Quick Fixes for Hikers: Mend a Gash in a Backpack

Don’t let a minor malfunction ruin your big trek. Learn to patch a sleeping bag, glue together a boot, and make four more simple repairs that everyone should master before setting foot on the trail.

    Photo: puuikibeach/Flickr

The situation: You set your pack down to get a bite to eat and rest your feet. When you pick it up again, you realize the sharp granite has torn a hole in a worn section of fabric. How do you mend the tear?

The fix: If you brought along needle and thread, this is no-brainer.  If you forgot the thread, try dental floss: The multipurpose material will bind a torn backpack, sleeping bag or down jacket. Burning the edges of the tear before you stitch the sides together will prevent unwanted fraying.

“Needle and thread is about the most important thing a person can have with them,” Jason Boblitt, quality assurance associate at Osprey Packs, says. “Not only does it repair your pack, it repairs your clothes, your sleeping bag and your tent.”

Common sense goes a long way toward keeping your pack in hiking-condition. Don’t step on buckles, don’t back your car over the pack, and remove all food before bedding down for the night to keep rodents from chewing through the fabric. Keep it away from cacti and shrubs, and you should be set says Boblitt.    

Worn shoulder straps bugging you? Try wrapping padding—the faux sheepskin found at gas stations across the country works well—around the straps to give yourself a little extra cushioning.

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