How to repair your tent
Tents are made from quite fragile materials which can become damaged by a pointed twig, a falling branch, a sharp stone or a stray campfire spark. Observe your surroundings to prevent damaging your tent and if possible use a groundsheet underneath. Remember that over time the strength of the tent fabric deteriorates and makes it more vulnerable to damage.
When actually on a camping trip emergency repairs of the waterproof outer fabric can be made quite effectively using duct tape. Always carry a small roll of duct tape or wind some around your water bottle. Simply apply a piece of tape on both sides of the fabric completely covering the affected area. Make sure the fabric is as clean as possible and apply firm pressure. To just hold together an inner fabric or screen a couple of safety pins will work!
When you get home, or if you discover a rip before leaving on a trip, evaluate the best option for a more permanent repair job.
- Trim. Often the ripstop nylon of tents leave loose threads when torn and these should be trimmed off with some sharp scissors.
- Clean. If your tent is dirty around the damaged area give it a gentle scrub with soap and water and allow it to dry. Use rubbing alcohol to create a perfectly clean surface.
- Steam. This is not essential but by making the surrounding material as smooth as possible you will achieve a better seal.
- Tape. There are various types of repair tapes on the market which have a peel-off back and take about 24-hours to set up completely. Make sure that you use one that is suitable for your tent fabric. Cut a piece at least one and a half inches bigger than the tear.
- Trim. Round the corners to prevent peeling, and apply firmly making sure that there are no bubbles.
- Seam sealant. Apply a specialized seam sealing product along the tear on the inside to ensure complete waterproofness.
Make sure that the glue you use is suitable for your tent fabric.
Sew by hand or with a sewing machine and apply seam sealant.
Larger or ragged tears can be patched using a similar fabric. Double the patch edges to prevent fraying and sew firmly by hand or machine.on the outside. Apply seam sealant around the edges and along the actual rip on the inside.