Backpacking is fun, except when you find yourself deep in the wilderness with a torn tent, bent tent poles or a broken shoelace – then it starts to become frustrating. There are many things which can go wrong while you’re out in the backcountry, which is why you need to be prepared just in case mishaps like these happen. One of the best ways to prepare for such scenarios is by bringing along a backpacking repair kit which contains the following:
- Tent Repair Kit. Tent fabrics, no matter how durable they claim to be, are still susceptible to damages, especially when they’re a few years old already. To address rips and tears in your tent, pack along a tent repair kit. This is even if you’re already done fixing rips and tears in your tent while you were at home. You never know when your tent might get snagged in a low branch or thorny bush while you’re setting it up.
- Tent Pole Sleeve. The easiest way to repair broken tent poles is by using a tent pole sleeve or what others refer to as a splint. Basically, it is a short pole which is slightly wider in diameter than your tent pole. Your tent should come with one or two of these splints when you first bought it, but if not then you can always buy some in your local outdoor gear shop. Just remember to take your tent pole with you when you go shopping so that you can make sure that it’s the right size.
- Sleeping Bag Repair Kit. Much like tent fabrics, sleeping bags are also prone to damage, especially when you forget to clear your campsite of sharp stones and sticks. And because sleeping in damaged sleeping bag is one of the worst experiences for a backpacker, be sure to have a sleeping bag repair kit at hand.
- Duct Tape. Duct tape is an indispensable repair tool not only for backpackers but for many other people in the world as well. They‘re pretty handy in repairing just about anything, from repairing broken tent poles and trekking poles to patching up holes in tents and sleeping bags. In the case of the latter, you may want to use a dedicated tent or sleeping bag repair kit instead of putting duct tape on them. This is because duct tapes leave a very, very sticky residue on the fabric which can be almost impossible to remove.
- Multi-tool. Most (if not all) backpackers carry with them some sort of multi-tool when they go adventuring into the wilderness. This handy, pocket-sized gear allows you to carry multiple tools, from knives to pliers and screwdrivers and others right in your pocket (or backpack). And the best multi-tools for backpacking aren’t just handy at repairs since they can also be helpful in other tasks like cooking, first aid, and more.
- Most multi-tools have a pair of scissors included in them. However, if yours doesn’t have one, then you should definitely bring a separate pair of small but sharp scissors. You’re going to need this when cutting to size the patches you’ll be using for tent and sleeping bag repairs and trimming away the frayed ends. They’re pretty handy at opening stubborn packets of food as well.
- Utility Rope. Utility ropes are important to backpackers especially when you consider all the things that it’s used for, from rigging tents and tarps to hanging food up in trees and more. Many backpackers often disagree on the length of the rope you need to bring, but they all agree that you should bring one anyway. Some backpackers also bring with them survival Paracord bracelets, which not only serves as an emergency rope but also have other nifty tools like a compass, fire starter and even a small knife. The cord is pretty short though, measuring somewhere between 10 and 12 feet, so you still need to bring a separate utility rope.
- O-rings. One of the most frustrating things that can happen while you’re backpacking is finding out that there’s a leak in your liquid-fueled backpacking stove. Not only does this prevent you from preparing a nice warm meal after a long day of exploring, but it also compromises your safety. Thus, be sure to bring an extra o-ring or two. If you bought your stove brand new, it should’ve come with an extra o-ring. If not, then you should drop by the outdoor gear shop and buy one before you head out to the wilderness.
- Spare Boot/Shoe Laces. You’ll be doing a lot of walking while you’re backpacking and sometimes shoelaces, especially after years of exposure to the elements and age, tend to snap. This is why you’ll want to bring an extra set of shoelaces just in case this happens.
- Super Glue. Aside from snapping shoelaces, you may also encounter instances where the soles of your hiking boots or shoes suddenly fall off, which is quite normal considering all the torture you put it through while hiking. During these times, a tube of super glue is your best bet for a quick fix. Just be careful when using this because it is really sticky and you’ll have a hard time removing it once it gets into your fingers.
- Sewing Kit. Torn pants and jackets are pretty normal for backpackers clambering upon rocks or making their way through thick and thorny bushes. That’s why you’ll want to bring a small sewing kit with you. Don’t bother bringing several colors of threads or various sizes of needles, though there’s no harm in doing so as long as they don’t take up much space in your backpack.
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These are the basic and core ingredients of a reliable backpacking repair kit. Feel free to add and subtract items in the list to customize it according to your needs. Also, there are some outdoor shops that sell pre-packaged backpacking gear repair kit. If you decide to buy one of those, you should still check the contents and customize it accordingly.
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