Outside magazine, September 1996
"NO MAN EVER STOOD THE LOWER IN MY estimation for having a patch in his clothes," wrote Thoreau in Walden. Our man's ponderings have an especially practical ring in this age of $400 Gore-Tex jackets. But repairing outdoor equipment today is slightly more involved than sewing on a button or re-oiling a jacket, and local tailors and cobblers rarely have the wherewithal to fix high-tech materials. With professional help, however, you can resurrect your broken-down gear at a fraction of replacement cost.
Outdoor specialists such as Boulder, Colorado's Mountain Mend (303-443-1925) and Seattle's Rainy Pass Repair (800-733-4340) fix tents, packs, sleeping bags, and outdoor clothing at a surprisingly reasonable cost. Patching a tear runs about $15; replacing a zipper, $30. And for $8 an ounce they'll supplement matted loft with fresh goose down.
For footwear try Dave Page in Seattle (800-252-1229), Wilson's Eastside Sports in Bishop, California (619-873-7520), Komito Boots in Estes Park, Colorado (800-422-2668), or Cobbler and Cordwainer in New Rochelle, New York (800-788-2668). They'll resole your boots ($30 for rock-climbing shoes to $85 for telemark boots), reline heels ($35), and even replace tongues devoured by dogs (prices depend on your pet's appetite).