How to repair a tear in a tent floor or fly

So you have spent $500+ on a brand new tent, headed out on a trip, arrived home and discovered a tear in the floor or fly.

Devastation.

Is it ruined for ever?
Can a tear be repaired?
Will the result be any good?

Luckily a simple tear or rip to a tent floor or fly can be repaired quite easily, and the result is great!

Our future son in law, Jay Reilly,  recently stayed for a few days. He is an experienced outdoor educator and mountain guide with many years experience in repairing tents. He “volunteered” to repair a torn tent one day and we captured the process on video.

Top tips from Jay:

  • Use good quality sealant designed for outdoor gear repair – Silnet or Seam Grip.
  • Take your time with the repair and allow at least 10-12 hours for drying, but the more the merrier!
  • Talcum powder can take care of the initial “tackyness” when the repair is new.

Jay has spent a lot of time in the Himalaya’s guiding climbing trips.  There are a few video’s around of him, this one of him crossing a crevase at 6500m on Mt Pumori is worth a look.

Have you ever damaged a tent floor of fly?
Did you repair it?
Did it work out ok?

Share your experiences below, we all love to learn from other people’s experiences.

Comments

  1. john says

    Hi Frank and Jay,

    Great video. Being a retiree the price of hiking equipment can be a real worry. I know if I damaged my tent I would be stressed. After all its not so easy to replace these days. But after that video I won’t be.

    Thanks

  2. says

    On a hike recently I had a friend try to repair a ripped air mattress in a similar way. It didn’t work to well on his air-mattress. Probably too much pressure once he laid down on it. I’m sure this method works much better on tents.

    • Frank says

      Yep, don’t think the technique would work for an air bed BUT was worth a try. Think anything under pressure will fail….

      • says

        This is a bit of a worry since I rely on a NeoAir mattress when hiking. I the Bogong Store in Melbourne I was told that Seam Grip should do the job since they didn’t have the dedicated repair kit. :-/

  3. shazcol says

    It’s a good idea to carry a small amount of grey ‘duct tape’,it’s strong and has many repair uses. Get a length and roll it flat onto it’s self, it weighs nothing to carry and takes up no room. Excellent for emergency repairs in the field on the tent or other items.

    We used a piece recently at South Cape Rivulet when a native rat ate a large hole in our tent inner. It stabilised the inner and stopped it from getting damaged any further. We could not fix it by this method so we got it properly repaired by Remote Equipment Repairs in Melbourne some time after we returned. The tent was relatively new which was quite disappointing.

    • Douglas says

      Wrap a couple of metres of duct tape around your water bottle. It is an easy handy way to carry it. Be sure to fold over the last cm of tape so it unroll easily.

  4. says

    Thanks for sharing. I will ask my husband to watch your video to fix my kids’ tent. I really have no idea how to do any repair so I will leave it all to my husband. lol

  5. serena says

    Awesome! Thanks so much Jay. Was devastated to find a tear in our tent floor this weekend… Can’t wait to fix it and save our money. Cheers.

  6. says

    McNet Silnet is best used on siliconised fabric such as silnylon. I’ve found it doesn’t grip too well on polyurethane coated fabrics. McNet Seamgrip is excellent on non-siliconised fabrics. It is extremely tough and tenacious. For more permanent repairs you can sew a patch of proofed nylon over the tear using a domestic sewing machine,a sharp number 12 or 14 needle and a quality polyester thread eg Gutermann. Seam seal the stitch lines.

    • Frank says

      Great advice and additional information thanks Allan.

      Hope to never get another tear but will keep this technique ion mind.

      Thanks for sharing, valuable!
      Frank

  7. Jack McCann says

    Great mend method, can’t wait to try it.
    I see no reason why Selleys normal silicone would it work.
    A tip from a glazier is to lick your finger when spreading silicone. Doesn’t stick to your fingers.

    My method to date has been to use the sticky material that sailmakers cut to make nunbers for saiils. It is cheap, comes in colours and is very sticky. More so than duct tape. Light to carry. Just cut it to any shape. Recently I fixed a one meter tear along a front zip. Put a strip on both sides and stiched and sealed it. Problem is the repair is now stronger than the tent.

    • Frank says

      Great to hear from you Jack and helpful ideas.

      Love the story about the repair being stronger than the zip!

  8. Sherilyn says

    Thanks for this great video. We had a large tent only used twice and went on camping trip and pole snapped and tore T rip in tent at least 30cm long each way. Just put tent up and hose on it and all good. We thought we had to either face a huge repair bill or buy again so thanks heaps

  9. Joe Kirkpatrick says

    Great video, I have repaired one of my old tents this way. I have even repaired a cut in my day pack and two years later it is still holding together’

  10. Georgie says

    We bought a Kathmandu Basecamp Retreat 180 tent in April last year and noticed on a recent trip that about 1.5 inches of sewing had been missed attaching the white inner lining to the waterproof floor – noticed because it let in a puddle of rain, wetting gear stored in that section. Took it back to the store where we bought it but the manager almost laughed at me for querying their quality control and asking for it to be fixed. Lesson – check every inch of new items you buy before using them – in case quality control obviously has not picked up faults, and the manufacturer not be interested in ‘after sales care’. Regards, Georgie

    • John says

      Thanks for the info Georgie. We spend a lot on equipment and its not cheap. If companies don’t support us with decent after sales service we need to know who they are. We can go somewhere else. We pay a lot of money for this equipment so we can depend on it in sometimes very difficult environments. The weather in Tasmania is playing pretty rough at the moment , plenty of wind and snow. If my gear fails I might have more than an uncomfortable night.

  11. Bill Tomalin says

    I’ve had a lifetime bush walking in Tasmania…hard on gear. Simplest running repairs backup I’ve found is the grey gaffer tape used mainly by plumbers. Secret is to cover a tear on DRY material (tents, kayaks, boots etc)…then HEAT the tape gently using a match, Trangia burner or similar. Guaranteed to NEVER come off!

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