A decent tent can give you years of camping, especially when you also give it the right care and maintenance. However, a lot of things can happen while you’re outdoors that will wear and tear it. A branch, sharp rocks, or even your own tools can rip or damage your tent. When you know how to repair a tent, you don’t have to end your camping trip. It will also save you lots of money on a new one or even from repair shops.
Tent Repair Kit
When tent camping, you should always have a tent repair kit with you. The common damages to your tent are tears on the tent cloth or breaks on the poles.
A tent repair kit has small scissors, a sewing awl, straight pins and grommet setter. It should also have a repair tape, a pole splint, a seam sealer, waxed thread, scrap nylon screenings and grommets. You might also need elastic cords in case the break or damage is on the cord in the poles.
How to repair tears on your tent
You want to mend tears right away because small ones can quickly get bigger or worst. Follow these guidelines when repairing tears on your tent:
- First, trim any loose threads and clean the surrounding area of the tear. Rinse out any dirt and allow it to dry, before you proceed with the fix. Repair tapes can work better on a clean surface.
- Mend small tears first by covering it with repair tape. Apply the tape on both sides of the tear, while making sure the edges are smooth, to prevent it from snagging or leaking.
- Next, apply seam sealer on the edges of the patch, on both sides of the tent. Be sure you’ve got the right sealer for your type of tent because the wrong one can do damage. A canvas sealer can damage a nylon tent.
- For larger tears, you can patch it together with repair tape or by sewing it close. When sewing, make your stitches short and very close together, so you can ensure a watertight seal. Double seams are stronger than other seams. Then, apply some seam sealer on the overlap or the patch outside your tent.
- Make sure that when you are patching holes or stretches, the tent is tightly stretched. You don’t want any creases because they can allow gaps where water can still seep in. Use strips of repair tape that are at least one and a half inches long and wider than the tear or hole.
How to Repair Tent Poles
For damages on the tent pole, you will need pole splints and duct tape or repair tape. You should also have some elastic cords in case the break is on the cord itself. If the damage is on the cord, you will also need something to thread the new cord. Follow these guidelines when repairing tent poles:
- When repairing the broken pole, you want to smoothen and flatten the edges of the broken part of the pole. Then, the edges can fit better in the repair sleeve/spint.
- Slide the pole splint over the broken section, with the broken parts right in the center of the sleeve.
- Hold the sleeve or splint in place with duct tape or repair tape.
- If you need to replace the elastic cord, you will need a threader to get it through the poles. You can use a thin piece of metal to thread the new cord, just like this video. However, you might not have access to that.
- You can also use a fishing line and a needle to thread the new cord. Make a knot on one end of the cord, and tie up the other end to the fishing line. Then, you can tie the end with the fishing line to a needle. Insert it in the pole, and gently tap it until the needle reaches the other end. Pull it out gently, so the cord follows. Do so until the cord is through all the poles you need.
Your camping trip doesn’t have to end because of some damages on your tent. With the right tools and materials, you can repair your tent while you are out on the field. With creativity and resourcefulness, you can even use tent repair kit for repairing your backpacking hammock, tarps, hiking boots, etc.
When you get home from your camping trip, make sure you check the broken parts again, and do the necessary repairs thoroughly. If you have your tips you’d like to share, use the comment section below. We’d love to get your input.
Thomas is a Pro himself, who has been in the business of home renovation & construction, working with various tools. He used to be the owner of 2 local construction companies with over 18 years experience. His works also include writing inspiring Do IT Yourself Tips & Tricks.