As much as I'm a fan of keeping damaged gear going, I've never cared for the eyesore that is a square piece of silver duct tape covering a hole in a puffy jacket, or the stiff feeling of budget sticky patches that shore up a snag in tent mesh.
Yet, I've also always known that the day would come when a tear would develop in my beloved Enlightened Equipment Torrid Jacket while out adventuring, and I would need to decide how best to fix it.
Well, that day came, and I continued putting off the repair until the fuzz started to surface and I knew it would only get worse. I thought my only option was to find a discreet colored duct tape and join the squares club… until I learned about Tenacious Tape by Gear Aid.
Tenacious Tape is a gear repair tape that comes in a plethora of different textures, colors, shapes and sizes. It’s designed to fix rips, tears, punctures and runs in technical outdoor fabric — returning damaged gear to its former glory.
You can get Tenacious Tape in Nylon to fix down jackets, outerwear and stuff sacks (I also used it successfully on tent mesh and DCF tent fabric). A RipStop Nylon option fixes tarps, tents and backpacks, while the SilNylon patches are for your silicone treated nylon tents, tarps and stuff sacks (also good for Dyneema fabrics). Also in the mix: GoreTex patches for your waterproof garments; MeshPatches for bug nets and tent mesh; and Clear Vinyl that works like Scotch tape.
Pros of Tenacious Tape Gear Patches
The biggest pro of the outdoor shape patches by Tenacious Tape is that they are fun and aesthetically pleasing, while still being functional and durable.
This will seem superficial to some, and unimportant to others, but everytime I look at the moose patch on my jacket sleeve, or the whale that fixed my tent’s DCF stuff sack, I smile — and that’s worth something to me.
The patches stick surprisingly well to the surfaces that they are intended for (so long as you make sure you buy the right ones for the job).
I find it best to hold the sticker sheet (with the patch still attached) over any longer runs or tears to eyeball that the patch will cover the entire area you need to fix. (You could even use a measuring device if you had one handy).
I've found it best to lay the damaged fabric flat on a hard surface; pull the fabric taught, but not too tight; and then slowly apply the Tenacious Tape patch to the ripped or torn area.
Once you've applied the patch, press down firmly on the tape to ensure an even stick, and then admire your new piece of adventure art.
Since applying Tenacious Tape shapes with this technique to my jacket, tent, and stuff sacks, they haven't budged an inch, no matter how much friction has rubbed against them, or how many times they've been stuffed, washed or wetted down.
While we are on the subject, the patches are waterproof and washable, but wait at least 24 hours before throwing your repaired gear in the washing machine so the tape can set properly.
Tenacious Tape patches haven’t faded in the sunlight or started curling up along the edges like other repair tapes I've tried in the past.
In an effort to make the most of every square inch of your sticker sheet, you can also use the tape that borders the sticker shapes themselves. Cut these usable edges into smaller shapes, or use the outline of the animals, tracks, trees and foliage for a fun and unique fix.
While the common shapes, like circles and triangles are easy to peel off the sticker sheet and stick to any surface, the shapes with finer lines, like moose antlers or animal legs, can be a bit more finicky to work with. The best approach that I've found is to take it slow, start with the larger side of the sticker (like say, the moose's head) and then move to the thinner parts as you go.
You have 24 hours to reposition your patch before the adhesion really takes full hold, so worry not if you'd like to change it up, just act quickly.
If you have a really long or rather wide tear, you'd be better off to go with the Tenacious Tape Rolls.
Fixing damaged adventure gear can be an enjoyable experience, an opportunity to make something uniquely yours and turn an unfortunate rip or tear into an eccentric piece of art, which are all reasons why I like using Tenacious Tape's Gear Patches.
Ali Becker is a freelance adventure writer and narrative storyteller who shares compelling conversations about personal transformations, overcoming limitations, wellness education and adventurous situations. You can follow her rambling adventures on social at @thisisalibecker.