Andrew Skurka turned me onto Tenacious Tape. It’s the bees knees for patching rips and burns in hard shells and insulated jackets, inflatable sleeping pads, tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks. I’ve used it many times since to repair the gear and clothing I like and want to keep using.
Tenacious Tape comes in two forms: as a bulk (20″ x 3″) roll or in 3″ pre-cut circles ( four x 3″ circles) that are easy to slide into your gear repair kit. The pre-cut circles are less of a price rip off than you might imagine and I prefer to carry them for field use, while I use a Tenacious Tape roll for repairs I do at home.
Before you apply Tenacious tape, it’s best to round the corners of a patch with a pair of scissors to reduce the chance that a corner of the patch will get caught and torn off. (You do the same thing when you cover a blister with tape.) Carrying the pre-cut patches means you don’t have to bring a pair of scissors with you when you’re hiking. Cutting a patch from the roll also takes a lot more prep work and creates waste that you need to pack out if you prepare a patch in the field.
For example, here’s a before and after shot of a repair that I made on my favorite Gore-tex shell with a pre-cut Tenacious Tape patch after I fell and tore it on the Maine AT a few months ago. My hip bone took longer to heal, I’m afraid. That patch was for a big hole that I wanted to cover up right away. When I got home, I patched up the remaining smaller holes with patches I cut from the roll as shown here.
Tenacious Tape vs Duct Tape
Before I learned about Tenacious Tape, I mostly used duct tape to repair clothing and gear that I’d torn. Unfortunately, duct tape leaves behind a sticky, gooey residue when you peel it off which makes the damage far more difficult to repair. In other words, if you decide to repair gear or clothing with duct tape, you might as well treat it as a permanent patch. However, when you peel off Tenacious Tape patch there is no sticky residue or glue left behind, which is why gear repair specialists such as Rainy Pass, recommend you use it instead of duct tape.
Tenacious tape rolls are available in a variety of colors including: orange, green, earth, blue, platinum, black, and clear. The clear color doesn’t feel like fabric though and has a shinier surface, making it good for repairing tents or tarps that flex less than apparel. For example, I’ve used Tenacious Tape to patch a cuben fiber tarp when a glued seam started to leak. That was a perfect field repair and one that I never needed to fix at home. I’m not such a stickler about appearances but if you are, using Tenacious Tape give you the ability to patch your gear now, so that it can be repaired later by a specialist or returned to the manufacturer.
Good gear is expensive, but if you use it a lot, you need to take good care of it and repair the inevitable nick, tears, and burns (from campfires, mainly) before they grow larger and require that you buy a replacement. I’ve found Tenacious Tape to be an inexpensive and reliable way to patch up gear until I can get it fixed or simply to extend the life of an item a few more years. If you’ve never tried using it, it’s a small purchase that can make a huge difference in your gear repair kit in the field or at home.
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