Understanding the different waterproof ratings for tents

What is the difference in the waterproof properties of a tent with a "2000 mm column of water" rating and a tent that passes a shower test of 200 L of water per hour per m²?
 

One rating measures the waterproof properties of a fabric whereas the other measures the waterproof properties of the entire tent.

Indeed, it's possible to make a tent that will leak in many places through the seams and poorly designed openings with a fabric that can bear a 10,000 mm column of water or a perfectly waterproof tent with a fabric that has a 1000 mm rating.

This is what we have been verifying for many years using our shower laboratory that checks the waterproof sealing of our tents (and those of others!).

The column of water in millimetres or Schmerber mm ratings are not therefore a good indicator for measuring the waterproof properties of an entire tent… they only measure the waterproof properties of the fabric.

The Quechua tents are designed and developed to stop any water getting through the seams, flats, openings, zips, etc. Their waterproof properties are tested and validated under laboratory conditions. The purpose of these tests is to demonstrate the waterproof properties of the entire tent, not just the fabric of the flysheet.

The tents are placed under a shower that pours 200 L of water per hour and per square metre for a period of 4 hours. This level of rainfall is equivalent to about twice that of a European storm for a period of 4 hours; and our fabrics have a minimum rating of 2000 mm. 

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