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Currently I waterproof my tents at minimum once a year and often times 2 or 3 times a year. Other than condensation I don't usually have too much of a problem. On the other hand I live and often camp in one of the dryest places in the country so it rarely comes into play.

My question is am I proofing it too often? Does anyone else actually bother with this stuff?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I camp in the Appalachians (pretty darned wet). We have had the same Kelty tent for over four years with anywhere from six to twelve trips per year. We've never waterproofed it. It still repels water and performs very well. It poured rain for over 12 hours our last trip and the kiddos in the tent stayed dry.

I'd say waterproof when you have an issue. Sounds like you're wasting a lot of $$$ now for refreshing that you don't need. If you are worried, set it up in your yard a couple of times a year and test it with a water hose sprayer.

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+1 - I have 6 tents now, ranging from 4 years to 14 years old and have not waterproofed any of them. They all are still waterproof. I think if it doesn't leak, don't bother. –  Rory Alsop May 28 '12 at 16:09
    
+1 to testing at home. We get our tent out once a year to check it over, and leave it out in the rain, the most we've ever had to do was reseal the seams (especially around the toggles that hold the doors open etc) other than that never needed a full new waterproofing. –  Aravona Jun 30 at 13:20
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Agree with Russell Steen - do it on demand, but would just add that it depends on the flysheet fabric. Silnylon that is coated on both sides should not require treatment (except for seam sealant) for example. Fabric coated with polyurethane shouldn't leak either unless damaged or worn out, but the proofing would prevent it from absorbing water, keeping it dryer (and lighter to carry).

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