Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2 Tent
Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2 (courtesy,REI)

Can I make my tent waterproof again?

I’m guilty of not properly storing my Lafuma tent over the last few years, and the polyurethane coating has completely peeled off. I’d like to keep this tent instead of buying another. Can I reapply the waterproof layer? Francis Singapore

Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2 Tent

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Well, the answer to your question is essentially this: Sort of.

Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2 Tent

Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2 Tent Sierra Designs Nomad 4.2

One the one hand, it is possible to patch a tent’s waterproof polyurethane coating, or even re-coat the entire tent. Kenyon makes a product called Recoat 3 ($8 for a tin that covers 75 square feet; specifically designed for that purpose. You’d probably need four or five jars of the stuff. I’d dump it all into one small bucket and use a good-quality, three-inch paint brush to apply it, rather than the little applicator that is supplied.

I have not used the stuff so cannot attest to how well it works, particularly when completely re-coating an entire tent. And you’ll surely end up with thin spots (or thick spots) versus the even factory applied coating.

But the larger issue is this: I think your tent is toast. The fabric may look fine, but it obviously has suffered from heat, humidity, and airlessness. My belief is that in a strong wind storm the whole thing could just fall to pieces.

So my best advice really is to bid the Lafuma farewell and invest in a new tent. Sierra Designs’ Nomad 4.2 (on sale for $220; would do nicely. As for storage, you’ll need to use a mesh stuff sack, preferably one for the fly and one for the canopy, and keep the tent as dry as possible in humid Singapore.

Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including a comprehensive tents section, in the 2006 Buyer’s Guide.

From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
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Lead Photo: courtesy,REI