Making a Tarp Repair

This past month, while testing the Underground Quilts Winter Dream tarp, I happened to puncture a 3-inch tear on one of the main panels. The wind was fierce, with gusts up to 60 MPH, which ripped stakes out of the ground and eventually raked the fabric across some sharp rocks. I was mortified and worried I had destroyed the tarp. Miraculously, the tarp survived with very little damage.

Making repairs is actually quite easy, thanks to modern adhesive patches on the market. I made a short video to show how I do it.

Materials Needed

  1. Patch (Tear-Aid Type A or Gear Aid Tenacious Tape)
  2. Scissors
  3. Rubbing alcohol
  4. Clean sponge

Steps and Tips

  1. Clean the ripped area with the alcohol and sponge
  2. Cut a patch to fit the area, ensuring at minimum a 0.5 to 1 inch clear area from the tear
  3. For large tears, consider putting a patch on both sides of the tear
  4. Cut the patch and round any corners. Rounded corners help minimize the patch pealing or catching and coming off
  5. Place the tarp on a clear, flat surface
  6. Begin pealing the back of the patch to expose a portion of the adhesive. Place this area down and slowly flatten the patch across the tear by pulling away the remaining backing
  7. Carefully press and flatten the patch and push out any air bubbles
  8. Let the patch sit for 24-48 hours to completely set

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3 Responses

  1. Jon says:

    Do you have a gauge on how big of a rip can be repaired? I know you mentioned 3″, but do you think 12″ would be too much?

    • Derek says:

      It really depends on where the rip is located. On a hammock, if the rip is under the torso area, it’s best to replace the hammock, or try sewing a patch, but I’d rather re-purpose the hammock and get a new one. Tarps are not load bearing so you can patch larger areas without too much worry. The Tenacious tape that comes in a roll is better suited for long tears.

  2. Jon says:

    Thank you Derek! That is super helpful.

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