Camping chairs aren’t necessarily expensive, but there’s no sense in buying new chairs if fixing damaged ones isn’t all that difficult. So why not save yourself some time by learning how to repair a torn camping chair?
And we’re not talking about buying expensive repair kits that are hard to use.
Fixing camping chairs is probably easier than you think. All it takes is some basic supplies and a little creativity, and your camping chair can make it through your camping trip.
Don’t be the sad sap that has to sit on the ground or some random log while all of your friends and relatives are hanging out in their comfy camping chairs! You can get your chair back up and running in no time.
And, no, you don’t have to sit on it for the rest of the trip worrying about whether your repairs will hold. These are tried and true repair tips that work on pretty much any camping chair.
When your chair rips, the material typically starts to tear at the edges near the front or around the poles. Camping chairs tend to take a beating, so this always happens.
You want to avoid having to go without a chair just because of one or two tears.
Here’s how you can repair your torn camping chair fast without any fancy repair, kids. Let’s dive in!
Where Is the Tear and How Big Is It?
The tear’s location and size significantly impact how complex your repairs will be. Most of the time, repairs are straightforward if you spot problems early enough.
Unfortunately, when you first spot the damage, it usually looks like fraying around the poles where the chair bears most of your eight.
If your chair is old, it’s likely been with you on fun family or solo camping trips. So it’s no wonder why these tears develop. They are normal signs of wear and tear.
Super Glue for Small Tears
A small crack in your chair’s fabric can be solved with a tube of super glue or some other tough bonding agent.
You must push the fabric as close together as possible while keeping the chair material relatively flat. Pushing it too hard together will only make any crimps in your fabric permanent once the glue settles in.
Pour a good amount of super glue over the slit, then let it dry. Once it’s thoroughly dry, you can go over it once or twice more for good measure.
Super glue is incredibly strong, so you should be able to sit on it again minutes after the repair without worry.
Patching Your Camping Chair
A more severe tear is a more significant issue than a small rip in your chair.
Sometimes, the tear can render a chair unusable, whether it’s kids jumping on the camping chairs or you catching it on the corner of the trunk when you’re taking it out of the car.
There is essentially no way to sit on a chair with large tears without damaging it further or falling all the way through.
We said this article involves no fancy camping chair repair kits, which still holds true. However, when you need to patch a chair, you can buy a patch online or use something else that will do just fine.
Here are some things that you can use to patch a broken camping chair:
If you have some duct tape, grab a roll and start placing strips across the torn area. With enough strips of tape, you can create a patch that will cover the hole and give you enough strength to keep sitting on the chair.
To make sure the patch stays put, use two layers. The first layer should go in one direction, and the second layer should go perpendicular to the first one.
Make sure that the tape strips go beyond the edges of the tear by at least a couple of inches.
Duct tape repairs are rarely permanent, but they’re a great option if you just need your chair to survive until the end of your trip.
A normal piece of cotton fabric can be used in a pinch, but nothing beats the strength of a denim patch if you’ve got one on hand. So you can get your chair back to normal with a nice patch and a sewing kit.
However, one thing to remember is that your patch’s success will usually depend on the thickness of your chair’s material.
Patches don’t do as well with thinner material, but a heavy-duty chair will be much sturdier with a patch because the thread or adhesive has more to hold on to.
Other Materials That Work
In addition to denim patches, other materials will work well in a pinch. You can use something like an old t-shirt, old jeans, or a backpack you aren’t using anymore.
Again, any patch you use should be bigger than the hole by several inches. If you can find something to patch the chair with something that’s the same color as your chair, all the better.
These repair tips are designed to buy you time until you can get home and look at your return policy.
Most companies guarantee your chair’s performance, so if it tore just from someone sitting on it, then you can probably get your money back or get the company to send you a new chair in the mail.
Fixing a Torn Chair Step-By-Step
Still with us? Great! In this section, we’ll explain exactly how you can fix torn camping chairs with patches and visually inspect your chair to spot integrity issues before more giant tears happen.
But first, here’s what you should do.
1. Inspecting Your Chair for Signs of Damage
The tears could be happening because your attachments are too loose.
When your attachments are loose, it tends to put more strain and stress on the fabric rather than the chair’s poles. If so, it’s a quick and easy fix.
You’ll need a screwdriver to tighten the supporting tubes. Typically, your chair will have small Philips head screws, so using something like a coin to tighten the screws is out.
Turn the screws until they are tight again, and you should be good.
After you look at the supporting tubes, check the hinge point. Again, if the hinge is too loose or not working correctly, it puts more weight-bearing duty on the chair’s fabric.
2. Super Glue Any Small Rips
Once your chair screws are nice and tight, it’s time to give the small tears around the attachments the proper attention.
Any brand of permanent adhesive will work. For maximum strength repairs, you can buy something like Gorilla Glue super glue (not the classic foaming glue) at your local hardware store or online.
If you’re out camping, your campsite or a local convenience store will likely have some in stock.
When you’re ready to fix the chair, get someone else to hold the fabric together evenly. You can have a tiny bit of overlap between them, but too much will potentially ruin the chair or make it uncomfortable.
Wait for the glue to dry, and it’s ready for someone to use.
3. Get Materials Ready for Your Patch
We’ve already touched on the fact that thinner materials will work if you need to keep an old camping chair alive for one or two more nights until your camping trip is over. However, if you’re interested in longer-term repairs, you will need a more serious patch.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Strong thread
- A thimble or something hard to push the needle
- A sturdy piece of fabric
4. Build Your Patch
You can make your patch stronger by folding it multiple times. With every fold, you’re reinforcing it, which will help it last longer once it’s on.
On the other hand, too many folds will make the patch uncomfortable to sit on, so you have to find some balance here.
Before you put the patch on the torn chair, you should sew the edges of the folded patch until it’s one solid piece.
5. Place the Patch on the Camping Chair
When your patch is ready to go, you’re ready to apply it. This, however, is the hardest step because the way you sew it on or glue it on will ultimately determine how sturdy the repair is.
Whether your tear is in the middle of your chair or on the corner, you can use scissors to shape the patch appropriately.
The corners near the support tubes will be the most challenging patch jobs, but cutting them in the correct shape will make sewing a lot easier.
Sew along the edges and then onto the center fabric section of the chair. Reinforce the stitching as needed to give you more strength and keep your patch in place.
6. Consider Also Using Adhesive
Depending on the material of your camping chair, you may want more than thread reinforcing the patch. In that case, you can use superglue in conjunction with the sewing for maximum strength.
Wait until after you’re finished sewing to use any glue because the glue will hold the thread and the patch in place better at the same time.
If you think you need it, wrap the patch in duct tape for good measure.
An Ounce of Prevention
Preventive maintenance is really the best way to prevent tears in your camping chairs.
Checking the screws and seams will help you notice any problems early and take care of them before your night around the campfire is ruined.
Do this before each camping trip or weekend soccer tournament:
- Take out your chairs and give them a decent checkup.
- Pay special attention to the screws and how tight they are.
- If any are loose, give them a quick tightening with a screwdriver before you use them for the day. But avoid turning the screws too tightly to avoid stripping them.
When Repairs Aren’t the Best Option
Sometimes, repairs are more work than they’re worth. Especially now, when camping chairs come in so many sizes and configurations, fixing a tear with a patch isn’t always possible.
For example, there are some fantastic compact camping chairs for sale now made from a single piece of fabric.
Each corner of the fabric has a slot sewn into it where the poles fit inside. So, to set up the chair, you have to unfold the fabric, assemble the poles, and insert the rod ends into the slots.
If something like that tears, you may be unable to fix it. Something like duct tape or glue can salvage it for a bit, but it will never be the same again.
So you’re better off just buying a new chair or seeing if you can exchange it for a new one.
Your Repairs Don’t Have to Be Perfect
Modern camping chairs are usually made of some sort of synthetic material.
The thin material is ideal for transport because it is lightweight and durable. When it tears, however, it makes repairs more of an issue.
Keep in mind that any repair, whether it’s on a synthetic chair made of nylon or anything else, won’t look perfect. Your chair will never be new again.
However, you can make it hard to notice with the right patch or a discreet superglue job. You’ll also make your favorite camping chair last a lot longer.
Nothing lasts forever, and that includes an awesome camping chair! Add years to your trusty chair or recover from a camping emergency by using one or more of our quick fixes here.
If you do repair the chair, you may want to ask the youngest or lightest camper in the group to make it their chair for the rest of the trip. Also, putting less weight on it will reduce the chances of your repair going bust.