A folding tent has to offer a lot more than just good looks. It should offer protection from the sun, wind - and ideally also rain. That is why professional users in particular prefer to use a waterproof folding pavilion. But what are the criteria for this and when can a folding tent rightly be called "waterproof"? Find out about what you should look out for when buying!
In general, every folding tent - even in private garden use - should withstand a minimum amount of rain. After all, no one wants to have to fold up the tent and go inside as soon as a little precipitation announces itself. When it comes to the professional and commercial sector, a fully waterproof folding pavilion is essential. This is why waterproof folding pavilions are used, for example, as market tents, rescue tents, work tents, party and event tents, garden tents, outdoor tents, catering tents, promotion tents and more.
If you buy a folding pavilion for outdoor use, you should make absolutely sure that the model is really waterproof. The ISO 811 standard (DIN EN 20811:1992) determines the resistance of textiles to water penetration. The test is to see how much water pressure a surface can withstand until the third drop has penetrated the fabric.
The European standard EN 343:2003 refers to rain protective clothing and is based on water pressure. According to this, a product with a water column of 800 mm or more is waterproof class 2, and 1,300 mm or more is waterproof class 3.
The EMPA (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research) in St. Gallen (Switzerland) applies even stricter standards: It only classifies functional material as waterproof from a water column of 4,000 mm. By the way, Pro‑Tent fabrics have a water column of 10,000 mm.
You are familiar with this from treating shoes: A simple impregnation makes textiles or other materials water-repellent. If a folding tent is only labelled as water-repellent, but not waterproof, you should not consider buying it. Because water-repellent ends where waterproof begins - with a water column of 800 mm. So under a water-repellent tent, you'll still get wet if it rains.
To find out whether a folding pavilion can withstand continuous rain, you should take a close look at the overall workmanship. Because in addition to the waterproof fabric which is used, it is particularly important to check the seams. These must feature at least one seam sealing tape. It is even better if the thread used is also water repellent.
Last but not least, a perfect roof cut with an even slope is also important. This not only makes the tent look great, but also prevents water pockets from forming. Panel tensioners also prevent water pockets. If you like it both waterproof and windproof as well, our premium folding tents Pro-Tent MODUL 4000 and Pro-Tent 5000 with patented Omega profile are the perfect choice. As the side walls are mounted directly into the system slot, the pavilions are absolutely waterproof and windproof.
How waterproof the pavilion is depends on various factors. In addition to the water column, which should be over 4,000 mm according to the standards of the Swiss EMPA, the tension of the folding tent fabric is crucial. If the tension is high thanks to the construction of the pavilion, you may be able to make do with a lower water column if necessary.
For comparison: An umbrella has a water column of about 400 mm and usually keeps you dry. The real weak points are the seams. Here you should make sure that they are especially reinforced to keep the rain out.
In principle, the same standards apply to outdoor folding pavilions as to camping equipment. The necessary height of the water column that must be reached to be considered waterproof varies depending on the standard. While the European standard EN 343:2003 describes textiles as waterproof class 3 from a water column of 1,300 mm, the Swiss EMPA assumes that waterproofness is only given from a water column of over 4,000 mm. Ideally, you should make sure that the values are at least between 3,000 and 4,000 mm. In addition, you should also check whether the other factors for a waterproof tent are given.
The outdoor fabrics of Pro-Tent folding tents are characterised by being exceptionally waterproof. Due to the one-sided PU coating, they achieve a water column of 10,000 mm and thus exceed all the standards mentioned, which is why we rightly call them 100% waterproof.
Thanks to our gable compression spring in the roof construction, we ensure ideal roof tension at all times for all our folding tents. This prevents water pockets from forming and ensures that rain is drained away properly. In addition, we use a water-repellent thread for waterproof seams. The seam is then additionally made watertight with seam sealing tape. In addition, we offer a wide range of accessories - rain gutters, canopies, waterproof side walls, rain aprons, fixings - that further contribute to water resistance. All Pro-Tent fabrics have a PU coating and thus achieve an outstanding water column of 10,000 mm.
If a folding tent fabric is labelled as water-repellent, this simply means that water cannot penetrate the fabric unhindered, but beads off. This so-called lotus effect can be achieved with an impregnation spray.
However, this does not mean that the fabric is also waterproof, i.e. that no water will penetrate the inside of the folding pavilion in the long term. In each case, the water pressure that the fabric can withstand is measured until three drops appear inside.
The water column for water-repellent materials is up to 800 mm. Everything above that is basically considered waterproof. However, it is safer to aim for a higher value in the range of at least over 3,000 mm water column, as the Swiss EMPA, for example, only assumes actual waterproofness from 4,000 mm. All Pro‑Tent folding tents are water-repellent and also waterproof with a water column of 10,000 mm.
The lotus effect refers to water beading off a surface. This results from a low “wettability”. The name is derived from the lotus plant, on whose leaves the famous drops are formed by beading.
Often tent fabrics are advertised as featuring this lotus effect. This beading, however, primarily only means that the tent fabric is water-repellent, which is already the case with a water column of less than 1,000 mm. Whether the folding tent is really waterproof depends on other criteria such as a higher water column (at least 3,000-5,000 mm), reinforced seams and roof tension. The lotus effect alone is therefore not a meaningful criterion for a tent being waterproof, as it is already achieved with a low water column.
Heavy rain is often accompanied by wind. So if you are looking for a waterproof folding tent, you should also make sure that it is a storm-proof folding pavilion. The Pro-Tent folding tents can withstand a wind force of at least 8 when adequately secured with weight plates and correct bracing. Winds stronger than this constitute a storm and at this point at the latest people should no longer stay outdoors and the tent should be dismantled to be on the safe side. With Pro-Tent you get the ideal combination of waterproofing and storm protection.