When you’re travelling with a camper trailer or fabric caravan, every small hole or tear can be a problem. It might start small, but it’s sure to leak and open wide in no time at all if the wind picks up. We’ve put together a first-aid kit for repairing your van.
Caravan fabric comes in many forms, from cotton canvas to reinforced vinyl, then there are zips, screens and windows. Our list will cover some of these, but it’s advisable to consult with your reseller or RV supplier if you’re unsure what’s applicable.
Some holes and tears can be repaired on the spot through sewing; however, heavy stitching should be left to the professionals as it usually requires a heavy-duty machine, particularly if it’s along a seam, zip or edge.
Zips are difficult to repair, so it’s best to keep them clean and in good condition. If the zipper gets stuck, lubricate it with a pure silicone spray then backtrack and gently try again.
Your Repair Kit
- Extra fabric.
- Water-resistant RV or outdoor glue.
- Water-based cleaning solution.
- Duct, cloth or clear awning tape.
- Tear-Aid fabric repair – effectively a plastic patch that stretches, reducing pressure on the fabric.
- Canvas repair tape will repair both vinyl and canvas. Find a UV-resistant brand and attach on both sides of the rip for strength.
- Seam sealer waterproofs stitching, but can be used to seal small tears. It sets soft like silicone, so will bend and stretch with the fabric.
- Stormsure adhesive works on most flexible materials including car seats, wetsuits, inflatables and groundsheets, so it’s a good one to keep handy.
- Torch and scissors.
- For best results, clean surfaces thoroughly before patching to ensure glue will stick.
- Most RV and camping suppliers sell packs of glue and patch material for all repairs. Find one that matches your caravan fabric and have it handy at all times.
- If the tear you’re repairing is less than a metre in length, awning tape should be sufficient.
- For larger holes, use a square of fabric held in place with tape on both sides; if the hole is in a crucial place such as the roof or near an opening, tape will serve as a temporary fix but you will need to have it mended professionally.
- Cut tape ends so they’re curved. The smoother, rounded edge will reduce the risk of having the wind get underneath a corner and edging the tape off.
The last thing you want is for your caravan to develop a rip in the middle of a dust storm or raging tropical downpour, so make sure you always have your repair kit handy and ready for action.
Want to know more about looking after your camper trailer?