Adventuring in the outdoors means subjecting yourself to rugged situations – the kind that can leave your expensive gear weathered, worn down, and, ultimately, broken. Yes, even the toughest and most technical outdoor gear will give out at some point. From breaks and tears to rips and punctures, sometimes things just don’t work out right.
Some gear failures can be ignored and fixed once you get back to civilization, allowing you get on with whatever activities you’ve planned out. Others, however, can be dangerous enough that you need the cut the trip short entirely. If you’d rather not have the latter result, it’s a good idea to keep a gear repair kit on hand. No, you don’t need to carry an entire shops’ worth of tools along – just a few choice products that you can use to make a quick fix and get back to business.
Here are some of our favorites.
Duct tape has long been the catch-all solution for putting back anything that’s broken. It works great for that. The main problem is, they come in large rolls, making them quite inconvenient to add to your pack. This duct tape, on the other hand, comes in a flat form factor that allows you to squeeze it into tight pockets, small pouches, and the narrowest corners of your bag. It’s thick, it has a strong adhesive, and it’s wide enough at 1.88 inches to let you hold anything together.
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape
Yes, you can use duct tape to patch that tear on your tent, that rip on your sleeping bag, or the hole on your backpack. It’s going to be ugly, though. For a more elegant solution, use this fabric repair tape instead, which covers up damage to nylon, polyester, vinyl, and rubber fabrics like you’re grafting a second skin. It permanently bonds to those materials, by the way, allowing you to use them like normal. Just make sure to clean the area before patching up, so it can adhere flat without any debris getting in the way.
Gear Aid Seam Grip Waterproof Sealer
Sometimes, it’s not tears or punctures that happen to your gear, it’s the darn seams that end up giving out and ripping apart. While you can sew them back together and use waterproof tape to seal it shut, that takes a bit of time. This special glue works faster, as it simply welds those two sections back together with a waterproof seal to boot. It works with nylon, PVC, rubber, leather, neoprene, and vinyl.
Best Glide ASE Survival Sewing and Repair Kit
Prefer sewing damaged fabric back into good shape? Pick up this survival sewing kit, which comes with multiple sizes of needles, heavy duty nylon threads, bonded Kevlar threads, safety pins, buttons, a Fresnel lens (for better seeing what you’re sewing), and more. It’s a good collection of items for quickly sewing things up, along with a few extras you may need in the backcountry.
TriWonder Tent Pole Repair Splint
Yes, you can use duct tape, along with any makeshift splint, to repair a broken tent pole. A tent is your literal shelter from the elements, though, so it’s best to ensure it’s as strong as it can be. To do that, it’s best to use duct tape with a proper tent splint. This one is made with aluminum alloy, so it’s both lightweight and durable, all while sliding over any pole between 7.9 to 8.5mm in diameter.
TR Heavy-Duty Zip Ties
Broken zipper pulls? Put a zip tie in its place. Buckles on your sternum strap broke? Hold them together with zip ties instead. Need something to hold your tarp during a surprisingly windy day? Yep, zip ties can do the trick. They’re age-old, simple, and will often find the perfect use when you least expect it. Just make sure to buy heavy-duty cables, such as these ones with 250-pound tensile strength, as cheaper ones can degrade when put under heavy stress.
MSR Expedition Service Kit
Imagine bringing a stove to camp, only to have it break down and leave you having to cook on a campfire? Absolutely annoying. While it will take up a bit of space, it will probably worth it bringing one of MSR’s stove repair kits along. The catch? You’ll need to buy the specific kit that’s compatible with your stove, so it’s not a one-kit-fits-all kind of deal.