Tent camping people - seam sealer question

I bought a kit to fix a busted pole on my Eureka Apex tent and the fix-it kit had some seam sealer in it. I am going out to the Rockies in a few days and I know it might rain, so I thought why not seal the seams…

So my question is which seams to seal? The tent seams or the rain fly seams? If the rain fly isn’t on, there will be more rain coming in though the mesh openings in the roof than through the seams. So sealing the tent seams seems rather pointless. Should I only seal the rain fly seams? I usually always sleep with the rainfly on.

Is sealing the seams even necessary? I’ve slept in this tent in some impressive rainstorms before and I’ve never gotten wet or noticed any damp/leakage.

I never bother with seam-sealer with my newer tents, but with my older ones I always sealed the floor seams, just to prevent seepage from dew or rain run-off.

You’ll want to put the seam sealer on after the holes around the thread start to enlarge due to tension at those points. The likely place to need it is in the corners. The seam sealer will be hard and discolor normally, so don’t be surprised.

Use the silicone water repellent, not seam sealer, on the tent days to a week before you start camping. It will serve you better. You’ll want the silicone spray to set a couple days so your breathing doesn’t get affected by it as it cures.

I do the exact same thing. I learned young in boy scouts (20+ years ago) to always dig a small trench around the tent, and then a small drainage trench down hill. I’ve done it every time I camp.

I use a Northface defender tent and my wife and I are just fine. We’ve sealed the floor and the rain fly, and that’s it. The tent is 5 years old.

Digging a trench is now a no-no for the environment. I was just reading abut that - these days Scouts are taught the “Leave No Trace” method instead.

In leave no trace camps you typically use hammocks and not tents. A lot of the places boy scouts go camping tend to have platforms to set your tent on so you don’t need a trench. Otherwise a trench is a good idea.

I’ve only ever used seam sealer on the bottoms of tents. Seam sealer is to protect against standing water. If you have standing water on a seam anywhere but the bottom you probably need to adjust you tent.

Wow, it’s been LONGER THAN I THOUGHT since my scouting days! :slight_smile:

Makes sense though. However, at a KOA or other such place, if there is rain and we can’t pack into the car, I’m still digging a little trench.

From Scouting.org:

I guess times have changed. :wink:

I don’t have any seams on the bottom of my tent - the bottom is attached about 10" up the side.

I sprayed silicone on my rain fly and am going to leave it at that. I’ve not gotten wet camping in it before, so I’ll see if my luck holds. :slight_smile:

If your tent has a “bathtub” bottom, you’re good to go. Remember to pack some high-proof mosquito repellant to ease the shock of sleeping on the ground.

The seams to seal are those that are exposed to external water. This includes all on the rain fly, all on the bottom of the tent, and those on the sides that are not covered by the fly.

Some tents come well sealed from the factory, with no need to apply seam sealer unless and until some leakage starts. If the seams are taped, you can inspect the tape every so often. Loose sealing tape is a harbinger of leakage, and it’s nice to find and fix it before it gets to the point of leaking.

I guess I am a worrywart, but there is nothing worse than being wet when tenting it. I use a combination of silicone and mineral spirits to make a thick paste and I paint every seam on the floor and on the fly with it, inside and out. I have probably added half a pound to my UL backpacking tent with it, but the peace of mind is worth it to me.