Quality polyester is arguable the best synthetic for tent production as it is a rugged material that requires less immediate care – although tents should still be stored clean and dry. Its light weight and low bulk not only makes it ideal when transport and storage space are at a premium but it also makes pitching easier. Such user-friendly properties coupled with a relatively economic price tag makes it a good fabric for family use – especially for regular short jaunts with little time in between for drying.
The fabric’s waterproof properties stem from coatings applied to the inside surface and this is tested to provide a hydrostatic head rating (the pressure required to push water through the coating and fabric). While this acts as a guide to a fabric’s performance other factors, like the quality of the base material and the application of the coatings, also affect how waterproof a fabric remains over time. Sealed seams stop water entry.
While no water can enter a tent it means no water vapour can escape so condensation is often a problem unless there is sufficient ventilation – and this is often mistaken by campers for a leak.
Dirt, grease and oil will not affect waterproof properties although the coatings can be damaged by substances like insect repellents. But, along with wear, they will impact on the DWR treatment used on the outer face to stop the fabric wetting out. As with cotton, clean off any dirt, grease and oils, rinse and spray on a water repellent as necessary. Reproofing is not a regular maintenance task and any patches ‘wetting out’ can be quickly treated with a DWR spray like the Outwell Water Guard.
Synthetics deteriorate under the sun’s UV radiation and this will accelerate if used in certain areas in direct sunlight for extended periods. We have created our own range of Outtex polyester fabrics to enhance positive features and use UV-inhibitors for extra protection.