Hot and humid environments, UV rays from the sun, and not storing your tent properly all lead to an eventual break down of the waterproof coating on your tent fabric. To create a longer laster, more durable tent, MSR borrowed technology from other industries that require really durable, polyurethane coatings that can hold up to heat, humidity and abuse.
Fabric coatings are incredibly important to a modern tent — the urethane coating on a lightweight nylon tent is what keeps the water out. The problem with urethane, however, is that it is susceptible to hydrolysis. When it remains wet or damp and worst of all hot at the same time, it’s going to turn gummy and degrade over time.
So for the last ten years, MSR has been trying to improve on that urethane coating. They reached out to different industries to find a coating that could be applied using the brand’s current production process and one that would hold up to temperature, humidity and abuse if stored incorrectly and not break down.
The result is Xtreme Shield. The complete waterproof system uses a combination of coating and stitching to extend the waterproofness of a tent three times longer than before. With the new coating, degrading will not occur regardless of the conditions the tent is stored.
This lack of degradation enabled MSR to also ditch the seam tape in a tent. The company instead went back to the tried-and-true technology of using a poly/cotton thread that when it gets wet, the thread seals up and seals the stitching hole so the tent stays dry and watertight.
Xtreme Shield is currently available in the 2018 Hubba Tour and GuideLine Pro tents. And at the end of November, both REI and MEC in Canada will start selling MSR’s popular Hubba NX backpacking tent with Xtreme Shield. MSR will have an exclusive on the coating until 2021.