Is Silicone Spray Good for Tents?

4:00 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
6,158 reviewer rep
1,625 forum posts

Just got the 4-season tent in the mail.  Got it for a good deal but still, ouch!

I plan on sealing the seams but...

Is silicone spray like Camp Dry good for my tent?

Anyone with chem E background strongly encouraged to respond.

4:12 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
389 reviewer rep
1,124 forum posts

Most 4 season tents that I have seen have 3,000+ mm water proofing. I wouldnt think that would have to use a silicone spray on them. I only use the spray for my cheaper tents that had 800 mm new.

4:34 p.m. on March 29, 2011 (EDT)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

I would watch with certain sprays out there. I have learned that certain chemicals can sometimes increase the rate at which certain fibers breakdown. I am not sure if this is applicable to silicone sprays but just to stay on the safe side I normally steer clear from products like this and use something more specific to this application. Better safe than sorry...

Also for seam sealing I would go with a product such as McNetts or Kenyon. It is thicker than a spray and will seal up the holes genereted from the manufacturing process better.

12:55 p.m. on March 31, 2011 (EDT)
1,711 reviewer rep
3,962 forum posts

So I was rummaging through my gear and I found a can of Camp Dry. I noticed a few things that stood out to me when reading the dangers, warnings, and other info on the can.

1) This is the biggest one to me. "Treatment of nylon or other fabrics with Camp Dry may reduce the flame retardent characteristics of the fabric." ...well tents can go up in the blink of an eye so I really would not want to increase the probability/chances of this happening.

2) It contains petroleum distillates so I am questioning whether or not this product would increase the rate in which a material such as a tent fly would break down. Also would UV damage happen at a higher rate?

I was looking at a few Kenyon products that I have used in the past and have had good experiences with.

Recoat 3

-This product is used for resealing larger areas like rain flys.

-It contains Aqueous Urethane(water-based.) It is non-flammable. That's a plus in my book.

Seam Sealer 3

-This is also a water-based, non-flammable formula that's primarily designed for(you guessed it) seam sealing. It has an applicator tip that reminds me of a bingo blotter.

***If you are a neat freak like me and want to keep the seam sealing procedure looking professional I have a suggestion.

1)Put the fly on the tent inside out and stake it out as you would in the field. Don't torture yourself trying to guy it out. Its pretty hard to do :)

2)Take masking tape or painters tape and tape off both sides of the seams on the tent leaving all of the needle holes exposed.

3)Run the seam sealer over all of the needle holes evenly.

4)Remove the tape carefully before the sealer dries. Its a lot easier to do it when its still wet.

5)Let the sealer dry for 12-24 hrs before using the tent.

....this method has worked very well for me in the past and cuts down on the runs that can be generated from this process. Also the masking/painters tape will not damage the factory urethane coating that is on some flys. Maybe its my OCD but I really lke things to have a clean look and will take the time to go thru this process as opposed to slopping it on just to get done. Also as a sidenote, make sure when applying products like this you apply it to the side that was coated at the factory or where you can see the tape that was used to seal the fly seams. Happy hiking.

April 24, 2018
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