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The 3 Easy Steps to ‘WEATHERING’ your Tent, Caravan, Motorhome or Campervan Awning - or you'll let the weather in!

Today’s new tents and awnings have the benefit of the accumulated manufacturers’ knowledge, experience and the latest materials technology from developing previous products over the years – plus ‘real-use’ feedback from all of their customers and distributor network…so what could possibly go wrong?!

One thing that can often catch new tent and awning users out is the fact that these products require ‘weathering’ before actually being used on a camp site for the first time – here’s why…

The outer skins of tents and awnings involve sheets of UV-protected and waterproof material being cut and slightly overlapped in-keeping with the particular pattern being followed, then sewn together to form the shape of the structure. The joins created by this process are the seams, where an industrial sewing machine has made rows of needle holes into which strong thread is stitched, to hold them together. The same applies where zips and other features are attached to the main cover, creating more seams with threaded holes along their entire length.

At the time of manufacture, these needle holes are slightly bigger than the thickness of the thread running through them. Although very small, these holes are big enough for moisture to pass through, especially when there’s heavy rain. Therefore, rain can  drip through into the tent… at first. Because something really useful then happens – when the thread gets wet a few times it swells to fill the needle holes and blocks the water from getting through.

So, much better than letting this all happen when you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep at a campsite on a rainy night, you’d be better ‘weathering’ your new tented structure in advance of using it. Agree?

To weather your tent or awning, all you need to do is…

1.       Set up your new tent or awning at home, before using it (a pretty sensible thing to do in any case rather than set it up for the first time with all your new campsite neighbours watching you over their mugs of tea!).  

2.       Use a hosepipe and allow the outer skin of the tent or awning to get completely soaked, then leave it until it’s fully dried. Ideally, repeat this process two or three times to ensure that the seams become completely watertight.

3.       Ensure that the structure is completely dry before packing up again, to avoid mould and a musty smell.

PLEASE NOTE: Although this weathering process is particularly needed for tents and awnings made from Polycotton/TC (Technical Cotton) material, we agree with tent and awning manufacturers in advising customers to proof all new tents and awnings against water ingress, as suggested above. This is regardless of the type of waterproof material used, even with synthetic Polyester materials when seams will usually be taped to prevent water seepage.

After you've carried out this weathering process, you can rely on your tent or caravan, motorhome or campervan awning to perform to its full potential in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines - so happy camping!

(Footnote: If water inside your tent or awning is still an issue after it’s been weathered properly, take a look at our helpful videos on the subject – it's something that comes up many, many times when talking to customers in-person and on the phone!)


Norwich Camping & Leisure Village, in Blofield, east of Norwich, Norfolk, has one of the UK’s largest outdoor displays of tents and awnings, plus indoor showroom displays of camping & caravanning equipment, outdoor clothing, garden furniture & barbecues, garden buildings and a fully-stocked garden centre.

Tent and awning brands include: VangoKampaDometicTeltaOutdoor RevolutionColemanOutwellOztentQuestRoyalWild CountryZempireCamptechDoremaIsabellaSunncampStreetwize.     

The Leisure Village also has a farm shop, coffee shop, new & used campervan sales, campervan hire & conversions and a professional-standard car, camper & caravan hand-wash station. With over 50 years of experience and practical, friendly advice – plus our Best Price / Price Match Policy and low-rate finance terms why not come along and see us!    Tel: 01603 717600    [email protected]    Follow us on Twitter!