Tenacious Tape for Hiking Gear Repair

Tenacious Tape - Ultra-strong Repair Tape

Tenacious Tape – Ultra-strong Repair Tape

Andrew Skurka turned me onto Tenacious Tape last year. 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. (A roll costs $4.79 while the patches cost $2.99)

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.

Using a Tenancious Tape Patch to Repair a Gore-tex Jacket

Using a Pre-cut Tenacious Tape Patch to Repair a Gore-tex Jacket

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 Patches that I cut from the Roll

Tenacious Tape Patches that I cut from the roll

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.

The downside of very thin denier jackets like this Montbell Thermawrap Jacket is that the fabric wears out over time. Repair it with Tenacious Tape to prevent the insulation from leaking ou

The downside of very thin denier jackets like this Montbell Thermawrap Jacket is that the fabric wears out with normal use. Repair it with Tenacious Tape to prevent the insulation from leaking out.

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.

Recommendation

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.

The following retailers sell Tenacious Tape:

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18 Responses to Tenacious Tape for Hiking Gear Repair

  1. Doug Layne, Portland, OR. November 8, 2013 at 3:05 am #

    Wondering if it could replace duct tape for blisters care? I have used it to repair a rip in my BA CS UL1 mesh, works great. Also I am going to try cutting the roll down and make some smaller patches.

    • Philip Werner November 8, 2013 at 8:22 am #

      I suppose. A lot more expensive though. Give it a shot and let us know.

    • Walter Underwood November 8, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

      Use Leukotape P for blisters. It is thinner, more durable, and stretches just a bit so it doesn’t wrinkle.

      I never carry duct tape. For the few things I might want to tape, I carry replacements that are far superior, like Tenacious Tape.

      I hear that duct tape is great for removing prickly pear spines, but I bet I could do that with the Micropore medical tape in my first aid kit.

      • Walter Underwood November 8, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        In some areas, duct tape is considered a “smellable” and needs to be in the bear bag. So don’t put it on anything you want to keep with you.

  2. Chris November 8, 2013 at 4:57 am #

    Gaffer tape might work instead of Duct tape, the difference being that Gaffer tape doesn’t leave a residue. See e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaffer_tape

  3. JERMM November 8, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    GREAT stuff, it’s been part of my repair kit for a few years, I’ve made in field repairs on my rain jacket and tent.

  4. ronda November 8, 2013 at 10:36 am #

    For weekend backpacks, when I used to get blister, I used for hot spots and to pre – tape blister – prone areas. Stayed on as long as I needed it to, but would remove easily. I loved that it was flat, so it wouldn’t rub on anything causing other irritations.

  5. David Bye November 8, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    How long can you store it before it becomes unusable?

  6. Shawn A November 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    If you leave this on your gear as a permanent fix, how does it hold up in the wash? Does it still adhere after it gets saturated? It still looks a lot nicer than duct tape that’s for sure.

  7. keegan November 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Does this work on Air mats too? It would be great to not have to carry a repair kit of inflatable mats too!

  8. andy November 9, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    Just a note: it won’t hold as well to silnylon. McNett also makes a kit for fixing silnylon called silfix .

  9. John November 14, 2013 at 2:59 am #

    http://m.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Product2_11151_10001_18536_-1____ProductDisplayErrorView

    I have used Dacron sail tape for the same purpose. I suspect they are similar but Tenacious tape seems cheaper and more colors.

  10. Mac January 14, 2014 at 2:38 am #

    Thanks for posting this its very helpful. I was debating between trying to sew an abrasion / tear in my Eddie Bauer jacket that caused a couple of small tears and also some scraping and “thinning” of the nylon shell fabric around the tear. Sewing would have taken care of the tears in the nylon, but not the adjacent abrasion areas, which are kind of flimsy to sew into anyway. I was afraid that even if i could sew into it, the whole area would become even weaker and come out as a much larger tear later. I think tape is the way to go because it will seal and protect the whole damaged area.

  11. Lynn May 7, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    I should have asked you long ago – I don’t know if I can post a photo on your blog….I have an Osprey daypack. One day I left liver treats in one of the side water bottle holder pockets. Very bad idea. One of my dogs chewed a hole through the mesh, mostly at the bottom of the pocket. So, I only have one usable side pocket, which is a drag – because I want two!

    The mesh is torn away all of the way to the point it attaches to the pack, so I don’t think I could necessarily adhere something just to the mesh. Any suggestions for repairs?

    • Walter Underwood May 7, 2014 at 8:09 pm #

      Sometimes it works to use two pieces of tape, one on the outside of the mesh and one on the inside. The patches stick to each other and trap the mesh.

      • Philip Werner May 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

        Walter is correct – I just repaired the mesh on a pack like this today.

        • Jamie August 10, 2014 at 12:20 am #

          Osprey has a no questions asked warranty, so just send it back.

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