Top 3 Best waterproof tent materials [2021 Relevant]

Top 3 Best waterproof tent materials [2021 Relevant]

A campers worst nightmare: rainy weather and a non-waterproof tent. My personal experience with this hell was when I went camping in England (a country known for heavy rain), I was 14 y/o and had just built up my camping spot when a giant thunderstorm wrecked my good mood.

The rain was so heavy it completely broke down the fibres in my tent and rain started flowing inside, spoiling my camping food and destroying my clothes.

I thought. Never again. And I went searching for the BEST waterproof tent material of 2021.

So, what is the best waterproof tent material?

The BEST waterproof tent material list:

#1 Most waterproof: PVC-coated material.

a PVC-coated cotton tent is in my opinion the best waterproof tent material.

Polyvinyl chloride (in short: PVC) is a water repellent material. When looking for a tent in a store, ask for a PVC coating on a cotton tent.

The downside of PVC-coating: when you sleep in your tent, you breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, the CO2 should leave your tent easily, but because of the PVC-coating the water will condense and stay in your tent. You can get condense of your tent by ‘airing’ (leaving the tent door open every morning for a couple of hours).

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#2 Most water-resistant tent: Polyester-cotton tent.

Polyester is the KING in water resistance and wind resistance, but due to these material properties, it isn’t very breathable.

A campers blessing: the polyester-cotton tent, polyester has natural (and chemical) high-density fibers, making it almost impossible for water to go through.

Because of these ultra-high-density fibres, not only water but also air will be blocked easily: making your polyester-cotton tent wind resistant.
But polyester-cotton is less fire-resistant than common alternatives: it will melt when ignited with fire.

If it is flaming hot outside, a polyester cotton tent will be a nightmare because of the insane fibre density: heat can’t escape the tent easily, resulting in a hot and muggy indoor environment.

For people with young children: polyester is almost impossible to dye a certain colour.

Polyester
Polyester is highly water resistant, making it a good tent material

#3 Most water-resistant fabric: pure nylon tents

When I was a little younger, I and my friends went camping on the southern border in the Netherlands; the weather was tropical hot while we were hiking with a cotton tent on our back-pack. It felt like we had packed huge stones. Since then, I’ve only brought Nylon tents on a trip.

Good nylon tents are good against resisting water, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes in very bad weather, a drop of water here and there will spill on your mattress via the wet roof: this isn’t bad at all, just a minor inconvenience.


If you go on a hike or if you do any other activity which you need to bring a waterproof tent for: pick the Nylon one, you will thank me later.

#4 Pure cotton tents.

When I think of cotton tents, I think of the boy scouts, these pyramid-like brownish tents the scouts always sleep in are most often cotton tents: if the scouts are using them, it must be the best waterproof tent fabric, right?


A cotton tent’s best thing is that it has insane durability, you can use such a high-quality tent easily for 10+ years (and that the cotton smells very good), this is also the reason the boy scouts use these tents.


If you are tight on money, a fully cotton tent wouldn’t be the best pick, because cotton is a completely natural product and kinda hard to produce, the prices are very high at the moment.

But if you would want to buy a weatherproof cotton tent, make sure to ‘weather’ it at least once every six months.

What is ‘weathering’ for cotton tents?

If you buy a new cotton tent, or if you tent hasn’t gotten wet in a while (six or more months), you should ‘weather’ it.

how to weather a cotton tent in 3 steps.

  1. Build up your tent.
  2. Wait for it to rain heavy, or spray water on it: this will activate the cotton fibres making it water-resistant for (in my experience at least six months.)
  3. Wait for your tent to dry, or you will get a very moldy tent, and pack your tent again.

Congrats! Your cotton tent is now water-resistant!

Conclusion: what is the best waterproof tent material?

A PVC-coated tent is the best waterproof tent material, but this also means that condensation will not leave your tent as easily. An alternative for the PVC-coated tent would be the polyester tent.

When you are looking for a lightweight, easy to breathe, but slightly less waterproof tent material. Go for the Nylon tent.

Listening to the boy-scouts, a cotton tent would be the best pick actually, because of the awesome smell..… uhh, I mean the high durability of course!

The problem with cotton tents is that you have to ‘water’ it before it gets fully water-resistant.

Disclaimer/responsibility notice.

Contentify stands for high-quality articles, we always triple check what we write, but sometimes errors go through, so always discuss with local tent professionals before you go camping.

We are not responsible for any errors in these blogs and the effects they will have on your camping experience.

If you notice an error, please contact maurits@purpify.com.

Jelger Sparreboom
CEO at Techupdates, blogger
Jelger is an entrepreneur, blogger and founder of Techupdates. Follow him on twitter.