Your tent is subjected to a fair bit of abuse over the camping season and, while designed and built to withstand the rigours of family life outdoors, problems can arise. Best follow the old Scout’s motto and ‘Be prepared’ by creating your very own tent first aid kit and learning the skills to use it…
Above: Major problem fixed. Here, we’re lashing a fractured pole to provide flexible strength and stop splintering, then covering the damaged area in tape to protect the pole sleeves and repair
There is nothing better than camping when it comes to enjoying a relaxing holiday in the countryside. And, at Outwell, we do all we can to ensure that your camping gear will enhance the experience. But, let’s face it, no matter how good your equipment Mother Nature can be a fickle partner and even the most skilled camper will sometimes have an accident that damages their tent. Happily, few accidents are terminal and repairs can be carried out in situ if you have the right essentials to hand.
Rips and punctures
Stormy conditions make repairs hard to effect in the field – but not impossible. Speed is of the essence and strong, waterproof tapes that stretch to counter movement – like Gorilla Tape or Tenacious Tape– really come into their own. Just slap over the damaged area and, unless the tent’s structural integrity has been badly affected, it should last until a permanent repair can be done at home. Groundsheets can also be treated with tape. Tent repair glues are also available from McNett (manufacturers of Tenacious Tape) and Storm (specialists in waterproofing outdoor gear) to match their tapes and patches. REPAIR KIT One roll of tape; tube of glue
It is rare for a sealed seam of a synthetic tent, or a correctly prepared polycotton/cotton seam, to leak and little can be done to stop it until the weather improves except use the above tape to stem the worse of the drips. If available, a tarp, plastic sheet or groundsheet can be slung up outside over the affected area to protect it from the worse of the weather and minimise water entry. When the tent is dry spray the outside of the seam with a waterproofing spray and seal inside using a seam sealant (or a latexbased adhesive like Copydex if none available). Dry thoroughly before packing away – worth dusting the set glue with talc to ensure fully dry before packing away. REPAIR KIT Small tube of seam sealer and small can of waterproofing spray, like Outwell Seam Guard and Water Guard
Fractured fibreglass poles can be repaired using lashing cord (available from online chandlers) and, if necessary, splinting the damaged area with, say, a tent peg (saw off the hook end first) and wrapping with the trusty tape. It may not look good but it will work until you get a replacement pole section. Damaged ferrules can also be treated this way or use a skewer tent peg inserted Ring ‘n’ Pin style to connect the pole sections. You may be lucky to have access to spare poles of the right diameter, like one of our Do it yourself kits. These may need cutting to length or even two used together to replace a missing section so consider doing this at home prior to any emergency. Measure and wrap tape around the area to cut to prevent the saw from slipping and stop splintering. Saw through, periodically rotate the pole to stop splinters. Rub down sharp edges with Wet & Dry, trying not to breathe in the dust. A broken shock cord does not affect the integrity of the tent but just makes pitching harder. If it breaks either leave until you get home or re-thread on site. Spare cord is available from most big DIY stores. REPAIR KIT Depending on size, one or two spare pole sections for main pole; junior hacksaw; Wet & Dry paper
A few meters of cord will take care of any guylines that break and provide some supplementary guys if needed. Clingons are a simple, fast and effective way to add an eyelet to fabric if extra guy points are required, or eyelets break, or a tarp needs rigging. A little elasticated cord can be cut to size and used to replace pegging loops.
REPAIR KIT 5m cord; four Clingons and 50cm elasticated cord
Tools for the job
A good multitool, knife and a small hacksaw will take care of most DIY repair jobs. And keep a head torch handy for handsfree work at night – regularly check to make sure the batteries remain sound. All the above items have numerous other uses around your pitch and you’ll find your ‘First Aid Kit’ for gear will grow with time as you find other useful items, like an Outwell Field Repair Kit, and gain skills to make more complicated repairs in the field. I store mine in a medium size plastic box that has a high visibility lid so I can quickly locate it in an emergency. Let’s hope it’s never used!