How to Repair a Rooftop Tent

How-to Repair a Rooftop Tent

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Have you noticed a tear, hole, or leak while camping? Or maybe it was when you were cleaning the tent at home? It might come as a surprise to you where the tear or hole came from.  We know that rooftop tents are less prone to damage unlike ground tents; however, they do experience wear and tear at some point.

Maybe it was from a tree branch, a thorn, or any other sharp object. No matter what caused it, you can easily deal with these three issues before they become worse. This way you won’t have to replace the entire rooftop tent.  Luckily, in this article, we are going to share with you detailed methods on how to repair a rooftop tent.

How to Repair a Small Tear on an RTT

What you will need:

  • Patching tape such as Tenacious Tape
  • A rag
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scissors
  • Mesh patch kit
  • Seam grip

1.      Clean the Area Around the Tear

Take the rag and pour some rubbing alcohol into it. Start gently cleaning the area around the tear.

2.     Cut a Small Piece of Patching tape

Use the scissors to cut a small piece of patching tape preferably ¼ to ½ which is past the sides of the torn area. Make sure you round the edges of the tape so it is in a circular or oval shape. The good news is that you can buy the Tenacious Tape at your local outdoor store or online.

3.     Lay the Tent on a Solid Surface

To be able to properly patch up the small tear, lay the rooftop tent on a solid surface, and turn the tent inside.

4.     Place the Patch into the Tear

Gently press the patch on the tear making sure you cover it properly all around

5.     Cover the Patch with Seam Grip

Cover the patch with a seam grip also extending it to ¼ to ½ inches past the edge of the patch. A flexible sealer that repairs tears once dry is waterproof thus making it long-lasting. Note that; be sure to choose the right kit for the type of tent you own. If you have a nylon tent, purchase a patching tape and sealer made specifically for nylon tents. As for canvas tents use taffeta repair tape and seam grip for canvas. Keep in mind, using a nylon seam grip on canvas could damage it.

6.     Let the Patch Dry

Give the patched area at least 12 hours to dry

7.     Deal With the Outside of the Tent

After 12 hours have passed, turn the tent and apply seam grip on the outside of the tent over the same area, you did on the inside. You don’t need to put a patch on the outside of the tent just the seam grip.

8.    Give it Time to Dry

Let the outside of the rooftop tent dry for another 12 hours before packing it up.

Point to Note: If you happen to be at the camping site, you can use duct tape to temporarily repair the small tear. A fast and easy to fix method, the tape will prevent any more damage to the tent until you get home. So, don’t forget to carry duct tape with you every time you go on a camping trip.

How to Repair a Large Tear on an RTT

There are two ways to repair a large tear. Each has its pros and cons depending on the type of tear you have. So, let us look at both of them.

Rooftop Tent Repair with Tenacious Tape

An excellent tape for repairing small tears, the Tenacious tape is also ideal for large tears. Straightforward when it comes to using it, here are the steps to take for a permanent solution.

What you need:

  • Tenacious Tape
  • Scissors
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Steamer
  • Seam grip
  • Brush/cloth

1.      Remove the Loose Threads

Just like anything made from fabric, tears or rips has some exposed threads, a tent has those loose threads too. Before starting the repair process ensure you cut or trim the exposed threads with scissors to have a clear surface.

2.     Clean the Rooftop Tent

Make sure the surface you are working on is clean. If you are not able to clean with water you can use rubbing alcohol on both the inside and outside of the tear.

3.     Steam the Tent

Before you repair the large tear, you might need to straighten it out from creases to ensure the tenacious tape stick onto the fabric. Therefore, steam the surrounding surface of the tent that needs repairs for better and long-lasting results. Nevertheless, this step is optional, if you don’t have a steamer, don’t worry, you can still repair the tent without creasing it.

4.     Place the Tenacious Tape Inside the Tent

Use the scissors to cut the tenacious tape an inch bigger than the tear making sure you cut corners off it thus making it rounded. This shape usually reduces the possibility of peeling off once pressed. Start by placing the tape on the inside of the tent then peel off the backing of the tape and press it on the tear. Keep in mind; press the tape enough so there are no bubbles formed between tape and surface to avoid the tape peeling off.

5.     Seam Grip the Outside of the Tent

Though the tenacious tape will take care of the large tear permanently, you can also add a seam grip to make the tent long-lasting as well as waterproof. All you have to do is apply the seam grip along the edges of the tear and an inch more by using a brush, cloth, or your finger.

6.     Let it Dry for 24 Hours

Give the tenacious tape and seam grip 24 hours to dry off.  After the time is up you are ready to pack the tent or pitch it back up your vehicle.

Rooftop Tent Repair By Sewing

Hard-shell rooftop tents rarely get torn or ripped because of their sturdy material, but when it does you can be able to repair it with ease. Here are simple steps to do it.

What you need:

  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Canvas cement
  • Seam Sealer

1.      Prepare the Needle and Thread

Prepare the needle and thread ready to sew up the tear. For canvas material, it’s good to use a sewing owl with a waxed thread for better results. Just make sure you sew in neatly and close to avoid leaving any gaps in between the stitches.

2.     Place a Piece of Canvas Over the Tear 

Use a scissor to cut two pieces of canvas material an inch longer than the tear meant to cover both the inside and the outside of the torn area.

3.     Sew the Inside Patch

Pick the needle and thread and start sewing the patch on the inside of the rooftop tent. Make sure the stitches that surround the patch are small but close together to secure the whole area.  This also helps secure the flaps.

4.     Stick the Outside Patch

Take the other patch and use a canvas cement to stick in the outside part of the tent. Hold the patch firmly to enable it to stay in place. Don’t forget to read the instructions to enable you to give the patch time to dry properly.

5.     Use a Canvas Seam Sealer      

Apply the canvas seam sealer along the edges of both patches to enable the stitches to permanently stay in place. Just like the above point, remember to carefully read the instructions to know how much seam sealer you need to apply.

How to Repair Screen and Mesh

No matter how high your rooftop tent is you need to be careful of pesky mosquitoes or other bugs that roam around your tent. The worse time will be when they get into your tent through a tear. Nonetheless, don’t worry if that happens, there are several temporary and permanent ways to deal with the situation.


How to Repair Your Screen with Duct Tape

  • Cut a piece of duct tape an inch longer than the tear and place it inside the screen.
  • Next, cut another piece of duct tape and place it on the outside of the screen. Being a temporary solution, you will be able to sleep peacefully for the rest of the camping trip.
  • Before packing up the tent, peel off the duct tape carefully to ensure you deal with the tear permanently once you arrive home.

How to Repair Your Tent Screen with Needle and Thread

  • Great for a less noticeable repair, first choose a thread the same color as that of the screen.
  • Then, begin the repair about ¼ inch from the beginning of the tear. Insert the thread into the screen with the needle and tie a knob.
  • Start repairing the tear by holding the ripped part together and inserting the needle through layers and pull the thread tight.
  • Move slightly down the tear, as you continue sewing until you the entire rip is mended.
  • Finish with a knot and clip the thread to prevent it from getting loose.

Mesh Repair

How to Repair a Small Tear on a Netted Mesh

  • Wipe the edges of the tear with a cotton ball purely soaked in alcohol and it gives it time to dry.
  • Cut the mesh netting patches or mesh netting tape a little wider than the rip or tear.
  • Round any edges on the square patches or tape as well as remove the plastic backing from one patch.
  • Place a flat item such as a wood board or folder behind the tear and press the patch or tape over the damaged area. Rub the tape or patch repeatedly to create a firm bond between the adhesive and the mesh netting.
  • Also, place the flat object again on the repaired side of the mesh tear or rip. Take off the backing from the patch and press it on the opposite side of the tear. Make sure the patches bond with the mesh netting fabric by rubbing firmly.

How to Repair a Large Tear on a Netted Mesh

  • Wipe the edges of the tear with a cotton pad soaked with alcohol and allow the alcohol to dry.
  • If the mesh fabric is nylon, thread a sewing needle with nylon thread. However, it is polyester fabric use a polyester thread.
  • Hold the edges of the tear together and sew them tightly together
  • Use a scissor to cut an inch longer of two pieces of mesh netting patch or tape.
  • Next, place a flat object against one side of the sewn tear and remove the backing from the ring of one of the repairing patches or tape.
  • Press the adhesive side to the stitched tear or rip and rub repeatedly to create a firm bond between the adhesive and the mesh netting.

How to Fix Leaks in a Rooftop Tent

Just like other tents, rooftop tents can also experience leaks due to small scratches or tears in the fabric. When this happens, use the steps below to take care of the problem.

  • First of all, find where the leak is coming from and why it is leaking
  • If the leakage is due to condensation, gusty winds, or driving rain then there is nothing you can do at the moment. Nevertheless, if it a tear or hole you can repair using a repair tape or a leaky seam sealer.
  • However, you can make it more waterproof by first using a waterproofing spray. This can easily be done at home; all you need is first, clean the rooftop tent, dry it properly then apply the spray evenly all over the exterior.
  • Wipe the excess spray then leave it to dry for a while.


No camper likes to experience a tear, rip, or even a leak on their tent, screen, or mesh. Nonetheless, when it happens we believe you will be more equipped to deal with the problem with ease using the above steps. Though it is essential to inspect your rooftop tent before going camping, some damages happen while at the camp therefore making it necessary to carry a patch kit. So as we conclude, we would love to hear from you in the comment section if you have ever experienced any tent damage and how you handled it?







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