by Diane Spicer
Such a smart hiker, to read up on gear repair tips!
You've invested a lot of time, effort and money into pulling together the best outdoor gear for camping and hiking.
Inevitably, that gear will fail.
These proactive and retroactive gear repair tips will lessen the pain (somewhat).
Every hiking season has its hazards.
All of this activity from Mother Nature wreaks havoc on hiking plans, but more importantly it takes a heavy toll on your hiking and camping equipment.
Accidents, mistakes, pilot error, and poorly designed equipment with shoddy workmanship?
Not to rain on your parade, but you should never leave home without a gear repair kit in your backpack (hikers) or vehicle (campers).
That way you're one step closer to a successful outcome when your gear fails.
If you make a list of things you absolutely MUST do every day on a hiking trip to survive, it probably looks like this:
And these are the gear items that take a big hit on every backpacking trip because they are used heavily (and sometimes not gently).
So prioritize your repair kit with those essential items, and the following gear repair tips, in mind.
Carry these gear repair items because you will need them sooner or later.
None of them weighs much or hogs much space in a zip lock plastic bag, thrown your backpack and forgotten until you need to repair your outdoor gear before you can keep moving.
These are useful because they are versatile and play well with all of your gear repairs.
Use these 3 Tenacious Tape tips for good results on your outdoor gear and clothing.
Hint: Duct tape is versatile and can patch up holes in clothing, tents, backpacks and more. It ain't pretty, but it's effective.
It's important to go through your gear and decide what to carry on a backpacking trip in case you need to make a repair.
As an example, use a video from MSR to figure out what you need, and how to use it, when a tent pole breaks.
There are several failure points on a tent beyond poles, including the seams and door zippers.
The rain fly or footprint (beneath the tent) might also meet with an unfortunate accident.
In an abundance of caution, you can carry these items:
The repair gear you need may be something as simple as a safety pin.
But don't take a chance on not having the exact parts and repair gear you need to get your stove working again.
Consult your stove manufacturer website for those details.
Haven't selected a backpacking stove yet?
This stuff weighs more, takes up too much room in your backpack, or is best deployed at home when you have time and attention for a repair task.
And it can all be used for home repair tasks, too.
Keep your repair kit handy in an outer backpack pocket.
Work on a repair when you're well hydrated, fed and rested. Otherwise, you can make things worse.
Duct tape repairs are fast and easy, but this tape leaves a sticky residue behind.
Pre-cut repair patches are great for gritty, dirty environments that could decrease stickiness if you have to do a lot of cutting and measuring on a roll of tape.
A multi tool combines a lot of functionality into a small space. Don't go overboard on one of these, but don't short yourself on the tools you might need for field repairs.
Do annual maintenance on your stove, and you won't regret it on the trail. That's one of my best gear repair tips.
So always have a Plan B (contingency scenario) for your critical gear.
For example, your backpacking water filter can clog to such an extent that it becomes inoperable.
I sincerely hope this never happens to you:
Time for a creative substitution:
No paracord? Your options just shrank.
The type of hiking you do dictates how robust your gear repair kit should be.
So it pays to sit down and think through the most likely gear failures, and what your Plan B might be.
This prevents panic when you're right in the middle of the situation, and makes you look like a hiking hero to your trail buddies, too.
Sadly, sometimes you just can't repair hiking gear.
But you've done your best to keep it out of the landfill, and that counts for a lot!
None of this stuff I carry and recommend on this page is expensive.
Unless you want it to be, of course.
But for everyday use on the trail, I've stuck to the bare bones gear repair tips and tools that have seen me through decades of trail time.
I'm hard on my gear, and I know that it will fail eventually.
That's why carrying a well thought out gear repair kit, coupled with these gear repair tips, is one my absolute favorite recommendations to make to women hikers.
Always better safe than sorry, right?
If kits are your thing, check these out, too:
Gear Repair Tips For Hikers