11 May 2022

The water repellency of tent and awning fabric from TenCate Outdoor Fabrics

Of course, you don't want to get wet in your tent during a rain shower. Therefore, water repellency is one of the most important requirements of tent and awning fabric. At TenCate Outdoor Fabrics we attach great importance to this. With over 70 years of experience, we ensure that our tent and awning fabrics are always water-repellent.

What is water repellency?

The water repellency of tent or awning fabric is determined by a combination of several aspects. For example, we look at how much water can stand on the canvas, but the water beading is also very important. Because if the water just beads off well (leaks off) from the canvas, then no water will stay on the canvas either. We test all this in our own laboratory. Curious about what is involved in the development of water-repellent fabric? We’ll be happy to explain that to you!

Tests regarding the water repellency of tent and awning fabrics

At TenCate Outdoor Fabrics we have our own laboratory where all kinds of tests are performed to guarantee the quality of our fabrics. An important part of this is water repellency. To do this, we test each fabric for the water column and the water beading:

1.Water column test

The water column test is a way to determine how many inches of water can stand on the fabric before droplets pass through the fabric.  For example, a water column of 600 mm means that there can be as much as 60(!) cm of water on the canvas before it starts to drip through the canvas. Although this will not occur in practice. After all, that’s already more than there is normally in a bathtub, and probably the structure wouldn’t be able to withstand that. A water column of 60 centimeters is therefore more than is needed in practice.

The water column test
With the water column test, we determine how many inches of water can stand on your tent or awning fabric until a drop of water passes through.

First, we allow the test surface to be full of water. Then we check whether the gauge is at zero. Then the test can start. We are constantly watching for water droplets to pass through. When 3 drops have formed in different places in the fabric, the test is finished. We then look how high the water is. For example, this can be 60 cm. This means that the water column of this fabric is 60 cm. So, there can be 60 cm of water on the fabric before any drops pass through.

This test complies with the following ISO standards:

ISO 811: Hydrostatic pressure test

ISO 139: Textiles – Standard atmospheres for conditioning and testing

2.Bundesmann test

Beading, or water runoff, is very important with fabrics. If water does not stay on the fabric (because it beads off well), then a high water column is, in a sense, less important. After all, prevention is better than cure.

We test the water beading in our laboratory according to the official Bundesmann test. We simulate a tropical rain shower and then assess how the water leaks off the fabric (beads off) and whether water passes through the fabric in the process. The tent and awning fabrics from TenCate Outdoor Fabrics score extremely well in this regard.

The Bundesmann test

The purpose of the Bundesmann test is to determine the water-repellent properties of a particular fabric.

We start by cutting a round sample of the relevant fabric(s). We weigh these and write down the properties. We then place the sample on a cup, after which we place the cup holder in a tester. We sprinkle the samples for 10 minutes. In the meantime, these are evaluated for the beading effect, using reference photographs. After 10 minutes the test is finished. Then we remove the samples and place them on the centrifugal machine. We weigh the samples again to determine the moisture absorption of the fabric.

This test complies with the following ISO standards:

ISO 9865; Determination of water repellency of fabrics by the Bundesmann rain-shower test

Different types of fabric from TenCate Outdoor Fabrics

At TenCate Outdoor Fabrics we have various types of fabrics in the product portfolio, each with its own unique properties. In this blog we focus on the water repellency property. Within this, we separate our fabrics into coated and uncoated fabrics.

Coated fabrics in this case are: All Season Touring, All Season Residential and Terrace. Uncoated fabrics are Cotton, PolyCotton , EcoLine and Campshield. With coated fabrics, a special coating is applied over the fabric (1, 2 or 3 strokes). This gives the fabric special properties, including a higher water column and better beading of (rain) water.

Uncoated fabrics (cotton) do not receive a coating layer, so properties such as good breathability of the fabric remain good. Instead of a coating layer, these fabrics are given a special finish to ensure water repellency.

At TenCate Outdoor Fabrics we are constantly looking for the perfect balance between the water column, water beading and therefore the water repellency of our tent and awning fabrics. And in this way you can enjoy our fabric even during a rain shower!