When you’re in the backcountry, shit inevitably happens: you accidentally pitch your tent on an unseen rock, winds pick up to the point where your tent can’t handle it, a branch falls on your campsite, or maybe your tent becomes a casualty of the campfire. Each of these scenarios can result in a ripped or torn tent that is now effectively incapable of keeping you warm and dry. But that doesn’t mean you need to toss the tent in the trash — most tears are easily repairable. By dedicating an hour of your time to a quick repair instead of your latest Netflix distraction, you can get a handful more sunrises out of your trusted trail mate. Here’s how to do it.
Trim any loose threads and fibers. When tents tear, the ripstop nylon often leaves loose threads hanging that are prone to tearing further. Take a sharp pair of scissors and trim off any of the loose fibers or threads that may be lingering.
Clean the area surrounding the rip inside and out. If your tent is especially dirty, give it a good scrubbing and rinse out any dirt. If your tent is fairly clean, use rubbing alcohol surrounding the tear, inside and outside.
Steam the area surrounding the rip inside and outside. Though this step is optional, it is highly recommended. Chances are, your tent has a number of creases and folds in it. Steaming the areas surrounding the tear on the inside and outside will help to get these creases out, making the tent material as flat and smooth as possible.
Apply Tenacious Tape to the inside of the tent. Measure out a piece of Tenacious Tape that is bigger than the tear by about a half-inch on all sides. Using a sharp pair of scissors, trim the corners and edges of the tape so that they are rounded off. This will help make the patch more resistant to peeling. Peel the backing off of the tape and slowly apply the patch over the tear and make sure there are no bubbles or creases as you go. Apply pressure to the match to make sure that it adheres to the tent material.
Apply Seam Grip to the outside of the tent. On the outside of the tent, run a small bead of Seam Grip along the tear. Using your finger or a small brush, make sure that the Seam Grip covers the tear completely, as well as a quarter-inch more or so on all sides. The Seam Grip will help to further increase the strength and weatherproofing of the repair. Though in many cases Tenacious Tape will be enough, we strongly recommend using Seam Grip as well for a lasting repair.
Allow it to dry for 24 hours. Allow the repair to sit for 24 hours before use. This will allow for the Seam Grip to cure and for the Tenacious Tape to set. When the repair is complete, your tent will once again be completely waterproof, allowing you to take on everything mother nature can throw at you.