Gear Tip: How To Seam Seal A Tent Or Tarp

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All those seams holding your tent together?

Every stitch is a tiny hole in the fabric caused by the needle. And you’re going to want to seal these. The price you will pay if you don’t take the time to seal the seams is a night of wet, cold and misery. Not to mention, you’re going to have to carry all that wet gear – it weighs considerably more than dry!

We get that you just spent a lot of money on a tent and you don’t want to screw it up. So we found a quick article to show you how to accomplish this task.

Take the time to get your gear ready. We’ll see you on the trails!

Seam Sealing

Helpful tips

  • Seal the seam on the outside. That’s where the rain will fall.
  • Make sure its not too hot 6o Fahrenheit  is the ideal temperature to seal up your shelter, and a humidity that is not too high (below 80%).
  • Pitch the shelter wrinkle-free before you seal it.

Find a flat spot to pitch your tent or tarp, where you can leave it for at least a day or to cure overnight; until the sealer is dry, secure from rain and where there isn’t going to be wind is best as wind may blow dirt onto the sealer and foil your whole project.

What you will need

  1. Paintbrush
  2.  Cup to mix in
  3.  Cardboard stencil cut to the width of your seam (or just a steady hand)
  4.  Damp cloth
  5. Mcnett Silnet for Silnylon, or if it is a PU coated material, Seam Grip
  6.  Paint thinner

Start by mixing 1 part Silnet sealant to 3 parts paint thinner in a cup.  Stir until it is about an olive oil consistency. This will make sure it’s easily applied and rubbed into the seams. The goal is to soak the mixture into the stitching, where the water could penetrate.

Brush in the thinned mix carefully and use the damp cloth to clean up any spills. I pre-cut a stencil card custom to the width of my seams and used that as a template to help reduce spills.  You can make sure to apply some pressure so that it works its way into the seams.  As the Silnet it is thinned by the mixture, it will soak into stitching nicely.  After the working area is complete, leave it to dry. You should have a nice clean finish after it dries. Make sure you come back after an hour or so, so you can spot check any missed areas.

On high stress areas like the anchor points; add a few dabs of Silnet straight from the tube to reinforce those areas. Then allow 24 hours to dry.

Bonus Tips

  • Baby powder can be sprinkled over the dried area if you’re worried about tackiness.
  • Apply a few strips of the seam sealer/ paint thinner mixture to the floor of your tent to prevent your mat from sliding during the night!
Gear tip written by former Trail Ambassador Martin Rye and Editor – http://gossamergear.com/wp/seam-sealing-tarps-tents
Cover image from youtube
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