Canvas Tent

October 25


How To Repair A Canvas Tent Properly

Have you gotten a tear in your canvas tent? Even the best canvas tents can get damaged with regular use, but replacing them every time they get a rip or a hole can become a costly exercise.

The good news is that you can repair a canvas tent on your own, saving you both time and money. In this article, I'll show you how!

Repairing a Canvas Tent

If you want to repair a canvas tent, you'll need some basic supplies. Your local outdoors supply store should carry all of these items, alternatively you can purchase them online.

If you'd like to be prepared for rips in the future, you can also purchase a canvas repair kit, which come with the necessary equipment. They may be slightly more expensive but offer you piece of mind, knowing that you can patch up any holes that form while out on your trip.

Regardless of where you get your materials, assemble the following before you get started:

  • Durable Needle and Heavy-Duty Thread
  • Waterproof Canvas
  • Canvas Glue
  • Canvas Seam Sealer (optional)

Also, make sure that your canvas tent is dry and clean before you get started, as the presence of water or excess dirt on the tent may affect the quality of the repair.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Note: While this guide was written for canvas tents, it also applies to most swags and rooftop tents as well. The best swags and best rooftop tents out there are made from canvas in similar thicknesses to the tents, so these techniques work equally well on them too!

Step 1 - Sew The Hole Closed

If the rip is fairly clean, then you can get your needle and thread and sew up the hole. The stitches should be in a short, neat and close together.

If you don't have much experience sewing, practice on some scrap fabric or material until you feel comfortable. If you start hacking away at your tent before you feel confident, you might do more damage than good!

Do keep in mind that canvas is a tough material and is more challenging to sew than a typical piece of fabric.


Step 2 - Cover The Area

Once you've sewn the ripped parts of the tent back together, then it's time to cover it.

Get out your waterproof canvas and cut out a patch that's large enough to cover the rip. It should overlap the tear completely.

This is important, because the area surrounding the tear may be weak and could tear again if this new piece of canvas sits flush with the existing rip.

In order to prevent any additional tearing, make sure that the corners are rounded on the patch that you cut. Then, cut a second identical patch - this will be used to cover the rip on the inside of the tent.

Step 3 - Attach The Patches

Take your canvas glue and apply it to the inside patch. Place the inside patch over the center of the sewn rip/hole and then press firmly into place.

Read the instructions on the canvas glue to ensure that it has adequate time to dry. Each type of sealant may have slightly different drying times so read through them before using.

Repeat with the outside patch.

Step 4 - Use A Canvas Seam Sealer

This is an entirely optional step, but if you are concerned about waterproofing at the point of the rip, you may wish to use some seam sealer for extra protection. This is the same stuff that I talk about in my guide to waterproofing your tent.

Each type of sealer may have slightly different instructions so read through them before using.

Canvas Fabric

Step 5 - Inspect The Area

Once you've gone through the steps above, make sure that you give the tent time to dry completely. Check the area after it's dried to see if any of the stitches have come undone and if both patches are still in place.

If so, you are good to go! Continue using your tent as normal, or pack it up in preparation for your next camping trip.

Enjoy The Tent

Sewing and patching is generally considered the best and more durable way to repair a canvas tent. There are other options such as canvas repair tape or adhesives but most of them will give you inferior results.

In general, most canvas tents can be repaired within a few hours (including drying time) with the supplies above and these simple steps. Larger tears may require professional help or even make the tent unusable but small and even medium-sized rips and tears can be fixed effectively.

I hope that this has helped you! If you still have any questions about canvas tent repair, please leave a comment below!

This article may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.

Note that while every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information on this page, there may sometimes be errors. Check all specifications with the manufacturer before purchasing any product.


After swearing off camping at a young age after a number of cold nights in cheap sleeping bags, Louis has ended up becoming a great lover of the natural beauty that Australia has to offer. This change of heart came after realising that, with the right equipment, camping can be as comfortable as it is fun. He is passionate about helping people reconnect with nature and explore Australia's great outdoors.

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