Quick and easy tips for repairing and caring for gear.

Lady sleeping in a sleeping bag in a store


We've all had those moments... You end up sleeping on the floor of your tent, your mat as thin as a sheet because of a small hole that slowly releases air all night. The constant drip when it's raining, and you discover your tent has a hole right above your face. Or your sleeping bag smells like you've been sleeping sweaty in it every weekend... What's the solution? Buy new gear? I mean, if you want new gear, by all means, go ahead (we know some people 😉), but if you love your gear and just want to know how to solve the problem, here are four popular cleaning and gear-fix tips. 

1. How to fix that hole in your tent.

The 3 things you need: 

- Repair Patch (Gear Aid Tenacious Tape or Tenacious Tape Patches are a great option).

- Something to cut the tape (or not if your patch is already the right size).

- Something hard to press the patch down (a spoon works well!) 

How it's done: 

- Clean the area around the hole (inside and outside the tent). This can be done with rubbing alcohol, or soapy water (whichever you have to hand). You also have to let the tent 100% dry after cleaning, or the patch won't stick. 

- If you're cutting the tape, make sure, it's rounded with no sharp edges. You also need at least 3cm of tape on all sides around the hole. 

- Apply the patch on the inside of the tent and smooth it down with a spoon or something else that has a smooth edge to make sure it really took hold. Smooth down on the outside of the tent too. 

- Repeat with a second patch on the other side of the hole (on the outside of the tent). 


A lady and a dog in a tent overlooking a lake and mountains

 Fix that hole in your tent so you can get back to adventures with your four-legged friends. 

2. Cleaning, Storing, and Fixing holes in your sleeping bag.

The 3 things you will need: 

- A front-loading washing machine (laundromat if you don't have one or ask around). 

- The correct washing liquid (Nikwax - Tech Wash, Down Proof, or Down Wash Direct).

- Gear Aid Tenacious Gear Tape or Patches. 

(Clean Tennis balls for drying the sleeping bag are optional). 

How it's done: 

- Make sure all zips are undone and don't put more than one sleeping bag in the washing machine at a time. 

- Wash on a gentle cycle - no more than 30 degrees Celsius - and you can even spin it for a few more cycles to get more water out. 

- Then bung it in the dryer on low until it's dry and lofty again (this may take a few goes, be patient!) Tennis balls help break up any down clumps. 

- When storing your sleeping bag, make sure it's in a bigger, breathable bag so the down doesn't compress, and you have a nice fluffy sleeping bag. 

- If you have any holes that need to be fixed, clean the space around the hole with soapy water or rubbing alcohol and wait for it to dry. 

- To apply the patch, make sure it's a bit bigger than the hole and then stick it on. Easy as that! 


The view of a sleeping bag looking out into the grass and mountains

 Sleeping bag clean as new. 

3. Sleeping mat leaking air...

What you will need: 

- Something big enough to contain water and submerge your mat in or soap and a sponge.

- Rubbing alcohol and something to use it with - a cloth or sponge. 

- Gear aid Tenacious Tape or Patches

- Gear aid Seam Grip Adhesive.

- Scissors (if you're not using a patch). 

- Something to smooth down the patch - a spoon, the back of the scissors. 

How to do it: 

- Locate the hole by submerging the mat in water or rubbing soapy water on it, then allow it to dry fully. 

- Wipe around the hole with the rubbing alcohol and make sure it dries again. 

- Apply the Gear Aid Seam Grip adhesive 3cm on all sides around the hole (you can use something like cardboard here to smooth it around). 

- Cut a smooth-edged circle in the tape, with no sharp corners, that has 3cm on all sides around the hole. 

- Stick on the patch and smooth it out, then wait at least 2 hours for it to set. 

- To make sure it's all in working order - blow it up, put something heavy on it, and leave it all night to see if it's gone down. 

Tent in the sunrise or sunset with a sleeping bag and mat next to the tent

 This explains holes in sleeping mats....

4. How to replace a grommet.

Equipment Needed:

- Wire Snips

- Hammer

- The correct-sized grommets and a grommet punch/tool (you can get these at Mitre 10 and Spotlight-like stores). 

How to remove the old grommet: 

- Using your snips, pull up the edges of the old grommet away from the fabric and twist it inwards to remove it (you may have to cut bits off). 

How to put in a new grommet: 

- Grommets come in a set - one washer (the ring) and the grommet (the one with a tall bit on it). Put the grommet through the hole in the fabric. 

- Put the whole thing onto the base of your grommet tool (the fabric and grommet facing upwards). Add the washer on top of the fabric and add the grommet tool/punch to the top of the washer. Then you hit it with a hammer to connect the grommet and washer. 

-Look at your handy work and, hopefully, it's not cracked and it's ready to go. 

Man holding a hammer
Your most important tool when fixing grommets.

Let us know what you think of these tips! Were they helpful? Are there any fixes you'd like us to help you through next? I recently learnt how to darn socks, which has been extremely useful, even though I'm not that good at it! Should we do a part 2!?

5 quick tips for caring for and repairing gear:

1. Always have Gear Aid Tenacious Tape on hand for those quick repairs. 

2. Alcohol wipes are a great addition to your gear-fixing kit to clean surfaces before sticking your tape down. 

3. Store your sleeping bag in a breathable, oversized bag to keep the down lofty and fluffy. 

4. When washing your sleeping bag, use the correct tech or downwash and wash on a gentle cycle. (Nikwax has several options). 

5. You can purchase grommet repair kits from hardware or craft stores. 

If you found this helpful, here's another blog that's just as helpful: How to clean a waterproof jacket. 

1 comment

  • Big "T"

    Winter and the off-season is shortly to be upon us all and that is the time to peruse our gear for wear, tear, and repair so this is a timely reminder to us all. It is also a time to access our gear and upgrade or replace it. Not all gear is equal and the lightest is not necessarily the best option; the personal choice must be made between the item’s function, weight, and lifetime. A good example is the balance between titanium and aluminum. The top-quality hard anodized aluminum is as light and as durable as the more expensive titanium. So thanks to Further Faster for this blog telling us the nitty-gritty of gear maintenance.

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