UKC

Tent Seam Sealing & Reproofing

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 MeMeMe 02 Jun 2021

I've got a very old tent that I'm perfectly happy with but it needs reproofing and seam sealing.

The current seam tape is all peeling off but the ends of it are stitched into the tent seams. Should I try finding something to stick it all back down? If so what? Or just cut it off and apply some new tape?

Also, what's the best way/product to reproof the tent?

It's a 20 year old nylon tent but apart from the kids somehow managing to snap a pole it's served me well over the years so it feels like it deserves seem TLC and a new lease of life.

 LastBoyScout 02 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

https://outdoor.mcnett.eu/seamgrip/

or

https://www.stormsure.com/stormseal-seam-sealant-100ml-bottle-with-foam-pad.html

or similar should do it. I've used the first one a lot for repairing all sorts of things.

Edit - Nikwax and Grangers both do reproofing for tents.

Post edited at 11:51
 MeMeMe 02 Jun 2021
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Perfect, thanks!

 LastBoyScout 02 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

Should add - if your tent has a silicone flysheet (unlikely at that age), there are specific products for that.

 MeMeMe 02 Jun 2021
In reply to LastBoyScout:

I'm not sure how I can tell!

The inside of the flysheet has some kind of coating which has gone slightly tacky, although not so much that it makes me want to ditch it.

 Frank R. 02 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

Your main problem might be the waterproof coating, if it's getting "tacky", it most probably means it's polyurethane and disintegrating from old age. Not much you can do about that and it's only going to get worse, unfortunately...

As for the mentioned Nikwax and Granger, I don't think they offer any true waterproofing products anymore, just water repellency. You'd need to re-coat the whole flysheet with silicone or some PU product, after somehow getting rid of the old coating.

Post edited at 15:36
 LastBoyScout 02 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

> The inside of the flysheet has some kind of coating which has gone slightly tacky

What Frank said, then. Your only real option in this case is to see if the manufacturers still make a replacement, or somewhere still has one in stock. Unlikely at that age.

Happened to my trusty Vango - real shame, as the inner is still perfectly fine, but I can't get a replacement fly.

 Tigger 02 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

You could maybe try applying fabsil gold to the outer.

 MeMeMe 03 Jun 2021
In reply to LastBoyScout:

There's no chance of me getting a replacement flysheet, it's an old Antartica tent, they don't make them any more. 

 MeMeMe 03 Jun 2021
In reply to Tigger:

I might try it. The outside of the flysheet isn't coated like the inside of it is so will hopefully take the treatment. I'm loathe to just chuck it, it's got sentimental value, plus is seems like such a waste!

 LastBoyScout 03 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

Unfortunately, mine had gone way past the point of being able to do anything with it, so stripped off anything usable (guy lines and various hooks and peg elastics) and binned it. Still got the inner and poles and have an eBay alert for any sales of the tent.

 MeMeMe 03 Jun 2021
In reply to LastBoyScout:

Good luck!

 Frank R. 03 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

You could try soaking it in hot water with some detergent and scrub the coating off or even a gentle washing machine cycle to remove as much of the old sticky smelly coating as possible, then re-coat with silicone (or even PU again). The Fabsil I believe is just another DWR, not a true waterproof coating (if I remember correctly, from the safety data sheet ingredients). People have tried restoring their cherished old tents that way. No idea how well the new coating lasts, but it might be worth a try, even if it will probably never be as good as new. Good luck

 PaulJepson 03 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

Had good results with Fabsil Gold reproofing a 10 year old tent. 

 Tigger 08 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

A few hints I've come across and a few  things I've done myself.

1) rinsing the tent in a 50/50 water and vinegar solution and air drying in the shade can stop a PU coating from being sticky.

2) Alternatively remove the old PU coating (give it a wash or hand wash and let it soak) once with dish soap and then with nomal powder, scrub off the old Pu coating, give ot a rinse and let it dry and then apply "McNett’s Gear Aid Tent Sure Polyurethane Sealant". If this isn't availiable I think you can dilute seam grip at about 30:1 with Toulene, though I haven't tried.

3) Once done Use Fabsil Gold on the outer, avoid getting the seams coated as it will absorb through the stitching and cause the seam tape to degrade faster.

4) If the seams need resealing, use seam grip diluted with Toulene (3 parts Toulene to 1 part glue I think, though don't quote me).

Best of luck

Post edited at 06:54
 StuDoig 08 Jun 2021
In reply to MeMeMe:

Give Scottish Mountain Gear a call - they will do custom work; though not sure if it'll work out cheaper than buying a new tent, but would save chucking the rest of the tent out!  The removed the groundsheet from a mates tent and stitched in a new heavier duty one to their spec no bother so I recon with the old fly to measure off they'd easily knock up a replacement!  

 MeMeMe 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Tigger:

Thanks!

Sounds like a plan. I've ordered some Fabsil gold and new seam sealing tape (basically all the old tape was falling off so seemed like the thing was to replace it all).

I think I'm going to try to leave the old PU coating, it's not peeling off, it's just a bit tacky.

After failing to fix my broken alloy pole myself I've sent it to here - https://www.tentpolerepairs.co.uk/ who can hopefully fix it. 

I'll let the thread know how it goes!

 LastBoyScout 08 Jun 2021
In reply to Tigger:

Interesting. Wish I'd known a few of those and tried them before I binned my flysheet.

When I enquired with Vango, they told me it was beyond any hope.

I did try cleaning it a bit, to no real effect, and figured any solvent that would take the PU off would just dissolve the flysheet anyway.


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