When you’re out on the road year-in-year-out damage to canvas is bound to happen: kids running in and out, debris in high winds, or grit inadvertently being packed into your tent causing damage during travel. Unfortunately, canvas repairs can cost a fair chunk of change but if the damage is minor, say, just a small tear or hole, there are a few things you can do that will get you back out there and enjoying the great outdoors with a secure space to stay cosy and dry.
The first option available is to use a canvas repair kit, available from most hardware and camping and outdoor lifestyle stores for just a few dollars. There are many brands to choose from and while each comes with its own recommended methods of use, they essentially all require you to tightly stitch up the tear with a supplied needle and thread before applying a patch with glue. These kits work well for small rips and holes but repairs are limited by the size of the patch and can be labour intensive for larger tears as canvas can be tricky to sew.
If you haven’t got the patience to conduct a fiddly repair or the tear is significant in the size you can always try cloth tape or canvas repair tape, available at most hardware stores. Cloth tape is basically a resin-coated canvas backed with heavy-duty adhesive. It’s relatively easy to apply (provided it doesn’t stick to itself) and you can choose from a range of colours, but the results aren’t particularly discrete and the tape’s adhesive can leach oils over time. Its low cost and the single-step application process make it ideal for emergencies, though, like when the first sign of a tear emerges mid-storm, so chuck a roll in the back of your camper.
Now here’s a more sophisticated DIY product currently available directly from the United States. Like canvas repair tape, Tear-Aid Type A is a self-adhesive that requires no sewing but has the added advantage of improved flexibility, neutral acidity and adhesive strength. The company that produces Tear-Aid Type A makes some extraordinary claims regarding the strength of its bond, long-lasting properties, and its ability to flex. It seemed pretty flexible and strong from what we found.