Question: Should I seal the tent seams?
Answer: When you buy a new tent, the seams aren't sealed. If you use this tent without sealing the seams they will become wicks that allow water to seep into the tent. It doesn't have to rain for this to occur. Morning dew will have the same consequence. You can waterproof the tent seams very easily.
- Buy a bottle of seam sealer for a few dollars at a sporting goods store.
- Set your tent up outdoors on a dry sunny day.
- The seam sealer comes in a bottle with an applicator top. Shake the bottle, open the cap, and apply seam sealer to all threads (inside and out) while the tent is erected.
- Allow the sealer to dry for a few hours.
- Repeat the application, and allow the seams to dry thoroughly.
- Don't forget to also seal the seams on your rainfly.
This process accomplishes two tasks. Not only does it help to waterproof your tent, but it gives you a chance to learn how to set it up. Never go camping with a new tent that has not been seam sealed or one you have not practiced setting up. If you camp a lot, it's a good idea to reseal the seams every year.
Quality tents come with seams that are factory taped, which is not the same as sealed. Taped seams have a waterproof material placed between overlapped seams, which are then double stitched. This sewing technique adds to the strength of the seam and helps eliminate any gaps when the tent is stretched. These seams will be more water-resistant than normal seams, but they are not waterproof. The seams should still be sealed to ensure the best waterproof protection.
Examples of tent seam sealers:
- Gear Aid Seam Sure
- Coghlan’s Seam Seal
- Silnet Silicone Seam Sealer
- Coleman Seam Sealer
- Aqua Seal Water-Based Seam Sealer