Skip to Content

If you buy something using links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Here's how it works.

Are all Tents Waterproof When You First Buy Them?

Are all Tents Waterproof Are all camping tents waterproof is a question that many campers may have before purchasing either a new or used camping tent. If you decide to purchase a tent at your local box store and you ask a clerk, who probably knows nothing about camping, “Are all camping tents waterproof?”, you may get a variety of answers. It therefore may be wiser to purchase a new tent at a retail outlet that specializes in outdoor activities.

But the simple answer is this: No, not all tents are sold new as a waterproof camping tent. If the person selling you the tent can’t gurantee you a dry night camping, or if you are asking yourself whether you need to waterproof your new tent. Then I would always recommend waterproofing the tent yourself. This is not hard, nor is it expensive.So for peace of mind, just do it.

For example, you may spend a lot of money on an expensive canvas or polycotton tent only to find that the first time you go camping it leaks. This would obviously cause a lot of frustration and make you very upset. This could easily occur but you need to realize it is not the manufacturer’s fault.

Are Canvas Tents Waterproof?Are Canvas Tents Waterproof

The weave on a canvas or polycotton material is quite course when new. This new material has numerous tiny holes. Therefore, water can obviously enter through the material and stitching. However, once the material has been wet for a few times the weave will tighten up and become extremely waterproof. This is the natural property of canvas and polycotton and it is the primary reason why a savvy camper will purchase this type of tent.

If you decide to purchase a newer, more expensive polycotton or canvas tent then it is advisable to first set it up in your backyard and spray it down a couple of times with a hose. This will allow the tent to become waterproof and it will also avoid any frustrations on future camping trips. Especially if you are going to be using a winter canvas tent.

What About A Nylon Tent? Is It Rain Proof?

If you decide to purchase one of the cheaper nylon tents from a box store then there are ways to make it waterproof. You could purchase an additional tarp and hang it over your tent which means that the tarp would take the brunt of the rain during a rainstorm. Of course, you would want to compare the cost of both a nylon tent and tarp with the cost of a superior polycotton or canvas tent.

You could also treat your tent with a tent and gear waterproofer. With this type of product you first spray down your tent with a hose and then sponge the entire surface with the waterproofer. For large tent it would cost you approximately $40. This type of process should get your tent through a years worth of camping. However, you will need to reapply this product each and every year that you use your tent.

What To Look For When Water Proofing Is An Issue

Besides choosing a tent that is waterproof it is also important to check the seams of the tent, all of the zippers, the hydrostatic head rating, the bathtub type sewn-in groundsheet, the stitching quality, the rain proof entrance, and the tent skirt.

For example, when you check the seams of the tent, you should make sure that all seams are properly stitched and have been sealed. Preferably double stitched for a more durable tent. Go inside of the tent to make sure that the stitching also has a waterproof coating. Look at all of the ties and toggles that are stitched into the seams of the tent’s main fabric. They all should also be waterproofed and properly sealed.

Main Area Of A Tent To Keep Dry From WaterAre Nylon Tents Waterproof

A doorway is one of the main areas where rain can come in. The doorway of a tent will use zippers to protect the inside of the tent from the rain. The better quality tents will utilize either a fabric or a plastic cover over the zipper. Likewise, the better quality tents will use a waterproof bathtub type sewn-in groundsheet. This means that each side of the groundsheet will turn upwards at the sides. This will minimize or eliminate any water from entering into your tent.

Yes, there is nothing quite like a camping trip into the wilderness. Therefore, to have a successful camping trip it is important to do some prior research on which type of tent you will use. For me personally, I always waterproof a new tent regardless. It adds an extra element of security from the cold wet rain. This way I’m guaranteed to have a nice dry camping experience with my family.