Can I waterproof my tent with the washin waterproofing?

4:52 p.m. on June 12, 2019 (EDT)
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So yeah I am a bit lazy and have some left over Nikwax washin waterproofing for Nylon rain gear I recently used on my jacket. Since my Eureka! tent is likely Nylon and could use a cleaning I am wondering if I can't just put it through the gentel cycle then run it a second time with the Nikwax wash in to renew the waterproofing like I did with my jacket.

Thoughts?

6:07 p.m. on June 12, 2019 (EDT)
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Yes, you can treat both with Nikwax.  But Nikwax doesn't make anything waterproof; only water resistant.  If it rains long enough, both articles will leak through.  Likewise extended use will degrade whatever water resistance a surface treatment product can provide, and a reapplication becomes necessary. 

I prefer my rain apparel and shelter to be waterproof, not just water resistant.  Nothing is worse than a cold rain and no way to get out of it.  That is a killer.  Thus I retire such gear when it no longer waterproof.

Ed

6:27 p.m. on June 12, 2019 (EDT)
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Your tent fly is coated nylon.  It should not leak.  If it does Nikwax is not likely to help it much.  

10:44 a.m. on June 13, 2019 (EDT)
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The tent is designed to breathe.  Don't put anything on it that might make breathing more difficult. 

7:07 a.m. on June 14, 2019 (EDT)
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Yeah the fly comes down right to the bottom of the tent; I didn't think the inner was very water repellent at it is mostly screen anyway. I have not noticed any leaks it is just getting on in the years.

The last time I had it out I got it a bit muddy, sweaty, and bloody. While inspecting it for a trip I soon plan to take I thought about washing it and that thought lead me to think about water proofing.

The seam seals look good with no cracks so I guess the consensus is to do nothing? It is probably fine?

9:34 a.m. on June 14, 2019 (EDT)
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It is good to keep equipment pretty clean.  Just make sure you put everything away dry.  How did you get sweat and blood on your tent Tyler?

I have a Sierra Designs tent that is about 28 years old.  I think I have rinsed with a hose once or twice.  It is still like new. 

5:43 p.m. on June 14, 2019 (EDT)
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The quickest, easiest way to re-proof a nylon tent fly/floor is to scrub off the old PU/seam tape with turps and a stiff nylon hand brush, a dip-then-dry in a Mirazyme solution, and a recoat with a tube of clear GE silicone II dilluted 1:8 with pure mineral sprits.

Set the tent up for the recoat in a shaded area on a sunny day and paint it on the outer surface of the fly & inner surface of the floor, with all windows/doors open. A few thin coats will dry by the afternoon. As a bonus you now have silnylon, and your floor will have a bit of tack to keep your pad from sliding around.

11:16 p.m. on June 14, 2019 (EDT)
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Vince:

You state the replacement coating will have a tack. 

  1. Does this degrade to sticky? 
  2. How long doe this coating last? 
  3. Where does one obtain the silicone?
  4. You said paint it on the outer surface of the rain fly.  As in the side facing the sun?  Aren't these membranes applied to the underside of the rain fly?

Ed

2:15 p.m. on June 15, 2019 (EDT)
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1, 2, 3, 4.) Exposure to the elements will degrade silicone at a much slower rate than PU. At the right dilution it soaks into the nylon, so any eventual thin spots will just feel a little drier to the touch. One could apply it from either side, unlike PU, which is applied as it is because it hates sunlight. PU gets sticky/tacky/smelly because of micro-organisms consuming it, which is why the Mirazyme step is crucial, and these organisms do not consume silicone similarly. The silicone can be found at any big box store or hardware store. 

Prepare to waste a set of kitchen gloves, and find something to chuck in a drill to third the time it takes to mix the silicone solution.

6:29 p.m. on June 16, 2019 (EDT)
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Thanks Vince, you have inspired me to re-coat a vintage REI 3P dome that is otherwise in great condition.  I previously used it on wilderness ski base camp trips.  It'll make a great car camping tent for my daughter, who is just getting into comping.

Ed

9:28 p.m. on June 16, 2019 (EDT)
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ppine said:

It is good to keep equipment pretty clean.  Just make sure you put everything away dry.  How did you get sweat and blood on your tent Tyler?

I have a Sierra Designs tent that is about 28 years old.  I think I have rinsed with a hose once or twice.  It is still like new. 

 The sweat was because it was 36 degrees C and 200% humidity so moving required a lot of sweat, so did breathing, thinking... So while I was tearing down camp I dripped on it.

As for the blood well I plead the 5th... Ha! No, I had ripped off a hangnail, or something found its way into my nail bed, not too sure. All I know is that about half way through packing it up I noticed blood on my index finger and sure enough when I checked over my tent I had gotten it on a few spots. It's likely not coming out...

9:32 p.m. on June 16, 2019 (EDT)
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So the general idea I am getting from the comments is too wash the tent not the fly and if the fly stops repelling water or the seams start to crack/leak then do a spray-on treatment as described above and re-tape the seams.

Thanks for the replys;

Cheers

February 17, 2020
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