Waterproof Ratings For Camping Tents

Here, we have a dedicated discussion on the waterproof rating of camping tents. If you have any questions in your mind or looking to buy an ideal camping tent for you then you must give a complete reading to below healthy guide. Having the proper knowledge of the waterproof rating of the camping tent you have is very necessary.

Even, if you are a newbie or first-time camper then it is very important for you to first get the proper knowledge of waterproof rating of the tent you are selecting. In case, if you neglect this part then you may disappoint on your decision when stuck in rainy conditions.

A family camper can’t neglect about the waterproof rating of the tent. So, get ready to invest your next ten minutes in reading the below guide. Here, we begin…

Ways of Describing Tent Waterproof Rating

Ways of Describing Tent Waterproof Rating

While reading the specifications and features of any camping tent you will find the waterproof rating of the tent described in any one of the following ways:

1. Waterproofness in mmH20.

2. Rating in PSI.

3. Hydrostatic Head Rating in mm.

What is Waterproofness in mmH20?

This is the most common waterproof rating parameter you will find written for most of the camping tents available out there. In this method, the water pressure is applied to the fabric before at least three drops of water get leaked through it. Nowadays, many instant cabin tents are coming with waterproof. They simply put the fabric under the bottomless cylinder in order to create a water column above.

Thus, this procedure gives the measurement in millimeters (mmH20) of how much water is there above fabric before the water gets leaked through it. Therefore, a 2000 mmH20 rating means the fabric can sustain 2000 millimeters of water before it gets leaked through it.

What is Waterproof Rating in PSI?

In this method, the fabric of one square inch is placed at the bottom of the bottomless cylinder. Then fill the cylinder with water for creating a water column. The water column is measured in pounds. Therefore, by measuring how much pounds of water is there before the fabric fails and begins to leak. In the end, you get a waterproof rating of the fabric in PSI.

What is Hydrostatic Head Rating in mm?

The method of measuring Hydrostatic Head rating in mm is the same as measuring Waterproofness in mmH20 such that how tall a column of water your fabric can sustain before the water gets leaked through it.

What is Camping Tents Fabric Made of?

What is Camping Tents Fabric Made of?

Mostly, you will find that four fabrics namely cotton, canvas, nylon, and polyester are used in tents. Let’s have a look at them below and how they participate in the waterproof of the tent.

Cotton and Canvas Fabric Tents

Camping tents that are made from cotton or fabric are made from the same material. Canvas is used in the tents traditionally. Mostly cotton made tents are heavy. Thus, campers may find it not easier to transport to the camping place. Making the cotton or canvas tents weathered is an important thing to do before camping. If not done then you will experience leaks through the tent because canvas expands. Therefore, spraying the tent or leaving it out in the rain becomes necessary.

Advantages of Cotton Fabric Tents

Cotton is a great insulator for a tent. Therefore, it does not get overheated in too warm-hot conditions and will also protect you from the cold conditions. Moreover, there will be no issue with condensation because cotton can absorb water and can also breathe. Apart from that, it is a durable fabric that lasts long and good UV rays resistant.

Man-made Nylon and Polyester Fabric Tents

Man-made nylon and polyester are the two most used fabrics in the tents. For backpacking and lightweight tents, nylon fabric is generally used. In most of the family camping tents, the polyester fabric is used. The nylon and polyester fabric made tents are not good insulators. Therefore, if you are planning to camp in cold or too hot weather instead of mild conditions then you must skip the nylon and polyester fabric tents.

These tents do not offer any protection from cold conditions. Moreover, they get too warm in hot conditions. The nylon and polyester fabric do not breathe due to which condensation can be an issue. It has seen that the color of these tent fabric gets deteriorates as the day passes. The nylon and polyester tent fabric require coating in order to enhance the water resistance and protection from UV rays. You can checkout Coleman 6 Person Instant Cabin Tent and Bushnell Shield Series 11′ x 9′ Instant Cabin Tent, which are build using polyester.

Advantages of Nylon and Polyester Fabric Tents

The main advantage of the nylon and polyester tent fabric is that they are lighter and less bulky when compared to cotton or canvas fabrics. That’s why you will find nylon and polyester fabric tents more affordable than cotton or canvas tents. They have good resistance to rips and also need less maintenance. Apart from that, they get dry quickly.

How much Waterproofness is Enough?

While making a decision about the enough Waterproofness rating for a camping tent, don’t forget about the abrasion. Due to wear and tear and abrasion, mostly tents come with a much waterproof rating. Your body pressure is like the same as water pressure on the fabric. The groundwater underneath the tent may cause water leakage. This is the topmost reason that the polyethylene material is used on the tent floor. It is a thick material with a sort of plastic. Resulting in complete waterproofness. This also results in increment in the weight of the tent.

That’s why lighter materials are used in backpacking tents. Not only the waterproof rating of the walls and the fly, but floor material is also a part of the consideration. We conclude that the material used in the tent plays a vital role in the required waterproof rating if the tent. Apart from that, the tent must be properly designed for the effectiveness of the waterproofness. The Crua Loj 6 tent has a hydrostatic head rating of 5000 mm whereas Kelty Trail Ridge 6 comes with an 1800 mm waterproof rating.


Here, we learned all the basics for selecting the tent with required waterproof ratings. We hope you enjoyed the guide and learned from it. Don’t forget to share your vision with us in the comments section below. Stay tuned and enjoy the day.

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