Gear Guy

How do I repair a hole in my sleeping bag?

I accidentally burnt a hole, about one and a half inches in dieter, in my Western Mountaineering Dakota sleeping bag. I'm having trouble finding a place to repair it, and I don't want to do it myself because a brand new bag with a 30-year life span should not have some junky patch on it for the remainder of its working days. Ross Reading, California

A: Well, let that be a lesson for you: Don't smoke those Marlboros in bed! Seriously though, that's too bad—a Dakota ($435) is too nice a bag to have a hole like that.

For starters, I'd send it to Western Mountaineering. Call them first (at 408-287-8944) and explain the situation. (I already spoke to them on your behalf and, after we stopped laughing about your plight, I pleaded with them to take it easy on you.) They can do a couple of things, depending on your budget and preferences. The simplest and cheapest fix is to simply sew a matching patch over the hole. That'll set you back about $15. Alternatively, the entire panel that makes up that section of the bag can be cut out and replaced. That will give you a bag that looks virtually new and also ensures there isn't an extra fabric edge that might catch on something. Expect to shell out about $30, which to me sounds very reasonable.

Of course, you could also patch it yourself. The Gore-Tex folks sell a four-piece patch kit, which would work fine. Four patches cost about $6. They stick right on and are extremely durable. Also, McNett Industries just came out with a product called Tenacious Repair Tape, which like the Gore-Tex patches sticks right over the hole. A roll costs about $6, which leaves you enough for further repair work should you fry more holes in your bag...

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