I just returned from a trip to the High Sierra and found a 1/2 inch tear in the bottom of my Big Agnes tent. The fabric is silicone treated nylon. How do I fix it?
Submitted by - Don, Windsor, CA
Good thing you did a post-trip gear inspection. Imagine if you blew it off and discovered the rip during a drenching, all night thunderstorm on your next trip? Don't sweat it; small tent tears are a snap to fix. Most likely, one of the reasons you bought that siliconized nylon tent is that it's so light. Well, the downside of the weight savings is that you've got to treat it a little more gently than a heavier tent. In the future, be really picky about where you pitch your tent, and be sure to clear the area of any sharp rocks, twigs, or pine cones, which can easily poke through the wispy fabric.
OK, now on to the repair: get McNett's SilFix Fabric Repair Kit (about $6).
- Start by preparing both sides of the surface around the tear: Make sure it's very clean and dry (an alcohol wipe from your first aid kit works great).
- Apply one of the peel and stick patch to the outside of the tear to create a backing for your repair job. Press it carefully and make sure there are no lurking air bubbles. Now, flip things over and work from the inside.
- Trim a sil-nylon fabric swatch to cover damaged area and extend about 1⁄4 inch (5mm) beyond. (Shape your patch with rounded edges, rather than squared off ones–they'll be much less likely to peel away.)
- Paint the SilFix over damaged area and 1⁄2 inch (10mm) beyond. For the best bond, the adhesive really needs to extend beyond the patch.
- Center and apply sil-nylon fabric swatch. Smooth it out to eliminate air bubbles and press down edges.
- Let it dry flat for 2 hours.
Now, you're good to go–the repair is permanent!