A problem with your tent can really put a damper on your camping trip. Below are a few tips to prepare your tent for an upcoming trip or fix a minor issue in the field.
One of my tent poles has snapped
Splint it with a length of pipe
If your tent pole snaps when you’re out in the field, you can fix it with a short length of piping. You’ll need a pipe that’s slightly wider than the pole, but not so large that it won’t fit through the sleeves of the tent fabric. Slide the pipe over the damaged section and tape it in place as a splint.
There’s a tear in my tent
Use duct tape for an emergency fix
Minor tears in a tent’s fabric can be fixed with duct tape. It is not a perfect repair, but it should see you through to the end of your camping trip.
- First make sure that the fabric around the tear is clean and dry, both inside and out. Ask someone to hold a firm, flat object, such as a book or chopping board, behind the tear (on the inside of the tent).
- From the outside of the tent, press a strip of duct tape over the tear, pushing against the board to form a tight seal, smoothing out any creases or bubbles. Use more than one strip if you need to, especially if the tear is ragged.
- Swap positions with your helper and repeat the process to tape up the repair from inside the tent, making a double-layered patch.
For a longer-lasting fix, use a special tent-repair kit suitable for your tent’s fabric, or have the tear professionally repaired.
Wet. Dry. Repeat.
Brand-new tents made from pure canvas usually leak because their fabric has tiny gaps in its weave. To make the tent waterproof, it needs weathering.
To do this, pitch the tent with the guy-ropes slightly loosened, then soak the tent with water from a hose, or simply leave it pitched out on a rainy night. The fibres will swell, filling the gaps in the weave and ensuring that the canvas is watertight.
Some tents will require several cycles of wetting and drying before they are fully weathered.