To avoid spending your hard-earned money on new outdoor gear, invest in a gear repair kit. Keep one in your thru-hiking backpack, your gear closet, or your car trunk. Next time something snaps, rips or leaks, reach not for your credit card, but for a nylon patch, a spare buckle, a tube of sealant. The following kit is our take on a portable and versatile outdoor gear repair toolbag. When your gear fails miles from civilization, it will prevent minor annoyances and major disasters alike.
Patagonia Black Hole Cube 3L
What good is a repair kit without a proper container? Not just any old cardboard box or ziplock baggie, mind you; a proper repair kit calls for something as strong and long-lasting as your hardshell jacket. The Patagonia Black Hole Cube‘s polyster ripstop and TPU-laminated shell is extremely durable and weather resistant; inside, two separate mesh pockets stow smaller knickknacks and printed repair instructions, while the two-liter main compartment neatly stows everything on this list.
SOL Duct Tape
The old adage goes something like this: “Every problem in the world can be fixed with one of two items. If it moves and it shouldn’t, duct tape. If it doesn’t move and it should, WD-40.” For backpackers and campers, SOL’s pre-packaged, miniature duct tape cylinders make a lot more sense than an entire two-pound roll.
Seam Grip Waterproof Seam Sealer
Nearly all outdoor apparel and equipment has seams — the places where two materials, of one type or another, become one. But seams can split, and holes can open. Seam Sealer is a special glue that welds those materials back together. It works with nylon, vinyl, neoprene, PVC, rubber and leather.
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape Repair Patches
A hole opens up on your down jacket, and feathers come spewing out. Or maybe some drunk camper accidentally slashes a hole in your tent, and rain comes pouring in. Slap on some Tenacious Tape (not duct tape!) and you’re good.
Gear Aid Outdoor Sewing Kit
Not all holes can be repaired with just tape and sealant. Some repairs require a good ol’-fashioned sewing kit. This one has all the essentials: thimble, seam ripper, thread, buttons, sewing needles, straight pins, safety pins and sewing manual.
Sterling Rope Parachute 550 Paracord
Less a repair tool, more a replacement part for snapped guy-lines and other stringy equipment. Paracord has probably a gazillion other practical uses, too.
Leatherman Micra Multi-Tool
Leatherman’s most compact multi-tool packs ten useful tools, seven of which will come in handy for a variety of field repairs: knife, scissors, three screwdrivers, ruler and tweezers. The other three — nail cleaner, bottle opener and nail file — are handy, too, but in other ways.
Soto Pocket Torch
The Soto Pocket Torch turns any old rectangular disposable lighter into a powerful, wind-resistant burner capable of emitting a 2,300-degree-Fahrenheit blue flame. Use it to meld together hard objects, cut and sear rope and more.
Gear Aid Tent Pole Splint
Like human bones, tent poles break when bent at weird angles or put under large amounts of pressure. Also like human bones, tent poles can be splinted in the field. Slide this aluminum cylinder over the broken section, wrap it in some duct tape, and you’re set.
Gear Aid Snap Bar Repair Buckle
Most backpacks have at least two or three plastic buckles. Some of them, like the hip belt buckle, are crucial to a hiker’s comfort. This buckle snaps on and off much easier than a traditional buckle, making replacements exceptionally quick and easy.
MSR Expedition Service Kit
Liquid-fuel stoves are perhaps the most popular and most versatile form of backcounty cooking equipment. But most liquid-fuel stoves have dozens of parts, which, when they fail, can cause major headaches. While MSR’s Expedition Service Kit is intended for MSR’s own range of liquid-fuel stoves, it contains a number of stove-specific tools that’ll repair just about any liquid-fuel stove, MSR or not.
Dirt cheap and as plainly utilitarian as duct tape. The repair possibilities are virtually limitless.