How to Waterproof a Nylon Tent – Be Secured in the Woods 2021!

Have you ever experienced being inside a tent during your camping trip with some dripping waters inside because it’s raining outside? That’s when the only time that you’ve found out that your tent is leaking. With that, it will quickly turn your camping into a nightmare. So, to avoid that disastrous experience, it is important to know how to waterproof a nylon tent.

In this blog post, we will discover the different methods of waterproofing a nylon tent. Moreover, we also have here the different types of coating materials that are suitable for use over synthetic fabric tents. If you are one of those who want to waterproof their tent, you landed on the right track. Come and explore this post along with us!

Synthetic Tent Materials that Are Waterproof

Generally, not all tents are waterproof and this tent feature widely depends on the extent of its material’s resistance to water. The tent’s water resistance is highly affected by several factors including the type of fabric materials, thickness, and density of the fabric weave. Yet, the most important thing that affects the water resistance of the tent is its waterproof coating.

But, if the tent can be coated for waterproofing, why not all tents tend to be waterproof? Well, it is all because of the fabric materials. Tents are made up of different materials and each fabric used for making a tent has distinct characteristics.

Cotton Tents

Popularly known as the canvas tents, the cotton tents are not that commonly used nowadays. One of their excellent features is their innate waterproofing ability. Yet, it needs a little preparation. This fabric material generally gains its reputation within the textile industry because of its very breathable property.

Ironically, it actually absorbs water excellently. Eventually, it swells up once it becomes wet and will then seal the tent’s pores. With that, it produces a water barrier within the tent in a highly effective manner.

However, one drawback that you may encounter with the use of cotton tents is that their walls can get swollen with water. If the swollen walls have been touched, it will exert a capillary effect that will draw the water inside the tent.

Nylon and Polyester Tents

Nylon and polyester materials do not have a water-resistant ability. They both unlikely to absorb water but their fabrics are woven close to each other. With that, the water can be pulled along the side of the fabric material.

Generally, the weave of the nylon and polyester fabrics is the one giving a great impact on the amount of water that can get through the materials. Moreover, the denser the fabrics, the better the nylon and polyester tents to stop the water.

Yet, just like the cotton tents, these tent materials also encounter some pitfalls. One of them is the seams present within the tent. Since it is made through the weaving process, the two pieces of the fabric material are intertwined together by seams. This is basically a result of passing on the needle and thread along with the fabric in order to tie them. In general, seams tend to be a portal for the water to enter the tent.

Since we do not want to sleep inside a tent with water falling inside of it while raining outside, it is actually crucial to learn how to waterproof a nylon tent.

How to Waterproof a Nylon Tent – Coating of the Synthetic Material

how to waterproof a nylon tent

Have you ever imagined a tent dipped with a coat similar to that of a chocolate dipped mallow? Well, you heard it right! Coating is the most important part of waterproofing a nylon tent. In order to waterproof a nylon fabric, you must have to coat it with the following substances:

1-DWR or Durable Water Repellant

The DWR usually comes in the form of spray and it is actually the most lightweight coating treatment available. Due to that, it will eventually erode over time. Teflon is the most popular type of DWR substance. However, its use tends to be highly controversial because of its effect on the environment and its total effectiveness.


This is a plastic material that is the most common coating used to waterproof a nylon tent and other fabrics. Polyurethane generally has two main types – polyester urethane (PU) and polyether urethane (PE). They almost have the same attributes but PE is more advantageous over PU. This is actually in terms of longevity and insufficient water absorbency.


Another coating substance used for waterproofing a nylon tent is silicone. This is naturally inert and is very popular for having a non-sticky character. It is highly excellent in providing water-resistance ability that may really last for a long period of time.

Most tents are coated with either polyurethane or silicone coating. And, most of the time, one way on how to waterproof a nylon tent involves the application of both polyurethane and silicone coating. However, keep in mind that all of coatings above will eventually erode. That’s why even a pricey tent that is already treated with waterproofing still needs some re-treatment.

Basic Checklist of Waterproofing a Nylon Tent

As a general rule on how to waterproof a tent, it is highly essential to determine the fabric material of the tent before doing the waterproofing activity. The procedure here on how to waterproof a tent is generally suitable for synthetic fiber, most likely the nylon material. Always remember that natural fiber materials require a different approach for caring for and maintaining them. Moreover, it also needs different products to be used along with the procedure.

1-Inspect the whole tent, even the seals and the rain fly

It is highly advisable to perform a thorough check-up of the whole tent. Look for the common places where leaks may possibly occur. These areas are the seams, rain fly, and the fabric itself. To check for leaks, try to do the following:

  • Put up the tent on a sunny day.
  • Get a garden hose and set the nozzle into a fine mist.
  • Spray water from the hose to the tent. Let the kids get inside the tent and tell them to look for any leaking parts inside the tent’s walls and seams.

2-Always do the checking prior to your camping trip

Checking the tent every time you camp out is a good idea especially when are not using it for quite some time. It is also good to inspect the tent before camping if you experience it leaked last time.

3-Examine the tent fly in a separate way

There are tents that have a separate fly. If that’s the case, get the tent fly and set it. Afterward, try to inspect the whole tent alone and look for leaks. Once finished checking the tent, it’s time to have a fly inspection.

4-Look for the right sealant

In the above, we discussed that there are three areas of leaks. Knowing that will help you determine the kind of sealant that you will be going to use to waterproof a nylon tent.

5-Ensure the cleanliness of the whole tent prior to waterproofing

Make sure that the nylon tent for waterproofing is clean before subjecting it to the waterproofing process. It is better to wash it with clear water and a sponge especially if it is already used. In case there is some flaking within the tent surfaces, it is advisable to wash it first with rubbing alcohol prior to waterproofing.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Waterproof a Nylon Tent

Getting to know some tips on how to waterproof a nylon tent, it is time to proceed with the proper way of doing the waterproofing process. Let’s check how waterproofing a nylon test is done.

STEP 1: Seal the tent’s seams

Seams are the points within the tent fabric where two pieces of fiber materials meet. They may be seen all around the tent including the zippers, doors and windows, meeting areas of the tent’s wall and floor. Generally, seams sealing only take you around 20 minutes of your time.

  • Clean, dry working area
  • Paint brush (optional; as some sealant have applicator) – small or medium in size
  • High quality sealant
  • Gloves (optional)
  1. Initially, clean the tent using a damp cloth and/or rubbing alcohol. Let it dry for a while. Remove any major peeling of the tape seam if you noticed any.
  2. Put on some thin sheath of sealant along the seams.
  3. Dry it for about 8 – 12 hours.

STEP 2: Work on with the floor tent

Proceeding on working with the floor tent is the next step to do on how to waterproof a nylon tent. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Clean, dry working area
  • Hand gloves and mask (optional)
  • Sponge
  • Preferred sealant or waterproofing product
  1. Wash the tent floor based on its instruction.
  2. Once finished cleaning, seal the seams found within the floor of the tent.
  3. Afterward, seal the remaining area on the tent’s floor.
  4. Allow it to dry.

STEP 3: Go on with the tent fabric

Generally, the tent fabric is the main body of the tent. As mentioned above, having an idea about the fabric material of the tent is highly crucial. Keep in mind that it is the determinant factor to identify the kind of sealant that you will be going to use. For synthetic tent fabric like nylon fiber, below are the things that you need to do. It will only take around half an hour or less for this sealing process.

  • Clean, dry working area
  • Sponge
  • Sealant for tent depending on your choice
  • Hand gloves and mask (optional)
how to waterproof a nylon tent
  1. Put up the tent most likely during the sunny day.
  2. Have your tent be wet.
  3. Put a little layer of the sealant while preventing the mesh part to be affected. Focus on the seams.
  4. In case there are excess sealants, remove them using a sponge.
  5. Allow it to dry or check the drying instruction on the product’s packaging.

STEP 4: Proceed with the rain fly

The fabric that is stretched out within the main body of the tent is called the rain fly. It actually comes in the package separately which is also set up right after the tent has been put up. Generally, resealing the rain fly leads to the beading and running off the water directly without the possibility to touch the tent.

  • Clean, dry working area
  • Sponge
  • Sealant depending on your choice
  • Hand gloves and mask (optional)
  1. Initially, set up the rain fly all over the waterproofed tent.
  2. Clean the rain fly using a sponge and allow it to dry completely.
  3. Get a hose and use it in wetting the rain fly with water.
  4. Spread a sealant evenly over the rain fly. Use a sponge and wipe the excess sealant to dry on an even layer.
  5. Leave it for hours and let it dry.

Frequently Asked Questions:


A: For any nylon materials, you can generally use a silicon seal for the seam. However, just use the silicon seal if you are sealing the silnylon type. In case you have to seal the tent’s floor, just simply spray the outside portion with spray silicon on a heavy coating. Or you may alternatively use the Thompson Water Seal to elicit a good effect.


A: Actually, the answer is no. As mentioned, nylon fiber does not have a waterproof ability. But, nylon is an excellent base substance for a number of water-resistant items. You can generally do this by incorporating an outer water-resistant coating.


A: Silk, polyester, wool, and nylon are the most suitable fabrics to be used for rainy days. Yet, wool is the best one in maintaining warmth even when it’s wet.

Final Words

Nylon, along with polyester are synthetic tent materials that generally require special care and waterproofing treatment, unlike natural fibers. Knowing the way on how to waterproof a nylon tent the proper way is actually essential to keep you dry during your camp out. Aside from that, waterproofing your nylon tent will also make you enjoy your camping trip regardless of the weather.