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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Pro: Patching a Down Jacket

Your puffy jacket (or sleeping bag) fixed in 10 minutes!

by: Kristin Hostetter

We’re only a few weeks into winter and already there are three down jackets in my hall closet with gashes in them and feathers spewing. The most injury-prone area is around the wrists (especially on my two little boys’ jackets). With the holiday break upon us, I decide it was time to bust out the repair kit and make things right.

I’ll bet you’ve got some ripped down garments in your arsenal, too, right? Maybe you’ve slapped on a piece of duct tape to stop the bleeding? That’s all fine and good, but there’s a much better way, and it take only a few key supplies and ten minutes, max. Get cracking!

You’ll need:

Seam Grip
A patch
A brush (optional)

(Gear Aid by McNett makes an awesome, tiny kit that has all of the above (minus the scissors) for only $7. Buy a bunch and keep them in your gear cave.)

Step 1: Swab the area with an alcohol wipe to clean the fabric.

Step 2: Cut a rounded patch that will generously cover the afflicted area.

Step 3: Carefully place the patch over the gash, smoothing out the fabric underneath as best you can, to prevent wrinkling.

Step 4: Paint the edges of the patch with a smooth layer of Seam Grip. Why? Because all patches want to peel eventually, and this stuff will prevent that from happening, ever.

Tip: The brush is great and makes the application neater and easier, but you can use a toothpick, a plastic take-out knife, or a popsicle stick also. I’ve found those brushes pretty impossible to clean—they’re typically single use only—but wipe them down immediately with a paper towel and rustle the strands to remove as much Seam Grip as you can. You just might get another use or two out of it this way.

For a ton more repair tricks and tips, grab a copy of my book, The Complete Guide to Outdoor Gear Maintenance and Repair.

Got a burning question about gear repair, or any other topic for that matter? Drop me a line and tell me about it at

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Steve Harmony
Jan 07, 2014

Great idea about using seam grip around the edges. In the dry Southwest it helps to use Cotol-240 to accelerate the cure. Urethanes like seam grip depend on humidity to cure.


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