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How to Stop a Tent From Leaking

Q: Every time it rains, the inside of my tent gets wet. And, yes, I have a rain fly and a ground cover. The water still seeps through and gets my pillow and my sleeping bag wet. Any tips?
— William, Edwards, California

A: First, check for any leaks. If you find one along a seam, apply a sealant like Gear Aid’s Seam Grip WP Waterproof Sealant and Adhesive ($8, gearaid.com). For the rest of the tent, use a waterproofing spray to fortify the fabric’s integrity — Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof spray ($18.25, nikwax.com) works well.

No leaks? The problem might be how you set up your ground cover. If your ground cover sticks out from the edge of your tent, rain will run underneath and can soak your gear through the floor, which isn’t completely waterproof.

Make sure your ground cover fits completely under your tent. For added protection, cut an interior footprint from a roll of plastic sheeting (you can get one at a hardware store for about $12). Cut it a little bigger than the tent floor so you can form it around the lower sides. This plastic liner will not only help keep water out, but it’ll also catch dirt you’ve tracked in; just shake it out when you break camp.

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