Tent Repair: How to fix a tear/rip in a tent!

You’re planning to go camping next weekend and you just remembered that on last years camping trip you noticed a small tear in your tent. If not repaired that small tear can quickly become a larger problem. However it really is easy to repair. (Even on the trail). So remember to always take your mending kit with you when tenting.

Mending kit:

  1. Canvas tent: small scissors, sewing awl, strong T-pins, leather sewing needles (also called glovers needles) these will help get through the heavy canvas even if multi layered, canvas repair patches or tape (sometimes called taffeta repair tape), seam sealer made for canvas, waxed thread or heavy-duty cotton thread, optional thimble and mini pair of needle nose pliers, see #4 for details, ‘Kiddy blow-up-swimming-pool’ repairpatches & adhesive
  2. Nylon tent: small scissors, regular straight pins, sturdy sewing needle with large enough eye for use with waxed thread rip stop’ nylon repair patches or tape, seam sealer made for nylon tent, (make sure you're using the right sealer; canvas sealer could damage a nylon tent) waxed thread, optional thimble, see #4 for details, ‘Kiddy blow-up- swimming pool’repair patches & adhesive
  3. Screen tent: small scissors, regular straight pins, scrap nylon screening, waxed thread, darning needle (not thicker then the holes of the screening) optional thimble, (only if your screen tent has flooring see #4 for details ‘Kiddy blow-up- swimming pool’ repair patches & adhesive)
  4. Tent flooring: Although mending doesn’t involve sewing I thought I would include it so that you’re prepared for all. Most tent floorings are made of fiber or fabric enforced ‘tarp-ing’. To mend it, you will need ‘Kiddy blow-up-pool’ repair patches & adhesive. To make the tent floor watertight again add patch from inside and out. Follow instructions of manufacturing company. Duct tape over the whole patch outside will give added protection.

Even though the patch kits say sealing is enough, I prefer to sew all the tears then cover them with the appropriate patch & sealer inside and out.

The following method has served me well. The old canvas tent has had a patch for over twenty years and is still in use. Our newer nylon two room tent has two patches, one large one which is near the front flap where it got zippered in accidentally. This one had to be fixed at the camp site fast as there was danger of us being carried away by the bloodthirsty jeep sized mosquitoes.

Large tears must be sewn closed before being patched with a patch or repair tape because the tension on the fabric etc. could eventually pull the rip apart again. You can do the ‘on-site fixit job’ then add a larger permanent patch once you’re home using the sewing machine. Give the patch a double topstitching all around then remember to run a sealer bead over the seams to make it water resistant again. (Reseal occasionally , once every year or two)


Tent Patch Methodology:

  1. Cut two patches, one that is at least 1½ inches wider & longer and one that is 2inches/5cm wider & longer than the tear.
  2. Pin the smaller patch on the inside of the tent.
  3. With your thread and needle using small back stitches sew the patch on securely.
  4. Working from the outside, gently lift the tent fabric at the tear and squeeze in a small amount of the sealer/adhesive all around the tear.
  5. Flip tent around so that you can work on the outside.
  6. Cover the larger patch with sealer/adhesive and center it over the tear from the outside hand press firmly in place. Wait ½ to 1 hour at least, then run a bead of sealer around patch. Check product description for the full curing time, usually about 1½ hours, then spread a bead of adhesive around the patch on the inside of the tent.
  7. It is important to wait at least the full curing time but 24 hours is best before packing the tent away. (if the circumference bead is not totally, totally dry it can adhere to  unwanted parts during the transportation of the folded up tent)


Screen Tent Patch Methodology:


  1. Cut a patch of nylon screening at least 2inches/5cm wider and longer then the tear.
  2. Center and gently pin patch into place working on the outside.
  3. Stitch patch in place with small stitches using the screening holes for easy work. Give it a triple stitching starting very close to the outside edge of patch and one tacking down as near to the tear as possible.



Happy tenting…see you at the camp-site



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Comments 33 comments

Ajay 3 years ago

Recently i went for camping and due to rough weather i got my tent sheet torn. Then one of my friend got me a Coghlan tent repair kit and i felt its quite handy in repair of tent. Enjoy Camping!!


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Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

maxravi, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


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maxravi 5 years ago from India

nice hub. I will keep it bookmark.thanks..voted up!


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Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

HerbalMama, thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Good luck with the fixings... if you follow step by step it will work out just right.

regards Zsuzsy


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HerbalMama 5 years ago from United States

Just what I needed to know! My dog ripped a huge hole in the screen of our backpacking tent two years ago and I have never fixed it 1) b/c I didn't know how and 2) the thought of how expensive it might be to repair by the company! Thanks so much!


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Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

armysurplus365, I have a canvas tent that's been used every year for 27 years. If I remember right it has at least 8-9 patches and two new zippers. I also own a two room nylon tent that's only 12 years old, friends borrowed it and it came back with some major damage but I was able to fix it using the procedures written up in this hub. I hate to throw anything out that still has potential for use.

Thanks for taking a look and for commenting

regards Zsuzsy


armysurplus365 profile image

armysurplus365 5 years ago from Cornwall

Such a great hub. I've never really had a ripped tent. I prefer to purchase army surplus tents to make sure that I don't get faced with these issues. I'm not very patient and should my tent rip, I think I'd give up and buy another one !!! great hub :)


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Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Thanks for taking a look and for commenting, reversecharles.

regards Zsuzsy


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reversecharles 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great useful information!


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Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

PR_am, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


PR_am profile image

PR_am 6 years ago from Oregon

Very useful hub. Thanks for sharing this knowledge.


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Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya compu-smart, how are you?

I've fixed quite a few tents in my sewing shop over the years. Any other hints please add them here. Thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

hopw you're well

Kindest regards Zsuzsy


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compu-smart 6 years ago from London UK

Hey Zsuzsy Bee, i came by to offer you my tent repair tips but you have covered them all and then some!


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Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Kim thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


kims3003 6 years ago

very well written. well explained directions.


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Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Sabbatha thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Glad to know that the tips might come in handy.

regards Zsuzsy


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sabbatha1 6 years ago from patriciamccarty@rocketmail.com

Hello thank you for giving us the great Tips. I really liked how you have your hub set up. With all my children as boys it comes in handy to know how to repair their tents. Thanks.


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

gldwing, I'm not quite sure where the broken hole is located as I'm not familiar with the tent you own but if I understand your problem right you will have to reinforce the pole hole again...you might be able to do that by attaching a large metal washer that has the right sized hole for the pole. My old canvas tent has two such fixings. I glued a washer over the hole on each side of the canvas then using extra strong upholstery thread I sewed it too. Every so often I have to reinforce the washers by sewing them up again as the thread wears and tears. Hope that this will help.

regards Zsuzsy


gldwing 7 years ago

Hi- I am trying to replace or repair a center hub on my Stargazer 6 Eureka tent(discontinued model) it is an older style made of hard plastic and has 4 holes to accept the tapered end of the poles. One of the holes broke so it is unusable making the tent unusable??? Any Ideas???


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

MP, thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

Duct tape, every ones best friend...good luck

regards Zsuzsy


mp 7 years ago

Awesome... I could never get the floor patch to stick... your advice on doing both sides then reinforcing with duct tape is going to nail this sucker down for good... thanks so much


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

KItchen _Witch you're a hoot. '.....jacuzzi at the other end'. I love that. We're on the same page. When I go camping now, I like to rough it... there is a word for it, oh yeah its called 'RVing'. When the kids were young camping was the only holiday I could afford and I didn't have a problem with sleeping on the ground with rock pillows etc. Since the RV (2 years now) I spend a lot of time in it...sometimes just the dogs and I, at other times with the grandkids. I wouldn't want to parallel park that 38' long 'beheamus' though, but I think at my age that's the only way to camp now.

Glad you came by for a visit, I hope you're well

kindest regards Zsuzsy


Kitchen_Witch profile image

Kitchen_Witch 7 years ago from The Green Studio of Musings

Great Stuff! Clear instructions wonderful.

My dear husband swears I won't go camping unless its at the Hampton Inn hotels! LOL... Just because I said if I was driving nine hours there better be a jacuzzi at the other end.... sheesh. Besides it rained buckets and buckets on day three so much so the campfire <properly contained in a fire ring> floated away we had to chase it and stamp it out before it met another campers tent in the gully washer's way...... LOL


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Camping Dan! That is what I learned too, the hard way when we used to tent camp. Be preparred for it all.

Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


Camping Dan profile image

Camping Dan 7 years ago

Nice hub! I always keep a tent repair kit in the stuff sack so that I am always ready to patch a hole. It never fails for me I get that hole in the first day out of a several day trip. This way I can fix it there and not have to worry about potential leaks or problems.


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

mdawson! Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


mdawson17 7 years ago

Great insight and the information in this hub was very well needed.

mdawson17


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Sukkran! How are you? It's been a while. Always glad when you come for a visit.

With the way the economy is right at the moment I think camping is going to have a revival this season. Everybody will dig out their old tents when it comes to vacation time and then they will need to fix their tents and spruce them up. This hub on tent repair might hopefully help some.

kindest regards Zsuzsy


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sukkran 7 years ago from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA.

wonderful page construction. really very attractive and the content is also useful. great work.


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Rochelle always glad when you pop in for a visit. If my know-how is useful to those that need it in the tent cities then they're more then welcome to it.I repaired quite a few tents at my sewing shop over the years by this method. I hope this hub will be helpful.

Kindest regards Zsuzsy


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Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

Wow, Zsuzsy, do you know how valuable this knowledge would be in the rapidly expanding tent cities that are developing on the edges of towns?

You could make a fortune selling your advice, skills and services to the people who are homeless, out of work . . and . . .broke. . .

Well, at least you could earn their appreciation.


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Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

RKHenry! My nephew asked about how to fix his tent so I simply 'hubbed' my answer. Thanks for coming to take a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy


RKHenry profile image

RKHenry 7 years ago from Your neighborhood museum

How did you know I was thinking about going camping this summer? lol!

Thanks for the advice and tips.

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