MSR Tent Tech: 3 Ways to Field Repair a Rip in Your Tent’s Rainfly

All MSR tents are designed with long-term durability in mind, but anything can happen in the backcountry. Even a small rip in your rainfly can expose your tent to the elements, and a little tear can quickly migrate and become a bigger problem. Repairing it in the field can be your best bet, preferably before it starts to rain. Here are three solutions for tent rainfly repair recommended by MSR engineers and designers who have field-tested tents to their limits.

Solution #1: Use duct tape or medical tape

While not an elegant remedy, duct tape is a versatile solution to all sorts of problems you might encounter. Medical tape can be a useful temporary fix as well. Remember to remove the duct or medical tape as soon as you return from your trip to avoid leaving a sticky residue on your tent.

Solution #2: Use the Tenacious Tape™

While duct tape can be a great catch-all repair kit addition, for fabric-specific repairs bring Tenacious Tape. Made with an adhesive that permanently bonds nylon, plastic and rubber, it’s great for mending rips in tents, tent footprints, sleeping pads and outerwear. When repairing your gear with Tenacious Tape, make sure to clean up the tear thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol or soap and water. Isopropyl is effective for cleaning everything except waterproof items like tent flies where it will damage the waterproof coating. Next, cut a patch with at least ½ inch of clearance on all sides of the hole. Round off the corners of the patch to decrease the likelihood of peeling and apply the patch carefully to avoid air bubbles and ensure adherence.

Solution #3: Stitch the tear

Stitching the tear should be your last resort, as it could add more punctures to the rainfly and possibly cause the tear to increase in size. But if you’re without patches or tape, this temporary repair to your rainfly can help you maintain your shelter until it’s time to head for home.

Most importantly, once you get back from your trip, you should clean your rainfly carefully and, if you haven’t already, apply a permanent fix with our repair patches. If the tear is too large, contact the MSR repair department to inquire about a larger-scale, professional-looking repair.

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