want a leaky tent.
But the sad fact of life is that every camping tent will eventually need to be waterproofed. That’s where tent waterproofing sprays come in.
We researched over 20 different sprays and narrowed down our choices to these five:
- Nikwax Waterproofing & Solarproofing Spray (Best Waterproofing Spray Overall)
- Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent (Good 2nd Option)
- GEAR AID Seam Grip TF Tent Fabric Sealer (Best For Repairing Old Coating)
- Atsko Silicone Water-Guard (Best Waterproofing Spray For Other Gear Besides The Tent)
- Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield (Best Waterproofing Spray For Canvas Tents)
Best Tent Waterproofing Spray: Our Top 5 Choices
Nikwax – Tent & Gear Waterproofing & Solarproofing Spray
Nikwax’s tent spray is terrific not only for waterproofing your tent but for providing UV protection, as well. This spray helps prolong the life of your gear while also reviving old equipment that you may not otherwise be able to use.
Also, this spray cleans dirt and grime off your tent while you apply it. That means there’s only one simple step to waterproofing your tent, saving you time. This waterproofing spray covers a large area and is very easy to apply.
- Beyond waterproofing – this spray sun-proofs your gear, as well.
- It works well on tents, rain flies, backpacks, awnings, tarps, umbrellas, and more.
- Because this product is water-based and biodegradable, it’s safe and environmentally friendly. It contains no PFCs, VOCs, optical brighteners, or added scent.
- Straightforward application – Nikwax removes dirt and grime from the material, while also waterproofing.
- A bottle of this waterproofing spray is enough to cover a seven-person tent, with some to spare.
- This waterproofing is not as durable as other products.
- Might stain light colored materials. Spot check before using it!
Best for: people who want sun-proofing and waterproofing in one environmentally friendly product.
Kiwi – Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent
The Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent is a stellar waterproofing spray to use when camping. One package comes with two cans, so you will have more than enough to waterproof all of your gear. Not to mention, one can is enough for two coats on a seven-person tent.
You can waterproof tents, tarps, coats, shoes, backpacks, and more with this waterproofing spray. It even has a nice mist applicator that makes waterproofing a breeze.
Kiwi Camp Dry makes water wick right off the surface instead of soaking in. When camping, this waterproofing spray has the potential to be your most necessary tool.
- This pack comes with two cans, so you waterproof all of your gear and keep one for backup.
- One can is enough to cover a seven-person tent with two coats or several different items of clothing and/or shoes. No matter what you’re waterproofing, you’ll have enough on hand.
- This waterproofing spray keeps water out of things like tents, tarps, shoes, jackets, backpacks, sleeping bags, and much more.
- The mist applicator guarantees an even layer and doesn’t accidentally drip any spray along the surface.
- The performance of this spray is top-notch, meaning water gets thrown right off your fabric.
- This spray may stain certain fabrics, especially if it’s white. Do a spot test before applying to check.
- Kiwi’s spray works great, but it requires you to wait the full time to achieve full waterproofing.
Best for: campers who want to waterproof all of their gear, and make sure it lasts.
GEAR AID – Seam Grip TF Tent Fabric Sealer for Waterproofing
The GEAR AID Seam Grip TF Tent Fabric Sealer for Waterproofing is an excellent tool for waterproofing your tent and other essential gear. With a foam applicator brush tip, it is easy to spread the sealer out into a thin layer that protects everything from water.
Not only does one tube go a long way, but this product dries clear so you won’t have to worry about a mess. The combination of its transparent color and foam applicator tip makes this a top choice for repairing existing waterproofing.
- A tube of this tent fabric sealer can cover 85 sq. ft. of material. One bottle is all you need to waterproofing an entire tent.
- Compatible with polyurethane coating, so you can quickly fix any existing waterproofing that’s fading or chipping away.
- The foam applicator brush on the tip allows you to easily brush a thin coat of product on the surface of your tent.
- This fabric sealer does a superb job on tent floors, rain flies, tarps, and much more.
- Best of all, this stuff dries clear. You won’t be able to tell there’s a coating on your tent.
- Although the applicator works well, this stuff is thick and takes a little elbow grease.
- The texture makes it so that this sealant is better on seams than large pieces of fabric.
Best for: people who want to repair old or peeling coating, or seal up the seams on your tent.
Atsko – Silicone Water-Guard
The Atsko Silicone Water-Guard is a killer waterproofing spray for all of your camping gear. You can use it on tents, rain flies, umbrellas, shoes, jackets, and much more.
Since it dries clear, you won’t have to worry about making a mess or highlighting any mistakes. Not to mention, one can is enough to coat several pairs of shoes or items of clothing. This waterproofing spray is also great for anyone operating on a small budget.
- Easy to apply over the entire surface area of your camping gear.
- It does not produce a bad smell like other waterproofing sprays.
- Dries clear to the point where you can’t even tell there is a coating on your camping gear.
- Great for waterproofing shoes, tents, rain flies, umbrellas, jackets, and much more.
- One can is enough to coat several garments of clothes, a car cover, or a whole tent.
- One layer of coating is all it takes to waterproof your gear. No second coat needed.
- An uneven layer of Atsako might cause some slight discoloration. Spot check before using.
Best for: people who want to waterproof their garments like jackets or shoes.
Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield
While all of the sprays mentioned here are excellent, they do have one major flaw:
Almost all of them focus only on waterproofing nylon and polyester tents – and can’t do anything for canvas tents.
Luckily, this spray made by Scotchgard is the answer to every canvas camper’s prayers.
On the plus side, it’s affordable, non-toxic, and can waterproof both nylon and canvas tents. It’s also completely safe to use on your outdoor patio furniture, boots, jackets, and a lot of other outdoor gear.
On the downside, Scotchgard claims that one canister can provide 20 square feet of water resistance on heavier fabrics. This means you could end up using two or more cans just to waterproof one tent.
- Budget price makes it a great choice for frequent campers.
- The coated fabric maintains its breathability, so there is no chance of inhaling dangerous chemicals.
- Versatile – you can use it to waterproof your tent, yes, but also your outdoor furniture, backpacks, boots, and the rest of your camping gear.
- Zero long-term smell – you might feel something for the first few hours, but the smell should be gone completely afterwards.
- It might take two or more cans to completely waterproof your canvas tent, so be sure to buy enough.
Best for: campers who want to waterproof their canvas tents.
Choosing A Tent Waterproofing Spray: A Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing the best waterproofing spray, your choice really comes down to three important things:
- Aerosol vs spray bottles
- Silicone vs non-silicone sprays
- Type of tent fabric it’s meant for
Don’t worry if this feels too overwhelming – I’m going to break it down for you so you’ll know exactly which spray to choose and why.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Aerosol Vs Spray Bottles
The first thing you need to decide is whether or not to use aerosol or spray bottles – both come with their pros and cons.
|Click and spray
|Pull the trigger and spray
|Easy to use, penetrates the fabric better
|Better control using the spray
|Bad for the environment, must use several cans
|Might end up spraying your tent unevenly
Aerosol sprays are easy to apply – just click the button and spray away. They also penetrate the fabric a bit better. On the downside, they are not really great for the environment and you might end up using a lot more spray than you planned on.
Spray bottles work like a spritzer – you have to manually pull the trigger and the spray comes out. On the plus side, you get much better control over how much spray you’re using. On the downside, you might end up spraying your tent unevenly.
Silicone Vs Non-Silicone Based Sprays
I’ll make this simple – you want to use silicone-based sprays.
While waterproofing sprays tend to come in many different shapes and sizes, silicone is by far the best.
Silicone is used to seal bathtubs, sinks, and in other circumstances where no water is allowed to leak through. Compared to PU or acrylic coating, it completely penetrates the tent fabric and it can’t peel off.
All in all, when it comes to durability, safety, and waterproofness, you can’t go wrong by choosing silicone-based sprays.
Type Of Tent Fabric
Finally, we have the choice of tent fabrics.
Generally speaking, most tents on the market today are made out of three main fabric types:
This is another reason you should use silicone-based spray since it’s completely safe to use on all the above-mentioned types.
If your tent is already coated or laminated, then you want to opt for a water-based spray – they won’t mess your tent up.
How to Waterproof Your Tent
You’ve got the waterproof spray, now what?
Well, waterproofing a tent is a pretty simple task.
It’s a simple 3-step process that goes like this:
- Wash your tent first
- Spray the tent
- Let it dry
Before you begin, you have to do some prep work.
Start by washing your tent to get dirt and grime off of it. If you place the spray on top of dirt and grime, it will lead to a bad seal and will not work correctly.
Once your tent is clean, set up the tent (if you haven’t already) and begin to spray the tent down. Make sure to spray every square foot that you can. Do so as evenly as possible and pay extra attention to waterproofing the seams. After a few minutes, wipe the excess off and now all you have to do is let it dry. Cure the tent for the length of time the instructions tell you before you pack it up or use it.
At this point, you may want to consider an additional layer (or sealant) to protect your seams, but that’s not always necessary.
Congratulations – your tent is now waterproof!
How to Make Your Waterproofing Last
Now that you’ve waterproofed your tent, you want to make sure it lasts. You don’t want to have to go through this whole process every time you want to use your shiny new waterproof tent. So, once you have let it dry and cure properly, make sure to store it properly.
Keep your tent in a cool, dark place, like a closet. Avoid leaving it out in direct sunlight. And if you go a long time without using it, make sure to check it regularly for mold.
To really care for your tent, never put it in the washing machine. Make sure you repair any damage to the waterproofing as soon as it happens before things get worse. Keep track of your tent’s condition, and your waterproofing will last.
It’s also a good idea to keep a spare can of waterproofing spray on hand at all times, so you won’t have anything to worry about!
Since I wrote this article, I’ve received a bunch of emails asking me about the specifics of the tent waterproofing.
A lot of the same questions pop up repeatedly, so I wanted to add this FAQ section to answer the most common ones.
Does a new tent even need to be waterproofed?
The short answer?
While most tents that were made in the past few years are supposed to be waterproof right out of the gate, some cheaper ones are not.
When you combine that with the fact that these sprays are really cheap and easy to apply, you don’t really lose a lot by waterproofing your tent with them.
How often should you waterproof your tent?
Again, it all depends.
If you’re living in rainy parts of the country like PNW and you’re camping frequently (every month or so) you might need to do it on an annual basis.
On the other hand, if you’re a casual camper who camps several times per year in fair weather conditions, then you should be able to make your waterproofing last several years at least.
What’s the difference between seam sealing and waterproofing?
It’s quite simple:
You use tent waterproofing as a preventive measure before you go camping.
You use seam sealing to close a leak that already exists. A seam sealer is a glue-like substance that is absorbed into tent fabric and improves its water repellency.
Make sure you’re never caught off guard in the rain again with the best tent waterproofing spray: Nikwax Tent & Gear Waterproofing Spray. It does a great job at waterproofing a variety of materials including tents, tarps, shoes, jackets, and much more.
Imagine never having to worry about getting wet while camping again. Sounds great to me!
Be proactive and use this waterproofing spray before you leave and keep an extra can on hand at all times for emergencies.