A few years ago I got a 2-person tent for backpacking. At some point, I let the rain fly get too hot. It became sticky and its waterproof coating peeled.

I tried to buy a replacement rain fly, but apparently the manufacturer has discontinued the tent model and no longer sells its parts.

This seems unreasonable to me. I want to buy a tent knowing that if I damage it beyond repair, I'll be able to buy replacement parts. I don't think that tent technology changes too fast to allow this.

Does any tent manufacturer promise to sell replacement parts for some predefined period of time?


I'm not asking about warrantees, in case of product deficiencies. I'm concerned with those times when the damage is clearly my fault. I don't expect the manufacturer to pay for my mistakes.

  • LLBean guarantees stuff as long as you own it.Not happy with it for any reason bring it back.
    – mikes
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 2:14
  • The kind of damage that is being described probably wouldn't be covered by most guarantees - and a guarantee will likely mean the manufacturer replaces your damaged tent rather than particular parts.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 6:13
  • Almost no manufacturer guarantees to have parts forever. This question would be much improved by adding some sort of time windows (10 yrs perhaps). Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 15:35
  • @RussellSteen - True, but I didn't say 'forever', I said 'for some predefined period of time.' Any time window the manufacturer will state up front and stand by is better than none. Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 16:25
  • 1
    I just contacted REI on November 11 2015. They told me they offer zero replacement rainflies or any other model specific parts. I was only able to order things such as stakes, pole stabilizers, seam sealer, fabric repair items. He told me it was time for a new tent. Pretty disappointing...
    – user8112
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 4:24

3 Answers 3


Your mileage will vary by manufacturer, tent technology might not change, but designs do quite a lot (just to keep you wanting the next thing...)

Check out REI - they have a 100% full return or replacement guarantee on all purchases that extends pretty much for eternity. I demand a lot of my gear, and even when it has let me down, REI never has.

Update: Sometime in 2014/15? REI changed their policy to a 1 year no-questions-asked return guarantee. Likely due to people abusing the program (as evidenced by the stuff you'll find for sale in their "garage sale" events).

(Note: I am no way - nor have I ever been - associated with REI)

  • I second the REI vote. If you buy it from them, they will give you a refund according to a certain percentage (that decreases over time) of the last price it they sold it for. An excellent option for sure.
    – Greg.Ley
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 19:30
  • @greg.ley is that a new policy? I've always gotten full (minus any dividend already paid out on it).
    – Lost
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:01
  • Well, when I took back a jacket that I had purchased a few years before, that's what they told me. And it makes sense, because they famously took back a 40-year-old 8000m suit, and there is no way they would pay out several thousand bucks for that (the last price they sold it at), right? Honestly I haven't actually looked at the policy, so this is just from experience.
    – Greg.Ley
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 0:24

Tents, as far as replacement goes, are usually made of 3 parts:

  • Fly
  • Inner
  • Poles

Poles can usually be repaired (to a point), or replaced with equivalent or with similar models with a little work.

Better yet is to use a tent that fits on straight poles, which can be replaced with trekking poles, or with standard straight poles. (MSR has some, for example).

As for fly and inner, the simpler the easier to mend, and the easier to replace one without the other. Typically, BD sells the Beta Light as 2 separated parts, and several cottages can make custom inner or fly that would fit with those. (And you can even make your own!)


The problem you've got is that most of the larger brands are batch manufacturing in China or Vietnam. They bring the product over complete and don't hold spares of items such as flys and inners.

If you're looking for something lightweight, I think your best bet would be to use one of the established cottage manufacturers like Tarptent, Mountain Laurel Designs, Stephensons or Z-Packs. Smaller players include Trekkertent, Six Moon Designs and Bearpaw Wilderness Designs.

These companies make to order in their own workshops, so are much more flexible and service oriented. They offer a repair service, and if you need a replacement they will simply make something up for you.The downside is that they usually cost a bit more and can have waiting lists.

You could also look at companies that supply schools, Scouts etc. For example in the UK, Blacks of Greenock have classic models such as the Force Tens where they have supplied a full set of spares for literally half a century. They update the materials but the designs remain the same. Obviously, these tend to be heavier and less cutting-edge, but very robust and reliable.

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    The problem really has nothing to do with manufacturing location. Models change and after a period of time, brands no longer carry parts for those models because it does not make sense to keep them in stock. Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 14:15

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