Whether it’s the wind, sharp objects on the ground, low hanging branches, or just too much force on our part, it can be all to easy to damage a tent. From tears in the fly, to stuck zippers, and from leaks to broken poles, a damaged tent can be a real headache on any camping trip. Thankfully however, there are several ways to repair a tent and here we help prep you for the eventuality should it arise.

Patching up a tear in your tent

When you’re out in the backcountry your tent can easily become damaged. Whether sharp stones, sticks or branches, it’s all too easy to pierce or tear the fabric of a tent. And if you’re camping out in adverse conditions, then a tear is often the last thing you need.

Thankfully, by carrying a tent repair kit, you can quickly and easily patch up those tears. You’ll need some alcohol, a cloth, scissors and some tent repair tape.

  1. Clean the area around the tear by wiping it down with alcohol.
  2. Cut some repair tape slightly larger than the tear and try rounding the edges with the scissors. This will ensure it doesn’t lift as easily. 
  3. Place the tape on the tare and press it down firmly. It’s always good practice to apply some tape directly on the other side too, especially if the tear occurred in a place where tension is constantly applied.
Fixing a broken tent zipper

By consistently applying too much force to a zipper, many end up damaging it over time. The zipper can become damaged in several ways. From broken teeth or misalignment to one that’s stuck and simply won’t budge.

If the teeth are broken then the best course of action is to simply replace the zipper. However, if they’re simply misaligned, then slowly running the zipper up and down a few times will generally bring the teeth back into alignment.

The most inconvenient of all zipper problems is a stuck zipper that won’t budge. The best way to free it is with a pair of pliers and some WD40 to lubricate the zipper. Just be careful not to get any on the flysheet.

Sealing your tent

With continuous use and the associated wear and tear, some tents may begin to leak. This commonly occurs in the seams, which are the most vulnerable areas. One way to minimise the risk of more serious damage is by inspecting your tent on a regular basis. Check the seams thoroughly after trips for any sign of leaking or water damage.

If you do happen to find a leak, then the good news is that it can be quickly and easily sealed. You’ll need a cloth, some alcohol and some seam sealer.

  1. Set up your tent under good lighting so as you can inspect the fabric thoroughly. Invert the fly as you’ll be applying the sealant on the underside.
  2. Gently rub any seams with a cloth dabbed in alcohol after carefully removing any peeling seam tape.
  3. Apply the sealer to the affected areas and allow it to dry completely before packing the tent.
  4. If you find a leak in one part of the fabric, then other potential areas of weakness may soon give way too. Give the tent a once over and repeat the above procedure where you find any compromised areas. Treating them early on goes a long way to ensuring your tent will last for some time to come.
How to fix bent tent pegs

We've all bent a peg or two in our time, especially when camping on hard rocky ground. Bent pegs made from softer material can generally be bent back into shape with a mallet. For those that are more difficult to bend back into shape, then heating them over a camping stove will make them more malleable and easier to work. Just be careful, and carry a few spare tent pegs just in case.

Tent pole repair

Whether you’ve just been too rough, or you’ve camped out in a gale-force wind, then broken, bent or otherwise damaged tent poles can really put the cat among the pigeons on any camping trip. Thankfully, however, with a few simple tricks, that damaged tent pole doesn't have to bring your camping trip to a premature end.

A broken pole can be easily repaired with a pole repair sleeve. Broken sections can be aligned and connected with the sleeves for a secure solution.

If you don't have pole repair sleeves, then you can also use a tent peg as a temporary solution. Simply join the broken sections and place a peg parallel to the break and secure the joint with duct tape.