How To Seam Seal A Tent: A Camper’s Guide

Camping on rough terrains requires tents with high longevity. They also need to be waterproof to survive the rain. But what if your tent isn’t water-resistant?

Now, if you need a way to make your tent water-resistant, why not try seam sealing it? It’s a quick and surefire way of making your tent waterproof, and it also improves the longevity of your tent.

The best thing about it is that once you’ve seam sealed your tent, it can go up to 2-4 years before you have to seam seal it again. So, let’s dive into our guide to know how to seam seal a tent.

What Is Seam Sealing?

Seam Sealing refers to the sealing of the joints of the tent in pieces of fabric. It’s done to make the tent more durable against water damage. An adhesive tape is used that sticks to the fabric like a second skin. It covers the gaps made by stitching pieces of fabric together.

Tent fabrics need to be protected in an environment with lots of humidity. And seam sealing provides that protection. It also strengthens the joints of the fabrics, making them harder to tear and less likely to be prone to damage.

Seam Sealing is usually done through tapes, as discussed above, but there are three types of tapes that you should be familiar with.

Single-Layer Tape

Single-layer sealing tape sticks to a surface when a sufficient amount of heat is added. The heat allows the adhesive to kick in and helps it create a tighter hold onto the object it is sealing.

2-Layer Sealing Tape

It’s used to make polyester fabric waterproof, including tents. You can place it on stitch seams where water is more likely to enter.

3-Layer Sealing Tape

These are heavy-duty and the most durable of all. These kinds of tape are usually used by the military or needed in the harshest environments.

Why You Should Seam Seal Your Tent

Camping outdoors may not be as fun as it always seems, especially when you have a damaged tent. But, why do you need to learn how to seam seal a tent?

Because you have to keep your tent safe from rough terrains and the elements around nature causing damage to your tent.

Not to mention when small holes are sucking the life out of your tent. That’s when you’re in for a rough night. You may also face some trouble if your tent isn’t waterproof. Imagine having your swimming lessons inside the comfort of your tent!

Ever since the invention of fabrics, they have been improved time and again to be more durable and resistant. Tents need to be tough enough to handle rough usage without tearing.

There might be high-quality fabrics, but there are still gaps all over the stitches between the seams of different tent fabrics. These tiny gaps arise from needles poking into the fabric, making them more prone to damage or water seeping into the holes.

A tent itself is also made from fabric. Although most of the time they tend to be waterproof, the space between the seams where it has been stitched is still vulnerable to water seepage. Seam sealing a tent is the best option to fix this problem as it provides an extra layer of waterproof protection.

Sealing tape can be your prized possession as you can seam seals on the go. If you’re outside camping in the rain and notice water getting into your tent and wetting the tent floor, you can quickly use the tape to make the tent waterproof.

Sealing Outside Or Inside A Tent?

If you need to seal a tent with tape, the best way to do it is by sealing it from the inside. As water will seep into the tent from the outside, you should place the sealing tape across the stitched seams on the inside.

It will help hold the tent together and act as a shield against a sudden drizzle of rain.

On the other hand, sealing a tent from the outside isn’t too bad of an idea. But, water will still be able to get into the tent. And even if you tape it from the inside, it can seep into the parts which aren’t covered by the tape. And from there, your tent will become wet.

It will also destroy the structure and integrity of the tape, mainly because as the fabric gets heavier, the moister it gets making it easier to fall apart. So, if you want to increase the longevity of your tent, taping it from the inside is the best way to do it.

How To Seam Seal A Tent?

Before you seal your tent, there are a few things you need to find out. Seam sealing may make your tent waterproof, but the ideal way to find the right sealer for you is to determine the factors affecting it.

It may include the type of fabrics you will be sealed, the environment’s state, and the weather where you will be camping. Certain tapes help in specific terrains, so it is necessary to find out which sealant you’ll be needing.

To seam seal a tent, you can either use sealing tape or a seal grip like the glue running across the seams.

  • At first, you need to set up your tent outside.
  • If you are using tape, you must use 2 layers and cover the seams with the tape. Thoroughly pat down the seams to ensure that there are no gaps in the tape.
  • When you are using a seam sealant, you will also need thin strips of fabric to cover it.
  • Apply the sealant and cover the seams with thin lengths of fabric.
  • Leave your tent outdoors for eight hours, and once the time is over, you will have a tent that is sealed all the way through.

Benefits Of Seam Sealing A Tent

Tents can be fragile when you don’t know how to take care of them. Most issues with tents arise from water damage.

Water seeping through the seams and the rainfly damages the tent most. When the coating loses its effect, it leads to water seeping through the floor and condensation buildup. Eventually, it requires you to open the zipper a little to let some air in.

The most common advantage of seam sealing is that water won’t be an issue when you go out camping. No longer will you have to spend the night in a damp tent and risk getting sick because of the wetness!

Also, the interior of your tent will no longer be humid, hot, or cold as the sealed seams will tighten the airflow. You now have a dry interior that is clean and sanitary for you to relax in after a day’s activities.

It helps to prevent repair costs by reducing the chance of your tent getting moldy and corrosion in the frame of your tent. Sealing improves the lifetime of your tent by a definitively larger margin.

Seam Sealing Vs. Seam Taping

Seam taping is the taping of the fabric’s interior where the stitches are the most exposed. Most sealing tapes are made from a polyurethane fabric as they tend to be waterproof and make an airtight seal wherever they are being placed.

Many tents are seam-sealed inside factories as they require heat to be sealed all the way through, and certain fabrics require different heat temperatures. Most tents sealed in factories are done so well that you can’t even notice the tape on the seams.

On the other hand, sealing is different as it uses a glue-like sealant tube to close the fabrics’ gaps. You may find some tents available in the market which the manufacturer has already sealed.

If you want to maintain your tent on your own, seam sealing is the way. You can apply the sealant yourself across the seams whenever you see signs of leakage. Make sure you seal it in a dry environment because the sealant also needs time to dry.

It is a more long-lasting way of keeping your tent waterproof, and you can go up to 4 years or even a decade in some cases without needing to seal it again.

When you buy a tent that has been seam taped straight out of the factory, you might find the option to seam seal it yourself. You should know that using the sealant on a taped tent will be harder as the tape will disrupt the sealing process.

Bottom Line

Over time, even factory-taped tents can become damaged due to wear and tear, and this is why you need to seam seal a tent.

When it comes to sealing vs. taping, there’s no superior doubt. Using a sealant is likely the better choice among users, and once you sell your tent, you should see why.

The stores and Amazon are filled with a bazillion good sealants. But to find a good tent, it’s true that the better the sealant, the more time it needs to dry.

Now that you know how to seam seal a tent, you can try out both ways to find out which one works best.

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Fred Hoffman

Hey, I'm Fred Hoffman, founder of The True Wilderness. I've been exploring nature since I could walk, and my passion for it never ends. My mission is to show people that there's more to life than just the city. There's a whole world of beauty waiting for them out there, and I hope to inspire as many people as possible to get out and explore. I love to share the experience I've gathered throughout my life to make everyone's outdoor adventure smooth and enjoyable.

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