At some point, a seasoned camper is likely to find that her tent is in need of repair. As tents are costly and are one of the most important items in a camper's bundle of gear, repairing the tent is often more economical than purchasing a new one. Torn canvas, broken poles and torn window screens are some of the repairs for which a camper should be prepared. Netting is one of the easiest repairs, and can be fixed by using commercial tent repair kits, tape or by completely replacing the screening.
Tents are most commonly made from nylon or lightweight acrylic canvas. The fabric is tightly woven and often sealed to prevent the seepage of water into the tent and to provide protection for gear and occupants from the rays of the sun. Water-tight seams and cloth does not allow the passage of air through tent walls and without windows, tents can become unbearably hot during warm weather. Many tents that are intended for use in warm weather come equipped with window and door flaps that open and close with a zipper. The windows and doors can be zipped closed while occupants change or to keep out cold breezes. The windows and doors also open to allow ventilation.
Because many camping locations have bugs and animals nearby, tent windows and doors feature a tight mesh sewn into the windows. The netting keeps bugs and small animals out while allowing air into the tent. When the netting is ripped or punctured, animals and insects can find their way in to pester the tent's occupants. Repairing these tears is important to maintaining a healthy and comfortable camping trip.
A tent window or door netting panel can become torn from excessive use, an accidental puncture or be pulled away from the seams that hold it in place. Punctures and tears are easy to identify, as they usually occur within the inner area of the mesh pane and can be easily seen. Seam tears, however, can be more difficult to identify. Tent seams are covered with multiple layers of fabric to maintain the tent's waterproof quality. Mesh sewn into these seams may tear away due to the tent being folded incorrectly or the window or door mesh being stepped on. These tears are often identified during construction or deconstruction of the tent, or after bugs have found their way in.
Insects such as mosquitoes and ticks can carry deadly diseases such as West Nile virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease. Animals such as snakes, raccoons and squirrels can sometimes try to find their way into a tent with ripped or open windows and doors.
A quick fix while on a camping trip is to pull the netting together and tape it in place. Provided that there are no gaps in the netting, taping the mesh works to keep out pests and doesn't significantly reduce airflow through the tent. The results of a taped netting repair can be unsightly, however, and the repair may need to be repeated if the tape gets wet or dries out during storage. Camping supply retailers sell the netting used in tent windows by the yard as well as speciality camping repair kits. The netting can be used to replace the mesh in the entire opening of the tent, or simply cut and glued to the remaining mesh, depending on the severity of the tear. Netting repair kits work on the same principle, and typically contain adhesive to glue the netting patch in place along with a small swatch of netting. These options provide a more attractive repair, and last longer than taping.