It doesn’t matter how much you spend, how careful you are, or how experienced you’ve become; You will eventually damage a vital piece of gear in the backcountry. Tents rip, poles snap, pads puncture, and boots separate. Knowing how to repair your gear is one thing, but if you do not have the proper tools at your disposal, it’s not going to get you very far. This is a small, lightweight kit that you can put together yourself on the cheap to cover most of your emergency repairs.
Gear Aid’s Seam Grip Field Repair Kit
A cure most for tent and sleeping pad repairs, it includes two tenacious patches, seam grip, a small brush, and a handy repair guide. The seam grip is great for sealing up mattresses, while the patches are perfect for large tent holes and tears, and can even be used to seal up backpacks, stuff sacks and more.
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape
Another flexible item to have along, this is essentially the same material that’s included inside the Seam Grip Repair Kit, but they’re longer sheets that can be cut and applied to larger areas. These work when a simple, pre-cut circular tenacious patch isn’t going to do the job as you can shape it any way that you want, and more material is included. It’s also useful for patching up tears in sleeping pads. This may sound redundant at first, it it’s sure to come of use eventually.
Needle and Thread
Useful for sewing up torn bug netting, stitching down loosening or blown out seams, repairing broken straps, and strapping together faulty boots. This takes some skill, and a little practice, but it can result in an incredibly sturdy repair that nothing else will be able to hold down. Apply some seam grip or Tenacious Tape above for fastness and waterproofness, and you’re all set. Starting to see how all this works together?
Mesh and Nylon patches
These are small sheets of material that can be used in a variety of situations. Large holes or burns often require additional material to be used as a base when being repaired. Without these you could be left with repair tools that are useless on their own.
It’s duct tape. What more can we say? Excellent for locking down broken buckles, delaminating boots, or repairing tent poles and clips in the field, it has many uses. Just keep in mind that it leaves a sticky residue. If you’re planning a permanent repair later, it can cause some issues.
This is handy for holding repairs together while they set, or simply holding them together as you sew. Other options are pinning gear back together that don’t see any pressure, securing dangling straps, and much more. Essential despite it’s simplicity.
Pole Repair Sleeve
Tent poles you say? They do break. Aluminum, although very tough, can snap or bend in an instant during gusts of wind or accidental boot stomps. You’ve not lived until you’ve repaired a tent pole on the fly during a storm. Used to slide over damaged, often sharply frayed or crushed tent poles, they’ll convert a uselessly busted tent into something you can actually sleep in. Just slide it on, after working the original pole back into shape with a tool or a rock, and duct tape it down. Not only vital for stability, it will keep sharp edges of damaged poles from sawing through your tent body.
Back to those tent poles…the elastic bands inside can break when cold, wet, dry, or just in a bad mood. This not only makes for an annoying tent to pitch, but also can result in the poles coming out of order. You do not want to have to rearrange a backcountry jigsaw puzzle back into a tent. Trust me. A short length of bungee can be used to reconnect them before they’re scattered, and can also come in handy for other repair projects.