Canvas Tent Waterproofing: Tips to Stay Dry

canvas tent waterproofing

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Most traditional tents are constructed from nylon, but the canvas tents are made from a slightly more durable material. They tend to be a bit more expensive than your traditional nylon tent, but they also have plenty of features. Canvas tent waterproofing should be one of the easiest things you do due to the already waterproof materials.

If you have ever wondered how to waterproof canvas tents, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will focus on some of the top tips to do it and you can do most of these things from home. We have also included some great waterproofing products to make life a little easier.

How to Waterproof Canvas Tents – Top 7 Tips

how to waterproof canvas tents

If you decide to buy a canva tent, you might need to know that these tents tend to leak upon arrival. While this is not the case for all canvas tents, it has been seen in most of them. Fortunately, these tips will help you alleviate the issue, and you can make your canvas tent waterproof by looking at these hacks.

1. Find Out if There are Any Leaks

The first step after buying a canvas tent is to find out if there are any prominent leaks. While many people will simply use a hose after pitching the tent to see if any leaks are prominent. However, your best bet is to leave the tent out on a rainy day and see if the water comes through. It is important to make a mental note of any leaks and where you find them.

2. Start By Cleaning Your Tent

Once you have found some leaky spots, you will need to leave the tent outside to dry. Once the tent is dried, you can start the cleaning process. The cleaning process might take some time, but you cannot apply the silicone-based spray on a dirty tent. The particles will get stuck to the tent, and this could create bubbles that make the spray ineffective.

Be sure to leave the tent outside on a sunny day once it has been cleaned. It is just as important to apply the spray to the tent once it is dried instead of in the wet.

3. Waterproofing Spray

While it might sound simple to waterproof your tent by picking up a spray, it is not as easy as it sounds. You will need to waterproof your tent without taking away some of the breathability of the fibers. To do this, you will use your mental notes of where the leaks occur and start applying your spray to the inside of the tent.

The KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent is one of the top products on the market today. It has a silicone base that will seal up any potential leaks. It can be used for almost every tent you have and other outdoor gear. According to the manufacturer, it will still leave plenty of room for the fabric to breathe once it has been applied. It is the waterproofing spray for canvas tents.

4. Use a Paint Brush to Double Up

While the spray should do wonders to keep the seams dry and to avoid the issue of having water penetrate, your spray might not reach every nook and cranny. Most of us have old paintbrushes around the house, and while this is tempting, we would recommend a brand new paintbrush. It should also avoid dirt on the seams.

You will want to use the paintbrush to reapply a second coat of the product on the seams. The Star Brite Low-Odor Water-Based Waterproofing is one of the best products that you can consider. It should make life so much easier due to not having an odor.

5. Leave the Tent to Dry

Once you have applied all the relevant products to your tent, you should leave it outside to dry. Once again, it is best that you this on a hot sunny day to ensure that the tent has the time to dry out. In many cases, it might even take a day or two for the product to dry, but it will seal up most of the seams.

If you have to deal with rain or bad weather conditions, you should consider moving your tent inside. Since there are no odors to the products we mentioned, they will not stink up your home or garage when drying.

6. Retest the Waterproofing

The next step involves you taking the tent back outside. You should hope for a rainy day and put the waterproof tent outdoors. Leave it for a couple of hours and let the rain do its thing. Once the rain subsides, you can do some inspection. By now, most of the tent should be waterproof and only a few areas you might have missed might reveal themselves.

It is important to make another mental note of these leaks to redo the waterproofing on the tent when you get the opportunity.

7. Repeat the Process Until Satisfied

If you have found some leaks in the tent, you should consider redoing the process. It might take some time for you to redo the seams and to apply the spray. However, it makes a big difference to ensure that you don’t need to deal with this while camping. Fortunately, the outside of the best canvas tents will already have some form of waterproofing.

The TETON Sports Mesa Canvas Tent is one of the more expensive options on the market today. However, the outside has already been waterproofed and this will make it much easier for you. If you don’t want to do all the waterproofing yourself, you can even ask the manufacturer to assist you in making it.


Canvas tent waterproofing is vital when you go outdoors. The bad weather conditions might hit at any time, and this could be frustrating to deal with. You must follow these tips and steps to make the tent waterproof. We hope that you have found some of the hacks and answers to help you waterproof your tent.

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