How to Fix Holes in Tents (Nylon, Polyester, Canvas & More)

man applying mesh patch

Sometimes wear and tear happens to a tent, and you need to repair it. Like any fabric material, tents will degrade over time. Or maybe your tent was the victim of a stray branch or rock. Either way, repairing holes in tents is simple.

Fixing a hole or tear in your tent requires a few materials. There are inexpensive patch kits on the market that make repairs easy. Most repairs will be able to be fixed by adhesive patches or gear tape. Otherwise, basic sewing will do the trick.

How to Patch a Hole in a Tent

An easy and effective way to patch a hole in a synthetic tent is by using patch kits or gear repair tape. Both can be purchased at any outdoor retailer. These kits have a peel-and-stick technology that is very user-friendly.

Canvas tents can be patched similarly, and canvas patch kits are also on the market. The difference with a canvas tent is that canvas can and should be sewn together.

Nylon Tents

The process of fixing a hole in a nylon tent using tape or patches is pretty straightforward.

  1. Clean the area that needs to be patched. Remove any dirt and debris before starting the repair. Rubbing alcohol works well for this.
  2. Choose either your gear tape or your patch kit. For gear tape, cut to size and round the edges so they won’t peel off in the future.
  3. Remove the backing on the tape or patch to expose the adhesive.
  4. Press the patch down firmly on the hole. Make sure it is smooth.
  5. Repeat on the other side.
  6. You can also use a tent seam sealant to add an extra layer of protection and adhesive to the patch. Cure for 24 hours.

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Polyester Tents

How to patch a polyester tent will be the same as a nylon tent. Gear repair tape or tent patches will work on polyester, as well. Any nylon tent repair kit would also be able to repair a polyester tent.

Canvas Tents

Canvas tents are patched a little differently. You will want a needle and thread as well as a piece of canvas to cover the hole.

  1. Clean any dirt and debris away from the tear.
  2. Sew the hole together using a simple stitch.
  3. Grab a piece of canvas or canvas patch and sew the patch over the hole.
  4. Repeat on the inside of the tent.
  5. Just like with a synthetic tent, you can use tent seam sealant to increase the durability of your patch job. Cover your patch, and let it dry for 24 hours.

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It’s also a good idea to check the warranty for your tent. Reputable manufacturers like Springbar may repair your canvas tent for free or at a reasonable price. Contact customer service to see if that’s an option for you.

How to Fix a Hole in Tent Mesh or Netting

The easiest way to fix a hole in the mesh or netting of your tent is by using a mesh patch. These patches are also peel-and-stick and don’t require any sewing or sealant. They will come pre-cut in small circles that will be sufficient for most rips in the mesh of your tent.

Here’s how to use them. It’s nearly the same process as patching any other hole in your tent.

  1. Peel off the backing from the patch to expose the adhesive.
  2. Put the patch on the rip in your tent mesh.
  3. Press the patch down, making sure it’s smooth and fully adhered.
  4. Repeat on the other side.
  5. From there, you’re good to go.

How to Repair a Tear in a Tent

If you have a long tear in your tent that is too big for a patch kit, you can still repair it. The process will be mostly the same, with just slightly different supplies.

Instead of patches, you can buy rolls of gear repair tape and cut them to whatever size you need. If your canvas tent tears, you can purchase canvas fabric and cut it to shape. Then you would adhere or sew on using the same steps as above.

How to Patch a Hole in a Tent Floor

In most tents, you can use the same patch kit or gear repair tape you would for a hole in the wall. The process to repair it will be the same.

For other tents with vinyl flooring or different floor material, you can buy specific patch kits designed for tent floors. They will be the same adhesive design as any other patch kit.

If you know, you’ll be camping on rocky ground or on a surface that might poke through your tent floor, it’s a good idea to use a ground sheet to help prevent damage in the first place so you don’t have to fix holes in your tent later.

What to Use to Patch a Hole in a Tent

There are several options on the market for what to use to patch a hole in your tent. You can buy a repair kit with a needle and thread or patch tape that either comes in a roll or pre-cut.

For synthetic tents:

For canvas tents:

Seam sealer to seal your patch:

For mesh or netting:

Can you fix a tent with duct tape?

Duct tape can be used in a pinch to fix a tent. It is an easy but temporary fix. It could be a good thing to carry in your car on a camping trip for emergencies, but it should be replaced with a better solution when you get home.

If your tent poles snapped during an adventure, you could use duct tape to hold them together. You could also use it to patch a tent in an emergency, but I don’t recommend it as a patching material unless you absolutely have to.

Duct tape leaves a sticky residue that is difficult to remove, especially from a delicate surface like the wall of a tent.

The older the tape is, the harder it is to clean off. It will hold up well in the short term but eventually break down with time and exposure and must be replaced. Therefore, it’s best to wait to use tent patching kits and materials to fix a rip in your tent.