Sticky or tacky waterproof coating on tent rainfly

1:39 a.m. on June 23, 2018 (EDT)
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I am looking for a solution for a surprise encounter with a sticky or tacky waterproof coating on my Marmot Starlight tent rainfly. I am very careful to dry out the tent and rainfly in my living room, dry and heated, upon return from a trip. The tent and fly are bone dry when rolled for replacement into the storage bag.  Now, this Spring, the coated part of the rainfly is sticking together and must be pulled damage to coating, but a sticky to the touch aspect is present. My REI expert has had the same problem with storage of some tents/rainflys, and has washed and dried to no avail.  I have surmised that to use a household or automotive spray wax in order to revitalize the coating and to interrupt the sticky surface, may be a possible option.  I am seeking a solution to the rainfly stickiness; who knows how to resolve this? I live in a small apartment and there is no place to hang tents and flys between outing. I use and rotate tents on short backpack and camping outings, mostly in mild weather.  Please respond; I am grateful for your solutions.

6:54 a.m. on June 23, 2018 (EDT)
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First place to start is to contact Marmot and ask them what they advise. They will either provide you with instructions on what to use and how or they will ask you to send the fly to them for inspection. Well at least that has been my experience with other tent makers. If you are told to send it in they may refinish the fly for you or opt to send you a new fly at their discretion.

7:57 a.m. on June 23, 2018 (EDT)
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I was about to reply the same as LoneStranger - a lot of companies are very good about repair and replacement even on older models.  First step is to contact them and see what they might be able to do.

1:10 p.m. on June 24, 2018 (EDT)
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Thank you, faithful Trailspace outdoorsmen.  I shall connect with Marmot tomorrow during regular hours.  I had imagined that there might be a 'quick fix' as Trailspace has lots of readers with 'tons' of life-experience.  Get outside and enjoy the long hours of daylight this summer.

12:45 p.m. on June 27, 2018 (EDT)
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It sounds like the issue is a degradation of the polyurethane coating on the rainfly. Unfortunately, PU coatings have a limited lifespan. You could "lubricate" the surface with talc, or a variety of UV protectant compounds. Or, you could undergo a major project, and remove the PU coating, and re-coat it. I'll echo the good advice you've already gotten - see if Marmot will replace this product. It's reasonable to expect the fly last as long as the tent. 

11:06 p.m. on June 27, 2018 (EDT)
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I called Marmot and was held on the phone line for 20 minutes, then prompted to leave a voicemail which never connected.  I wrote a polite and thorough e-mail and I have heard nothing.  Nothing!  I do not know whether others have found Marmot unresponsive. I know that the Marmots at Olympic Park and Mt. Rainier are already out and about and  enjoy the sunlight.  If anyone has any ideas about removing the sticky/tacky surface problem on the coated side of the nearly new Marmot tent, please send me a solution.  I have two other Marmot tents...I can toss this one into a corner closet and use one of the others. Thanks for your help and advice.

1:04 p.m. on June 28, 2018 (EDT)
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9:49 a.m. on July 2, 2018 (EDT)
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if this was purchased at REI or any other vendor that guarantees merchandise, I would return it.  The stickiness you are describing may be a symptom that the coating is degrading - it happened to me with two jackets, and once with a tent fly. one of the jackets is 'sticky' on the interior surface despite washing it on multiple occasions, the other had the interior coating start peeling off the interior surface. The tent fly had potions of the nylon coating peel off. In my experience, there is no sound way to re-apply the coating at home. while thoroughly drying something prior to storage is indeed a good practice, this kind of degradation can occur for other reasons - dampness where the item is stored, heat, or defective application by the manufacturer can all contribute. Also, most manufacturers void any warranty if you attempt a self-repair. 


11:13 a.m. on July 2, 2018 (EDT)
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Howard Hayden: I would, as everyone above as suggested, contact Marmot to discuss getting a new fly.  This is a new enough tent that I just cannot imagine that they would not have extra fly's (warranty), or send you a different tent in the price range and style of the tent you currently have.

Or, and though you did not say if this was the one or two person version...........

Buy a second Marmot Starlight, if you really like this tent and want to use it for many years so that you have a spare parts tent and poles.

I most certainly would not attempt to redo the water proofing on this tent with the availability of these tents around for the price that you can get them for on Craigslist, Ebay and or Geartrade.  Living in an Apt. situation does not lend itself well to reconditioning tents.

If this fly is still waterproof and you do end up keeping it then I would recommend that you store it in a small mesh laundry bag that is then hung from the ceiling in and un-used space, say in a closet.  Every once in a while air it out by unfolding it and spreading it out, outside somewhere. 

My experience with Marmot warranty has been nothing but stellar, but I've not used them for 15 years, other than they sent me two sets of poles for one of my marmot Taku tents for free a couple of years back.

Please let us know how this all turns out for you.


1p Starlight tents for sale:

2p Starlight tent for sale:


12:44 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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To all who have responded to the sticky coating on the rainfly, I thank you sincerely.  I did access the Marmot number but to no avail...I never got a person on the phone line!  I can try again after the 4th of July weekend but summer is a busy time for tent-makers.  Meanwhile, I'll toss on another fly in case of rain...and I do own other tents, too.  This one is a Starlight 2 person.

12:55 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Thank you for suggestions.  This is a 2-person Starlight...I can try to attach a picture; I am old and am an immigrant to the electronic world!  I have failed in my attempt to reach anyone at Marmot. I can try after the 4th of July week but most people use tents in summer months and this is a busy season for Marmot. I bought this tent from Sunny Sports via Amazon which saved me $100 over standard pricing. The two person allows one to use a larger, thicker mattress pad and still have room to move about. The one-person simply has not the space to move all!   I have a Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 for lightweight backpacking use. That works.  Thanks for helping me with this dilemma.

2:04 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Howard, as others have said, your first two points of contact should be REI and Marmot. As to the fundamental issue, it has to do with the age of the coating. Coatings have come a long way since the early 60's when I bought my first coated tarps. Some older coatings could last a long time, but they would eventually begin to degrade(and smell really horrible). Later, coatings were improved, especially with regards to how well the coating stuck to the underlying material. One issue is matching the flexibility of the coating with the flexibility of the underlying material. As far as recoating, It is possible and I just recoated a single wall tent last year, but it is a process that requires space outside in dry weather.

2:26 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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The internet and electronic mail is wonderful, but I'm still always much more satisfied and find that any and all problems are usually solved quicker when there is a human voice on the other end of the phone line.  As this would involve a replacement fly or a new tent, being that it is their busy season should not make much of a difference as opposed to if this were a repair.  Here is Marmots customer service number..............Customer service: (888) 357-3262.......Warranty Phone: 888-311-2900 Hours: Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5:00pm PST/ .   As I don't know where you live be aware that they're headquarters are in Rohnert Park, CA so that many people around the US can call them even late in the day and still get ahold of them.

If you do not wish to take care of this by phone then you can start your warranty claim here:

1:53 p.m. on July 6, 2018 (EDT)
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I know the damage is done, but to stop it from happening,maybe roll it up for storage with a cotton sheet inside it.  I do this with tarps and vinyl signs and it works great.

11:44 p.m. on July 11, 2018 (EDT)
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Thank you all for the input.  I was offered a coupon by Marmot which would be sent to me upon return of my entire tent ensemble.  I do like the tent; I have other Marmot tents that work, too.  Marmot has excellent products and the rainfly issue may be a fluke with the mixture applied to the fabric.  I was told by Marmot that I could return the tent at any time.  I shall wait until after Labor Day with much lower camper traffic on the Marmot websites.  Meanwhile, with only two hoops to attach and four stakes in each corner, toss in the mattress pad and sleeping bag and pillow, crawl inside and enjoy the open views through the large screens.  If it should rain or get cold, pull apart the sticky fly and drape it over exposed areas. Summer camping does not entail a lot of rain. I have a Big Agnes Seedhouse 1 for lightweight backpacking...a more involved set-up but lighter overall...and smooth rainfly!

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