We’ve all been there. You’ve got a waterproof bag or jacket that’s come off the worse for an encounter with some barbed wire, or you’ve skewered your overtrousers with a crampon spike. Needle and thread are hardly paractical in this instance, so what patches really work?
We may be dedicated here at Mud and Routes, but not so dedicated that we’d hack a perfectly good jacket to try this out. So instead, we tested 5 different repair tapes and patches on a sacrificial sil-nylon drybag that was perfect beforehand but not so much after we gave it a nick r two with scissors. The only rules were that the repairs had to be on a reasonably flat area and not to overlap any other and that the repair had to be an all in one, faff-free solution. So any combination of patches and glue were out of the question. These are quick option for repair in the field, that should last, rather than what could be a more long-term repair done at home.
We decided to try out:
Gorilla Tape (£2.79 for a 2.5cmx9.14m roll) this was our control – basically really strong duct tape, and something many carry in an emergency kit. Cheapest option as well. This was easily applied by cutting a bit off and sticking it to where we wanted it!
Stormsure Instant Waterproof Patches (£5.50 for 5 patches) These were all clear patches.
McNett Tenacious Patches – (£5.99 for 4) This included one black patch and three clear, identical except for the colour. We used the black one in the test simply so that we’d remember which one was which afterwards!
McNett Tenacious Sealing and Repair Tape (£5.99 for 7.5cmx50cm)
All three are applied in a similar way, with a removable backing, and pressed in place. They all stuck first time, and we didn’t do any prep other than ensuring the surface was clean and dry as you’re not going to be able to do much more than that in the field!
Spinnaker tape (£6 or so for 4.5m) This was a last minute addition to the test as we spotted it and decided to give it a punt. This one’s a bit of a mystery, and is usually used to repair sails, so it’s got to be good right? Relatively cheap option considering how much tape you get, merely removing the backing tape and stick it where needed.
How did they fare.
We kept the drybag in our pack for almost five months, carrying anything from a down jacket to a head-torch and batteries. It would largely hold air to start with, taking some pressure to release the air but certainly wasn’t watertight towards the end.
We’ll start with the duct tape. This didn’t even stick to the sil-nylon long enough to be photographed. It’s probably in the bottom of the pack, and take it from us, not much use to repair sil-nylon! It might be OK on other fabrics, but was useless in this instance.
Spinnaker tape. This was a nice tough material, but didn’t seem to want to stick to the sil-nylon. Even so, it remained in place, and would certainly be OK for a makeshift repair which didn’t have to be waterproof and would probably suffice as a makeshift repair on un-proofed nylon such as a tent bag. We should also have cut the corners into curves to prevent them lifting.
The repair patches, we have to admit, both the Tenacious and the Stormsure patches worked really well. The tape wasn’t as good, but we reckon if we’d cut the corners and made a more rounded patch out of it then it would have been much more effective than it was. Would we pick a winner between the McNett and the Stormsure? Take a look at the close-ups below of the two patches below – we were hard pressed to get a ciggie paper between these two. However, the McNett is on the left and has a fabric-like finish that would be better on an item of clothing (with transparent ones in the same pack) while the slicker Stormsure provides a smoother finish. The non-transparent finish is also tidier as it hides any air bubbles, but the transparent finish hides the repair!
We think that the patches are well worth the cash for small field repairs and an essential addition to your emergency bag. They’re a temporary repair for something like a waterproof jacket that gets a lot of use and movement, but on something that gets less wear and tear, such as a sleeping bag, you could fairly expect the repair to last a good few seasons.
We’d say that the McNett Tenacious patches are the one to go for as the fabric finish would be more suitable to repair the kit I can imagine requiring a repair on the hill, while the Stormsure would be ideal for repairing plastic items such as a punctured Aquapac.