Outdoor Gear Repair
Repair Kit Recommendations
- Needles - Bring several different-sized needles, including a thick needle with a big hole (like a carpet needle) that can punch through pack cloth. We're not talking delicate needlework: Your heavy-duty needles should be able to thread a strand of dental floss. Store needles in a film canister (along with buttons, pins, and other losable items), or stick them into film containers.
- Thread - Bring several weights of thread: heavy-duty thread (like carpet thread), dental floss, and standard thread. Don't use heavy-duty thread for normal repairs on regular clothing because the tension of extra-strong thread actually causes the fabric to tear more.
- Wire - couple of yards of thin wire can help hold things together.
- Thimble - You need it to force a needle through tough fabric like several layers of Cordura or Polyester pack cloth, and canvas material.
- Safety Pins - Lots of different sizes are a good idea, especially big, heavy-duty diaper pins with latches that lock them shut.
- Tape - Bring two kinds: duct tape and white medicine tape (to be used interchangeably, or whichever works best). Wrap several yards of duct tape around a spare pen. That way, you won't be tempted to use (read: lose) the spare pen, which can be vital for communicating in an emergency. You can also wrap duct tape around a fuel bottle; a few layers of tape adds a little insulation between the super-cold fuel and your fingers, and could save your fingers from
- Velcro - Tape-on strips can hold together sleeping bags and rain gear that have suffered a zipper disaster.
- Small Pliers - Use these for repairing zippers and air-mattress valves.
- Cord - Regular parachute cord is a good multiuse tool. In addition to bear bagging and laundry-line duty, you can use it to lash things onto your pack, tie broken parts together, guy line a tent, or hold up a tarp.
- Glue - Urethane-based glues like Shoe Goo, Free-sole, or Selly's Kwik Grip are the hiker's choice for boot repairs. Remember to prepare surfaces properly (i.e., clean the surface to be joined thoroughly), follow the glue manufacturers instructions, clamp the repair together, and wait the nominated time before removing the clamp. Usually these repairs will keep you going until you can get to a cobbler. There are glues for every purpose, and you may fine that
the glue to repair your boots may not be the glue you need to repair your air mattress, so research with care the glues you need for those emergency repairs.
- Spare Stove Parts - Remember to bring along the instructions that came with your stove. A spare parts kit generally contains a multipurpose stove tool, a jet cleaning tool (if necessary), a spare pump cup and O-rings, pump oil, and extra parts like replacement jets or adapters for different kinds of fuel.
- Pocket Knife - Your pocket knife is also an essential item, but you can expand on the plain two-bladed pocket knife by purchasing a Swiss Army style knife. Most hikers choose one that has a couple of cutting blades, a bottle opener, a can opener, scissors, tweezers, a hole punch, and maybe a corkscrew. Or consider a Leatherman, which also includes a pair of pliers and other necessary tools.
- Tweezers - Throw in a spare pair of good ones in case the little miniature tweezers on your pocket knife get lost.
- Film Canisters - Useful for storing easily lost items.
- Zipper Parts - Bring heads and sliders to fit your important gear, such as your rain jacket, pants, tent, and sleeping bag.
- Self Adhesive Patches and Nylon Rip-Stop Repair Tape - Bring several feet of it, for patching up ripped rain gear and tents.
- Spare Other - Bring such things as cord locks, buckles, buttons (various sizes), leather shoelaces, batteries, and a flashlight/torch bulb.
- Clevis Pins - These are used for holding straps to external-frame packs. You can also use these as zipper pull tabs.
- Alcohol Swabs - Great for cleaning gear before you attempt to repair it with adhesives. These are also a first-aid item for disinfecting wounds, blisters, or needles that you intend to use to pierce a blister, or remove a splinter.
- Hose Clamps - These are useful for busted external-frame packs. Hose clamps also come in handy for splinting tent poles. And if you're travelling on skis, you can use them for broken skis and poles.
- Aluminium Pole Sleeve - An absolute necessity in splinting fractured aluminium, or fibre glass tent poles.