Many camping tents claim to be water-proof when you buy them. Yet that does not mean they will keep you dry in a major thunderstorm or can be put down on any type of surface and you will certainly have a completely comfortable experience. You will not. While camping tents have already done a large portion of work for us, there are some more things we ought to do to make sure the tent is ready for the elements.
You need to do 3 things to really water-proof your camping tent. First, make sure all the ties are tightened. Second, make sure your tarp is ready. Finally, you need to seal the joints.
On the tent’s rain fly, you need to take the time to ensure the connections are tight when it is put over the tent. Doing this while it is raining will be extremely aggravating and can interfere with proper setup allowing rain to come into the tent. For this step, do it in your garage before you leave. If the chords are not reflective you might wish to purchase some and change them out. Not only are they easier to see at night, just in case you have to tweak them in the dark, but they are solid enough to be tied in a knot. A hitch knot is excellent for rain flies as they can be easily changed if needed.
Tarps are a wonderful feature of outdoor tents, however can be better or worse. Tarps keep the water out of the tent in the majority of wet conditions. Yet, if it becomes too wet, a tarp can accumulate water, and filter it into your own tent. Make sure the joint around the bottom of the tent and the tarp are properly sealed. Tuck the tarp into that joint and seal it.
SEAL THE JOINTS
Securing the joints and seams is the hardest part of this process. On older camping tents, you will need to seal every seam. To do this you need to use a sealer on all the joints inside and let it dry. Then repeat the process to ensure everything is completely sealed. Once it is completely dry use a waterproof spray and cover on and outside the seams to get complete protection.
If you have a newer camping tent, you will see the joints are tape sealed. These will not need to be waterproofed. However the rain fly joints and the joints on the floor will still need to be done. When you are using a sealer make sure to do it inside the tent. Additionally, due to the chemical ingredients of the sealant, ensure you are doing this where there is plenty of fresh air. If the tent is older, you might have to first clean the seams with a cotton swab and some alcohol. Make sure you make a full and smooth seal. Allow it completely dry and afterwards do it once more.
Taking these actions are going to make those stormy evenings out in the wilderness so much more dry and comfortable and you will be extremely happy you did it.