We all agree that the worst nightmare when camping is to wake up in a puddle or have that constant water dripping inside the tent. We take this very seriously and we know the more information goes out there the better camping experience all of us will have. The most experienced campers know that even a waterproof tent can leak when exposed to tremendous amounts of rain and wind looming over it.
Most tent makers claim their tents are waterproof, be careful with that! Most are in fact just water-resistant. Check the water column claimed by the manufacture, read more about this using this link: understanding the water column.
First things first, pick the right spot: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION…this is very important, choose high grounds, away from trees. Make sure you have a tarp under your tent (it should not stick out of the perimeter of tent, in fact it should be an inch small than the tent, if you don’t have the correct footprint for it you can use a tarp and fold into the appropriate size.
Here are some important pointers to be considered when you are out there camping and you didn’t check the forecast, the weather gets nasty and suddenly your tent starts dripping.
Tips to keep water off your tent
TARP: always have a light tarp and some bungee straps handy, this can be the cheapest one you can find at a local hardware store or even at Walmart. The tarp and bungees should be packed together and kept in close range. If your tent starts leaking, get outside, and through this tarp over it securing the bungees to the tent stakes to make sure the wind will not blow it away.
NO TARP? You can use a poncho to cover the area that is leaking, try to secure it somehow using paracord or any other kind of rope, you don’t want it to be blown away and expose the leaking area again.
NO TARP, NO PONCHO? Find a way to absorb the water that is coming in, use a bucket or a towel. This will avoid flooding inside the tent and getting a sleeping bag and other stuff wet. Use a flashlight to identify the area that is leaking
ZIPPERS: make sure they are closed, especially the ones on the windows and doors and the ones located on the rainfly, this might cause some condensation, but it is better than getting water from the rain inside the tent.
NEXT DAY: let the tent dry out in the sun, open all doors and if possible, release the rainfly on the corners and stretch it out if you are close to a tree or something like that. Allow ventilation and sunlight to do the job for you. While it is drying out, grab a waterproof spray, the NIKWAX TENT & GEAR SOLAR PROOF SPRAY-ON will do the job but you can get any other brand. Read the instructions and apply the spray over the area that is leaking.
Put the rainfly back into place, make sure you have all the guy ropes stretched out, it is very important that your rainfly does not touch the inner tent.
If you do not have a waterproof spray, then as a last resource you can spray some sunscreen over the leaking area, apply 2 or 3 layers, this will help but put the tarp over the tent just in case. Some people used butter too, if that is your ultimate resource test it out on a small area of the tent to see if damages or stains it before using it.
Never leave your tent unattended if it is not properly set up for bad weather. Many campers go out hiking and leave the tent without the guy ropes secure, with open doors and windows and when they come back a storm took down the tent or even a light rain flooded it.