Repair Your Damaged Gear: Here Are the Must-Have Tools to Pack

man repairing his damaged gearAfter a long day of hik­ing in the rain, you crawl into your sleep­ing bag and close your eyes. A fat drop of water hits you right between the eyes and you groan. There’s a hole in the rain fly. Or maybe you go to get an ener­gy bar from your pack and real­ize your zip­per is bro­ken. Or you’re pad­dling down the riv­er and a sharp rock gouges a hole in your kayak. We’ve all encoun­tered unex­pect­ed prob­lems and need a quick fix for our dam­aged gear. Here are some of the best tools to keep in your pack.

A Good Multi-Tool
There are count­less vari­eties, inter­change­able parts, and end­less uses for this go-to tool. If you don’t already have one, find one with all the nec­es­sary parts. You can’t go wrong with a com­bi­na­tion of a blade, pli­ers, screw­driv­er, wire cut­ter, bot­tle open­er, and saw. Mul­ti-tools can be used to repair loose screws on eye­glass­es, fix dam­aged zip­pers, and almost any­thing else you can think of. Find a sol­id, light­weight one and you’ll nev­er regret it.

Duct Tape
The almighty sil­ver roll has lit­er­al­ly saved lives on the trail. From cov­er­ing blis­ters to repair­ing holes to hold­ing tent poles togeth­er, duct tape is one of the most ver­sa­tile tools you can pack in your arse­nal. If you’re back­pack­ing and want to save space, wrap sev­er­al feet of duct tape around a lighter or trekking pole to cut down on bulk in your pack.

From impro­vis­ing a belt to string­ing up a tarp, you should always have a few yards of para­cord on hand. Get a reflec­tive or bright col­or to dou­ble as a mark­er in case you need help, and be sure to brush up on your knot-tying skills before you head out.

Sewing Kit
Speak­ing of knots, a nee­dle and thread can do more than stitch up that tear in your pants. You can use nee­dles to remove splinters—be sure to dis­in­fect first—or use safe­ty pins to replace a lost zip­per pull. When you fin­ish your trip, buy a sou­venir patch and stitch it onto your favorite pack or jack­et to remind you of your great adventures—and sewing skills.

Adhe­sive Repair Patch­es or Fab­ric Swatches
For a quick fix on a hole-punched sleep­ing pad or torn tarp, slap an adhe­sive patch on the dam­aged area and you’re good to go! Or you can bring along some rip­stop nylon or fab­ric pieces to sew your own patch. For small holes and tears, these patch­es can help keep you sleep­ing com­fort­ably at night and your gear dry. Bring a vari­ety of tent mesh, water­proof and vinyl patches.

Tent Pole Repair Sleeve
Hard­ware breaks can be a lit­tle tougher to han­dle. For exam­ple, cracked tent poles can wreck a trip, so you should always car­ry a repair sleeve when camp­ing out. Just slide it over the break—reshaping the pole with nee­dle nose pli­ers if necessary—and rein­force with some duct tape.

Sug­ru Mold­able Glue
Some of our dam­aged gear just doesn’t come with an easy fix, and Sug­ru can usu­al­ly help with that. Whether it’s repair­ing a dam­aged boot, lost zip­per pull, or pro­vid­ing a heat-proof han­dle for your pot of mac and cheese, this fun and col­or­ful tool is wait­ing for you to find a new use for it.

Seam Sealant
Hope­ful­ly, you water­proofed your gear before head­ing out, but if you need to touch up a worn shoe or tent, a small tube of seam sealant will do the trick. Bring along a cou­ple indi­vid­u­al­ly wrapped alco­hol swabs to clean the sur­face before you apply the sealant for best results. As a result, the glue will hold for a longer peri­od of time, maybe for good.