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Repair Torn Gear – Patch a Hole in a Tent, Jacket or Sleeping Bag

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So you’re in the backcountry and you’re swearing up a storm because a thorn bush just tore a hole in your puffy jacket or there’s insulation popping out of your sleeping bag or you can’t figure out how a tear in the shape of Michigan managed to appear in the bottom of your tent. It happens to the best of us. Well, stop freaking out: it’s totally fixable. you may have read our post on the merits of carrying gaff tape when backpacking, but take heart: there are more permanent solutions that will mean you don’t need to toss your $400 tent just because it has a weird-shaped hole in the floor. Let us show you how to repair torn gear, including patching holes in the fabric of tents, jackets and sleeping bags.

repair torn gear - tenacious tape

Repair Torn Gear: The Tools

This is gonna be a short one. Cause all you really need is gear repair tape. I’m not talking about gaff tape, though that will do nicely in a pinch, but it’s a temporary solution at best. You’re gonna wanna peel that off as soon as you can so it doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the fabric of your gear. Instead, always carry a patch kit with you, which basically consists of gear repair tape like Tenacious Tape. It comes in many forms: rolls, pre-cut circles, even fun shapes and colors so you can add a bit of personality to your stuff. This will cover a multitude of sins.

repair torn gear - tenacious tape

Get to it

If you have a hole in a jacket, tent, or sleeping bag, make sure the area around the tear is clean and dry, then cut the patch to size. You want it to be larger than the hole or tear in question by a centimeter or so. Don’t forget to round the corners to discourage premature peeling. Finally, press on your piece of gear repair tape and press down firmly, starting at the center and moving outward so no lumps or bubbles form. For a tent, place tape on the bottom and the top of the fabric for extra durability.

Done and Done

That’s it. Too easy, right? And to think, you were considering trashing that gear altogether. Don’t you feel silly? Of course, if the gear is less than a year old and you got it from REI, you can always return it for a new one. That works out for people like us who go to the annual Garage Sales and snatch up stellar gear (like a Big Agnes Tiger Wall 2-person tent) for cheap (like $175) just because they have a little tear in the floor. But if you like your stuff, it’s well-used and well-loved, and it just happens to have a puncture, fix it! It’s easier than you think!

And if your gear is hole-free but could use a bit of water-proofing, check out our post all about that here. Wander on!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if your update your gear closet through links in this post, you help support Terradrift.

Do I need to know how to sew to patch outdoor gear?

No. Several companies make adhesive patches designed to be simply stuck on to torn gear, no sewing required.

Can I patch a hole in a tent?

Absolutely. Simply clean the area to be patched, then adhere a repair patch to the malfunctioning area.

What do I do if there’s a hole in my tent, jacket or sleeping bag?

Don’t throw it away! Patch it! A simple patch can extend the life of expensive gear for years.

Why should I patch gear instead of buying new gear?

Throwing away gear that is in perfectly good condition other than a small hole or tear simply contributes to over-full landfills where synthetic materials take hundreds of years to break down and emit harmful greenhouse gases. Repairing gear instead of tossing it and buying new can also save you hundreds of dollars in the cost of new gear.