How To Repair A Large Tear In A Tent In 2023? 

repair a large tear in a tent

Last updated on April 12th, 2023 at 02:12 pm

When camping outdoors in the backcountry, some accidents inevitably happen that may cause a large tear on your tent. You may inadvertently pitch the tent on a hidden rock or a large branch falls on the tent, ripping it. Whatever the case, it is important to know how you can salvage the situation. 

Large tears can be repaired using a tenacious tape. This is applied on a clean and dry tent after the loose threads and fibers have been trimmed. A seam Grip is then applied on the tear to increase strength and weatherproofing properties. Let the patch dry for 24 hours.  

This article explains in detail how you can repair a large tear on site and what you will need to accomplish the task. Read on. 

What Causes A Tear In A Tent?

A tent is susceptible to tears and rips when outdoors. For instance, when out in the backcountry, a branch may fall on your tent at a campsite, or you may accidentally pitch it on an unseen rock. It could also result as the aftermath of a terrible wind.

Moreover, exposure to wind, rain and UV rays may exact a toll with time. They tend to make the tent vulnerable. Another cause of tears in a tent is the repeated setups and takedowns of the tent.

Other accidents may happen that may result in a significant tear on your tent. Thankfully, most tears are repairable. 

How To Repair A Large Tear In A Tent

repair a large tear in a tent

We should come to terms with the fact that some accidents are inevitable when outdoors. Your tent may unfortunately be the casualty of a fire, or get ripped in one way or another.

This does not have to mean the end of your camping trip. Although it is unfortunate since the last thing you need is a torn tent that does not adequately protect you from the elements, there is a way you can fix it.  

You do not have to throw away your tent simply because it has a tear. A quick repair will do. 

What you will need:

  • Tenacious tape 
  • Seam Grip 
  • Steamer 
  • Rubbing alcohol 

Step 1: Trim Loose Fibers And Threads 

Usually, when a tent tears, the ripstop nylon leaves some loose fibers or threads hanging that is likely to cause further tearing if not dealt with. They are a good place to start. Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully trim them off and any others that may be lingering.

Step 2: Clean The Area Around The Rip 

At this point, most tents are usually dirty. Scrub it well and rinse off any dirt. If yours is relatively clean, you can focus on the area around the rip and clean it with rubbing alcohol both on the inside and outside. 

Step 3: Steam The Area Around The Rip 

Steaming the tent is an optional step, though recommended. Most tents have many folds and creases mainly due to folding during storage and packing.

Steaming the tent goes a long way in removing the creases so the tent material is as smooth and flat as possible. Put your focus on the area surrounding the rip on the inside and outside.

Step 4: Apply tenacious tape 

The measurement of the tenacious tape to be used will depend on the size of the rip. Cut out the tape, approximating a measurement that is bigger than the tear by half-inch on all sides.

Trim the tape by giving it rounded edges and corners using a sharp pair of scissors. This helps to make the patch more resistant to peeling. Remove the backing from the tape and meticulously apply the tape over the tear.

Ensure there are no bubbles as you go and apply some pressure so the patch adheres to the tent fabric.

Step 5: Apply Seam Grip

A seam Grip is applied on the outside of the tent along the tear. You can use your finger to rub it in or a small brush to ensure it covers the tear completely.

The Seam Grip also helps to increase the strength and weatherproofing properties of the tent. It is recommended for a lasting repair. 

Step 6: Let it dry for 24 hours

Once repaired, let the tent sit for 24 hours before you can use it again. This is enough time for the tenacious tape to set and the Seam Grip to cure. Once that is done, your tent will be back to full functionality so you can weather any condition that the outdoors brings.

How do you repair a tear in a tent canvas?

Canvas is known to be a sturdy material but it can still be damaged with regular use. For the repair work, you will need a durable needle, heavy-duty thread, canvas glue, waterproof canvas, and canvas seam sealer. Also, ensure that the canvas is clean and dry before you start repairing it. 

For small tears, sewing with a needle and thread will suffice. Once sewn, a patch of the waterproof canvas is cut that is large enough to cover the rip. this is done both on the inside and outside of the rip. A seam sealer provides extra protection to the tent. 


Tents are durable, but they cannot last forever. At some point, you will need to get a new one.

If the tent has too many holes or the seams are coming undone, you should stop repairing it. This may fail you when you need it most, so you need to invest in a new one. 

Repairing a tent seam is important because otherwise, it is likely to spread making a larger hole. You can start by applying some Seam Grip or other waterproof sealant on the seam to ensure that the repair will be weatherproof.

From there, sew the seam with polyester or nylon thread. The combination of thread and Seam Grip will do the trick. 


A large tear on your tent does not mean you cut your camping trip short or do away with the tent. Rather, it is an opportunity to take on a fun DIY project on the repair.

With a few basic supplies, you are good to go, breathing new life into your tent and getting it back to full working order.

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