How to Repair a Canvas Tent

How to Repair a Canvas Tent
Repairing a canvas tent with a tear can be a daunting task. It is always to your advantage to know how to repair tears on your tent. It is dangerous to be caught out in on the trail with a torn shelter, especially in bad weather.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Sewing awl or needle
  • Strong waxed thread
  • Scissors
  • Two waterproof canvas repair patches
  • Canvas cement
  • Seam sealant for canvas
Step 1
Use the needle and the thread to sew the tear in your canvas tent. Do the stitches in a neat, short pattern that are close together.
Step 2
Cut a piece of waterproof canvas repair patch large enough to overlap tear. The patch needs to be at least 2 inches on all sides. Once you have the right size, round its corners with the scissors. One patch is for the outside of the tent, the other is for the inside.
Step 3
Use the thread and needle to sew on the patch from the inside. Make small stitches around the patch to secure the flaps and to prevent the hole from spreading.
Step 4
Take the other patch and work from the outside of the tent. Use the canvas cement to cover the patch. Center the patch over the sewn hole or tear in your tent. Hold and press firmly in place. Follow product instructions of the canvas cement to let it dry properly.
Step 5
Apply a generous amount of the canvas seam sealer to all the stitches and all the edges of your patches. This will ensure that your stitches will not come undone and that the area is watertight.

Tips & Warnings

Large tears should be sewn, but if you have a small hole or tear in your tent, you can temporarily patch it with duct tape. For these repairs, use a cloth repair tape that matches the fabric of your tent--in this case, canvas.
Purchase a repair kit that you can easily take out on the trails, such as the Coghlan's Canvas Tent Repair Kit.
Buying repair kits is usually more cost-effective and convenient than buying the materials separately.
Do not expose repaired surfaces to water until the seam sealant and canvas cement has dried thoroughly. Wait for at least two hours.

Article Written By Rona Aquino

Rona Aquino began writing professionally in 2008. As an avid marathon runner and outdoor enthusiast, she writes on topics of running, fitness and outdoor recreation for various publications. Aquino holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications and English from the University of Maryland College Park.

Keep Me Informed

Weekly newsletters, announcements and offers from to your inbox.

Sign me up!

We HATE spam and promise to keep your email addresses safe and secure.