Sleeping in a tent can be a difficult task. If rainwater or irritating bugs sneak inside through rips and tears, it becomes even harder.
Duct tape seems like a good solution, but it's only temporary. A few simple steps are all it takes to repair a tent that isn't ready for a night under the stars. Give your shelter an inspection and make repairs as needed.
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Before you can repair anything, purchase a tent repair kit—this has a variety of important items you'll need to fix many different problems. If you don't want to buy a kit, you should have the following items on every camping trip:
- Adhesive nylon patches (ideally ones that match your tent color)
- Nylon fabric swatches (ideally ones that match your tent color)
- Alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol
- Nylon thread
- Tube of seam sealer
- Adhesive glue: Choose a silicon based glue, which is often less toxic.
- Tent pole ferrules: the metal part of a tent pole the hooks onto the end, extending the length.
- Silicone gel or lubricant
Tent fabric tears are relatively easy to repair if you have the right gear, says Kirsten Hostetter, an expert at Backpacker Magazine.
Clean and dry the area with alcohol wipes or soap and water. Place an adhesive nylon patch on the outside of your tent. Be sure there are no air bubbles. Move to the inside and cut a patch of fabric to fit the area. Hostetter suggests rounding the edges of your fabric. "They'll be much less likely to peel away," she says.
Paint adhesive glue over the ripped area, and stick your fabric swatch on. Push all bubbles out and let it dry for 2 to 5 hours.