Sep 10, 2023

How to Waterproof Your Backpacking Tent & Camping Tent

Waterproofing is a critical consideration, especially for items like tents and umbrellas that require effective water repellency. To enhance waterproof performance, here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Determining Waterproof Performance: When evaluating the waterproofing of a double-layer backpacking tent, it's essential to have a specific measurement rather than relying on subjective assessments. You can't simply test it by flushing it with water or subjecting it to rainy conditions. Instead, look for specific waterproofing indices.

  2. Waterproof Testing Method: To check the effectiveness of waterproofing, follow these simple steps:

    • Use your fingers to apply water droplets to the camping tent's surface.
    • Apply pressure to the tent's corner.

    If water droplets penetrate the fabric or if the tent fails to withstand a static water pressure of at least 1500mm, the waterproofing is considered inadequate.

  3. Understanding Coating Thickness: The thickness of the PU coating and the coating technology significantly impact fabric waterproofness. Coating thickness is measured in millimeters (mm) and indicates the static waterproof column height the coating can withstand under controlled laboratory conditions. For example:

    • PU800 coating indicates non-leakability under a static water column of 800mm.

      Dense Oxford cloth Waterproof 300mm

  4. Waterproof Levels: Different waterproof levels are suitable for various applications:

    • Waterproof 300mm is typically used for beach tents, sunshade tents, or cotton tents designed for dry and less rainy conditions.
    • Waterproof 800mm-1200mm is suitable for standard camping tents and can handle light to moderate rain.
    • Waterproof 1500mm-3000mm is recommended for mid-range tents, providing protection against moderate to heavy rain.
    • Waterproof ratings above 3000mm are commonly found in professional tents designed for various environments and often feature advanced technologies like high-temperature and cold resistance.
  5. Floor Mat Waterproofing: The floor mat of a tent is in direct contact with the ground, making it susceptible to moisture and rain. Therefore, the waterproof index of the floor mat should ideally be higher than that of the outer tent.

  6. 3-Season Tents: For three-season (spring, summer, and autumn) tents used in less extreme conditions, a waterproof PU coating in the range of 2000MM-3000MM is generally sufficient. For instance, an outer tent with a waterproof rating of PU2000MM and a floor mat with a rating of 3000MM can handle medium to heavy rain.

  7. 4-Season Tents: Four-season tents, intended for harsh environments such as high mountains and snowy conditions, require a higher waterproof coefficient, typically around 3000MM-5000MM. In such cases, the outer tent might have a rating of PU3000MM, while the floor mat could be rated at 5000MM, making it suitable for alpine and snow camping.


In summary, understanding waterproof ratings, coating thickness, and specific requirements for your intended use is essential when selecting a tent or other waterproof gear. Be sure to consider the environmental conditions you'll encounter to choose the most suitable waterproofing level for your needs. Additionally, check product descriptions and specifications for details on materials and waterproof coatings when shopping for tents.

KASSICO, a leading aluminum box factory in Ningbo, China, has 21 years of production experience. Since 2015, combining the advantages of camping kitchen boxes, KASSICO has expanded its business scope to outdoor camping gear and equipment, including design and supply of camp kitchenware, camp furniture, camping tents, camping lights, tools, etc. With multiple sets of outdoor product solutions, KASSICO provides customers around the world with hundreds of innovative and affordable outdoor products. We will be your reliable suppliers, and we will try our best to serve you better and to be your honest partner. 
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