Background: About 8 years ago I bought a rather cheap tent (about 100 €) for up to 4 people. It's quite large, you can stand upright in it's centre and there's an awning almost as deep as the sleeping compartment. I used it like only two times, then stored it for six years at my parents because I moved to a big city and neither had space nor need for it.

A few weeks back I had need for it and took it with me on a one-night trip. Back in the day I stored it well enough, neither mold nor musty smells to be seen/sniffed. Still, shortly after we put it up, it started to rain for a short time and the tent almost instantly was drenched and started to drip. Also, the next morning even the dew had penetrated and it dripped a little bit inside the tent.

Leading to my question: Is it worth the hassle to try to waterproof the tent again? I am aware it would be a huge amount of work. Still, I am a bit appalled by the idea to throw away an otherwise intact tent which wasn't used that much.

  • What type of material is your tent - and especially the rain fly - made from? I have a very effective, inexpensive, technique for nylon
    – Jeff W
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 22:54
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    We have a spray to re-UV protect our tent, you can get re-sealants for seams, out oldest tent ripped however, we are not able to use it as a tent for camping anymore - but the material can be used to make shade like beach tents, and we're keeping all the old guy ropes and poles as they simply 'seem useful' - recycle it into other things if you don't wish to try waterproofing it again
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 8:38
  • Actually I could need a small tarp to block the sun on my balcony, good idea, thanks.
    – Erik
    Commented Aug 3, 2018 at 8:52
  • Too me a few days to go back and find it... This worked well for me: outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/8896/5341
    – Jeff W
    Commented Aug 6, 2018 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


The OP asks our advice because

.... I am a bit appalled by the idea to throw away an otherwise intact tent which wasn't used that much.

This is really a question of how far down the trail of leaving no trace you should feel obliged to go. Throwing away the tent leaves a trace; buying a new tent -- buying anything -- leaves a trace. But still, one can carry anything to absurdity, which would be the case in re-waterproofing this tent. (The OP does not mention cost as a factor.)

I have two suggestions. (1) Give the tent to someone with the warning that it has no waterproofing. It may be fine for desert car-camping. (2) Spend time picking up litter from the roadside or some other environmental cleanup project, and/or contribute some money to an environmental fund. I am sure you can more than compensate for the discarding of the tent with your sweat and/or your checkbook.

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    (3) Re-purpose the tent material for other projects. Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 18:55
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    A ~10 year old, cheap tent is not worth bothering about. I was appalled a few weeks ago while cleaning out the gear closet - I had a nice 2 person tent from ~15 years ago that I hadn't been using. I picked it up, did a double take, and compared its weight with that of one of my kids' newer 2 person tents - wow was the old one heavy. It is no longer in my house...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Aug 2, 2018 at 19:24

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