How To Repair A Tent Effectively
Knowing how to carry out a tent repair can help to increase the life of your tent. It can also help prevent you having an uncomfortable and/or wet night when you are away camping.
There are a few things that can go wrong with your tent caused by the environment and weather that may need repairing. Common things that need fixing are tears and holes in the tent fabric, broken zips, leaks and broken poles. It takes some time to properly repair a tent but it will make your trip more pleasant if you have the know how and have the essential equipment in the form of a tent repair kit.
Before you leave for you camping trip, especially if your tent has been in storage for a while, it is a good idea as part of your planning and preparation to put the tent up and check it for any holes, worn seams and any other damage and repair them before your leave. This saves the problem of waking up wet in the middle of the night!
Tears, holes, grommets, leaks and seam repairs:
The materials you are going to need in a tent repair kit for a nylon tent are: small scissors, sewing awl, grommet setter, needle and pins, grommets, waxed thread, ripstop or nylon repair tape and seam sealer. They don’t take up much space and can be put in a small bag and packed with your tent so it is at hand when you need it.
To fix small tears or holes put on plenty of repair tape on both sides of the rip or hole. Make sure you smooth out any wrinkles in the fabric of the tent and the tape and the edges of the tape are properly affixed to prevent any snagging. Put seam sealer on the edges of both pieces of the tape to fully waterproof the repair.
For large tears the method of repair depends on where it is. If it is on a part of the tent that isn’t pulled tight you can use the method outlined above for repairing small tears but use more pieces of tape at least 1 and 1/2” longer than the tear layering them up in a shingle effect to encourage the water to run off away from the hole. This should keep the tent secure for the remainder of your trip. When you return home you can if you so wish repair the tear by using tent fabric especially if the repair is not sturdy enough.
Saving the final repair until you get home gives you the time and space to make the process easier. Cut your tent fabric at least 3 inches wider in all directions of the tear and place on the outside surface of the tent. Turn the edges of the patch under by about one inch and pin in place. Using a needle and waxed thread use a top stitch just in from the edge of the patch and sew all round the patch. Then to give it more strength again sew around the tear inside the original stitching.
Turn the tent over so you can see the repair from the other side. Trim the tear to make a narrow rectangle shape. Cut into the corners diagonally so you can turn under an inch of the tent fabric. Next sew this up as you did the other side. This will stop the tear from growing. Finish the repair by applying seam sealer to the edges on the outside.
To stop leaks on the upper part of the tent or the fly apply seam sealer when the tent is dry. If the floor is leaking, this is probably the result of a tear and can be repaired as described above.
If the material around a grommet tears you need to first cut out the grommet by using small scissors as close as possible to it. Next affix the repair tape to cover the hole. Double up the tape to give it more strength. Using the needle and waxed thread stitch the tape to the tent using a double stitch to secure tape to the tent. After this insert the grommet using the grommet setter. Finish up by applying seam sealer to the tape and grommet.
Repairing A Tent Zipper
Materials needed: Spare zip sliders for the zip (the letters on the bottom of it tell you the type and size you require), needle and thread, bees wax or other lubricant, pliers, seam ripper.
A faulty zip slider is the usual reason for why zips fail to work and come apart. First off clean the zipper teeth and apply some bees wax or other form of lubricant. Next, gently squeeze the zip slider together using the pliers. Be careful as too much pressure can damage the slider more.
If this doesn’t work you will need to replace the zip slider. You do this by un-stitching the end of the zip, carefully removing the metal stopper and taking the old slider off. Put on the new slider making sure both sides of the zipper (tape) are lined up with each other. Sew up the end and you should be all set.
Repairing Broken Tent Poles
Requirements: duct tape, tent pole repair sleeve
Slide the repair sleeve over the broken pole until it is centered over the break. Hold firmly in place and wrap the duct tape around the sleeve and pole making sure the tape is affixed to both. This tends to be a quick process and you can quickly get back to what you were doing before this mishap.
Branches and rocks, along with pulling your tent too tight are the most common causes of tears and breakages in your tent. These are normally accompanied by high winds as the tent is not able to flex with it. As long as your tent is not in too bad a state, unlike the tent in picture above, knowing how to repair a tent and the time spent on tent repair make for worthwhile investments.