Before you start you should read our blog post on how to prevent your favourite outdoor kit getting damaged in the first place: How to look after your kit.
However, despite all of your best efforts, if you are using your kit regularly, there will come a time when it gets damaged. We do not like throwing anything away here at More than Mountains so we will do our best to find a way to repair and revive our tired equipment. Here are some tips that we have learned over the years.
Repairing Gortex and tent fabric
Our secret weapon when repairing any thin, flexible fabric such as Gortex, tents and even rucksacks is spinnaker tape. This brilliant stuff was presumably invented to repair spinnaker sails and it can often be found in your local chandlery. It is a self-adhesive rip stop nylon tape and, because spinnakers tend to be very colourful, it comes in a wide variety of colours. It sticks really, really well – I do not think we have ever had a piece come off after it has been applied. Of course you should apply to clean, dry, flat fabric for the best results. Once it has been stuck on it is tough and hard wearing and will probably outlast the rest of the garment. We love this stuff and have a few pieces of kit that may now be more spinnaker tape than original fabric.
If the damage is beyond the spinnaker tape stage there are lots of companies that offer repairs for jackets and tents. Paramo offer a great service for their own clothing and Scottish Mountain Gear did a great job of repairing a tent for us that got badly damaged in a gale.
If you use your boots often enough, it does not matter how well you care for them, at some point they will start to deteriorate. We find that if we have been carefully following the tips in our last blog the first thing to go on a boot is usually the sole. It either starts to come away from the boot or the treads wear down to the point where they are no longer effective. If this is happening to your boots then we can highly recommend: Feet First
They offer excellent advice and will let you know what they think should be done and whether they think it is worth doing. They have resoled a number of pairs of boots for us and we have always been very pleased with the result. At first it may seem expensive but for the fraction of the price of a new pair they have often doubled the life of our boots. They can resole all types of shoe including climbing shoes and approach shoes.
Another part of your boots to keep an eye on is your laces. Make sure you replace them long before they snap. It is much easier to replace a lace in the warm at home than to try and repair one on a mountain in a blizzard. Which brings us to….
We always carry a very small repair kit with us when we are out walking or climbing. This usually consists of:
- Duct tape
- Cable ties
- Multi-tool penknife
We also carry first aid kits that contain a number of items that can be used for repairs in an emergency. The item we use most often is the duct tape. On more than one occasion we have strapped a sole back on to a client’s boot using copious amounts of duct tape. One customer’s sole came clean off her boot at the top of Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. We strapped it back on with duct tape and she managed to walk all the way back down to Seathwaite. Without a repair kit we would have had to call out mountain rescue. Cable ties can be used to temporarily tie together broken rucksacks or jackets etc and the penknife comes in handy for cutting and trimming.
We hope all of these tips have been useful. Let us know if you have any more.
Jill, More than Mountains