Article by Anna
So you finally managed to rip your favorite coat. If it's a puffy, goose down or synthetic fibers are shedding all over. If it's a shell, well, now you are getting wet. What now? There is a right and a wrong way to repair your gear. The wrong way (duct tape) works. The right way (gear repair tape) works better.
Everyone knows to carry duct tape. It fixes everything. The problem with something that does everything is that it doesn't do it the best. It works. It isn't always ideal or pretty. That said, I have plenty of gear repaired with duct tape. But, let me try to convince you there is a better way and then show you the correct way to repair your gear.
If you have managed to flat out destroy your jacket or pants, check the manufacturer's warranty. In general, if you have managed to shred your coat, it won't fall under "normal wear and tear" that most manufactures have as a qualification. I had a pleasant experience with Outdoor Research and my Igneo Pants. However, the scope of that repair fell within normal wear and tear. There was no alder attack, hatchet incident, raccoon encounter, or other oddity involved. If it is bad, start there.
Otherwise, go to your favorite outdoor store or website and pick up a roll of tenacious tape. There are other repair tapes out there. I have not personally used them. Tenacious tape is usually the most readily available option in my area. I like it. It works and it isn't too exspensive.
Why not use duct tape? Before proceeding let me include a brief comparison explaining why gear specific repair tape is superior in this case
Why You Should Use Gear Repair Tape and Not Duct Tape
Gear Repair Tape
Does not leave a residue if removed. If you later decide to send it in for repair or wish to redo your repair, this is a nice feature.
Is thin and fabric-like. You barely notice the repair is there.
Is pliable and will conform to the seams of your puffy jacket.
Holds up great after repeated washing.
Leaves a sticky mess if you try to remove it. Don't like how it looks and want a new repair? Too bad, that sticky mess isn't going away.
Is thick and rubbery. You will notice it is there.
Is stiff and will conceal and overpower the seams of your puffy jacket.
Starts to ball up and peel back after washing.
How to Repair your Ripped Puffy or Shell
Hopefully, you have been convinced to obtain your own gear repair specific tape. If you still insist on using duct tape then fine, the steps are the same. Following these steps can be the difference between a temporary repair that falls off in a few months and a permanent, worry-free repair that lasts the rest of the gear's life and looks great. Great, you are ready to start your repair!
As noted, this method is not limited to clothing. I have also successfully used tenacious tape to repair my sleeping bag and tent. Years later, the repair is still holding strong.