Outwell Smart Air tents are made to the highest standards using the best materials available in the marketplace today. The polycotton fabric that we use is of a very high quality and is therefore naturally waterproof and breathable before use.
Due to the manufacturing process, the sewing can cause needle ‘holes’ to be noticeable along the seams in the tent – these are nothing to worry about and will in a short space of time seal themselves. Basically what has happened is that the needle is slightly thicker than the thread, and when it is stitched through the fabric, it can leave a needle sized ‘hole’ – this has a very slim chance of letting water through. The fact is there are 1000’s of needle ‘holes’ in each tent BUT we know that in the vast majority of cases these will not leak although occasionally one or two might. As these ‘holes’ get wet the thread will swell and the canvas will shrink so that everything becomes sealed – this is the weathering process.
When the Smart Air Poles (tubes) are inflated they can ‘stretch’ the needle holes making them much more vulnerable to water ingress. To alleviate this potential issue we recommend that, prior to use in the rain, all the Air Pole seams are sprayed on the outside of the tent with Outwell Waterguard, or a propriety make of waterproof spray suitable for polycotton fabrics – this can be done at the campsite when you first arrive if need be. This treatment is fully advisable for all Outwell polycotton Smart Air Tents and will not affect the weathering process or the waterproof and breathable properties of the fabric when in use.
After doing this there is generally little need to weather your tent but if you wish to do so then there are two basic options. Once the tent is pitched you can either wet it with a garden hose, or waiting for the rain. Wetting the tent with a garden hose, particularly on the seams will allow the fabric to tighten and the thread to swell. This is best done on a warm, dry day so that your tent can dry out quickly and if necessary you can repeat the process. If you wait for rain the process will be longer as you will have to wait for a period of good weather to get your tent dry before packing it away.
There is a water repellent coating on the fabric that allows water to bead very quickly off the fabric thus aiding the waterproof process but not hindering the breathable properties of the fabric. After very prolonged use this coating will wear away, this does not hinder the overall performance of the tent/fabric but if need be can be reapplied using a reputable water based repellent as available in all good outdoor retailers.
All Outwell Smart Air Polycotton tents are both waterproof and breathable – this is the unique nature of this fabric allowing them to have the best properties for use when out camping. This makes the fabric dynamic in use and the best choice for the most comfortable, camping experience in all climates.
We hope that this has helped answer your question. If we can be of further assistance please contact us here.