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.
- Ripstop repair tape that I cut with my Swiss Army Knife Classic. The ripstop sail repair tape makes a strong, pliable, and easy-to-use tape that adheres to thin material found on lightweight quilts or puffies. Joan made an emergency repair to her puffy this past weekend (and inspired the article.)
- 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.
You sold me on bank line many years ago. Great stuff.
Now safety pins. I have found diaper pins stronger by far than any of the rest. And the very strongest brand is BABYKING ANIMAL DIAPER PINS
About $6 but worth every penny. Used to find them at the 99¢ store for a buck for 4 but hard to find. I bet you will like as much as I like like Bank line and my ULA CDT pack that you also suggested
Have to give it whirl!
tyvek tape is the best stuff I have found for repairing light nylon – when you run out of the tape you are using you might give it a try.