Seam sealing a new tent

-- Last Updated: Apr-16-08 9:28 PM EST --

Got a new Apex 2 person tent. Do we seam seal the fly on the inside or the outside?


EDIT: The tent is made by Eureka.

Inside, but
Usually at least the rain fly comes sealed or taped. Generally if there is something left unsealed (to keep the price down), it is the floor.

Some seams will come from the factory with sealing tape (it is clear tape). Seal the seams that don’t have this tape on them, from the inside. Easiest if you turn everything inside-out first. Make sure to let it fully dry before handling anything.

If the tent came with instructions for the sealing, check those against what gets posted here. I think all my tents had sealing instructions, except the one tent that did not need it.

depends on the fabric
I am not familiar with the Apex tent and the material that was used for the fly.

Most tents are PU coated nylon (normal fabric finish outside, coated dull finish inside) and most are factory seam sealed with clear tape.

However there are quite a few new high end tents that use siliconized nylon that has no coating (the fabric is generally thinner and shiny and very slippery). The SilNylon tents are not factory tape sealed since silicon does not allow a tape to be heat sealed to the fabric.

Most manufacturers of silnylon tents will include a special sealer with the tent so you can seal it yourself. Mc Nett seems to have the best product and is called Silnet.

Silnylon fabric is stronger and lighter but more expensive.

Same goes for the floor.

Ultralight tents might have a silnylon fabric that needs sealing if seams are at ground level.


McNett Seam Grip.

Best product I’ve seen for this purpose.

But check tent instructions.

if you have a silnylon tent - mix GE silicon II bathroom sealant stuff with a little acetone (to thin it out…you want the stuff to flow into the holes and seams) then seam seal from the outside. some people do the inside and some do inside and outside, the word from a high end tent manufacturer (tarptents Henery Shires) is to seal from the outside. Also spreads some sealent on the floor to keep your sleeping pad from slipping. If you don’t have a silnylone tent, disregard what i’ve said. A lot of info can be found on backpacking msg boards

Mcnett also has a product for sealing
seams on tents manufactured from siliconized fabrics.

Inside and out
Eureka says do both.

One added note:
…when you have sealed the seams, and let them DRY…sprinkle a little talcum powder on the tent so the sealant and the PU coating do not stick together when the tent is rolled up…

when I’ve been storing tents for a while I roll them out, lightly powder them and then roll them back up again…(helps keep a scent you can stand vs one ya can’t too…).