Which repair tape is best?
We tried three pricey all-purpose repair tapes to see if they were worth the cost.
Rather than turfing a cheap plastic bin* that had cracked, I tried patching it with a variety of all-purpose repair tapes.
$39, The Warehouse, 1.52m x 10.2cm
Waterproofing is a tough test, but the Flex Tape infomercial claims it can “repair virtually anything … sealing out water, air and moisture to create a super strong, flexible, watertight barrier”.
Yeah, nah. Its water-stopping performance was disappointing, with the bin springing a leak within seconds of being filled. More tape – on both the interior and exterior – didn’t help.
I’d bought clear Flex Tape as it was supposed to be “virtually invisible”. It wasn’t. It was thick, and every layer just made the unsuccessful repair more obvious.
As for its adhesiveness, it held fast on the flat side of the bin, but not to the underside of the rim. Even after being clamped to the lip for several hours, the tape came unstuck.
I also used it to patch a shoe where my toe had poked through, but it flooded at the first puddle, making Flex Tape a washout.
On the plus side, it was pretty flexible.
$17.99, Torpedo 7 and outdoor stores, 50cm x 7.5cm
The advertising for Gear Aid’s “better than duct tape” Tenacious Tape doesn’t specifically claim it will work on plastic, but it does say it’s good for “whatever needs a quick patch”.
Although it was flexible, with great adhesiveness, Tenacious Tape still let a drop or two of water through. If I’d had more, I could probably have formed a watertight seal on the bin, but I’d already spent more than I’d intended.
For the footwear test, Tenacious Tape held tight – even after a decent dunking, my feet were dry – so I’ll be taking some on my next hike in case I need to mend my tent or backpack.
Tear-Aid Type A
$29.90, Marine Deals and outdoor stores, 29.5cm x 7.5cm
The crack in the bin had grown substantially during the course of my experiments, so sealing it was going to be a real test of Tear-Aid’s effectiveness.
Tear-Aid’s marketing claims it’s strong enough to repair a large tear in an inflatable waterslide, which suggests it can withstand high pressure from both air and water.
Amazingly, a single layer of tape on either side of the split did the trick, creating an instantaneous, impenetrable barrier that kept the water at bay.
For the shoe test, Tear-Aid again didn’t put a foot wrong – no mean feat considering the shower it endured.
It ain’t cheap, but you get what you pay for, and Tear-Aid is a quality product.
$5, The Warehouse and hardware stores, 9m x 48mm
One layer of generic duct tape (from $5 for 9m at The Warehouse and hardware stores) on both the inside and the outside surfaces wasn’t enough to stem the torrent. A few more layers slowed the flow somewhat – but the bin still leaked. As for the shoe, I couldn’t get the tape to stick to the fabric upper, so that was a fail.
For this test, this particular duct tape wasn’t a box of fluffies, but another brand might have proved less of a dud. However, even inexpensive duct tape is a reliable option for repairs that don’t need to be watertight, so it still has a place in my toolbox.
All my fixes were expensive, so the next time I need a storage container, I’ll buy well, buy once.
*My $13 60L Taurus Rolling Organiser bin didn’t have a recycling code, but the manufacturer said it was recyclable (#5 PP – polypropylene).