Anybody that has had to spend a night in a leaking tent during a thundering rainstorm will know exactly how terrible the experience is! Well, we know that firsthand. Because in our early camping days, we often had blind faith in the built-in waterproofing feature of our tents. However, it took us a few bad rainy episodes to realize that we needed to use a canvas tent waterproofer to build up and maintain the tent’s ability to resist water. So, we learned it the hard way, but you don’t need to.
During our research for the best products, we experimented with several options. Some did well, while some simply disappointed us. Eventually, we were able to decide on the 13 best waterproofing options on the market. We looked at everything from material and build to the price, and today, we’re going to share them with you in an expert roundup below. Read through and grab the one that fills the bill!
Table of contents
- Fabric Waterproof Spray
- GEAR AID Seam Grip TF
- Atsko Silicone Water Guard
- KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent
- Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning
- Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof
- Scotchgard Heavy Duty
- Nikwax Cotton Proof
- Rust-Oleum 278146 Shield
- STAR BRITE Waterproofing
- Tent Fabrics & Outdoor Gear
- 303 Fabric Guard
- Canvak – Water Resistant Canvas
- Our Verdict!
- How to Choose the Best Canvas Tent Waterproofer
- What is the best waterproofing for canvas tents?
- What is a natural waterproofer?
- What is the best way to waterproof canvas fabric?
Fabric Waterproof Spray
Best Quality. Made in the USA, we’ve always found the Fabric Waterproof Spray one of the best waterproofers for our glamping canvas tents – and so will you. Firstly, the spray is water-based, therefore, it did not damage the fabric like silicone sealants. When we applied the coating to our tent, it created a strong barrier to water and impressively stopped any leakage there and then. The protection was so effective that any water on the surface got wicked right away.
To talk about its versatility, the product can be used to waterproof and restore durability for multiple accessories like cushions, furniture, clothing items, tops for boats, horse blankets, etc. Also, the spray leaves no stains on the surface, which we really liked about this product. Finally, the product is non-toxic and environment-friendly. So, it’s absolutely safe and sounds for your breathability as well as the sustainability of the nature surrounding you.
- The formula contains no hard, toxic substances.
- It’s been thoroughly tested for quality.
- You can expect satisfactory coverage with one bottle.
- Its coating is not as sturdy as other options.
GEAR AID Seam Grip TF
The remarkable effectiveness of the GEAR AID Seam Grip TF simply stunned us! While camping, it kept us dry during a long spell of downpouring. Well, it’s not exactly a spray-type waterproofer but comes in the form of foam. The good thing, however, is that it comes with a handy precision applicator that helps us reach into the thin and narrow areas all over the canvas tent for the best protection. Apart from that, the sealant works miracles when it’s about repairing and touching up the existing waterproofing for most tents. The formula also restored the withered original coating so we could have renewed protection from water.
Further, the coating dried up after application, and we saw no mess on the surface – a downside for which many lousy options are roasted. To sum up, we believe there’s no better option on the market (especially for nylon tents) than the GEAR AID waterproofer.
- It has an impressively lasting impact.
- One tube can cover about 85 square feet of material.
- It can be used on tarps, rain flies, camp floors, etc.
- The stuff is thick and difficult to apply.
Atsko Silicone Water Guard
We found the Atsko Silicone Water Guard excellent value for the buck – and so will you. This canvas tent waterproofer features awesome versatility. We freely used the substance on our camping gear as well as shoes, umbrellas, jackets, and raincoats for maximum resistance to rain. And it did work like magic. Now, you can’t expect the spray to keep your camping home bone-dry during rainfall, but still, it is quite effective. Moving on, the spray leaves no odor on the surface, plus we didn’t find any visual mess on our tent fabric or clothing since the thing is designed to dry after it’s applied. What we loved more was that just one can of this waterproofer provided enough coating that we needed no further application.
Do you need more info on Atsko Silicone? Check out the detailed expert review by Base Outdoor.
- It’s a high-quality, industry-standard water repellent.
- You can coat narrow crannies with a brush application.
- It doesn’t affect the tent’s breathability.
- It takes about 72 hours to dry up!
KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent
Best Value for Money. We used the KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent to throw water right off the tent. This waterproofer outperformed most of its counterparts when it comes to providing ultra-effective resistance to water. The spray package comes with two cans, so you will have enough waterproofing stuff to coat all your camping gear. Another high-value feature is the spray’s ability to cover a huge seven-person tent in just one can. That shows cost-effectiveness. Right?
Furthermore, the quick and wide mist action saved our time, and we found the application a walk in the park. And, of course, the versatility is quite noteworthy. That means we were able to use this high-quality spray not only for waterproofing canvas tents but also to waterproof our boots, jackets, coats, backpacks, tarps, and more. All in all, you’ll likely love the performance, just as we did.
Find out how to use the waterproofer in this guide video by Simple DIY.
- It has a durable and lasting coating.
- The spray maintains perfect breathability for the tent.
- It’s affordable and easy to use.
- It’s silicone, so leaves an odor.
Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning
The Nikwax Tent and Gear Cleaning is quite a powerful spray for waterproofing tents. To put it simply, we had a pretty wholesome experience with it! The spray has this two-in-one feature to provide the tent with water resistance and strong UV protection. So, as a result of effective protection against the sun and other elements, your tent will naturally last longer. Further, we had no concerns regarding safety.
Made of biodegradable substances, the waterproofer contains no harmful chemicals like PFCs which could take a toll on our health and liveability. Apart from that, one unique feature we noted is that this spray has a cleaning feature. It’s not exactly a cleaner, but it left off a cleaned surface once we applied it on the camping accessories or other waterproof gear. So, what’s our verdict? It’s definitely in its favor.
- One bottle can easily cover a large tent.
- The Nikwax spray increases the life of your canvas tent.
- It’s absolutely safe to use.
- It might leave a stain on light-colored surfaces.
Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof
The Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof is a top-notch, high-performance canvas tent waterproofer. We noted that the wax sealant was not only able to block water but also restored the original waterproofing ability of the tent. In addition to that, it’s worth mentioning that a generous coating of this wax will allow the camping gear to live long – to put it simply, it prolongs the life of your tent. Furthermore, we freely used this strong wax on several outdoor accessories like backpacks, rain covers, jackets, etc.
It’s a water-based solution, so you need not worry about health, safety, or sustainability. Plus, of course, it will maintain breathability much better than silicone-made options. What we loved more than anything else was the quick drying process. After we put it on our large canvas tent, the entire surface area was dry in a couple of hours – and ready to fight back any water invasion. So, all in all, it’s a good choice.
- It’s wax and the application is easy-peasy.
- The sealant is quite powerful.
- It will leave no discoloration marks on the fabric.
- It gives off a smell after application.
Scotchgard Heavy Duty
The Scotchgard Heavy Duty is our go-to option for the best performance when we need waterproofing for canvas tents. This is a non-toxic and sustainable option to waterproof a variety of fabrics such as cotton, nylon, polyester, suede leather, and so on. In addition, we would like to highlight that the spray left behind no bad smell, so we applied it generously without worrying about a repugnant odor. Further, the application created a durable coating for the tent, which gave the material a powerful resistance to water as well as other destructive seasonal elements.
We quite like the approval for breathability that this spray has. It allows fresh air to pass through the tent without causing any condensation inside your camping home. Finally, versatility is built-in, and it can be used on so many outdoor gears like shoes, backpacks, tarps, patio furniture, rain cover, etc. So, we say, it’s worth the money!
- It’s a fitting option for campers on a budget.
- The coating is safe and healthy.
- One spray can will cover a huge surface area.
- See the original listing on Scotchgard.com!
- There’s some odor immediately after the application. But, it goes away!
Nikwax Cotton Proof
The Nikwax Cotton Proof is a reliable option to waterproof your camping gear. We used it on a range of our camping stuff, and the results were quite impressive. So, the waterproofer is liquid and needs to be dissolved in water and brushed across the tent. Additionally, we ran our washing machine with the sealant mixed with water and let the gear go for a deep treatment. No matter how you apply it, the substance will not impact your breathability, and made from sustainable chemicals, it’s harmless for you and the environment.
Besides that, the Nitwax water repellent is odorless as well as contains no PFAS or optical brighteners, which makes it even safer for use when camping with children or pets. We found it best for application on multiple fabrics like cotton, canvas, polycotton, and the like! Hands down, this waterproofer is our go-option when we need value on a low budget.
See the expert review by Overland Europe for a deep dive into the product.
- It maintains the breathability of the fabric.
- The liquid is unscented and free of toxins.
- It’s a low-priced option.
- One bottle can’t cover the entire tent.
Rust-Oleum 278146 Shield
Best Strength. We rate the Rust-Oleum 278146 Shield as a reliable and effective option for a lasting waterproofing impact! The spray is engineered to provide a special barrier effect on the surface of canvas tents so that no fluids can pass through. Let’s explain the process very briefly: the spray action releases polymers. They go through the surface to form a protective barrier around the fibers. As a result, the polymers waterproof every bit of the material. In addition to that, you can expect to cover a wide area of your canvas tent with one bottle of this repellant.
But the coverage varies depending on the fabric type. Besides that, we have tried the thing on a range of items and got remarkable results. For instance, we applied it to outdoor furniture, camper apparel, shoes, and other camping gear. Aside from everything, the spray is silicone-free and best for use since breathability and safety were our top priorities.
- You can use it on multiple types of fabrics.
- The coating dries clear in some time.
- It will not change the appearance of the items.
- It takes a day to cure and work!
STAR BRITE Waterproofing
Best Coverage. If you’re looking to waterproof an extra-large canvas tent, our top recommendation is the STAR BRITE Waterproofing! The silicone spray is a great solution to protect your tent from rain as well as from harmful, damaging UV rays. We realized this product has the special feature of drying up just within six hours after the application – which is relatively quick compared to the other options. Furthermore, we found the spray very well-suited for use in terms of liveability. It’s safe to use, doesn’t leave foul odors, and won’t affect your breathability inside the camp.
It simply went one better than what we initially expected! The Star Brite is an awesome choice – bringing top-tier performance, durability, affordability and safety to the table!WOW Travel
Apart from that, unlike most canvas waterproofers, it will not leave any stains on the surface! We treated several useful outdoor accessories with the spray. For example, boots, canopies, awnings, backpacks, umbrellas, rain flies, etc. With the massive coverage of 80 square feet, the product definitely stands out to us as a top option on the market.
- It’s not just suitable for cotton but a range of fabrics.
- It provides a strong sun shield.
- The product won’t affect the color of your tent.
- The silicone formula can be harsh compared to water-based sprays.
Tent Fabrics & Outdoor Gear
We applied the Tent Fabrics & Outdoor Gear to our camping gear with complete confidence as the positive customer reviews vouched for performance! This spray is water-based and contains no harmful, hazardous materials, making it a perfectly safe thing to waterproof your canvas tents. Engineered for thorough waterproofing, the spray concentrates on providing excellent water repellence to your tent walls, ground sheets, and zippers so that you can enjoy the experience without any leakage troubles.
Furthermore, we loved the long-lasting effect this coating had on the tent. It supplied the fabric with vitality and strength that we never expected. Aside from that, the spray preserved breathability for our camping home, and we had no condensation issues whatsoever. So, for a high-value, sustainable option, you’ll find the DryGuy waterproofer a fit!
See the original listing by Dry Guy for further information.
- It covers a large surface area of 50-60 square feet.
- It won’t cause stiffening of fabric.
- The spray won’t tarnish the original fabric color.
- The trigger may not be powerful.
303 Fabric Guard
The 303 Fabric Guard rejuvenated our canvas tent and revitalized its waterproofing ability many folds! This waterproofer leaves a powerful, impenetrable coating on the surface of your camping gear. So, the treatment makes it next to impossible for liquids to seep through the material. Besides that, this product is versatile and can be used to waterproof a range of synthetic and natural fibers, including umbrellas, cushions, life jackets, and upholstery.
Further, you need not worry about safety since the spray is made from top-quality, environment-friendly substances, so your breathability will never be compromised. One prominent feature that we loved was that the spray dried clear after application and left a clean look on our canvas tent. On a side note, we recommend applying the spray in a criss-cross pattern for the best results!
Also, check out our best waterproofer spray roundup that suits a range of fabrics.
- You will definitely get good value for the buck.
- It resists stains and spots.
- The spray is odorless and unscented.
- It takes many hours to cure.
Canvak – Water Resistant Canvas
Best Overall. Well, if you ask us, the Canvak – Water Resistant Canvas is a pretty practical option for developing water repellence. This waterproofer offers next-level adaptability for use on multiple materials, which is quite remarkable. For instance, we found this product not only good for canvas tents but also multiple other items like old furniture, cars, boats, clothes, tarps, and so on. Aside from that, it’s wax and easy to apply on a large canvas structure with strokes of brush.
Further, we noted that using the sealant generously was far more helpful. Because it provided the canvas with a strong, thick coating letting not a drop of water leak into our tent. Plus, the gallon covered an extensive area of 100 square feet which is impressive coverage compared to many counterparts. So, as far as our experience goes, we are dead sure the Canvak waterproofer is a sureshot to jack up the durability, sturdiness, and strength of your camping stuff.
- It’s a high-quality, industry-standard water repellent.
- You can coat narrow crannies with a brush application.
- It doesn’t affect the tent’s breathability.
- It offers no UV protection.
Based on its fine and user-friendly features, we’ve chosen the Canvak – Water Resistant Canvas as our top solution for waterproofing canvas tents. But, of course, there are additional options that we find quite attractive based on some specific features. So, take a look below at the rest of our best choices from the roundup.
- Best value for money: KIWI Camp Dry Water Repellent
- Best quality: Fabric Waterproof Spray
- Best coverage: STAR BRITE Waterproofing
- Best strength: Rust-Oleum 278146 Shield
How to Choose the Best Canvas Tent Waterproofer
To choose the best waterproofers, we looked at several important features that a stellar water-repellent will always offer. Make sure you consider these factors, too, so that your tent waterproofing investment pays off well!
Well, performance is the key, of course. To categorize a waterproofer as good or bad, the water repellence it supplies the fabric with decides whether it’s worth the money or not. So, how to check the performance in advance? We looked at the customer reviews, ratings, etc. Talking to an expert will also help, as it did in our case.
There’s no worse feeling than that of helplessness when you’ve applied the sealant to your camping gear but can’t use it due to the repugnant odor. Before making your choice, look at the specs and confirm that the sealant is unscented and the odor is minimal.
We were particularly concerned about this one! So, before buying a waterproofer, do check on the ingredients that make up the thing. Make sure it’s safe to use, environment-friendly, and sustainable and won’t affect your breathability. If it’s otherwise, you’ll be up for a bummer!
What is the best waterproofing for canvas tents?
Silicone is a popular choice among many campers. It provides a water-repellent ability to multiple fabrics, including canvas and cotton tents. Also, it has a lasting effect.
What is a natural waterproofer?
Natural waterproofers can’t beat synthetic sealants; they can still be of use. Natural water repellents include beeswax and lanolin, and they can be used on all kinds of fabrics.
What is the best way to waterproof canvas fabric?
One of the most effective ways is to use waterproofing sprays to seal the fabric. However, wax and liquid options will also get the job done.