Even if you spend a lot of money on a tent, it might leak. Moreover, you may have heard that touching it might cause it to leak.
So, does touching the tent make it leak? There are a few possible causes for this, and being aware of the issue might help you address it.
When you stand inside the tent and touch it, the surface tension is broken, and the hydrostatic head is the only thing keeping water out. You will face a leak if it isn’t enough to keep the water out.
This article will analyze this issue in more detail. Let’s dive into the details!
Does Touching The Tent Make It Leak?
If you touch the tents, you will most likely cause them to leak since breaking their surface tension. The top layer of water molecules won’t be adequately bound if surface tension is not maintained, quickly leading to a leak.
Another factor that might be to blame is the hydrostatic head, which is a portion of the tent’s fabric qualities that helps keep liquid out.
The surface tension may vary due to contact, but the hydrostatic head will stay the same and keep water out.
Can You Touch The Sides Of The Tent?
Touching the sides of the tent is not suggested since they might become moist in rainy conditions. Water can enter the tents through the walls if anything touches their sides.
If you do not want to wake up in a flood, you must avoid touching the sides or baggage at all times.
Why Does The Tent Leak While You Touch It?
If you touch the sidewalls of a tent, the surface tension will attract the water to your touch, and it begins to leak. When you remove your hand from the spot, this impact will stop, but the liquid will remain.
If it is humid outside, which generally is when it is raining, this will attract moisture from inside the tent.
As long as the humidity is high, this mist will continue to accumulate till there’s a bit of water, and this location can convert into a leakage.
The hydrostatic head is another component in the equation. While surface tension changes due to your touching, the hydrostatic head remains constant, and it can prevent water penetration.
You’ve probably heard the phrase HH for synthetic tents, which stands for the hydrostatic head. It is one of the features that tents will guarantee that they are waterproof.
The number beside HH represents the maximum height of a water column that the cloth can withstand. So, the more rain that falls on your tent, the greater the pressure that water exerts on the covering.
The height of the column depends on the maximum pressure point, and this level in millimeters represents the fabric’s hydrostatic head. So, for example, if your camp has an HH of 4000, it can hold a 5000 mm height water column.
Other factors, such as the tent’s zippers and seams, must also be considered. But the more significant the HH number, the more waterproof the fabric can be.
Yet, its general construction can influence how effectively it keeps water out.
Because of surface tension, although you have a shelter with an incredible HH number, touching the tent might still trigger a leak.
Cohesion forces will be present in water molecules, allowing them to bond together. Touching may cause this to be disrupted, resulting in a liquid droplet forming in the region.
To create a single volume, all of these atoms will interact with one another, and each one will attract the others.
Water would generally be prevented from entering the fabric by surface tension, but water will typically be allowed to enter in a specified location if this force is disturbed.
Therefore, for the most outstanding results, choose a tent with a great HH and avoid breaking its surface tension as much as possible.
In addition to not touching the canvas, you must avoid keeping your suitcases against the tent’s sides since this has the same effect and results in all your stuff becoming wet.
We’ve established that tents resist water mainly owing to their ‘HH’ value. The higher the number, the more waterproof your tents will be.
What is the mechanism that allows water to enter? The capillary action is what we are referring to.
Capillary action, in basic terms, is the capacity of liquids to flow through tiny openings without the aid of gravity or pressure.
Let’s pretend you’ve dipped a straw into a glass of water. You’ve probably seen the phenomenon of water unexpectedly rising to a specific height without being manipulated.
Plants get water from the soil by their roots, based on that precise notion. Now imagine yourself zooming in on the material in your thoughts.
Micropores are present in your tents, as you may have suspected. They are capillaries, which are tiny tubes.
Capillary action has a similar purpose to your tent’s hydrostatic head. The smaller the ‘HH’ number, the lesser the capillary action, and the less likely water will pass through its gaps.
Factors Cause A Leaky Tent
A leaky camp may be quite inconvenient for a camper. The following factors frequently cause leaks:
Touching The Tents From The Inside
When it is raining, touching inside causes the tents to leak since the water surface pressure tends to break as you approach the interior walls.
The mechanism of surface water tension allows water droplets to join together and withstand external forces.
When the surface tension breaks, the water flows into the material, creating leaks. It can happen fast if you accidentally touch the sides while sleeping.
PU Coating Deterioration
Polyurethane is a synthetic compound used to cover the tent’s outer layer to keep it from leaking. In addition, it allows it to be waterproof.
Despite its use, polyurethane does not endure indefinitely; it degrades with time, either due to improper storage or because your camp is just old. As a result, it no longer resists water as well as it formerly did.
Mostly every tent has seams that can ultimately break down. So camp manufacturers use specific tape to cover the seams of their tents to increase their water resistance.
This tape will eventually pull away, which might cause leakage if you realize that your camp is wet where the seams are placed.
Tear In The Floor Of The Tent
If you pitch your tents in an inclined region, pebbles, sticks, and even strain can damage the bottom of your tents. These tears cause leaks.
Before erecting your tents, make sure it is free of any abrasive items. Moreover, ensure that the soil is not slanted to prevent stresses in the floor from tearing it.
Condensation from the inside or outside may cause the camp to become damp. Internal condensation occurs as a result of body perspiration or breathing.
To avoid this, ensure it has a few correct vents to make it more ventilated without sacrificing the warmth. Also, avoid sleeping with too many clothes on because this may induce sweat.
When you spend the night near water sources, condensation develops outside. Water evaporating from lakes or rivers, for example, makes the air damp and susceptible to condensation.
How To Avoid Leaking A Tent?
The best solution to avoid leakage is to keep your hands away from the fabric as much as possible. First and foremost, if you camp with a mattress, you should replace it right away.
Because these cushions are generally big, you’ll be more likely to contact the tents from inside. Alternatively, invest in a sleeping mat, which will take up far less room while still providing adequate comfort.
Additionally, you may want to consider purchasing a foam or a giant tent. A four-person camp could be too tiny if you’re camping with three people. Otherwise, acquire the one that can accommodate 1-2 more people.
Think about putting your belongings between your sleeping bag and your body; it will not get wet if you use this strategy. But, it will not solve the leaking problem because contacting the inner portion still occurs.
How To Fix A Leaking Tent?
Apart from touching the tents, there are many reasons causing water to come into your tents. Therefore, we will provide you with a practical solution for each circumstance.
It is not unusual to see condensation from the inside of your tents when you wake up. It is because we release moisture when sleeping. When the heated steam contacts the tent’s cool walls, it condenses and becomes water.
It is most visible on polyester tents, and it can be exacerbated if you use a burner inside the tent. If your shoes are damp, place them under the awning or on the porch.
Wet jackets and garments can also cause condensation. On occasion, condensation can be spotted hanging from your tent’s ceiling, which isn’t a leaking roof.
Condensation can also flow down each side of your tent, resulting in water pools on the floor. So, ensure it is sufficiently ventilated at night.
In some cases, you might seal your tent’s vents to prevent the cold air in, but this is a poor idea.
You want your camp to keep you from the elements, but was it constructed for the conditions you’ll be encountering? The Hydrostatic Head value of your tent’s fabric is one thing to consider.
We’ve had relatively heavy rain with a low hydrostatic head. It looked like the water was driven through minute pores in the polyester fabric’s weave, generating a thin layer in the camp that left everything moist.
We cannot make sure if it was it or if it was merely moisture on the tent’s sides being blown off by the winds. Even in a non-leaking one, though, items can become wet.
It is best to alter your plans and do not go camping if truly harsh weather is expected because it may be stronger than your tent was built for.
You may be surprised to learn that you should dampen your new tent before taking it camping.
There are probably some spots on the tent where stitching runs through the materials. That’s most commonly seen where the door zips are fastened.
Because these tiny stitching holes might let water in, producers employ a thread that swells when wet. It will then dry somewhat thicker than when sewn in the manufacturer, closing the little gap.
Getting your tent wet before all the thread swells and fills the holes may take some effort. “Weathering” is the term for this procedure.
You should seal any sewing threads on polyester tents as soon as possible. If you have a polycotton tent, you may have seen some water inside the material, depending on how thin the weave is.
Filling the weave will need to go through numerous soaking and drying processes. So, remember to get your new camp damp before taking it camping.
Water entering the tents through the seams is the most typical source of leaks we’ve encountered. It’s the point where a piece of material meets another.
Sewing flaws can sometimes be visible. For example, it may be on a junction where the wind has loosened the seam stitching.
Sometimes the issue is so minor that it is difficult to detect. However, there is generally a low-cost option that you can try out! That is using a seam sealant, which can stop moisture from leaking through the seams.
- Read more: How To Fix the tent that is always sticky?
So, does touching the tent make it leak? Unfortunately, many tents leak when accidentally touched from the inside. This occurrence can be highly inconvenient, but there are explanations for it and solutions.
We hope this post provided some answers to your issues and our solutions benefit you a lot. Thank you for reading!