Spring is almost here and I had a free day with a good weather forecast, so what better thing to do than re-proof a tent?

I’ve had my Saunders Backpacker II Extreme for a “long time” – well over 30 years. When I had a look at it a few weeks ago, the fly was in good shape and despite severe tugging along and across all the seams it shows no sign of UV degradation. I knew the fly needed re-proofing and the sewn-in groundsheet definitely needed re-proofing.

I’ve always used Fabsil for re-proofing, but the smell of white spirit seems to hang around for a long time; so I thought I would try NikWax  ‘Tent and Gear Solarproof’, which also contains a UV inhibitor. As it’s a small tent, I got a 300 mL hand spray bottle.

I washed the fly and inner using NikWax Tech Wash. As we live in a soft water area, I used 100 mL of Tech Wash in a bucket of warm water. This did the fly and inner, but produced a lot of foam, so I reckon I could use less TechWash next time round. The good  thing about using these NikWax products is you don’t have to wait for the items to dry before re-proofing, so it is a lot quicker to do.

I pitched the fly in the garden and started spraying – it is quite a coarse spray. I ended up “lightly” spraying one side of the fly and wiping with a damp J-cloth to uniformly spread the coating. I sprayed the other side, then both ends. By then, the first side was mostly dry with a few spots of proofer remaining, so I wiped this side again and then worked my way round the other sides.

Re-proofed tent

Reproofed fly showing beads of water - looking good!

I left the fly for half-an-hour or so; after which it was dry but looked ‘different’, a slight sheen is the best description. My hand was definitely waterproofed and I would recommend wearing gloves and old clothes when using this product!

I knew the seams and along the ridge would need some additional attention so I sprayed and wiped each seam.

I did the same thing with the ground sheet, spraying the long seam down the centre and the seams in each corner where the groundsheet forms the bathtub a second time.

All-in-all a good job done. I reckon I have around half the “Solarproof” left, too. This means, if you are careful, you could re-proof a two-man tent for free! Too late for me, I saw Nikwax have a quiz on their website (still there on 14th March), the prize being a 150 mL sachet of “Solarproof”.

Next post will be on seam-sealing for ‘free’.

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