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sof sol waterproofing spray
Sof Sole Waterproofer

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KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent

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Star brite Waterproofing Spray
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Best Tent Waterproofing Spray

Nothing can ruin a camping or hiking trip faster than a leaking tent or having to tote around waterlogged equipment. 

After all, what’s the purpose of having a tent if it can’t even protect you from the elements? Unfortunately, not all tents are manufactured to the same standards or with the same materials. Some tents need a little extra help in order to keep you dry. 

A waterproofing spray is the perfect way to boost your tent’s protection, extend your tent’s life, and keep you snug during those rainy days and nights in the wilderness. 

Not sure which spray to purchase? Not positive how to apply it correctly? Perhaps you’re not even sure where to begin? No need to panic. 

Outdoorsr is here to help.   

Why It’s Important to Add Waterproofing Spray

Many outdoor enthusiasts will quickly learn that water-resistant and water-proof have two very different meanings. Many tents on the market – especially the affordable options – will claim to be water-resistant.

It’s often too late when you learn that most of these options can barely stand up to a light drizzle. They are no match for a full-fledged rainstorm. Older tents might also lose their water-proofing abilities over time due to sun damage and general outdoor wear and tear.  

A water-proofing treatment is the perfect way to increase your tent’s resistance to the elements.  It may not make it completely waterproof, but you can at least avoid the large rain puddles that might have formed inside your tent otherwise.

Best Tent Waterproofing Spray

If you’re in the market for a waterproofing treatment, look no further.  

We have compiled a list of the 8 Best Waterproofing Tent Spray options below. Read our reviews below to find out more!

Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent

best tent waterproofing spray

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: Yes
    • Cotton/Canvas: Yes
    • High-Tech Fabrics: No
    • Apparel: Yes
    • Footwear: Yes
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: 24-48 hours

If you are looking for one single, affordable spray to waterproof all your camping gear at once, look no further than Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent. This waterproofing spray can be used on any outdoor gear or apparel you throw at it. Say goodbye to soggy or water-soaked tents, boots, backpacks, and even camping chairs. Storms are no match for Kiwi’s Heavy Duty Spray. 

For optimum protection, Kiwi recommends using two coats, each followed by a 24-48 hours dry time. When you’re looking at 4-5 days total to waterproof your gear, this is a spray you’ll definitely want to apply well in advance to your camping trip. Last-minute applications or on-the-trail touch-ups are definitely not an ideal way to use spray- especially when the can is highly flammable!  

Overall, we’d rate Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent a great, versatile buy for those campers who plan ahead.

PROS

  • Versatile
  • Breathable
  • Odor-free

CONS

  • Long Dry Time

 Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof

best tent waterproofing spray

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: No
    • Cotton/Canvas: Unspecified
    • High-Tech Fabrics: No
    • Apparel: No
    • Footwear: No
  • UV Protection: Yes
  • Dry Time: Less than 24 hours

Non-flammable and biodegradable, Nikwax Tent & Gear Solarproof is safe for both you and the environment, and definitely a strong contender to become the best tent waterproofing spray. 

Nikwax Solarproof spray is also UV protective, which protects your tent and gear from the sun’s damaging rays and can help it last up to two times longer! This spray is simple and easy to use; Spray it on, wipe it off, and let it dry. Then you are ready to hit the trail!

Nikwax recommends using Solarproof on new equipment for maximum water and solar proofing benefits. If your equipment is not new, they recommend buying additional sprays and washes to use beforehand, like the Nikwax Tech Wash or Tent & Gear Solarwash. 

This can make Nikwax a decently large investment compared to some other waterproofing sprays on our list, but many of the other sprays lack the UV protection that will help your gear withstand the elements longer. If you’re searching to both solar and waterproof your tent or backpack, we say look no further!

PROS

  • Biodegradable
  • Non-flammable
  • UV Protection

CONS

  • Additional Sprays Recommended

Sof Sole Heavy-Duty Silicone Waterproofer Spray

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: Unspecified
    • Cotton/Canvas: Yes
    • High-Tech Fabrics: No
    • Apparel: Some
    • Footwear: Some
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: Less than 24 hours

Want to waterproof your tent and hiking boots on a budget? Sof Sole Heavy-Duty Silicone Waterproofer Spray is the choice for you. With a uniform aerosol can application and no pumping, scrubbing, or bushing required, Sof Sole makes their silicon spray easy and quick to use.  

Composed of 12% silicone, this spray stands up to water, oil, and dirt, but the can is also highly flammable. Take caution when applying and storing it. The spray is also not recommended for breathable or high-tech fabrics and can cause discoloration on certain items. It’s recommended to test a small area before spraying your entire tent, in case discoloration occurs.  

PROS

  • Long-lasting
  • Repels Water, Dirt, & Oil
  • Easy Application

CONS

  • Not for Tech Fabrics
  • Can change fabric Color

Gear Aid Revivex Instant Water Repellent

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: Yes
    • Cotton/Canvas: Unspecified
    • High-Tech Fabrics: Yes
    • Apparel: Yes
    • Footwear: Yes
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: Minutes

When trying to protect your high-performance tents and gear, Gear Aid Revivex Instant Water Repellent is the waterproofing spray you need. Gear Aid sports one of the only sprays on our list guaranteeing protection when used on camping equipment and apparel manufactured out of Gore-Tex or any other high-tech, breathable fabrics.

Application is quick and easy with an aerosol can, and Revivex dries in mere minutes. The spray not only repels water, but oil and dirt as well.

Being stored in a pressurized aerosol can, this spray is highly flammable, so it’s important to be careful when purchasing and using Gear Aid Revivex Instant Repellent. With its unique qualities – fast drying and able to be used on breathable fabrics – it does fall as the most expensive spray on our list.

However, for the protection it provides, we think Gear Aid Revivex Instant Water Repellent is a bargain when trying to protect your high-tech outdoor fabrics.

PROS

  • Use on High-Tech Fabrics
  • Quick Dry
  • Versatile

CONS

  • Flammable
  • Expensive

Star Brite Waterproofing Spray

starbrite waterproofing spray

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: Yes
    • Cotton/Canvas: Yes
    • High-Tech Fabrics: No
    • Apparel: Some
    • Footwear: Yes
  • UV Protection: Yes
  • Dry Time: 6 Hours

If you want super-affordable marine-grade water and UV protection, Star Brite Waterproofing Spray is a must-buy.

Star Brite has created a versatile spray that can be used on not only tents, but boots, jackets, and even outdoor furniture as well. With both water and UV protection, your gear is guaranteed to last longer, and with ocean-grade water protection, downpours don’t stand a chance. 

Star Brite is recommended for use on new equipment but can be applied to older equipment (once again – similar to Nikwax – after using additional recommended washes).

It is also flammable and should be applied with caution. It has a quick dry time of only 6 hours and is also available in bulk.

You can buy Star Brite’s spray by the gallon, saving money and waterproofing all of your camping gear in one go. In bulk, Star Brite is an affordable deal for a quality spray that cannot be beaten.

PROS

  • UV Protection
  • Marine Grade
  • Available in Bulk

CONS

  • Not for Coated or Backed Fabrics
  • Flammable

Kiwi Camp Dry Performance Fabric Water Repellent

best waterproofing spray for tents

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: No
    • Cotton/Canvas: Yes
    • High-Tech Fabrics: Yes
    • Apparel: Yes
    • Footwear: Some
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: At least 1 hour

Kiwi Camp Dry Performance Fabric Water Repellent is the most affordable way to treat your high-tech fabric tents and apparel. It is silicone-free so your breathable fabrics remain just that – breathable – and you don’t have to worry about fabric discoloration.

With a quick dry time of only an hour, you can spray and be on your way to the trail in no time. 

Kiwi’s Performance Fabric Repellent isn’t as versatile as their Heavy Duty Spray reviewed earlier on our list. It won’t work well on boots or other sturdy materials. It’s not UV protective and it doesn’t guarantee waterproofing on leather.

This niche spray is truly just a great, affordable alternative to Gear Aid’s Revivex Instant Water Repellent. If you don’t have high-tech fabrics to protect, we’d recommend you keep looking.

PROS

  • Use on High-Tech Fabrics
  • Inexpensive
  • Quick Dry

CONS

  • Not Heavy-Duty
  • Not UV Protective

Scotchgard Heavy Duty Outdoor Water Shield

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes 
    • Leather: Yes
    • Cotton/Canvas: Yes
    • High-Tech Fabrics: No
    • Apparel: Yes
    • Footwear: Yes
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: 2+ Hours

Scotchgard’s Heavy Duty Outdoor Water Shield is the spray you want if you are looking for that middle-of-the-road safe bet. It’s not the cheapest, fastest drying, most versatile, nor longest lasting spray on our list. But it does fair well in all of those categories.

It’s versatile and can be used on almost all outdoor equipment and apparel as long as they are not high-tech fabrics. It is easy to use and dries in only a few hours. Its price is mid-range, being neither the cheapest nor most expensive on our list.

Two coats and seasonal reapplication are recommended for best performance, and like many other aerosol sprays, it is flammable. Other than that, we don’t have many complaints. 

Scotchgard is a reliable house-hold name that produces quality products, and their Outdoor Water Shield spray is no exception.

It may not be the best of the best, but this spray is a solid, dependable choice. 

PROS

  • Fast Drying
  • Versatile
  • Breathable

CONS

  • Reapplication
  • Two-Coats Recommended

Nikwax TX.Direct Spray-On Waterproofing

Features

  • Can be used on:
    • Nylons: Yes
    • Leather: No
    • Cotton/Canvas: Unspecified
    • High-Tech Fabrics: Yes
    • Apparel: Yes
    • Footwear: Unspecified
  • UV Protection: No
  • Dry Time: Less than 24 Hours

Nikwax makes our list once again with a second biodegradable, non-flammable waterproofing spray. The TX.Direct Spray-On Waterproofing is perfect for high-performance fabrics and won’t ruin the integrity of the material nor discolor your tent or gear. Similar to what Kiwi did with their Camp Performance Fabric Spray, the TX.

Direct is not as heavy-duty or versatile as their previously reviewed Tent & Gear Solarproof Spray, but a more affordable option for waterproofing high-tech fabrics than Gear Aid’s Revivex Instant Water Repellent.  

While sporting a slightly more expensive price tag and longer dry than Kiwi’s Performance Fabric Spray, we love that Nikwax’s TX. Direct Spray is environmentally and human-safe. The debate between non-flammable and price is ultimately your decision to make, but we think Nikwax TX. Direct is a great waterproofing option.

PROS

  • Use on High-Tech Fabrics
  • Biodegradable
  • Non-flammable

CONS

  • No UV Protection
  • Additional Sprays Recommended

How to Waterproof a Tent

Whether you are looking to apply a waterproofing spray on a new tent right out of the box, an older tent in need of some love and revitalization, or just doing seasonal maintenance, the process for waterproofing your tent is generally the same. 

Step 1: Set Up Your Tent

Start the process by setting up your tent. The rest will be easier if the fabric is taut and can move easily around the outside of the tent. No need for digging through wads of fabric and wondering which sections you have or have not treated yet.

Step 2: Clean Your Tent

Using either a tech wash (Nikwax has a great one if you’re in need!) or mild detergent and water, hand clean your tent. 

This step is especially important for older tents that have seen their fair share of dirt and wear in the wilderness. No matter how you choose to clean your tent – tech wash, soap, or other – just don’t put your tent in the washing machine!

Step 3: Apply/Refresh Waterproofing Treatment

Read the directions on your waterproofing spray and apply your treatment accordingly.  Most will say to apply your treatment while the tent is still wet, and to use a sponge or rag to wipe off the excess as you go. However, all sprays are slightly different, so, again, make sure you READ YOUR PRODUCT LABEL! 

Leave your tent to dry for the prescribed amount of time.  Again, this can range from 1 to 48 hours depending on the spray. Some will ask for you to apply a second coat after the first is dry.  

Step 4: Seal Tent Seams

Once your tent is dry, turn it inside out and have the inside seams facing up. Using a rag and rubbing alcohol, clean the seams. Remove any seam tape or other pieces that are peeling.  Read the instructions on the seal sealer (purchased separately) and apply it, generally using a small brush. Allow the sealer to dry completely.  

When the seam sealer is dry, you can pack and put away your tent. Congratulations! You have successfully waterproofed your tent!

Tips for Keeping Dry Inside your Tent

While a good waterproofing treatment can be a step in the right direction, there are several other things you can do to help stay dry while you’re out camping.

We’ve also got a full article on how to camp in the rain, which you can check out for more information.

Set Up a Good Quality Rain Fly

Nowadays many tent companies are trying to make their tents as lightweight and breathable as possible. This means a lot of mesh fabric and thin materials. Trying to stay dry under these?  Good luck. 

A good quality, waterproof rainfly is instrumental in staying dry during a rainstorm. Many tents come with a rainfly or have the option of buying one specifically designed for your tent, so considering these and their waterproof rating when making a tent purchase.

No matter what, it is important to make sure your rainfly is appropriately sized for your tent and has enough tie-down points. Having too few guy lines could mean rain and wind rip easily underneath it and into your tent. Depending on tent size, 6-8 guylines is generally an appropriate number.  

Remember, a good rainfly could be the difference between you staying dry and happy or being soaking wet and miserable on your trip, so spending a little extra for a higher quality one is usually worth it. 

Buy a Tent with a Good Waterproof Rating and Seasonality

Doing your research before purchasing a tent is key to make sure you have a pleasant camping experience. Ensuring the tent you purchase is waterproof (not water-resistant) and is rated well at withstanding storms is what separates the good tents from the great ones. 

Also, consider it’s seasonal rating. If you are looking at doing mostly fair-weather camping, a 3-season tent is generally perfect for you. Interested in venturing out into the snow? You will need a tent rated for all 4 seasons. 

Not only is a 4-season camping tent generally better insulated and uses higher quality materials than a 3-season tent, but most importantly it’s better equipped to maintain it’s waterproofing against melting snow. 

These types of tents are generally more expensive and not for everyone, but if winter camping is on your horizon, this is an important feature to consider.

That said, feel free to check out our article on the best waterproof tents, for some great options.

Check Weather Before You Leave

As Sir Francis Bacon would say, knowledge is power. Yes, this applies to camping as well.  Something as simple as checking the weather forecast before you leave can be informative and prepare you for what lies ahead. 

See rain in your future? You can pack extra gear (like a tarp), waterproof your tent, or make sure you have a good rainfly. 

While some camping trips are restricted by plane flights, scheduled vacation days, or park permits, others might be able to be rescheduled for a drier week or weekend. No matter the case, simply knowing it might rain can give you a major leg up. 

Position Tent Door Away from Wind

Choosing the right campsite and positioning your tent can greatly affect how well you weather the storm. Observing the wind direction and pitching your tent away from the wind is just the beginning.  

Try not setting up camp directly under trees that could drop large amounts of water from their branches at once.  Avoid the geographically lowest locations where water would be likely to drain. Setting up near a cliff or other natural walls could help reduce the amount of wind you see. 

All of these things deal with simply altering how and where you position your tent but could greatly reduce the probability of getting soaked. 

Final Thoughts

It might seem like a pain to do, but waterproofing your tent not only keeps you dry but extends the life of your tent as well. The best tent waterproofing spray – when applied correctly – can really make a difference between a nice, dry camping trip and a miserably wet one.

While we highly recommend the Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent, Star Brite Waterproofing Spray, and Gear Aid Revivex Instant Water Repellent as our Editor’s Top Picks, we guarantee that you’ll be happy with any of the options we’ve listed above.  

Don’t go out into the wilderness unprepared. Waterproof your tent so you’re ready to weather the storm. Both now and for years to come.

Sources:

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