Camping, Backpacking & Hiking

The Best Waterproofing Spray to Beat the Rain in 2020

best waterproofing spray
Bertie
Written by Bertie

Water rolling down your back? Wet feet? Accidentally sitting down on soggy outdoor furniture? The waterproofing sprays in this article will help you avoid any (and all) of these pitfalls. 

Sure your stuff was probably awesome when you first bought it, but even the best waterproofing wears off eventually. And a good waterproofing spray will probably give it the refresh that it needs. 

Obviously there are lots of different waterproofing spray for different jobs, but the 3 best waterproofing sprays we could find were:

The best all-purpose waterproofing spray, especially for outdoor gear. Silicone based.

The best tent waterproofing spray, as in addition to waterproofing it also protects gear from sun damage.

The best waterproofing spray for patio furniture. Fantastic coverage and long-lasting protection.

If none of those work for you then not to worry; we've looked at several more world-class sprays. So if you need something specifically for shoes, or DWR, or jackets, just hit one of the links below to find out more...

Kiwi Camp Dry Review

Specs

This waterproof spray comes as a pack of three, with each canister containing 10.5 fluid ounces. The registered trademarked spray offers durable silicone protection for outdoor gear. The compounds in the spray have explicitly been made to bind homogeneously with leather and fabric to provide waterproof protection. 

The Verdict

Standard waterproofing sprays are made from polymers that make your outdoor gear very difficult to use. They harden fabric, which is counter-intuitive, especially when you need to move around in a jacket or a pair of boots. But this isn’t the case with Kiwi Camp Dry. 

Kiwi uses robust silicone to fill these “gaps” in your outdoor gear and create a waterproof yet flexible surface. This makes it ideal for tents, boots, and hunting equipment. 

Silicone offers many advantages when compared to other sealants. It easily bonds to leather or other commonly used fabric to form a tough, water-resistant layer that protects your gear from moisture. It does this while allowing ventilation.

It’s important to consider the sprays you use on your outdoor gear that feature leather. This is usually a premium material that is meant to last a lifetime. But it can easily be ruined when the wrong waterproofing agent is used. The KIWI Camp Dry won’t harm your leather jackets or boots, but prolong their lives and ensure you enjoy using them. 

The silicone used in the KIWI Camp Dry is treated to ensure it remains odor-free. There’s no point in using waterproof gear when it has an unpleasant odor. This usually becomes irritating to those around, and sacrificing the comfort of others for performance isn’t necessary, especially when there are such good quality products on the market.

When buying online it usually comes as a pack of three aerosol sprays. This makes it ideal for camping gear. Usually, one can of spray isn’t enough for all your gear. Tents, boots, bags, and clothing require more than just 10.5 fluid ounces of water-repellent spray. 

In Summary

This product will satisfy most outdoor enthusiasts. It’s reliable and offers an odorless water barrier. You can use it on all kinds of material, from the nubuck used on hiking boots to the suede of your favorite field jacket.

But, while it is an excellent all-purpose waterproofing spray, if you are looking for a non-silicone spray, you definitely shouldn't buy it! Instead look for a water-based spray like Nikwax.

Nikwax Solarproof Review

Specs

The water-based, 16.9 fluid ounce waterproof spray is free from PFCs and VOCs. It’s odorless and provides UV protection to materials. The product is packaged in a flat fan nozzle, which reduces the amount of spray wasted. 

The Verdict

There are various reasons why we consider this the best tent waterproofing spray. The Nikwax Solarproof maintains the breathable and versatile performance of your gear while ensuring moisture doesn’t accumulate from the inside. 

It does this while simultaneously repelling rain from the outer surface. The result of this performance is that your tent stays dry on both the inside and the outside. This creates a more comfortable environment when camping. 

Waterproof tents usually repel water on the outer surface, but don’t stop it from gathering inside your tent at the edges. This will be taken care of every time you use the Nikwax.

Since most high-end tents are manufactured with weather-proof material, the Nikwax is well-suited to restore the water-repellency of such products. With consistent use, tents become less water-resistant. A good spray like this prolongs or restores its original performance and returns your outdoor gear to its former glory.

In addition, your tent becomes UV protected when this waterproofing spray is used on it to increase its lifespan. UV radiation damages textiles or material if they’re regularly exposed to sunlight, something you’d expect your tent to go through. The effects of UV radiation, like decolorization, are prevented by the Nikwax Solarproof. 

The drying time of a waterproofing agent is critical. This is the time it takes for your outdoor gear to be ready for use after the application of the treatment. Unlike most waterproof sprays on the market, your tent will be usable relatively quickly after treatment from the Nikwax. This is done by the fabric binding mechanism used during treatment. 

Elastic water-repellent polymers bind to fibers in the tent fabric and leave little spaces between them open for breathability. These polymers then contract and expand with the fabric to ensure your tent remains as flexible and soft as it was before treatment. 

In Summary

For those who camp regularly in unforgivable weather, a waterproof spray like the Nikwax Solarproof is imperative to ensuring your tent shields you from the elements. It gives you great water-repellency and even UV protection while not compromising the versatility of your tent.

Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield Review

Specs 

Scotchgard waterproof spray (10.5fl oz cans) is safe to use on polyester, cotton, nylon, and leather—suede and nubuck too. It requires relatively little application to be effective and protects from stains as well as waterproofing. 


The Verdict 

Durable protection and water-repellency are made possible by just one application of the Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield. Unlike other products that require quite a heavy application — often to the point of finishing the bottle -  Scotchgard is effective enough to guarantee water resistance with minimal spraying. 

This makes it an ideal spray to use on your patio furniture. One can provides 60 square feet of water-repellency on nylon or 20 square feet on heavier materials like suede and nubuck.

Because breathability is maintained after application, the Scotchgard is suitable for outdoor furniture and accessories like boat and car covers. It’s uncommon to find a waterproofing spray that doesn’t compromise the comfort and elasticity of a material. But this particular spray avoids both these things and will leave you satisfied. 

In Summary

The Scotchgard Heavy Duty Water Shield is one of the best waterproof sprays to protect your outdoor furniture. The extensive range of materials you can use it on is impressive. Be sure to buy two or more if you have a lot of fabric you need to apply the spray on. 

Camp Dry vs Scotchgard 

Scotchgard's performance is very similar to that of the Kiwi Camp Dry. Camp Dry is an incredible waterproofing spray but is better suited to camping and hiking gear that already has some water resistance designed in. Scotchgard, by contrast, tends to be a much better waterproof spray for general outdoor fabrics like patio furniture and canvas covers.

Atsko Silicone Water Guard vs Scotchgard

A suitable alternative to the Scotchgard is the Atsko Silicone Water Guard. Side-by-side there's not much between them. However some people report that Atsko can slightly decolorize some fabrics (especially white ones) and Scotchgard seems specially formulated to have greater coverage.

If you're most interested in bang for buck when protecting patio furniture, then the better coverage from Scotchgard is a huge plus.  

best waterproofing spray for shoes

Specs

This silicone-based water guard comes in a pack of 2 x10.5oz cans. It dries in 24 hours and is fully cured in 72 hours. It's suitable for clothes, tents, sleeping bags, footwear, gloves and all sorts of outdoor furniture.

It also uses a C02 propellant which is good news for those people who worry about aerosols.

The Verdict

Atsko Silicone Water-Guard spray works on a whole range of outdoor gear but is unbeatable for shoes and boots! It works for canvas, suede and leather.

It does smell while it is curing, but after 72 hours you will find that it is odorless. This does mean you need to plan in advance when to apply it. (Don't use it on the day of a camping trip!).

You should avoid using silicone treatments on waterproof breathable (WPB) garments like Gore-Tex because they will destroy, rather than enhance, the waterproofing. If you want to re-proof a WPB garment then you should look at a product like Grangers Outdoor Gear Cleaner which is water-based and excellent for Gore-Tex.

Also, this is probably one to avoid if you are looking to re-proof a white garment as there are several reports of discoloration. But regardless, you should always test out any new spray on a hidden area before you do a full application.

In Summary...

Atsko created a product that will keep your feet dry and shoes protected in all sorts of weather and environments. If you like dry socks, you will be satisfied with this water repellent.

best waterproofing spray for tents

Specs

This 10 fluid ounce, water-based spray is biodegradable. It’s odorless and free from PFCs and VOCs. This spray, like others from the same brand, is packaged with a flat fan nozzle. It’s also available in 16.9 and 33.8 fluid ounce bottles. 

The Verdict

Nikwax has two products featured on our list. It’s a remarkable company that’s committed to providing quality products to its loyal customers. You get great value for money when purchasing their products, and unlike items from lesser-known manufacturers, you can trust the performance specs you get from Nikwax. 

The company has introduced a variety of innovations since its founding in 1977. Among other things, it was the first company to develop a non-softening wax for leather boots, which is still a popular product. As discussed earlier, a common trend was for waterproofing agents to make fabrics very hard—Nikwax changed all that with their patented formula. 

DWR is an abbreviation for Durable Water Repellent. This is a term that’s commonly associated with the technical outerwear found in stores today. It’s a waterproof coating that’s applied to garments such as parkas, pants, field jackets, and coats. 

As with all waterproof coatings, their effectiveness depreciates over time. Unless given treatment to restore or enhance their previous performance, the garment will lose its water-repellency. This is where products like the Nikwax TX Direct come in. 

This product has been made specifically for outerwear garments. If you’re a person who loves the great outdoors, you most likely have purchased DWR clothing which could be breathing its last breath. 

Instead of disposing or no longer relying on them, you can restore them to their previous glory using this spray. It’s the best chance your garments have for revival and is designed for wet weather clothing. Your outdoor gear will have improved water-repellency as well as breathability with a spray of this product.

In Summary 

Old gear can be given new life by this affordable and simple-to-use waterproofing spray. And unlike many other waterproofing sprays, the fact it's water-based rather than silicone-based is big plus on the eco front.

Revivex vs. Nikwax

Whenever you get two big brands competing folk want to know which one is the best of the best. This battle isn't exactly Microsoft vs Apple but it's still a question I get asked. So here goes:

First off, because this article is about waterproofing sprays, I won't be commenting on the wash-in waterproofing options of either company. I may deal with that in a separate article. (If you want that info feel free to check out the Amazon reviews of Revivex's Wash In Fabric Cleaner and compare them against the reviews of Nikwax's Tech Wash product).

The rest of this section will look specifically at Nikwax TX Direct vs Revivex Instant Waterproofing Spray. Both products are "durable water repellent" (DWR) sprays. Both are non-silicone and water-based. Both can be used on outerwear, tents, sleeping bags and footwear.

Application: Spray vs Aerosol

Revivex comes in an aerosol can whereas Nikwax prefers a trigger spray mechanism. Each to their own (and I can absolutely see how an aerosol is marginally more convenient) but I definitely prefer the manual trigger spray approach. I'm not keen on the extra resources required for an aerosol delivery (it seems wasteful and, of course, you have to pay for it). And I've always found aerosols seem to run out of propellant before the can is empty.

So Nikwax (IMO) feels less wasteful and better value. You can also refill spray bottles (although at this time Nikwax to not seem to offer a refill. Nikwax: If you're reading this, you know what to do!).

A spray bottle does not impact coverage.

Odor

Revivex wins this one as it's virtually odorless. Nikwax isn't exactly stinky, but it does have a mild vinegary smell to it. It doesn't linger for long after an application, though, and it's generally best to re-proof gear in a well-ventilated space anyway. (And even though Revivex has no odor, it doesn't mean it isn't firing nano-particles into the area which many aerosol dispensers do.).

So for me this isn't a big deal, but if you have a super-sensitive nose, it might be a big deal for you!

Number of Applications Required

Both products really need more than one application in my experience. Nikwax recommend that you use their wash-in product prior to using their spray on product. That certainly seems to yield better results.

I struggled with the coverage of the Revivex tbh. It seemed to use a lot of product per sq foot and result was that I ran through the can far quicker than the bottle of Nikwax without getting better results.

Nikwax vs Revivex? Nikwax wins again as the fl ounces will go further.

Waterproofing Ability?

If you look at the reviews on Amazon for each product (here for Revivex and here for Nikwax) then you would get the impression that Nikwax is significantly better than Reivex.

I actually think this is a little unfair. Both products are extremely high quality and manufactured by experts. Much like the video below, I don't think there's a huge difference between them when it comes to actual waterproofing.

The main differences seem to be that:

  1. When combined with their wash in product, Nikwax spray is really effective
  2. It uses a trigger spray bottle not an aerosol
  3. Nikwax has better coverage and is therefore offers better bang for buck

And that's why, on balance, I usually recommend Nikwax.

Revivex DWR — Best Waterproof Spray for Jackets

Specs

The 10.5 fluid ounce waterproofing spray is free from PFOA, PFOS, and silicon. Each spray can treat, depending on size, two to four jackets. A larger version of the product is available in a 16.9 fluid ounce size, which can spray four to seven jackets. 

The Verdict 

Gear Aid is extremely popular among outdoor enthusiasts. It has a wide variety of items in its product catalog, which allows them to make niche products and specific pieces of outdoor gear. One such product from its celebrated range is the Revivex DWR, which is  designed for use on jackets.

The previous waterproofing spray we looked at is best for many types of DWR outdoor gear. These could be outerwear, bags, pants, or even tents. The Revivex is best suited for jackets, but you can also use it on other pieces, such as ski pants, gloves, bibs, drysuits, down jackets, and backpacks.  

Jackets are often cleaned on a regular basis, and this can affect the waterproof treatment. Having a suitable treatment that ensures great performance after a wash is essential. 

The problem with some detergents on the market is that they can inhibit waterproofing or remove the water-repellent coating created by the spray. This is why it’s imperative to consider detergents used when cleaning your treated garments. 

But it’s even more important to consider the waterproofing agent used. The lifespan of water-repellency has always been a definitive factor when considering which product to buy. The Revivex DWR performs really well in this sector. You’re able to wear your jacket long after applying treatment to it and can rely on it to ensure you remain dry. 

In Summary

The product provides much-needed reliability. Treat your jacket once, and you’re guaranteed long-lasting water-repellency. There are very few products that can promise optimal performance after machine washing your garment. The GEAR AID Revivex is one of them.

KIWI Boot Waterproofer — Best Waterproofing Spray for Boots

Specs

This is a 10.5 fluid ounce silicon waterproofing spray. Unlike the Camp Dry, this purchase only comes with one can. It offers protection to your hiking and hunting boots and is only suitable for tough, rugged leather fabric. Decolorization is prevented by the high-performance formula featured in this product. 

The Verdict

Footwear matters. Even more so when you’re hiking or camping. To keep outdoor boots pristine and waterproof, a special waterproofing spray for boots is needed. This one from KIWI does a tremendous job while prolonging the lifespan of your boots. 

As stated earlier, leather needs a more delicate treatment. It’s more valuable than the common materials found in outdoor gear—cotton, wool, and nylon—and requires a trusted system that won’t harm them. KIWI trusts their product to deliver water-repellency without any side-effects. 

Just like Nikwax, KIWI also has two brands featured on our list. This solidifies its reputation as a formidable manufacturer. It’s also the producer of our favorite product on the list—the Camp Dry—so you can be guaranteed that it is worth considering for your boots.

The formula used in this product binds well with leather and fabric commonly found in boots. It creates a tough layer that protects your shoes from moisture. It’s easy to use, and the nozzle provides an even spray.

In Summary

A brilliantly performing waterproofing spray from a credible manufacturer. Protect your shoes and boots with one of the best products on the market. Even in the snow, you can expect exceptional performance from this spray. 

best all round waterproofing spray

Specs 

This 1-gallon product offers waterproofing, stain protection, and UV protection. It comes in a white plastic bottle that features a regular lid, though there’s also 22 and 64 fluid ounce bottles with sprayers. To make use of the spray for this large option, you must buy a nozzle spray separately. 

The Verdict

This product covers an astonishing 465 square feet of fabric. That’s a mid-sized room of fabric you could make waterproof. But to be fair, the product is considerably larger than the other products on our list. 

As stated in the specifications, the Star Brite also protects against stains. Most stains penetrate garments in the same way water does. If a fabric is made water-repellent, most stains aren’t able to damage it. 

The spray maintains the breathability and ventilation of your backpack. This is important in ensuring your bag doesn’t have any unpleasant smells after prolonged use. 

Odor is caused by chemical reactions, and these can be initiated by UV light. The protection from UV light offered by this product makes sure no unwanted chemical reactions take place. These could lead to bad odors or decolorization of the bag’s fabric. 

The minor drawback in this waterproofing spray is that it requires a higher dosage when compared to other waterproofing sprays on our list. This isn’t much of a problem; you do have an entire gallon to make use of and the $ to fl oz ratio means it's worth it. 

In Summary

A useful waterproofing spray to have in your house. It’s large enough to be used on a variety of outdoor gear and is ideal for protecting your backpack from stains, water, and UV damage.

Is polyester waterproof?

Well, nothing is completely waterproof. But polyester is actually water-resistant, which is quite different than waterproof.

Basically, polyester is able to protect you from most everyday situations, like if you step out in the rain or the snow. It won’t remain dry or protect you from water if it’s underwater for a prolonged period of time though.

This because any polyester item isn’t necessarily woven together to be waterproof, even if the individual threads are. Polyester clothing also has zippers and openings to let the water in. But polyester is water resistant, meaning that it’s extremely dense and it will take much more time for any water to seep in. Polyester may not be a natural waterproof fabric, but the waterproof resistance is still perfect for camping or for a drizzle.

How to waterproof fabric

You have a waterproof spray in your hands and want to waterproof your fabric. So… what do you do? Well, instead of waiting for your fabric to dry or trying desperately to keep it out of the rain, try waterproofing your fabric first.

It should only take a few minutes to apply, and a few more hours for the fabric to dry fully. When you’re done, the water should roll right off rather than soaking in.

Using a waterproofing spray

When you’re using a waterproof spray, first start by laying out your fabric over a piece of cardboard. Lightly spray the surface of the fabric while holding the can about 6 inches away. Go over the entire piece of fabric without applying it too heavily. So, the fabric should not be completely saturated with spray.

Usually, you’ll want to put on a second coat after you let the fabric dry for about four hours. After that dries, then you’ll be good to go and ready to test it out.

With Wax

You also have the option to use wax to seal the waterproofing quality into your fabric. This is a more labor-intensive option than using waterproofing sprays, but if you have the items, you can use this method instead. You’ll first need to melt the paraffin wax using a double boiler while your fabric goes into the dryer to warm it up. This makes applying the wax easier.

From there, apply the hot wax to the fabric with a small paintbrush, working over the fabric one section at a time. Dry the wax by aiming a hair dryer on high at the fabric, letting the wax melt into the fabric.

How to waterproof a backpack

There’s nothing worse than hiking in the rain and realizing that your backpack and everything inside it is now wet. Use your waterproofing spray to protect it.

Alternatively, a rain cover is always an option. They won’t keep all the water out, and it will be hard to get your items, but they’ll provide extra protection.

Leather Waterproofing

Leather is different from other materials. It’s very porous, so it won’t ever be completely waterproof, but you can protect it from water by waterproofing it yourself. Apply a waterproofing spray like normal, or use the waxing method we talked about for leather boots.

How to Waterproof Boots & Shoes

Waterproofing shoes with a spray is actually quite easy and will save you a lot of wet socks when you're out hiking in the rain. This process may be different though depending on what kind of boots you have.

Step 1: Cleaning 

First, make sure that your boots are completely clean. This means removing the laces and using a brush to get rid of any dirt or grime. You can even soak the boots to remove any dirt caked on the bottom. Just let them dry before you start applying your waterproof spray.

Fabric Boots

If you have fabric, make sure that it’s completely clean first. You can spray fabric boots while they’re wet or dry, but many people like to make sure they’re dry and leave them out overnight to dry. This takes longer, but you’ll be able to see if you got all the spots.

Leather Boots

Start with clean leather shoes and use a hairdryer to heat the boots up. This lets the boots absorb the wax better. All you do from there is rub the wax over the boots, let it dry for about an hour, and get moving.

About the author

Bertie

Bertie

I’m Bertie and I’ve been enjoying the wilderness for as long as I can remember. I get out camping, hiking and backpacking whenever I can. And when I can’t, I enjoy writing about outdoor-related stuff!

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