Joan and I often backpack away from popular routes and trails. Even for shorter jaunts of three days, we find ourselves away from easy access to a place where gear failure is merely an inconvenience rather than a mishap that causes some hardship.
Over the years, I’ve learned to carry a sub-half-ounce basic repair kit for mishaps that can, have, and will occur in the backcountry.
Now that I live in Utah, which tends to chew up the gear, the utility of a simple backcountry repair kit comes into its own.
And what do I carry in this half-ounce kit? In a small snack-sized Ziplock bag, I carry –
- Large safety pins for makeshift closures.
- A large and thick needle to quick stitches with the floss I carry in my toiletry kit.
- I also carry approx. five feet of bank line. I find bank line an inexpensive, strong, and versatile all-purpose cordage for everything from tarp setups to emergency laces, lashing things together, and even a quick haul rope in a pinch. I like the #36 320 lb test bank line as an excellent all-around cord at only $11 a spool. Other sizes are available, too. I always burn the ends with a lighter once I cut.
- Finally, I have duct tape around my hiking pole for when I need sturdier/less delicate repairs, and it doubles as a medical tape of sorts as well. “Duct tape is magic and should be worshipped!”
With this kit, I find these few simple items that, combined with my other gear, work well to get me to the next town or back to the trailhead or beyond.