Do You Need To Waterproof A Brand New Tent?

Camping is a relaxing, enjoyable and adventurous pastime, however, it becomes much less relaxing when your tent is filled with water and excess moisture. If the heavens open on your camping trip, you want to make sure that you are safe, warm and dry inside your tent. But, there is some suggestion that you need to waterproof a new tent; is this true?

A new tent will already be waterproofed and modern tents are often very watertight. However, don’t go pitching your tent and hoping for the best straight away; there are some other things you might need to do to make your tent fully waterproof. 

If you want the best and most comfortable camping experience, it is vital that you are prepared. Getting started on waterproofing before you leave home will ensure that you are never caught out. Let’s take a look at what you need to do.

How To Waterproof A New Tent

When you first buy your tent, it will be coated in a waterproof membrane or will have been treated with an agent to prevent water from penetrating through to the inside. But even so, there are things that you can do to improve the effectiveness of this. 

Furthermore, as you continue to use the tent, you may need to re-proof it; doing this will give your tent a much longer life.

Seal The Tent Seams

If you want to really make sure that not a single drop of water will get inside your accommodation, you should start with the seams. Again, new and modern tents will have pretty tight seams but over time, they may wear. 

However, sealing the tent seams is a tricky job so you should be sure to give yourself plenty of time to get it done.

The level of work required will depend on the age of the tent. A brand new tent will come with TapeSealed seams. This means that there will be a waterproof tape along the inside of the seams and when new, these are very effective. When you first buy your tent, you likely won’t need to do much to them. 

However, if your tent has a Rainfly, you may find that you need to seal its seams to give it a boost in effectiveness. You might also consider sealing the seams on the tent floor as these are often not up to standard even when the tent is new. 

Always make sure that you seal the seams from the inside of the tent and apply two layers of sealant. Because of the fumes, it is also a good idea to do this well in advance of your planned camping trip and give the tent lots of air circulation. 

Re-proofing The Tent

When you first buy your tent, the waterproof coating that has already been applied won’t need any further work. However, it will need topping up from time to time. 

One of the most common questions here is how often you should reproof your tent. As a general rule, you should do this job every two years. But this is based on using the tent for up to three weeks each year. If you use it more often, you may need to reproof more frequently too. 

You can buy various waterproof sprays made for tents and apply this to the tent. This is a relatively quick and easy job but make sure to do it on a dry day so that the spray has time to properly adhere. There are two main types of waterproofing sprays for tents:

  • Urethane coating provides the base layer of resistance against water and should be applied first. You might think of this as a barrier. 
  • DWR (durable water repellent) coatings are applied next and this is what will cause any rainwater to bead and roll off the tent.

Times When You May Need To Waterproof A New Tent

While most regular tents won’t need to be waterproofed when they are brand new, if you have brought a polycotton or canvas tent, you will need to perform some waterproofing.

This is because the seams on this style of tent tend to be a little more open; that may sound counterproductive when it comes to staying dry, but applying water will do the trick. 

These tents do have a waterproof coating but when they are brand new, the small holes in the seams need to be tightened. The process is called weathering and requires nothing more than a quick spray with a hose. The water will cause the holes to become tighter and your tent will be good to go. Thinking it’s time to get a new tent check out our guide to Quick Pitch and Instant Tents

Other Tips For Waterproofing Your New Tent

Once you have applied any waterproof coatings and weathered your tent, there are other things you can do to make sure that your camping experience is a dry one. 

  • If you are going to be camping in wet weather a lot then a good groundsheet is essential. It may be worth installing a bathtub groundsheet. This becomes part of the main tent and has edges that come up the walls protecting your tent from groundwater. 
  • If you are using a Rainfy, be sure to tie the knots tightly and correctly. It is also a good idea to do this before you leave. If you attempt this during a sudden downpour, you’ll likely rush the job and leave the knots too loose. 
  • One of the most critical things you should look for in a new tent is the waterproof rating. This will give you a good idea of how well the tent will meet your needs. Regardless of how new the tent is, if the waterproof rating is too low for the conditions in which you will use it, nothing you do will make a difference. 


You can’t ever guarantee good weather when camping but that is all part of the fun. Camping is an unpredictable and spontaneous adventure so being prepared with a tent that is properly waterproofed is essential. Brand new tents don’t typically need to be waterproofed unless they are made from canvas or polycotton. In this case, they will need weathering to tighten the seams. 

Other types of tent come with TapeSealed seams and a good layer of waterproof coating and should serve you well from the off. However, there are other things to consider to make sure that you stay dry.