Going on a camping trip is always exciting. However, you may easily lose this excitement if you discover that you have a damaged tent mesh.
Your tent is meant to be your happy place but a torn tent mesh is no good. When you have a torn tent, insects will easily find their way into your tent. The last thing you want in your tent is to hear the buzz of a mosquito or see a bug.
Fortunately, you can fix torn mesh fabric all by yourself. You are in the right place if you have a hole in your tent’s door, window, or screen.
This article contains a step-by-step guide on how to fix your tent and get it back in good condition. At the end of the article, you should be able to repair even the biggest holes.
Table of Contents
Items You Will Need for a Tent Repair
In this section, we will be providing a list of the items you should have in your tent repair kit. We have divided them into two parts, one for a straight tear and the other for a hole.
If your tent has a straight tear, get the following items:
- For sewing
- A sewing machine
- A thread
- A tape or an adhesive patch for mesh netting
- If you can’t get hold of a sewing machine, a tent repair glue will be a good alternative. The fact that it provides a flexible and waterproof seal will be very beneficial.
- A cotton ball
- Alcohol swab or rubbing alcohol
If your tent has a hole, get the following items:
- Mesh patch kit
- The kit should come with either an adhesive or fabric patch. It should also contain glue or tape.
- If you don’t have access to the kit, you may use a sewing machine instead. Though this method takes more time, it provides better results than a mesh patch kit.
- A cotton ball
- Alcohol swab or rubbing alcohol
Mesh Tent Repair: A Step by Step Guide
For Mesh with a Straight Tear
Whether your tent has experienced a straight tear or a large one, you can fix the damage yourself. You may repair the damage by either sewing it or applying repair glue. Any of the two methods will provide the necessary results provided it is done properly.
Step 1: Get the tent mesh ready
Before starting the repair, you should ensure that the tent is clean. Remove all forms of dirt from the area to be repaired so that the results can be long-lasting.
Place the damaged area on a flat surface. Clean the torn area with either water or a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Let it dry up before you continue the repair.
Step 2: Get the Mesh on the Machine
Start by reading your sewing machine. The thread you run through the sewing needle should be of the same fabric as your tent mesh.
To sew the ripped area properly, you will have to hold it tightly and evenly. You should also position the edges in a way that they overlap one another. This will ensure that that the rip remains closed.
The torn edges can then be sewn together. We recommend that the machine you use is set to a zig-zag stitch pattern. You can learn more about that in this video.
After that, the adhesive tape should be applied. The importance of the tape is that it will strengthen the sewing job. So, you can be assured that the area won’t get torn again.
Next, you will need two pieces of mesh netting tape. It is better to cut them in circular shapes as the corners of rectangular pieces tend to fray after a while.
Place the pieces over the freshly sewn area to check if they are a good fit for it. Once you are done checking, take out the adhesive layer of one piece and lay it over the sewn area.
Hold the tape and the mesh together tightly and then, begin to rub them. Continue this for a while so that they bond together securely. Smoothen all ripples.
Turn the tent to the other side and repeat the process you carried out on the repaired area. The patch should then be allowed to cure. For best results, leave it alone for up to 24 hours.
Step 2: Tent Repair Glue (Alternative)
This is a good alternative for you if you can’t get your hands on a sewing machine. The benefits of this method are that it requires fewer tools and provides waterproof results.
As we mentioned in the previous step, you should remove all dirt with either water or alcohol. Place the torn area on a flat and you may also put on gloves to protect yourself from the glue.
Lay the torn areas over each other evenly and ensure that there are no spaces. Apply the tent repair glue over the section carefully and allow a little overlap.
You may watch this video to learn how to apply the glue.
To ensure that the repair is long-lasting, it should be allowed to cure for up to 6 hours or according to the manufacturer’s direction. Once it becomes dry, you may also apply the glue to the other side of the fabric. This will make it much more secure.
For Mesh with a Hole
Step 1: Get the Tent Ready
Lay the ripped section on a flat surface. Clean the area with an alcohol swab and leave it to dry. You may also use a cotton ball dipped in alcohol.
Step 2: Get the Mesh Patch Kit
Open the kit and place the mesh repair patch on the damaged area. Do this to ensure that the patch overlaps the edges of the hole by between a quarter of an inch and an inch.
Take out the adhesive backing from the patch and apply it to the hole tightly. For the best results, repeat the process on the other side of the mesh.
Sometimes, the repair kit may include a repair glue instead of a patch. In such a case, you should apply some glue to the fabric repair piece. Then, place it on the hole with some pressure.
To ensure that there is proper bonding and no ripples, rub the repaired area for a while. After that, you should leave it to cure for 24 hours.
If you prefer watching videos, you may check out this video to learn how to apply a tent mesh patch kit.
Step 2: Using a Sewing Machine (Alternative)
If you can’t get your hands on a mesh patch kit, you don’t have to worry. You can also repair the damage by sewing on a patch.
Get your patch by cutting out a piece from a mesh netting fabric. Ensure that the piece overlaps the edges of the hole by at least a quarter of an inch. If not, you will find the hole needing repair again before long.
Place the fabric on the hole and sure that they align. The grain of the mesh and that of the fabric should be facing one direction. This will enable both materials to move together smoothly.
Once both materials have been properly aligned, gently run pins through them so that they remain in place when you sew.
Get your sewing machine and sew on the patch using the zig-zag stitch pattern.
You may watch this video to learn how to sew a zig-zag stitch:
When you complete the stitch, trim the edges of the fabric. This will prevent the fabric from tearing in the future.
You may also apply fabric repair tape to the edges of the patch. This will secure the area and prevent fraying. Since the tape is waterproof, you won’t have to worry about leaks in the future.
How To Fix Other Tent Problems
Aside from tears and holes, other forms of damage can happen to your tent. These damages include leaks, broken poles, broken zippers, bent tents, and bent tent pegs.
Any of these issues can prevent you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activity. So, let’s take a look at each of these problems and how to fix them.
Fixing Tent Leaks
Leaks caused by tears or holes can be repaired through the procedures we explained in the article. However, the major area where leaks occur in tents is between two fabrics.
To repair a leak in your tent’s seams, you will need to remove all dirt with either a tent cleaner or alcohol. After that, you may apply a seam sealer to fix the leak.
The majority of tents manufactured today come with waterproof membranes. But they tend to lose this protective coat after some time.
This is usually caused by the exposure of the tent to liquids like detergents. So, you should avoid using detergents close to your tent. If your tent has lost its waterproof membrane, you may reapply it with the aid of a water guard.
Repairing Broken Tent Poles
A broken or bent tent pole is another problem commonly faced by campers. This type of damage may result from different kinds of events. These include high winds, wear, and tear, improper setup, etc.
The easiest way to solve this problem is to have extra tent poles with you. This will enable you to quickly replace any bad pole.
However, you don’t need to worry if you have no spare poles with you. The problem can be fixed with duct tape.
Wrap duct tape around the broken area of the pole to strengthen it. This will be even more effective if the pole doesn’t have to be bent. You can take your time to properly repair the pole upon getting home but it is better that you replace it.
In the worst-case scenario, you may have to replace damaged tent poles with branches and twigs. Though we hope things never get so bad.
Repairing Broken Tent Zippers
How you repair your tent’s zipper will depend on where it got damaged. If it is the teeth that have been damaged, the right thing to do will be to replace the entire zip. However, this is something that should be done after the trip.
You can easily fix a misalignment in the teeth though. All you have to run the slider back and forth a couple of times. This solves the issue most times.
A broken slider is also repairable. You may read this guide to learn how to fix a broken slider with a set of pliers.
If you have a jammed slider, you can attempt to loosen it with WD-40. However, you should avoid getting it on the flysheet.
Repairing Bent Tent Pegs
It is not unusual for tent pegs to become bent and this is particularly true for cheap pegs. Even pegs with more quality tend to become bent after experiencing lots of wear and tear.
You can fix a bent peg by bending it back into shape or hitting it with a mallet. But if you still can’t fix the damage, you will need to heat it on a stove. This will make it easier to hammer.
You should be very careful while doing this. We recommend that you always carry extra tent pegs on your camping trip.
Though it is good to know how to repair tent mesh, it is much better to not have to repair your tent at all. So, we believe that you also need to learn how to maintain your tent.
Before we go into the main content, here are some quick and helpful tips:
- You should always follow the instructions
- Handle the zippers and poles with care
- Wash your tent and flyers at regular intervals
- Carry your tent repair kit
- Always dry your tent before storing it
You may also get some tent care tips from watching this video:
Caring for Your Tent During Setup
Before leaving for your campsite, you should perform a practice pitch. This simply means you should try setting up your tent without any pressure.
You should also ensure that you have all the necessary gear with you. This includes guylines, stakes, and other tent accessories. Once you are in the wild, follow these instructions to keep your tent in good condition:
Head to a Ready Campsite
This Leave No Trace guide should help you to locate an ideal spot for your tent. The ideal spot should be flat and free of vegetation.
So, all you will have to do is get rid of any debris that could damage your tent. You should try not to make any more changes to the site.
Use a Tent Footprint
A footprint is a fabric that is designed to protect the floor of your tent. Not only does it prevent abrasion and punctures, but it also offers campers a clean surface.
Additionally, rainwater won’t accumulate on a footprint like it would on a generic ground cloth. This is because the material will cover the ground below your tent. But if you can’t access a footprint, ensure that your generic ground floor doesn’t go beyond your tent’s perimeter.
Don’t Expose Your Tent Setup to Excessive Sunlight
If you want your tent to be long-lasting, you have to minimize its exposure to ultraviolet rays. Long exposure to ultraviolet rays is known to degrade the materials in your canopy and rainfly.
Since the rainfly is more resistant to sunlight, you may use it to protect the tent if has to be out in the sun. However, you should note that the best rainfly material is polyester.
If you will be away from your tent for long hours, you should pack your tent out of the sun. This should be done regardless of the type of fabric.
Handle the Poles Gently
You shouldn’t whip your pole about in a bid to snap its shock-corded parts in place. Whipping a pole around could get it damaged and you may even injure someone around you. Unfolding and fitting one pole after another is much better.
Caring for Your Tent During Use
There are various ways to maintain your tent’s condition while using it. We have listed them below:
Handle Your Zipper with Care
If your zipper ever gets stuck, you should avoid forcing it. This could worsen the situation. We have explained how to solve a zipper problem earlier in the article.
Don’t Wear Boots Inside
To protect your tent floor, you should always leave your boots either outside the tent or in the vestibule. Grit, pebbles, and other forms of first can easily cause abrasions and punctures.
Don’t Attract Little Creatures
Critters are always in search of food in the wild and if you leave food in your tent, you are indirectly sending them an invite. If they smell your food, they will happily bute through your tent’s fabric to get to it.
The best place to keep your food is outside your tent. This could either be in the woods or your car’s trunk.
Aside from food, animals also pick up artificial odors. So, you should avoid using any scented products in your tent. It’s alright for your tent to smell like the outdoors, just keep it clean.
Don’t Leave Dogs in Your Tent
Your tent wasn’t built to serve as a kennel. So, a dog should never be left in it unsupervised. Your dog can easily rip your tent apart while trying to find a way out.
Caring for Your Tent During Breakdown
When you start preparing to leave your campsite, you should carefully break down your tent to avoid any damage.
Here are a few things that you should do:
Shake Shake Shake
Before packing up your tent, get rid of the trash and all other forms of dirt. A freestanding tent will be easier to clean as the poles will enable shaking it without fuss.
Don’t Pull Shock-Corded Poles
When trying to separate this type of pole from your tent, you should push instead of pulling it. This is because pulling can cause damage to the elastic cord.
Start in the Middle
The best section to start breaking your tent is the middle. This will ensure that one part of the cord doesn’t receive more tension than the other. You should repeat the procedure whenever you reach the mid-section.
Let It Dry
Condensation will always occur in a tent regardless of the amount of ventilation in it. Moisture mostly accumulates on the fly and the floor and it will eventually lead to damage if it isn’t gotten rid of.
Hence, you should always dry your tent before hitting the road. You can get this done by handing your tent and fly on a tree or a boulder. However, you should avoid anything that could tear or poke a hole in them.
If you have no choice but to pack up a wet tent, you should dry it up the moment you get to your destination.
Roll It Up
Finally, you should take your time to roll up your tent instead of handling it like a sleeping bag. This will keep the fabric and coating in good condition.
Caring for Your Tent at Home
Even after you get home, you still have to continue caring for your tent. This way, you can ensure that it will be in good condition the next time you need it.
Air Dry Your Tent
Whether you have returned from a camping trip or cleaned your tent, you should give it enough time to dry. You may pitch it inside or in a shaded area outdoor. But if there isn’t enough space, you can hang it.
There is nothing more important than ensuring that your tent is completely dry before storing it. If not, the presence of moisture will result in mold growth, bad odors, and loss of waterproof materials.
If you will be storing your tent for a long while, you shouldn’t store it in a stuff sack. The fabric should be in an environment where it can relax and breathe. So, we recommend a pillowcase or any mesh bag of identical size.
Finally, don’t store it in your basement, attic, or trunk as hot and damp places are not ideal for tents. But if you must, keep it in a sealed plastic bin.
Key Insights & Takeaways
Even if you have a lot of experience with camping, there is always something new to learn. This post contains information about repairing tarp or other problems common in camping tents as well as tips for maintaining them.
Keep in mind that you need a lot of patience and determination if you want to get your tent mesh repaired! Hopefully, we’ve provided enough useful tips to extend the life of your tent.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you repair a tent screen?
Yes, you can repair it. If it gets damaged during your trip, you can easily patch a tear or hole with duct tape.
Is it good to wash a tent?
It is okay to gently wash your tent from time to time if you go on lots of trips. However, you should never wash it in a machine.
How long should a tent last?
Your tent should serve you for up to 5 years if used continuously provided that it is well maintained. It may even last longer depending on other environmental factors.
How can I quickly dry my tent?
To quickly dry your tent, you should shake it severely so that all excess moisture can be removed.
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