Tent Repairs – Everything You Need To Know

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

Tent Repairs - Everything You Need To Know

Is it possible to repair tents?

Yes, it is possible to repair tents, especially if you are out in the field and your tent has a rip, a hole, a leak, or a broken pole. It is important to know how to do repairs and know what you need to use.

What do you use to repair a tent? 

In order to repair your tents on the go, your tent repair kits should have the following things:

Tools 

Scissors, sewing awl, straight pins

Materials

  1. Nylon tents – ripstop nylon repair tape, nylon seam sealer, 
  2. Canvas tents – taffeta repair tape, canvas seam sealer
  3. General – waxed thread, fabric patches, mesh patches, duct tape, rubbing alcohol, rag

Tent repair kits are quite affordable and may be worth buying to have in your camping kit.

Can you repair a hole in the tent floor?

Yes, you can. Your materials and tools will depend on the size of the tear. 

Small tears

  1. Locate the tears on the tent floor. 
  2. Use rubbing alcohol and a rag to clean the area. 
  3. Cut a portion of repair tape, it should be 2 inches bigger than the tear.
  4. Round out the edges of the tape, this prevents the tape from detaching.
  5. On the inside of the tent, apply the tape over the tear by removing the backing and pressing the tape onto the fabric. 
  6. For added protection, apply tape to the outside. If not, spread a seam sealant over the edges of the tape. 
  7. Let it dry completely before storing or using it.

Large tears

Large tears require sewing for a more reliable repair. Get your pins, waxed thread, and sewing awl and do a patch-up on the tent fabric. 

  1. Before doing anything, assess the tear and determine if you can safely repair it without further damaging the fabric. If not, patch it up with some repair tape and take it to the tent repair shop.
  2. If you find that repairs can be made on the tear, make sure that the fabric is clean and dry by rubbing it with some alcohol and a rag.
  3.  Pull the fabric together, fold one side over the other and sew tightly. Make sure to stitch carefully to avoid further damage.
  4. Generously cover the stitches with seam sealant.
  5. Let dry completely before using or storing your tent.

Can you repair a hole in the tent wall? 

Repairing holes in the tent wall need a little more work. For small holes, you can do the same procedures with small tears. But with large holes, especially those in tightly stretched areas of the tent.

  1. Clean the area around the hole with rubbing alcohol and a rag.
  2. Cut strips of the repair tape 1 ½ inches larger than the hole.
  3. Tape the strips on the hole in an overlapping shingle pattern which will account for water runoff. 
  4. Tape the damaged area on both sides.
  5. Seal the edges of the tape with a seam sealer.
  6. Let dry completely before storing or using.

Can you repair a hole in the tent mesh?

In order to repair holes/tears in the tent mesh, you will need mesh patches and rings of repair tape, you can find these in tent repair kits. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Put the torn mesh on a flat surface, inside out.
  2. Put the mesh patch over the hole.
  3. Remove the backing of the ring of repair tape.
  4. Fit the tape over the patch and press in place.
  5. Let the tape cure for about 24 hours before putting it away.

Can you repair a broken tent zipper?

Broken zippers can be repaired but it depends on which part of the zipper is damaged. For misaligned teeth, running the zip slider up and down solves this problem.

If any other parts of the zipper are damaged, try not to use it for the duration of your camping trip and take it for repairs or replacement as soon as possible. It is important to remember to check your tent, including the zippers before every trip to avoid broken zippers.

Can you repair a broken tent pole?

If you have a broken or bent tent pole, 

  1. You can fix it with duct tape. 
  2. Splint it with some sticks and duct tape.

Most tents do come with spare tent poles for emergencies like these so make sure to bring these on your camping trip.