I’m sure you’ve had to deal with holes in your tent at some point. Disheartening.
The good news is it’s pretty easy to fix a broken tent mesh. You can do this yourself if you feel confident and have the right tools. Depending on the extent and type of mesh hole or tear, you can fix your tent mesh using a sewing machine, repair glue, mesh patch kit, or the seam sealer.
Of course, some of the DIY fixes may not be as presentable or fancy as a professional repair, but they are great temporary fixes and will do a great job of keeping the insects and bugs away when you’re out in the wild.
Personally, I’m a big fan of the sew machine, and it’s usually my go-to solution when I’m at home.
But when I’m camping and off-grid, I use temporary fixes such as the mesh repair kit to keep me going and save me from the constant buzzing and disturbance of the bugs.
Now, I’m assuming you’re also here, looking to learn how to repair a tent mesh.
You’re in the right place because, in this guide, I’ll share everything you need to know to repair your tent.
How to Fix Snags and Imperfections
If you’ve a no-see-um mesh, you’ve probably come across some imperfections resulting from snagging on Velcro, clothing or vegetation.
The snags come in the form of “micro-holes” and are usually caused by the sliding, pulling or “moving” of the mesh over each other.
Fortunately, the snags on a tent mesh are temporary and not detrimental to the structural integrity of your tent.
They also hardly propagate to large holes or even allow the entry of bugs and insects.
However, they can be a sore on the eye and may result in the bunching up of your mesh.
The good thing is that the snagging is effortless to repair and only take a small-time.
To fix the snag, you need to rub the affected section with your palm or fingers.
I usually prefer laying one side on my palm and rubbing the other side of the affected region with the other palm or top of my finger.
Also, consider twirling the finger in different directions, and hopefully, it should be enough to allow the snags and imperfects to disappear.
But sometimes, you find that your mesh stretches and tears.
Usually, ripping off your tent can be caused by many reasons, including contact with sharp objects, overzealous set-up or breakdown, strong winds and much more.
Now, once a tent tears, it may create room for the bugs and other insects to access your living space. Inconvenient.
But even worse, a hole in your tent might just be the leeway for the destruction of your entire tent. A hole can propagate the damage to a much larger section, ultimately affecting the integrity of your tent.
Now, assuming you’ve a hole in your tent, your next big step should be figuring out how to fix it.
The choice of repair method will ultimately depend on the size and type of the hole or rip.
And in the section below, I’ll share the different tent hole scenarios and look at how you can fix them.
Fixing a Straight Mesh Tent Rip
There’re two main techniques of fixing a straight mesh tent rip. A sew machine and tent glue.
Both techniques are efficient and can be substituted for one another.
However, I prefer the sewing method because it’s more reliable.
Here are the steps to fixing a straight tear on your tent using a sew machine.
- Sew machine
- Clean cloth
- Repair tape
Clean your tent. It’s necessary to work on a clean surface for the best results.
You can start by laying your tent on a clean flat surface and then using a damp cloth or cloth swabbed in rubbing alcohol to clean the affected region.
From there, let the damaged section dry.
Thread your sewing machine.
Ideally, I’d recommend using a similar tent’s fabric thread to the ripped tent.
But more importantly, set your sew machine to a zigzag stitching pattern. It should give you the best results.
Fold the broken tent segment into two, with the two edges of the ripped part laying flush & flat against each other.
The edges can also overlap to ensure all the rips will remain closed.
From there, start sewing. The separate torn edges will be sewn together.
Step four is all about strengthening the sew.
First, apply tenacious tape over the broken section. It should help in bolstering the sew and avoiding further rips.
In addition to the adhesive tape, consider using a mesh net tape over the ripped section.
When cutting the mesh net tape, I’d recommend cutting it in a circular design to prevent it from fraying.
Apply it gently on one side of the torn segment, and then gently rub it with your hands while applying some bit of pressure.
Switch to the other side, and perform the same procedure.
Hopefully, your stitch will be strong enough and hold for quite a long time.
Using Tent Repair Glue
If you’re camping off-grid, you might not have a sewing machine at your disposal.
But you might have a tent repair glue in your toolbox. It’s a nice alternative to the bulky sewing machine, and all you need to fix is a straight tear on your tent.
The benefit of using tent repair glue is that it doesn’t require extra tools and is easy to tag along with.
Even better, tent repair glue offers a nice waterproof repair.
Here’s how to go about repairing your tent with tent repair glue.
As with our previous method, it’s necessary to ensure the broken segments are clean and free from any dirt and debris.
It’s particularly crucial if you’re using glue because the presence of dirt may compromise its glueing abilities.
Fold the two edges of the ripped section, letting them lay flush against each other.
Personally, I like the edges overlapping against each other.
Apply the tent repair glue over the sections.
For the best results, I usually let the stitching cure for about six hours but the longer, the better. Alternatively, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Fixing a Hole in a Mesh Tent
Here’s a step-by-step method of fixing the hole in your tent.
As usual, start by cleaning the affected region. Working on a clean surface makes the stitching process more efficient.
Place the mesh repair patch on the mosquito netting hole.
Ideally, the mesh repair patch should overlap the edges of the hole. Or rather, it should provide full coverage of the hole.
Next, remove the adhesive backing on the mesh patch and gently apply it to the hole.
For better results, I’d recommend you repeat the same process on the other side of the mesh tent hole.
In some instances, you’ll realize your repair patch doesn’t come with an adhesive but rather glue.
To repair, you simply need to apply the glue on the mesh repair patch for the adhesive backing and then gently apply it to the mesh hole.
Consider applying pressure on the opposite side of the two patches to facilitate a nice bonding of the broken section.
Also, rubbing through the patch is necessary to rid the patch from ripples and bubbles.
The final step is giving the patch time to cure before usage or packing it in the stuff sack. It may take 24 hours, or what the user manual instructs.
Using a Sewing Machine to Fix a Tent Hole
If you didn’t carry your repair kit, a sewing machine is an alternative to repair a hole in your tent.
Get a tent patch.
Ideally, the patch should be of similar tent fabric to your tent mesh.
Apply the tent patch. I’d recommend you find a bigger-sized patch than the hole so that it can overlap the edges of the hole.
Before you start sewing, it’s necessary to align your mesh patch on the tent mesh hole.
Once they’re perfectly aligned, run pins between the edges of the hole and the patch. It’s an important step to help keep the patch in place during the sewing process.
Sew in a zigzag pattern.
It’s also important you trim the edges of the repair patch after the sew. Trimming is necessary to eliminate fraying or further ripping of the patch.
This is an optional step.
But it doesn’t hurt applying tenacious tape on the repair patch. It helps to strengthen the bond and ensure the patch stays for a long time.
How to Seal Leaks
Unless Your tent is torn or has a hole, most leaks will come from the seams.
While most tents come with sealed seams, they can occasionally get damaged, resulting in water leaks.
The good news is it’s easy to fix the leaks on your tent, and I’ll share the steps you need to follow.
- Clean cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
- Seam sealer/ seam grip
Here’re the steps to repair the broken seams and stop water leakage on your tent.
You’ll need to identify the leaking seams.
And a good way to do that is by setting your tent in a bright, sunny spot.
Having your tent set in a bright spot will help properly examine the leaking sections.
Also, it’s important to pay attention to the underside. Set the fly apart for easier access to the seams.
If you’ve identified the leaking section, start prepping it to fix it by cleaning it.
Use the clean cloth, along with water or a dab of alcohol, to clean the ripped section.
Gently, apply a seam sealer on the seams.
From my observation, if one section of the seams starts to give in, others are likely to follow suit.
So, a great way to avoid the entire seam system breaking down is by applying the seam sealer to all the seams.
Before you use your tent, allow it to dry for some time.
It’s important to remember that most of the available tents have a waterproof membrane, which tends to lose its waterproofness over time.
Usually, the membrane wears with time but may also be due to exposure to the cleaning detergents.
How to Fix other Tent Problems
Tents may also break on other sections, including the broken poles and elastic cord.
In the section below, I’ll guide you on some of the quick fixes to your tent structure.
Splinting a Broken Tent Pole
Broken tent poles are quite common and may affect the integrity of your tent.
Now, whether your pole is kinked, either from getting stepped on or from a gust of wind, you need to repair it.
A simple DIY fix is all you need to get your tent pole back to normal before replacing the pole once you get home.
There’re several ways of fixing a tent pole, but the sleeve is by far the most popular and common way.
Fixing a Tent Pole Using Repair Sleeve
A repair sleeve is exactly as its name suggests.
It’s a hollow metal tube with a slightly larger diameter than your poles. The sleeve usually comes standard in the tent package.
Here’s how to use one to fix a tent pole.
Line up the broken sections of the tent pole, so they’re on a straight line.
It should make it easy for you to slide the repair sleeve.
If the tent pole of bent but not yet broken, you can start by straightening it.
Once everything is lined up correctly and in a straight line, gently slide the repair sleeve on the broken tent pole.
Ideally, I’d recommend you allow the repair sleeve to extend a few inches over the edges of the broken tent segment.
Wrap the ends of the repair sleeve against the pole. The combination should sit flush, ad I’d also recommend wounding the repair tape several times. A single roll on your duct tape can work on several poles.
Now, assuming the pole has broken on a joint, you can still use the repair sleeve, but you need to keep in mind that it’ll prevent you from breaking down or folding the pole.
Using a Tent Stake as a Splint
Another alternative for fixing your tent pole is using a splint. It’s a handy option, especially if you don’t have a repair sleeve with you.
Using a tent stake isn’t challenging either.
Here’s a breakdown of how to use the stake.
Align the broken segments in a straight line.
If the pole is bent, try to fix it by straightening the bend section.
Place the stake flush and lateral to the aligned broken sections.
Use a duct take to wound over the stake and the broken sections.
You can wrap the duct tape across the edges, but if you’ve enough of it, do it across the entire stake section.
Also, consider wounding the tenacious tape a couple of times over the stake and the broken segment for more strength.
Repairing Tent Zipper
Tent zippers are also a huge concern for many campers. But it’s easy to repair one.
The repair method will depend on how the teeth are damaged.
For example, if it’s complete damage, there’s little you can do about it. You’ll need a complete replacement of the existing zipper.
But if it’s just a misalignment of the teeth, you simply need to pull the zipper up and down a couple of times until the issue solves itself.
How to Repair Tent Peg
Tent pegs will hardly break down, but they can bend.
But the high-quality tent pegs are generally more sturdy.
Either way, a bend tent peg can be remedied through bend it back. If you can’t do it by hand, consider using a tool such as a mallet.
Even then, tent pegs will hardly retain their original form or shape unless you heat them on a stove.
Knowing how to repair a torn tent is an invaluable skill, but you can avoid all of that in the first place by maintaining and taking good care of your entire tent.
And in the section below, I’ll share some handy maintenance tips.
Practice Setting Up and Folding your Tent
Some of the biggest tent mistakes and breakages usually happen during set-up and breakdown.
So, it makes sense if you practiced putting up and breaking down your tent before heading into the wild.
Knowing these processes will save you from unpleasant surprises and make your stay in the wild more pleasant.
Handle with Care
Don’t whip the poles or use excessive force when operating the zippers.
Instead, be gentle with your tent and avoid forcing things.
Be aware of the Elements.
When setting up your tent, be considerate of the location.
For example, if possible, avoid setting your tent in direct sunlight as long-term exposure may degrade the tent’s fabric, cover and even the pole.
How to Repair Tent Netting Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Can I fix a tent screen?
A: Yes, provided you’ve the materials, you can patch a tent screen hole. Be sure to tear round corners of the tape to avoid fraying.
Q: Is washing the tent a good idea?
A: Yes, cleaning tent cover is okay, especially if you travel and use t a lot. But be sure to do it in moderation.
You might be an old hand in camping, but there’s always something new to learn.
And in this guide, I’ve shared everything you need to know about how to repair your tent netting and other parts of your tent.
Hopefully, these tips will come in handy in your next camping trip or thru-hike.