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Tent material, treads & seams

Tent material, treads & seams

  • Title Tent material, treads & seams

At Helsport, we focus on your comfort and safety by using top-quality materials in our tents. Each material is chosen to meet different needs. It's important to consider where and when you'll use your tent when making your choice. Let us help you get to know the materials better.

Nylon and polyester are both synthetic fabrics. Nylon is known for its durability, stretchiness, and weather resistance, making it suitable for various outdoor conditions.

During strong winds and heavy rainfall, a nylon flysheet stretches and disperses energy evenly over a larger area, minimizing impact due to its stretching properties. The elasticity of nylon helps distribute external forces more uniformly.

Polyester fabrics have less elasticity and therefore stress points like guy line points will have more abrupt forces applied to them. However, because polyester doesn't stretch as much, you usually don't need to tighten the peg loops and guy lines again 30-60 minutes after pitching the tent, like you might need to with nylon tents. Both fabrics are flame retardant.



  • Strength and Durability: Nylon is stronger than polyester, so it's less likely to tear or puncture.
  • Flexibility: Nylon stretches more than polyester, so it can bend and flex without breaking.
  • Water Resistance: When coated with waterproof materials like silicone, nylon keeps water out effectively.


  • UV Damage: Nylon can be damaged by sunlight over time, weakening the fabric.
  • Water Absorption: Nylon absorbs more water than polyester, which can make it sag when wet.



  • UV Resistance: Polyester is more resistant to UV radiation, helping it keep its strength and color longer in sunny conditions.
  • Water Resistance: Polyester absorbs less water than nylon, which prevents sagging when wet.
  • Stability: Polyester maintains its shape well and doesn't stretch as much when wet or under tension.


  • Strength and Durability: Polyester is not as strong as nylon and may tear more easily under heavy loads or sharp objects.
  • Elasticity: Polyester is less flexible than nylon, which can result in more wear and tear over time.

What does this mean for you?

When choosing between nylon and polyester for tent fabrics, consider factors like intended use, budget, and specific needs such as weight, durability, and UV resistance. Nylon is preferred for lightweight and strong requirements, and is easy to pitch because you don't need to tighten the guylines. while polyester is better for prolonged sun exposure and cost-effectiveness.

At Helsport, our Superlight, Pro tents, and X-trem tents use ripstop nylon coated with silicone on both sides. This fabric is highly water repellent, stretchy, and durable, maintaining its waterproof properties over time. The double-sided silicone coating makes the flysheet lighter, stronger, and more durable.

For our Seeker, Scouter, and Trek models, we use polyester fabric with PU coating for optimal seam sealing. Polyester tents require minimal extra care after setup and are sturdy enough for most weather conditions, except the most extreme. Storing polyester tents in a well-ventilated bag when not in use helps extend the life of the PU coating.

Fabric Weight & Thickness

Denier (D) indicates yarn weight in the fabric. Higher denier numbers mean thicker, heavier, and typically stronger fabrics. At Helsport, we use terms like NXXD, where XX represents Nylon Denier. Lower numbers indicate lighter fabrics. While fabrics as light as 7-10D are common, our tents are designed to withstand weather and wind starting at a minimum of 15D.

The Coating

The coating on tent fabrics is crucial for improving water resistance, UV protection, and durability. Different coatings serve different purposes, each with its own pros and cons. Waterproofness is measured in millimeters (mm). For example, a fabric rated at 3000mm can resist 3 meters of water pressure before leaking. However, in certain conditions like cold water and warm air, condensation may form inside the tent fabric, which is a common issue for tent-users.

Tear strength

It's crucial to understand that tear strength primarily reflects how a fabric behaves once torn, with higher tear strength preventing further tearing. In tent applications, this aspect also sheds light on the fabric's performance around seams, guyline attachments, and similar stress points.

Tear strength depends on four key factors: base material, thread thickness, construction, and coating. The first three factors directly impact the textile's properties, with stronger materials, thicker threads, and increased reinforcement threads correlating to enhanced tear strength. However, the influence of the coating type on tear strength might be less apparent.

At the tear point, a rigid coating like PU distributes stress poorly, resulting in single-thread breakage upon tearing. Conversely, a more flexible coating, such as silicone, spreads stress across multiple threads, yielding significantly higher tear strength.

Our fabrics undergo testing according to the international standard ISO 13937-1:2000. For our Pro and X-Trem tents, we utilize some of the market's most durable materials.

Seam sealing.

We completely understand the expectation for impeccable, watertight seams right from the factory. Our fabric seams naturally provide a high level of waterproofness. In our nylon tents, the seams are sewn with a special expandable thread that becomes more waterproof by default. These threads expand in humid conditions (like rain) to seal the needle holes. When the tent is new, the threads need some time to expand properly, but this process speeds up with use. You might notice some seam leakage in a new tent, but this will stop after 1-3 days/nights of exposure to rain and humidity. If possible, we recommend pitching the tent and exposing it to humidity/rain at home before your first trip.

Unlike PU-coated tents that can have factory-applied seam tape, the silicone coating on our nylon tents makes traditional seam tape impossible, as nothing sticks to silicone except silicone. We recommend seam sealing as an optional step for those seeking additional protection. However, for most users, the seams already offer substantial waterproofing. Seam sealing requires a manual application of silicone, which takes about 24 hours to fully dry. While you can undertake this process for extra protection, it's important to know that the seams on your nylon tent are designed to be highly water-resistant from the start.