Why is my tent or rainfly sticky?

If you are experiencing issues with a sticky tent or rainfly or have noticed that your tent is no longer able to repel water, you might be experiencing PU-Coating Delamination.

What is PU Coating?

PU-Coating is a thin layer of polyurethane which is applied to the tent material during production stage. The coating gives the material water-proof properties, and usually applied to the underside of the fabric. PU-Coatings have some excellent benefits and are widely used in the camping industry to waterproof anything from your tent to your jacket. The PU coating on a tent will typically last around 2 years, depending on usage and correct storage, after this you can simply apply new layer of PU spray, offered by a leading outdoor gear company such as NikWax. If the tent has been stored for a long time or incorrectly the life of the tent can drastically reduce as a result of PU-delamination. 

Care and Maintenance – Storing your tent

Airing your Tent:

Prior to storage, it is important to air your tent out for at least two hours to ensure 100% of the moisture has dissipated and the tent is completely dry. We recommend that the tent is free from debris, food and dirt. Even a small piece of organic matter can lead to mould or material degradation during storage, especially over long periods of time. If your tent is dirty, it can be cleaned using warm water, a sponge and a mild washing detergent. It is not recommended to use a washing machine or dry cleaning to clean your tent. Keeping your tent clean and dry will ensure it is protected for years to come.

What is Off-Gassing

All Polyester materials omit small amounts of gas and need access to good ventilation to stay in optimum condition. If the tent is not able to off-gas, for example if it has been stored to tightly, it will create a vacuum which will lead to PU-degradation. The life expectancy of your tent is not just calculated on its usage, how the tent is stored can be equally important. To ensure an optimum life span for your tent, it is recommended to store your tent loosely and not in its original bag. This will allow the material off-gas.. Ideally tents should be hung out loose and never rolled up tight for long periods of time.

Cool and Dry Environment:

When choosing a location to store your tent it is important to find a suitable location which is neither too hot or cold and has access to good ventilation. Attics, garages and basement are not recommended, unless they are well ventilated and have good insulation.

Condensation Removers:

A simple way to promote a suitable environment to store your tent is by adding some condensation removers such as absorbent sachets. This type of product can be purchased quite easily and will absorb any surrounding moisture in your storage area. All our tents include one absorbent sachet to ensure that the tent stays nice and dry during transportation and storage.

Repair or Up-Cycle:

If you are suffering from PU-delamination there are several things to consider before throwing it in the bin or buying a replacement. On many occasions it is possible to rejuvenate your tent or rainfly by replacing the layer of PU-Coating and reviving the water resistance of the tent. The tent will first need to be hand washed to ensure the old layer of PU-Coating has been cleaned off, adding some talcum powder to absorb the residue can also help. Once the tent or rainfly is completely PU-Coating free and 100% dry you can now apply a new layer of PU-coating spray supplied by companies such as Nikwax. If after washing you still find that the material has a stickiness to it, it might be time to send your old rainfly for Up-Cycle and purchase a new one.