Camping is a popular recreational activity among nature lovers and for those who love to hit the trail on vacations. When out in the wild, tents provide shelter from sun, rain and wind. Therefore, they are one of the most important items necessary for camping in the lap of nature. Be sure about the weather conditions in which you’ll be camping, as that will influence your decision to buy a particular type of tent.

Besides having practical use and being economical, tents are environmentally friendly too, which is a highly desirable quality when you are camping in the wilderness, whether alone or in a group. As a recreational camper you should select a tent that fulfils your requirements. While camping in the backcountry with your friends or family, select a waterproof tent if there are chances of rainfall.

Waterproof Tent Fabrics for Camping

Check out the different tent fabrics that are commonly available:

Cotton (Canvas) – Cotton tents can actually be more waterproof than other materials as cotton absorbs water, which blocks the tiny holes as a result of swelling, making it water resistant. These tents can become very heavy when wet. However, their resistance to water can increase manifold when treated with paraffin. Most cotton fabrics are now treated for waterproofing whilst in production; therefore they will have a coat of waterproofing when you buy them that will steadily wear away.

Nylon and Polyester – These are much lighter when compared to cotton. They can be converted into waterproof tents with suitable coatings. However, long exposure to ultra violet rays over a course of time can deteriorate their quality as a result of slow chemical breakdown.

Polyurethane coating or silicone impregnation is quite common treatments to make any fabric waterproof. In case of stitched fabrics, water may seep through tiny holes due to stitching. Therefore, to make a stitched fabric waterproof, you should block these holes by taping or sealing the seams.

Rain Resistance Tent Fabric

Rain resistance refers to the quality of a tent fabric to resist and withstand different types of rainy conditions. It is measured as a hydrostatic head in millimetres (mm) indicating the amount of water pressure that is required to go through the fabric. It is quite natural that light rain creates much lower pressure on any fabric than heavy or windy rain. So, which type of fabric would be suitable for your tent?

For a shower resistant tent, you’ll need fabric that has a hydrostatic head rating of 1000 mm.
For summer camping, the fabric with 1500 mm hydrostatic head rating would be ideal for your tent.
2000 mm of hydrostatic head rating of a fabric is suitable for tents that are in use all round the year.
For expeditions, only those tents should be selected that have a fabric with a hydrostatic head rating of 3000 mm.
Fabric with 5000 mm of hydrostatic head rating is good for groundsheets.

Common Waterproof Tent Configurations

Single Skin – Also known as Single Wall in USA, it uses just one layer of waterproof fabric that comprises the roof and the walls.

Single Skin with Flysheet – In such type of tents, a rain fly or waterproof flysheet is put up over the tent’s roof, overlapping it slightly.

Double Skin – The waterproof layer of the outer tent, which definitely covers a larger area, entirely covers the inner tent. This double layer is good for insulation and also provides protection from condensation.

So, now that you know the type of waterproof tent you’ll need when going out for camping in the open, pack your rucksack and get ready for a nice and comfortable outing, no matter if it’s raining.