Our current family camping tent is entering its third season of service, so this seemed like a great time to give the rain fly a fresh coat of waterproofing to handle those impromptu spring showers. To that end, Kiwi® was kind enough to send me a can of their Camp Dry® heavy duty water repellent and, since our tent could easily double as a small house, I picked-up another can myself, just to make sure I had enough to cover the entire rain fly. Camp Dry is a silicon based water repellent that is designed for outdoor gear like boots, patio furniture and the polyester taffeta rain fly on our tent.
The best way to apply a fresh coat of waterproofing is to simply setup the tent and spray it right onto the rain fly. With a big tent like ours, it would be easier to stretch the rain fly out on the ground, but then it is nearly impossible to get all of the wrinkles out of the material. It is much better to apply the waterproofing to the material when it is stretched tightly over the tent’s frame, in order to get complete and even coverage.
Waterproofing also takes a long time to dry. Kiwi recommends 24 to 48 hours, but I let it cure for about 10 hours as I did not want to leave the tent exposed to moisture and dew, overnight. Still, waterproofing a tent is a task that is best started early in the morning, as soon as the grass is dry. I also chose a day that was supposed to be fairly mild, since UV rays are not good for the tent material and I did not want to expose it to too much heat.
I spent a good, solid hour spraying the rain fly and went through one entire can of Camp Dry and about half of a second can. I used some of the leftover Camp Dry to give my Black Diamond® Octane pack some extra protection from the elements.
Hopefully the new waterproofing will not be tested, this spring, but if we do get caught in a shower or two, I am confident that the rain fly will protect the tent walls themselves, and will keep us comfortable and dry.
Does this spray work on all tents? I deal with a lot of high end tents, like the Vango and Outwell models and at the quality and price i would be afraid of causing any damage to them. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
This stuff is great. I use it on my dirt bike pants as well!
I wonder if it would be easier to setup the tent before you actually go camping, spray on the water proofing spray, and let it cure for the 48hrs. Then take it down, pack it up and take it with you on the camping trip. It seems to me that that would be alot easier to prepare ahead of time as opposed to trying to do everything on the camping trip.
How well does this stuff work? I’m curious. I won’t be able to test myself due to the severe drought here in East Texas. Maybe I should test with a water hose to ease my curiosity.
Kiwi Camp Dry is great stuff. I have used it on jackets, boots as well as my tent. We are have a pretty wet spring which has made it difficult to get the tent setup for any period of time for waterproofing.
Did you only spray the seams or the seams and all surfaces? As much as you used Im guessing you sprayed all surfaces.
Yes, Jenn – this is for the material itself. Seam sealer is thicker and applied with a small brush (tedious! 🙂 )
Would you recommend spraying on a newly purchased tent as added protection?
I never have, Lani. One thing I do on a new tent, though, is to go over all of the seams with seam sealer.
What seam sealers have you used and which would you recommend?
Thanks for the reminder. I haven’t waterproofed my tent in YEARS. I’ve gotten a little lazy, now that I live in Arizona, where I’m most often camping in dry conditions. But we do have a monsoon season, and it can really pour. So I’m going to add “waterproof tent” to my spring to-do list.
Same here, Deb. It’s never much of an issue, but we have had a pretty wet spring, so far. That’s what got me motivated 🙂
That is a great idea. A little forethought now (and a can of Kiwi Camp Dry), and a warm, dry tent later. Thanks for the tip!