DON'T FORGET THE DUCT TAPE


 

Don't Forget the Duct Tape

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What to Put in Your Outdoor Gear Repair Kit

You’ll save a lot of money and help the environment if you don’t have to retire your outdoor gear before its time, says Kristin Hostetter, author of Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed.

You’ll also enjoy your time in the wilderness even more if you know how to remedy a leak in your tent, repair flapping boot soles, nurse a cranky stove back to life, unclog a water filter, or revive gunked-up Velcro. You can make all these repairs and more in the field with the help of the eleven inexpensive tools listed below. Once your repair kit is assembled, it will weigh only about a pound or two. All the contents can be packed in a study zippered pouch, stuff sack, or gallon-size, freezer-weight zipper-lock plastic bag.

Backpacking Repair-Kit Checklist:

  • Good-quality duct tape
  • Assortment of fabric swatches (mosquito netting and lightweight ripstop nylon for tent repairs, pack cloth for garment and bag repairs, heavier Cordura for pack repairs)
  • Assortment of plastic buckles for pack repairs
  • Assortment of needles and safety pins (packed inside a 35mm film canister for safety)
  • Aluminum pole-repair sleeve
  • Adhesive/seam sealer such as Seam Grip
  • 5-10 feet of nylon parachute cord
  • Dental floss
  • A few heavy-duty rubber bands
  • A lightweight multitool, preferably one that includes small pliers and scissors
  • Extra clevis pins for an external frame pack (if you carry one)

For preventive care at home, keep the following tools handy as well. At-Home Repair-Kit Checklist:

  • Mild soap (not detergent) such as Ivory Flakes
  • Assortment of plastic-bristled brushes
  • Toothbrush
  • Irrigation syringe (for seam sealing)
  • Seam sealer
  • Boot goop (waterproofing agent and conditioner)
  • Assortment of waterproofing agents for tent, rain gear, etc.
  • Pliers
  • More duct tape

--Adapted from Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed by Karen Hostetter, The Mountaineers Books, $7.95 (paperback).

 

Duct Tape: Ingenious Uses in Repairing Your Outdoor Gear

“Duct tape is the single most useful repair tool you can carry on a backpacking trip, bar none,” says Kristin Hostetter, Backpacker magazine columnist and author of Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed. Below are a few ingenious ways you might use it on your next hiking/camping trip.

  • Got a gash on your rain jacket or backpack? Tape it up.
  • Forgot your sunglasses leash? Your spoon? You can construct just about anything with a little imagination and a bit of duct tape.
  • Zipper broken? Make a sturdy zipper pull by threading a thing strip of duct tape through the slider, then wrapping the tails with more duct-tape strips
  • Sore hips? If your pack’s hip belt starts chaffing during a trip, tape a tee shirt of some other piece of soft clothing to each pad of the hip belt.
  • Boot soles flapping? When regluing a boot sole, a few turns of duct tape can keep the toe area secure while the glue dries
  • Using a shower curtain, polyethylene, or Tyvek for a groundsheet? Cut long strips of duct tape in half lengthwise. Then carefully fold the strips over the edges of the groundsheet. This will protect the edges from tearing or shredding.
  • Got binding blues? Skiers and snowshoers simply must carry a good supply of duct tape, which can be a lifesaver in the case of a blown binding or a bent or broken pole.
  • Closer encounter with a cactus? Gently press a piece of duct tape to the spine-covered body part and pull the spines out with one fell swoop.
  • Backpacking stove sitting askew on the ground? For more stability, cut a square of old closed-cell foam pad sized to fit the base of your stove. Wrap the foam generously with duct tape for insulation, and you have a stable cooking platform that works great in the snow.

Duct Tape Tip:
Wrap a generous amount of duct tape around the middle of a trekking pole, hiking staff, or flashlight, and leave the bulky roll at home.



--Adapted from Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed by Karen Hostetter, The Mountaineers Books, $7.95 (paperback).

 

Play Outdoors in the Rain: How to Revive Waterproof Fabrics


Even though you will spend a bundle on your waterproof fabrics, the time will come when your jacket or tent fly seems to be absorbing rain rather than repelling it. This is because the outer fabric’s DWR treatment has worn off. Just like a good wax job on your car, this coating wears off over time, leaving you feeling wet even if no rain has actually penetrated the fabric. When this happens, do not immediately go storming off to the shop that sold it to you, says Kristin Hostetter, Backpacker magazine columnist and author of Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed. There are some simple, inexpensive things you can do to revive your waterproof gear if it starts to seep.
  • Wash it. Over time, dirt and things like campfire smoke get into the fabric and prevent the DWR treatment from doing its job. Some folks have gone years without washing their waterproof/breathable gear for fear that they will harm it. It may sound simple, but for the most part, occasional washing is a must.

  • Machine-dry it. Machine drying on a medium setting will reactivate the DWR coating that is left in the fabric, unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.
  • Iron it. As strange as it may sound, carefully running a warm iron (on a low setting) over your waterproof garment brings even more of those DWR molecules to life. Before ironing, be sure to wipe down the iron to make sure it is clean.
  • Check the seams. If your seam tape is peeling or leaking, send it back to the manufacturer for repair. It’s always under warrantee.
  • Reapply a DWR treatment. If you do all of the above steps and rain still does not bead up and run off your garment, it means your existing DWR treatment is all but gone and it is time to reapply a new one. There are a number of good DWR treatments on the market, available as either spray-on or wash-in.
  • For a spray-on treatment, hang the garment outdoors or in a well-ventilated place. Use long, uniform strokes and try to prevent drips. It is better to apply two light coats rather than one thick one.
  • For a wash-in treatment, prewash the garment. Fill the drum of the washing machine with water, add the treatment, wait a few minutes, then add the garment and complete the wash cycle.

--Adapted from Don’t Forget the Duct Tape: Tips and Tricks for Repairing Outdoor Gear, 2nd ed by Kristin Hostetter, The Mountaineers Books, $7.95 (paperback).

 
 
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