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:
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.
Waterproof Testing Method: To check the effectiveness of waterproofing, follow these simple steps:
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.
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:
Waterproof Levels: Different waterproof levels are suitable for various applications:
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.
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.
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.