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Backpacker Magazine – April 1999

For Broken Gear, Don't Despair...Repair

What you can and can't fix: How to breathe new life into tired old faithfuls.

by: Dan Nelson


Tents

Can Fix

Broken tent poles. A repair shop can usually replace an old, broken pole or fix just the busted section.

Broken or worn-out shock cord in poles. A repair shop can easily replace a broken elastic cord or one that has lost its bounce.

Torn or pierced mesh or fabric walls. Repair shops can stitch in a patch over a hole burned into a tent wall or replace an entire mesh panel.

Broken zipper. One of the most common repairs for tents is zipper repair or replacement.

Broken hardware or components. Lost grommets, ripped guy anchors, and unraveled seams are all easily repaired.

Mild mildew on walls or floor. A little moisture can cause a lot of mildew. Repair shops can clean your tent and remove mild cases of mildew.

Delaminated seam tape or worn-off durable water repellent (DWR). Repair shops can retape seams and reapply DWR finish on most fabrics.

Can't Fix

Heavy mildew. If the walls of your blue tent are green, it's time to invest in a new tent. Extensive mildew can't be removed without damaging the tent itself.

Brittle or cracking tent or rainfly. Ultraviolet light breaks down the nylon structure of the tent over time, making it brittle and prone to cracking or tearing. There is no repair for this.

Stoves, Water Filters

Can Fix

Clogged stove jets or burners. Most stoves can be maintained at home, but sometimes gunk clogs jets and burners so thoroughly that the cooker needs to be disassembled and cleaned.

Lost or dried-out O-rings, gaskets, or hoses. Whether you lose or damage one of these filter and stove components, or the rubber simply dries out, it needs to be repaired or replaced with a new one (see Gear Works, December 1998).

Can't fix

Broken pump housing. If the plastic housing breaks on a water filter or stove pump, there isn't anything to do but replace the whole unit.

Broken or leaking stove generators or preheat tubes. Once a hole has been worn through a solid metal fuel tube, the stove is unsafe, and the tube-or entire stove-should be discarded.

Clothing

Can fix

Broken zipper. An easy fix. Just have a new zipper installed.

Unraveled seams, small tears in fabric, etc. Another easy fix. Any repair shop can stitch up a modest-size hole, but if the garment is made of a waterproof/breathable fabric, make sure the repair shop is authorized by the manufacturer to do repairs on that particular technical fabric.

Unraveled seam tape on raingear. A certified repair shop can retape seams and patch waterproof/breathable garments without compromising their waterproof/breathable nature.

Raingear that doesn't repel. When the durable water repellent (DWR) finish on raingear wears off, it often can be restored at a reasonable price.



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