Best Waterproof Sprays
These days a lot of camping and backpacking gear already comes treated with some sort of waterproofing material or compound, however, there is still some gear that you'll pick up that is not treated. On the other hand, some waterproof treatments eventually lose their effectiveness, leaving your gear in need of another treatment to effectively repel what Mother Nature throws at you.
If you're going to apply a spray to your tents, or other equipment, it makes sense to only go for the best waterproof spray you can get your hands on. So for that very reason, we researched the best of the best to compare them and see which one really wins above the rest. Check out what we came up with!
In a Hurry? The test winner after 11 hrs of research
It is very easy to apply
For tents and outdoor gear, it does a terrific job of sealing
Allows the material to breathe while repelling water
Top Ten Waterproof Sprays
1. Kiwi Camp Dry
It is very easy to apply
For tents and outdoor gear, it does a terrific job of sealing
Allows the material to breathe while repelling water
This water repellent spray provides many of the goods that make these products so useful. It is nothing that you should not expect, but it does have an issue that may weigh large.Read more
As they are designed to do, this waterproofing spray provides a waterproof barrier to keep the applied surface dry. Whether on a previously waterproof surface or not, the result will be the same.
Ideally, this is used best to provide water repellency to a canvas, leather, outdoor items, and breathable materials. In addition to this, it also works perfectly for tarps, hiking shoes, tents, hunting apparel, boat covers, and patio furniture.
After the spray has been applied to a surface, you may notice a smell that resembles cheap paint. Once it dries, this scent should not be as pungent but it still can remain an issue.
No need to worry about the repelling water altering the breathability in any way as this is specifically designed to allow materials to breathe.
The choice is yours for either a solo 10.5-ounce can or two 10.5-ounce cans. The latter will save you a good deal of money in the long run.
Yes, the smell of cheap paint can be a major issue and some have claimed that it never truly goes away. But, it still remains an ideal choice thanks to its wide range of uses and excellent water-repellency capabilities.
2. Atsko Silicone
It will protect brick, stone, wood, umbrellas, covers and other outdoor furniture
The arrow treatment dauber prevents the absorbed water from altering the weight
Not only does it repel water, but also stains
Could contain more
Not only does the Atsko Silicone Water-Guard waterproofing spray manage to apply a maximum amount of repellency to water, but it also does an adequate job of repelling stains. But, beware, if you accidentally saturate the surface of your hiking backpack you are applying it to a yellowish color may appear.Read more
Using a specific formula targeted for water repellency, this silicone manages to do exactly what it was designed to do, repel water. Past this, after you apply it, it will do a superb job of preventing stains.
There are many surfaces that this waterproof spray for fabric can be applied to. For campers, you can waterproof your tents, your sleeping bags, and other outdoor gear. Hikers can waterproof their ultralight backpacks or external frame backpacks. Of course, when needed, you can also apply it to hiking boots and suede.
In the matter of approximately 72 hours after the initial applicant, it will become fully cured and odorless. However, if you happen to over-apply this silicone to a specific area a yellow color may appear.
The arrow treatment applied to this silicone prevents absorbed water from altering the weight in any way. Thus, it will still allow the material to breathe.
For one bottle of the silicone waterproof spray, you get 10.5 ounces. If you know you will need more than that, you can always purchase more than one.
While not without its flaws, its excellent ability to repel water, and an additional bonus of preventing stains, should be enough to sell you. After all, that is the main point is it not?
3. Scotchgard Outdoor Water Shield
It does not take too long to dry, rather quickly
It manages to repel water while in use and in storage
All you need is one coat for full coverage
If over-applied may leave both stains and streaks
If not for one serious drawback, this could have easily taken the top spot on this list. This gives you an idea of how good the Outdoor Water Shield from Scotchgard is. However, you can’t overlook its obvious issues with streaks and stains.Read more
The Outdoor Water Shield creates durable protection from the elements with a lone application. In both use and in storage, any surfaces applied will repel water and keep them dry.
This has a wide range of uses from clothing fabrics such as cotton, nylon, polyester, leather, suede, and polypropylene to outdoor objects such as patio furniture, boat covers, backpacks such as osprey backpacks, backpacks for women or you can even use it on waterproof backpacks, to be sure you have extra protection, and canvas tarps.
Although it does have a strong chemical smell when initially spraying, making it ideal to apply outdoors or in highly-ventilated areas, it will wear off when the solution completely dries. But, it has been known to leave a stain or two if over-applied. Also, if over-applied, it can leave streaks.
As you have been accustomed to, the applied fabrics will remain breathable when this is applied.
Much like the previous waterproofing spray for fabric, you have a choice from either one 10.5-ounce can or two 10.5-ounce cans.
If you can manage to not over-apply this chemical, then you will be good to go. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen and this necessity to be as perfect as possible may steer some of you away.
4. Fabric Guard
Adds resistance to stains
Properly seals the seams of applied objects
Protects awnings, boat covers, sailcloth, cushions and bimini tops
The scent is strong - apply outdoors
Marine goers and boating enthusiasts will find great pleasure from the 303 Fabric Guard. While it has other uses, it is perfect for waterproofing specific elements made for the ocean. About the only aspect, you need to avoid is over-saturating products with this best waterproofing spray, as it does not protect from UV.Read more
This 303 Fabric Guard will restore the stain and water repellency to factory levels. It does so by adding a powerful protective unscented coating. In addition, it greatly increases oil-based stain resistance. All in the meanwhile, it keeps fabrics dry and maintains colorfastness.
This best water repellent spray is a safe protectant for all fabric including natural and synthetic fibers. Some other uses include on canvas, life jackets, umbrellas, cushions, and upholstery.
In no way, shape or form does this alter the color, feel, or flammability of the fabric. It is only designed to protect your surface from water and add resistance to stains.
Just as the liquid does not alter the fabric’s color or feel, it does not affect the breathability. After it is applied and repelling water, you will not notice the difference in weight.
Several options are available including 16 ounces, 32 ounces, and 128 ounces. It will vary, but there are also options for four and six-packs.
All the key areas are accounted for here and there are very few gripes to discuss. As a buyer, it does not get much better than this and this is the pinnacle of waterproof sprays.
5. Star Brite with PTEF
It is very easy to use and apply
It restores the repellency of the older fabric
Has PTEF, which is a Protective Polymer Barrier Coating
On clothes, specifically, it can wear out quickly
The extra bonus cancels out the slight issues, which then allows the quality to speak for itself. In specific, outdoor enthusiasts will be best suited for this coating as it is ideal for high quality tents, boats, and outdoor furniture. But, it has other uses as well.Read more
A spectacular formula from Star Brite manages to restore the water repellency of fabrics that have lost it. However, it also adds an additional barrier of protection against moisture and prevents damage from UV rays.
Although you can use it for outdoor patio furniture, tents, boat covers, sail covers, and Bimini tops, it can also be used on clothing and brand-new fabrics.
The chemical itself does have a potent smell. As such, it may be ideal to proof it outdoors or in a highly-ventilated area. But, when the coating dries it loses the strong odor. Outside of this, the spray will not change the color or feel of the fabric.
About the only thing to note here is that when filling in the material with holes, you do not want to fill in the holes that allow it to breathe. If you do not, nothing will be altered.
Here is the bonus previously alluded to. Not only can you go with a 22-ounce version, for a heck of a deal, but you can also jump to a 128-ounce version. If you plan on using it for extended uses, this is a great option.
As great as this best tent waterproofing spray is, it would be wrong to withhold some issues that may concern you. If you can look past the shady valve and lack of long-lasting nature on clothing, everything else speaks for itself.
6. CRC Marykate
Features a premium-grade, heavy-duty water repellent solution
After months of use, the water will continue to bead off
Keeps the smell to a minimal
It works very well but does not seem seals
In times where you know, you will need more than just 10-15 ounces of solution, the one-gallon amount from CRC water repellent spray comes in handy. While it is not just the size that is impressive with their MarkKate Waterproofer, having 128 ounces as compared to 10.5 is a huge bonus.Read more
This premium grade heavy-duty water repellent solution not only restores the water repellency of fabrics, but it also is designed to assist in preventing rot and mildew from forming on any applied surfaces.
You can use this solution to waterproof all kinds of clothing including cotton and synthetic fabrics. Plus, apply it to marine-grade fabrics, boat covers, Bimini tops, tents, and footwear. You could also use it for your daypacks.
With its neutral color, you need not concern yourself with the solution leaving the applied surface with a different color than before. Also, the smell is kept to a minimal amount.
This solution should not alter the breathability of applied garments in any way.
While the gallon size is a nice bonus, it still may be too much for some people. With no other size options, you simply may not be looking for this much solution.
There really is not too much to gripe about this waterproofing spray for clothes, outside of it not working properly to seem seals, and this is a great direction to look at. The one-gallon size option, on the other hand, is either going to be a huge bonus or an unnecessary amount.
7. Bickmore Gard-More
Protects items from water, dirt, and stains
Very easy to use
5.5-ounces doesn't go a very long way- may need to order two cans
Our next addition is incredibly simple to use. The aerosol can evenly distribute the spray on your item of choice and there is no heat activation required! Bickmore Gard-More can be used on almost any material that you can imagine. After this waterproofer spray is applied and dry, any water splashes just seem to bead right off of the item.Read more
Bickmore’s Gard-More aerosol protects your items from water, dirt, and stains. It is very simple to use and the aerosol spray makes it very easy to get an even coat. There is no heat required to activate the water repellency. You just wait for a few hours and it’s ready to go!
Aside from just fabric, this spray also works well on colorfast leather, nubuck, felt, and suede. It emits a light spray that disperses evenly and dries quickly. It is a great product to use on many items other than clothes, such as purses, hats, boots, sneakers, car upholstery, and luggage as well.
This silicone-free aerosol hasn’t shown or listed any side effects. It is recommended to always do a small test patch before using the spray on your item. It is best to make sure the item is clean beforehand and not to use it on unfinished leather.
Additionally, this waterproofing fabric spray does not affect the natural breathability of the item. If it item is breathable, to begin with, it will continue to be breathable (and water repellent!) afterward.
This aerosol is only available in one size at the moment, 5.5-ounces. The directions indicate that you only need one coating of this fabric waterproof spray, although some reviewers like to add an extra layer as a precaution. It isn’t quite clear when or how often you should reapply, but the general consensus tells us that it’s about every three months.
8. Nikwax TX direct
Being biodegradable, it contains no fluorocarbons or VOCs
It leaves your fabric softer
After applying, your garments may feel even lighter
The nozzle could be better
Yet another terrific waterproofing spray for garments is the TX. Direct from Nikwax. Although you must live with the potent smell at first, once it has dried on your clothing the scent will quickly dissipate.Read more
Nikwax uses their patented, award-winning formula to restore the water-repellency of any synthetic outerwear that you apply it to.
This works best on all waterproof breathable microfibers, coatings, and laminates. For example, this could include Ultrex, eVent, Triple Point, Gore-Tex, and Entrant.
You will not notice any negative alterations to the fabric, but some have claimed that it leaves the fabric softer than before. Besides this, you may notice a pungent smell when you initially spray your garment. It could be best described as a vinegar scent, but it will subside as soon as the spray dries.
As the previous sprays have managed to do, this will provide you with a brand-new waterproof coating without altering the breathability in any way.
Again, you get one size and one size only. The option is available for you to invest in a bottle with 16.9 ounces of coating, but that is it.
It is hard to go wrong with all that the TX. The direct waterproof spray provides. However, admittedly, the nozzle on the bottle is flawed. The spray gun applies heavily to the garment, which can cause a messy situation.
9. Dry Guy Tent
Provides protection from mold and stains
It manages to preserve the breathability of modern membrane textiles
The formula is water-based and friendly to the environment
The lone size may not be large enough for some people, causing them to buy multiple with no reduction of the price
When your biggest issue is the lack of coverage that the included coating provides, you know you have a great waterproofing spray. While this still does not propel the Dry Guy Waterproofing Spray to the top of the heap, placing fourth is not a bad day at the office.Read more
Dry Guy sports their spray with obvious protection against water and snow. However, it also provides protection from unsightly stains and harmful mold.
On camping trips, this is a perfect way to waterproof your tent walls, grounds sheets, and zippers. In addition to this, it will waterproof your gear and clothing such as Gore-Tex pants, eVent, nylon, polyester, and canvas.
There is no need to concern yourself with an unpleasant odor or an altering of the original color of your surface.
For modern membrane textiles, this waterproofing spray will maintain the breathability of the original.
The lone size option available is a 16-ounce bottle. For those keeping score at home, Dry Guy claims that this will cover around 50-60 square feet of surface per each bottle.
If you really want to be picky, the surface area for one bottle is not terrific. However, it resembles that of many top sprays. This truly is a tremendous spray and on another list, it may have claimed the top spot. Too bad some, despite their minor issues, are just slightly better.
10. Texsport Polyurethane Seam Sealer
Crafted with professional strength
It manages to reduce the amount of fading caused by the rays of the sun
It starts drying immediately
May leave stains on products, depending on the color
While it claims to be colorless and others have stated different, this waterproofing spray is great as a seam sealer and protectant of the outdoor weather. Its professional strength is its biggest asset, but its placement on this list automatically signifies it is not perfect.Read more
Not only does it do a superb job of repelling water, but it also has a natural ability to repel dirt and reduce the fading that is caused by the sun. Consider this an all-in-one package deal with a simple spray.
This waterproof fabric spray has guaranteed effectiveness on all synthetic fabrics but also does a great job on outdoor gear such as tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks.
Most notable here is its claim to be odorless, as some have disagreed. Be aware that when it dries, you will be able to notice the coating. However, it does not stand out too much.
While this is not an issue nor a priority, you should not have to worry about this altering the breathability of your garments.
Texsport sells this best dwr spray in a 14-ounce bottle and that is the only option that they have available.
About the only factor, you may take issue with is the color residue that is left after applied. Now, it is not as bad as you may think and the color will not stick out that much. But, do not let that take away from its natural ability to repel water, dirt, and reduce fading by the sun.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
As their name indicates, the main purpose of a waterproofing spray is to provide the surface it is applied to a coating that will repel water. As such, waterproofing sprays that can’t adequately do this are basically rendered useless. So, when you are whittling through all sorts of different variation, you can rest assured that at the very least they will be able to repel water. Of course, you will find some that can only do so for short burst, which could be an issue for you.
However, some best hydrophobic spray will do more than providing water protection. In addition to it, you will find some with an additional capability to prevent stains, harmful mold, and color damage from UV rays. All of which have their own uses as the stain and mold resistance will aid when you accidentally spill or do not clean the surface applied. As far as protection from UV rays from the sun, if you leave your fabric out too long the sun will affect the color. With waterproofing sprays that are designed to protect against this, it never becomes a concern.
While this section will not necessarily make one solution superior to the next, it is important as this will give you a specific idea of what kinds of surfaces you can apply the solution to. As you probably noticed throughout this list, most sprays will properly work on a similar amount of fabrics and objects. But, there are some that are better suited for outdoor gear (such as camping tents, boat covers, outdoor furniture, cushions, etc.), while others for waterproof clothing (such as Gore-Tex, softshell, eVent, down, etc.).
However, manufacturers will make it abundantly clear what types of fabric and gear their fabric waterproofing compound will work on. At the very worst, it may not work that well for a specific material (but it should not damage it). This is not something to worry about too much, but keep it in your mind as it is still important.
It is human nature to be apprehensive to apply a chemical directly to one of their favorite fabrics. No matter what they say, the concern is always there that it will alter the original in a way that appalls you, even when using the best fabric waterproofing spray. With this in mind, this may be the most important factor to take into consideration. For waterproofing sprays, the two main areas to analyze (for any alterations of the fabric) are color and odor.
For color, when the solution dries does it have a color or affect the current color? In most situations, as long as you do not over-apply or saturate the area you should be fine. Doing so, with some, may result in a yellowish hue. But, the odor is the one you really need to pay attention to. Often times, the chemical being sprayed will have a pungent smell at first. This makes it necessary to either apply it in a highly-ventilated area or outdoors. However, will the scent remain after it dries? Most on this list have a potent smell but will eventually leave when dried.
Note, this is mainly important when you are applying waterproofing spray to garments but could also come into play for rooftop tents. One of the most important factors of any waterproof clothing is its ability to breathe. Whether you are discussing a down jacket, Gore-Tex jacket, softshell, Under Armour, or even waterprof hiking pants is completely irrelevant. Breathability aids in the overall comfort in clothing as it prevents you from over-heating.
As such, it is vitally important that when you apply a spray of this nature to your already breathable clothing it does not affect it in a negative way. With the way these solutions work, they repel the water and prevent it from seeping through the material. One would think this would mean they must cover the entire surface, thus leaving little room for moisture to escape. But, this is where manufacturers need to focus some of their attention as they need to still allow trapped moisture to escape. As you saw with the majority on this spray on waterproofing list, most do.
Before you even begin the buying process, you will want to answer this simple question: how much and how many items do you plan on using this waterproofing spray for? This will determine the size that you need. From seller to seller, the amount and options provided will vary quite a bit. You may see one with 9.5-ounces, 10.5-ounces or 16.9-ounces. Then, you will even run into sellers offering 128-ounce (one-gallon) versions.
It really just depends on how many times you want to use the spray and how potent it is (if it tends to be needed to be re-applied often). Though, also check into the different packaging options provided to you. For example, does the solution come in packs of two or four? Typically, when they do, the two or four-pack will be cheaper than buying them individually. This can also play a factor as it is never a bad idea to save some money.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking to purchase a waterproofing spray to turn your gear into unpenetrable forces against the rain on your next adventure, look to see how long the sprays take to dry and be in full effect after application. Some sprays take 30 minutes and others take hours. This could have an effect on the ability to waterproof your hammocks in last-minute scenarios, so check to see how long the application time is on each product before making a decision.
There are some guidelines that you want to follow for the best results. As 303 Products recommends, you should always apply it in warm weather. They recommend a temperature of at least 70 degrees and that is because most solutions are properly activated once they have endured warm temperatures.
But, thanks to the odor and chemical, you want to spray in a highly ventilated area. When you are applying it, be sure that you do so in an overlapping, crisscross pattern until it is damp; making sure to not oversaturate the area. After which, allow the solution to dry in a clean and dry environment for as long as the manufacturer recommends.
Other Factors to Consider
No one is here looking to throw away their money, right? The value of the best waterproofing spray for outdoor fabric is always a topic of interest. However, when we consider the value of an item it is important to remember that it is not just the price that we need to look at. Most of all, we want to know that the product actually works.
Lucky for you, these ten waterproof sprays are the best of the best and we can already tell you confidently, that when used correctly, these products do work. Next, you’ll want to investigate the price per ounce. If you are in-between two products, this may be what helps you decide. To determine the price per ounce you can divide the price by the number of ounces in the bottle.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: How long does waterproof spray last?
Under constant use, such as repeated extended use in various weather conditions, you should expect sprays to last anywhere from three weeks up to three months plus.
This really depends on not only the frequency of use but more so on the quality of the product itself. This is one of those times when the old saying "you get what you pay for" might actually mean something. If you cheap out, you could potentially regret it when the rain really falls and you stuck without any other cover beside the shelter you brought with you.
q: Can you seal duct tape with this spray?
The answer to every issue you could ever have is duct tape, right? While that is a different topic for another day, it begs the question of whether or not this type of spray would work on duct tape. Well, do not get your hopes up because the chances of it working are not very strong. First of all, this type of spray is best suited to proof material and not as a sealant. Secondly, the duct tape will have a difficult time absorbing the spray and it will break down over time.
However, if you truly want to find out, apply multiple applications to the duct tape to see if it will help. But, you will probably end up wasting your time and your money. The safe bet is to accept the fact that this is not the way it is intended to use.
q: What should you do if you have already washed your garment with detergent?
Before you even ask, yes you can wash garments that have a waterproof spray on them. In fact, it is highly recommended as dirt and mildew can affect the performance of the garment’s ability to repel water. However, you do not want to do so with normal detergent. So, in case you make this mistake after applying the spray, it does not mean you are out of luck. Because normal detergents will leave a residue that attracts water, you will want to use special detergents such as Tech Wash or Down Wash from Nikwax.
So, all you must do is re-wash it with a special detergent to remove the residue left from the normal detergent. Then, you can apply the waterproofing spray as you normally would and are good to go. When it is time to wash it again, be sure to avoid using normal detergent.
q: Must you pre-wash before water proofing?
Although you may want to apply the solution right away, do not be hasty as you should always wash an item before waterproofing it. This may seem like too much of a hassle for items such as a tent or a boat cover, but here is why you should. Dirt, mildew and excess residues can prevent the waterproofing polymers from bonding to the fibers of the fabric. If this happens, the performance of the waterproofing will be drastically decreased, to the point of useless.
Think of it this way, why would you want to waterproof over dirt? Ridding your gear such as camping chairs from dirt is essential in prolonging its ability to repel water at a sufficient rate. This is essential when proofing garments but you could also do it for larger objects such as quality teepee tents. Say for a boat cover, wash it off (not with a normal detergent) the first time you apply it. You do not have to spend hours on end cleaning it, but at least make an effort as you want the waterproofing to work as efficiently as possible.
q: How do you apply the spray?
You are essentially to the point where you know all you need to. But, this brings up another interesting question. How exactly are you supposed to apply the spray? Guess what,
q: How do you know if the water proofing on your gear is degrading?
Many of you will be looking to invest in this type of spray to re-proof your waterproof hiking gear and garments. The question is, however, when exactly do you know it is time to do this? What happens is the DWR, durable water repellent, begins to fade through no fault of your own (sometimes, unless you do not properly care for it). There are specific signs that will inform you of when this is occurring.
First off, if condensation begins to form on the inside face of the membrane, it is a good sign that your garment is leaking. Secondly, if you begin to notice that more moisture is being trapped inside and it is becoming exceedingly more difficult to breathe you know there is an issue. Lastly, if you notice an increase of weight (whether from moisture or rain) then there is a strong chance it is time to re-proof.
q: What does water-based mean?
During your research process, you may run into the term water-based. Many designers will use a water-based solution to craft their spray and what that basically means is that they primarily use water to achieve its designed purpose. There are a few advantages that water has over other types of solutions. One, as compared to chemical solvents, is that no harmful chemicals are used that will harm you and the environment.
Second, water-based products have a higher amount of concertation and provide more waterproofing. All in all, a water-based solution will keep you drier, is safer to the environment, and are easier to use. Let’s just say that it is a huge bonus.
q: Is waterproof spray toxic?
Unfortunately, there are some ingredients that can be found in some waterproofing sprays that are in fact toxic. If the product contains fluoropolymers, which has much more resistance properties and is much more able to repel water for a longer period of time, there is a risk of intoxication when applied in closed areas that lack any major source of ventilation.
You should keep in mind that the issues really come from extended exposure, like spraying your gear in a closed room without windows. You should also take precautions, to be safe, when applying to your gear while outdoors as well.