When your tent fly becomes sticky or the coating flakes off, the urethane coating on the fly is starting to break down. This break down process is called delamination and generally starts to happen around 8-10 years of age depending on the care and storage of the tent’s life. This is part of a tent’s natural breakdown process and is not covered under warranty. The good news is this can be remedied at home!
Retreating a Tent:
- Soak the rain fly in cool water with unscented laundry detergent to break down the coating. Scents can attract skunks, bears, and other animals which is why unscented detergent is preferred (you may add a ¼ cup of ammonia in addition to the detergent to speed up the process).
- For any tougher remaining spots, you can soak it in rubbing alcohol. It usually dissolves the urethane into a greenish blob that you can scrape off.
- After a thorough rinse, the fabric should be totally stripped of any coating.
- Allow rain fly to air dry completely.
- Take a bristle brush and gently scrub the fly to remove any remaining urethane flakes that may be present. Stubborn spots may require additional rubbing alcohol.
- You are now ready to apply your waterproofing product. We recommend McNett’s Tent Sure for the underside of the fly, and Revivex for the outside of the fly for additional protection. You may also use Tent Sure for the floor, and Gear Aid’s Seam Grip for the seams.
- Set the rain fly on the ground with the underside facing up (or out). Follow the instructions on the waterproof product to apply a new coating to the fly.
- This is also a good time to retreat the seams, see our Seam Sealing FAQ for more information on how to do this.
This is something that should be done every 8-12 years to keep your tent watertight and your laminate in good condition!