Gone Outdoors

How to Fix Torn Rain Gear

by Joe Steel

Whether you're hiking across a mountain ridge through a chilly, light drizzle or gliding across an Alaskan fjord through mist thick enough to slice with a bread knife, the last thing you want in the wild is to get wet. If you're unfortunate enough to experience a tear in your rain gear, you can get it back in shape for the outdoors in short order.

1. Place the garment with the tear in it on a smooth, flat surface.

2. Cut off any threads sticking out from the rip in the fabric with the scissors.

3. Line the cuts in the fabric up so the two sides are pressed neatly together.

4. Apply a length of repair tape or patch over the rip and press down tightly, ensuring all the edges are flush against the fabric. Most precut repair patches are round or have rounded corners; if not, cut the patch with the scissors into a round shape or round the corners before applying. Do the same if you use repair tape instead.

5. Flip the garment over and apply seam sealer or a vinyl adhesive to the inside of the cut area. Allow it to dry for the time recommended by the manufacturer. Some repair patches are meant to be ironed after application; check the instructions on the product label for verification.

Items you will need
  • Scissors
  • Vinyl adhesive
  • Repair tape, patch or patch kit
  • Iron (optional)

Tips

  • Make the repair to the rain gear when it is thoroughly dry, as the adhesive or patch may not set properly when wet.
  • Cutting the patch in a circle ensures the patch stays on longer, as corners quickly lift on square or rectangular patches.
  • Several different brands and types of repair tape and patches are on the market and may come in different colors, including clear. Match the color of your rain gear before making repairs, or opt for the clear tape or patch.
  • Some repair patches are meant to be used specially with certain brands of rain gear fabric. Do your research before making repairs.

Warnings

  • Do not use duct tape to repair your rain gear except in exigent circumstances, since it will leave a sticky and unsightly residue when you remove it to make more permanent repairs.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area when using vinyl adhesives, seam sealers or other types of glue.

About the Author

Joe Steel is a Northwest-based editor, writer and novelist, former news editor of an outdoor weekly. He also was an editor at a Seattle-based political weekly and editor of a monthly business magazine. He has been published in the "Seattle Times," the "Washington Post" and the "Foreign Service Journal," among other publications.

Photo Credits

  • A J James/Photodisc/Getty Images