Part of having fun in the great outdoors is avoiding some of the less pleasant parts of nature, i.e. inclement weather. Torrential downpours can do more than put a damper on your fun; they can get all of your equipment wet and wind up, costing you tons of money in the long run.
If you want to have a great time camping without worrying about the rain spoiling your trip, you need to learn how to waterproof a tent. You also need to find out which waterproofing sprays will work for you. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of some of the most popular products on the market so you can choose the best of the bunch and prevent your next camping trip being a soggy one.
Table of Contents
- Best Tent Waterproofing Product
- How To Choose The Best Hydrophobic Spray for Your Tent
- Best Tent Waterproofing Spray For Outdoor Fabric Reviewed
Best Tent Waterproofing Product
NikWax TX.Direct Spray
Nikwax is a great product brand, and it ticks off almost all of the boxes, which is why it’s our pick for best tent waterproofing spray. Nikwax products do double-duty as waterproofing products that protect from harmful UV rays. This means that while your shelter is being shielded from the rain, it’s also being protected from sun damage. Treat your tent with Nixwax, and it won’t fade over time, a massive bonus if you’re looking to save some money on your camping gear.
Another excellent quality of Nikwax is that it can be applied to both dry and wet fabrics with equal effectiveness. You could even use Nixwax during a rainstorm, and it would still be useful, although we recommend thinking ahead and putting it on before you hit the road with your tent.
Although Nikwax doesn’t have the versatility of some of the other waterproofing tent sprays, and should only be applied to synthetic fabrics, it’s still the best on the market for all of its other great qualities. What’s more, Nikwax products are relatively affordable, and you can tuck them right inside your camping bag.
Bottom line: Nikwax products are reliable options that you can use to waterproof your tent or protect it from the sun. They’re a legacy brand that campers have relied on for years, and they always deliver quality.
How To Choose The Best Hydrophobic Spray for Your Tent
As with anything else, what makes a great waterproofing spray for tent fabrics is mostly up to a matter of personal preference, and what works for your lifestyle. Before you begin the process, ask yourself a few fundamental questions.
- What sort of conditions will I be camping in?
- How important is budget to me?
- What kind of tent do I own?
There are some reasonably universal qualities that great waterproof sprays have, and many of the contenders on our list share these traits.
It Offers Sun Protection
A waterproofing spray will undoubtedly keep the rain out, but will it take care of the sun’s harmful rays as well? Over time, the sun can fade or weaken your tent, so many people opt for a fabric waterproofing spray that does double-duty as a water-repellant and sun-screen for your valuable tent. Many of the best sprays on the market offer some UV protection, which protects the fabric of your tent rain or shine!
If you’re wondering how to waterproof a tent and protect it simply clean it thoroughly and make sure all of the seams are completely secured. Then, apply the waterproofing spray in a fluid, even coating paying particular attention to any zipper areas. If you use a waterproofing spray with sun protection, you can be assured that no parts will fade with time and that you’ll always be completely snug and dry during a thunderstorm.
Rapid Dry Time
If you’re in a hurry, or just impatient, you’ll want a product that has a very quick dry time. Many waterproofing sprays take several hours to fully dry, but there are a few products on the market that will allow you to spray them on and plunge your tent into the ocean within a matter of minutes.
While we seriously do not advise that you plunge your tent into the ocean under any circumstances, we are not exaggerating about the rapid dry time. There are a few products on the market that you can spray on and immediately reap the benefits of a few minutes later. If you are in a hurry or find yourself out camping with the sudden realization that you failed to waterproof your tent, these products could be a total godsend.
As with any other type of product, the budget is always top-of-mind. Some of the best spray-on waterproofing options come in a whole range of different budgetary options, so you don’t need to break the bank in order to get a reliable product that will last you for years.
Identify your budget from the get-go and look for products that fall within your particular parameters. Once you’ve done this, you’ll feel much more comfortable selecting the product that works for you. A great pro tip is to look for a smaller size of a high-quality product that will work remarkably for a single-use application. Sometimes smaller sizes are suitable for just one or two uses, but you can certainly maximize this by selecting a spray that does double-duty as a sun blocker and applying it at the beginning of the season.
Depending on what kind of shelter you have, you might want to find a spray that is versatile enough to be applied to all different types of products. This is especially true if your tent has several different fabrics on it. There are plenty of great products out there that work with synthetic and natural materials, and protect them both equally.
Selecting a versatile waterproofing tent spray is an excellent idea if you have a lot of different kinds of tents that you need to treat, or if you anticipate buying a new tent shortly. If you have room in your budget, it might be a good idea to purchase a waterproofing tent spray that goes on all different kinds of fabrics, as well as one that you will use on your primary shelter. These sprays rarely expire, so it’s a good investment.
Best Tent Waterproofing Spray For Outdoor Fabric Reviewed
Scotchguard Tent Waterproofing
Scotchguard is another legacy player that has been around forever. It’s a water-based formula that’s tried and true and will keep your tent totally protected from a rainstorm. It can be used on most synthetic fabrics, including GoreTex, and allows your shelter to breathe. It’s not sticky or overly thick when you apply it, and it goes on in a nice, consistent waterproofing spray that covers the entire tent properly.
The two downsides to this particular product are that it doesn’t work as well on natural fabrics and it’s not UV resistant. Some users also have reported issues with polymer blend fabrics, although these seem isolated.
- It can be used on most synthetic fabrics.
- It’s not sticky when you apply it.
- It allows the tent fabric to breathe.
- You can’t use it on natural fabrics.
- It doesn’t protect from the sun.
Bottom-Line: Scotchguard is a legacy product that goes on smoothly and allows your tent to breathe. It can’t be used on natural fabrics and will not protect your shelter from the sun.
Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent
The Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy-Duty silicon waterproof spray is best for serious campers that need to keep their tents consistently dry rainstorm after rainstorm. It’s great for tents and a whole host of other outdoor products, like boots or patio furniture, and boasts a strong barrier that keeps bad weather out, and ensures that the interior of your tent is toasty-dry. Kiwi Camp Heavy Duty Water Repellent uses silicone to create a strong barrier between your tent and the elements. Even so, the fabric is still able to breathe and is free of odors after the application.
This product has been reported to discolor light-colored materials slightly, so it is best used on darker fabrics. It’s also not UV resistant, so even treated tents may fade in the sun. Still, it is an excellent product for serious campers who need to rely on a product that can protect them consistently from the elements.
- It offers robust protection from the weather.
- Tent fabric can still breathe.
- There is no lasting odor.
- It does not protect from the sun.
- It may discolor fabrics slightly.
Bottom-Line: This is one of the best products out there for heavy-duty camping, and you’ll find that your shelter doesn’t smell after applying this product. It might discolor lighter-colored fabrics.
Grangers Tent + Gear Repel
Grangers Tent + Gear Repel is one of those great products that gets the job done, but is budget-friendly. It’s one of the least expensive products on our list, so you can easily stock up on several to have extras on hand if you need it. It bills itself as a water-repellant, but also a stain-fighter. This interesting combination will keep your shelter protected from the rain, but also save it from getting scuffed up in natural elements! It can also be used on both synthetic and natural fabrics, setting Grangers Tent + Gear Repel in a class of its own.
Unfortunately, this product has been noted to have a bit of a distinct smell and is not a sun-blocker. The smell is said to be most potent directly after the product is applied, so if you allow it to air out slightly, you shouldn’t have any sorts of problems. Give your tent at least two hours to fully absorb the product and for the smell to dissipate before taking it out on the road.
- It works on all fabrics.
- It is a stain-fighter as well as a water-repellant.
- It’s very cost-effective.
- This product does have a distinct smell.
- It does not protect from the sun.
Bottom-Line: This is a cost-effective product that will work wonders. It does have an overpowering smell and does not protect from the sun like some of the other options on this list.
Atsko Silicone Water-Guard
The Atsko Water-Guard silicon waterproofing spray is a great product that protects your tent from downpours as well as keeping it safe from the sun. Yes, this is one of the only products on our list that offers sun protection as well as shielding you from the elements. It is water-based, so it’s environmentally-friendly, and it keeps the fabric completely protected but also breathable. You can enjoy your tent just a few minutes after applying this product.
It can be a little bit difficult to apply. It doesn’t go on wholly hassle-free, and the spray function can jam up a little bit. You will need to exercise patience and a steady hand while you are applying this product. Otherwise, you might find that whole sections are left unprotected and that you aren’t safe from the rain at all. Additionally, it has been reported that this product has a bit of an unpleasant smell immediately after application. If you want to avoid the smell, make sure that you do your waterproofing in a large, open area to protect yourself.
- This protects from sun and rain.
- It allows fabric to breathe.
- It is environmentally friendly.
- It can be challenging to apply.
- There is a strong smell associated with it.
Nikwax TX.DirectBest Tent Waterproofing Spray
When it comes to versatility, Nixwax takes the cake. Their waterproof tent spray keeps you nice and dry and acts as a barrier against the sun’s UV rays. In addition to protecting you from getting too much sun while you’re inside, Nikwax will also keep your tent from fading. This increases the longevity of your product and puts more money back into your pocket! Nikwax is also known for being an environmentally-friendly company.
Nikwax works best on synthetic fabrics and will not be as effective on natural ones, and you might have to apply multiple coats depending on the age of your gear.
- This protect protects from sun and rain.
- It’s an environmentally-friendly product.
- It will keep your fabric from fading.
- This product does not work on natural fabrics.
- It may require multiple coats.