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Tent repair while in the wild...

Hey guys,

How have you all repaired a tent fabric that gets cut while on a hike?  You could use tape but man that sticky glue would be hard to get off in order to sew it up right after you get back.


For both my personal trips (including full-on expeditions where gear failure can be life-threatening) and trips with young Scouts and other inexperienced participants (I teach some courses to adult leaders of youth groups and some courses for inexperienced beginners), I carry a fairly complete repair kit for the type of gear to be expected (repair of tents, sleeping bags, inflatable pads, stove parts, technical climbing gear, snowshoes, skis, etc etc).

That sounds at first reading as if I have to carry a full workshop of tools and spare parts. Actually, you can do a lot with a fairly minimal kit. Duct tape, bailing wire,  and dental floss do an amazingly good job in repairing clothing and tents (check out McNett's repair kits). McNett has some small booklets that provide a wealth of clues on in-the-field gear repair and maintenance. Over the past 5-10 years some excellent repair tapes have come on the market. Para-cord works very well for replacing boot laces and tent guy lines. On an expedition 2 years ago, where we hauled in propane tanks on burro, one of our local guides and I repaired the valve of the propane tank and stove with duct tape - actually ended up better than the original valve system.

And, of course, the old adage about preparation and maintenance before you leave the house and careful inspection of the gear when you are preparing for your outing still holds.

Don't worry about the tape residue, it is only cosmetic and should not affect the task of applying a permanent repair.

About those tapes, Bill:

A friend bashed a hole in my sleeping bug net.  I patched it 5 years ago with an upscale duct tape.  The patch is still good, albeit somewhat brittle.

Two years ago one member of our party had his boot sole come apart.  He duct taped it and walked out the next day six miles in a rain shower.  It held.

I use tape instead of band aids; just place TP where the gauze would normally be.  I have seen duct tape used along with other materials while addressing tough blister problems. 

Spectra fishing line is also a good repair material - extremely light and strong.


I agree with Bill about McNett's Gear Aid...they have videos online (Youtube) that are very helpful...and their adhesives and patches are the backbone of my repair items.

Inner Tent and Fly

For pin-size holes (as well as small leaks along seams) I typically use a drop (or more) of silicon or urethane adhesive. For large holes in the inner-tent and floor I glue a patch of Tencious Tape or Sil-nylon with the appropriate adhesive (for the fly I do the same as the inner tent but I have also sewed one in by hand and then sealed it for extra strength because the fly was under a lot of stress). I would imagine duct-tape works really well on the inner-tent and floor...but duct-tape does not repair a fly (or mattress) I leave it at home. I have never had to repair a ripped seam in a fly...but if I did I would imagine I would hand-sew the seam together and use the appropriate adhesive to seal the seam.


For holes nickel-size or smaller I just sew the sides together by hand with the little bit of thread and needle I bring. I have only repaired one large hole in mesh while in the field...on that occasion I folded the sides of the hole over each other and used the two safety pins I bring to hold them together until I was able to sew in a proper patch at home. For small holes a lot of folks use Krazy glue...which seems great...but sewing works and I don't bring Krazy glue with me so I have never tried it.

Thanks guys....I'll  check out the McNetts

Duct tape has held together many items in the outdoors including wrecked canoes. Gorilla tape is even better. In more than 50 years I have had one tent failure that was easily fixed with tape.

Tenacious tape

September 29, 2020
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