Tools are important, but like dancing it takes two to Tango. You will need to supplement your tools with repair supplies. When I say supplies I’m talking glues, spare parts, tape (lots of it) and more. Below is a picture of some of the items I will be bringing with explanations of their usage or importance. So let’s dive right in.
1) GORE-TEX® Repair Kit (x2): If you have any GORE-TEX® garments on your trip (in this modern age I’ll be surprised if there isn’t’) this is a must. I bring two of these on the trip, they run about $7.00 and come with a one round 3” and one 2” x 4” rectangle patch. These are adhesive backed and can be a little tricky to apply, so be patient when applying them. Pro tip: when using any adhesives or glues the most important part is prepping the surface. Clean area around tear with an alcohol swab and allow to fully dry before application, this will help the adhesives stick by removing any oils on the fabric.
2) Footbrace Hardware with Four Arm Knob (1/4-20 thread 1-1/14” long x2): Nothing puts a damper on a trip like having to paddle a boat that has a broken bulkhead or footbrace. I keep a spare in my PFD at all times and for this trip will be keeping a pair in my repair kit. Modern whitewater boats the wing-nuts are notorious for coming loose and I’ve been on a couple of trips where people had to find a way to make it work. You can get both of these items from your local SEA-LECT Designs dealer (http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2724-foot-brace-replacement-hardware-packs and http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2939-threaded-four-arm-knobs)
3) Waxed Thread (x1): A small spool of waxed thread is useful for repairs that need to be sewn. This thread will also be used with your Sewing Awl that you brought because I previously told you how awesome it is. The wax helps the thread stay tight and prevents it from backing itself out. Pro tip: in the absence of waxed thread dental floss or fishing line makes a good high strength sewing thread in a pinch.
4) Nylon Repair Tape (x1 roll): Gear Aid Tenacious Tape™ is good for patching tears in anything nylon. I use it most frequently patching small holes in my down coat because all it takes is standing too close to the fire pit and next thing you know an errant ember is melting into the thin nylon and creating a downy mess. Commonly repaired with duct tape I find that it’s easier to just fix it correctly once instead of reapplying duct tape as it wears out. Works well with tent walls, down jackets, and windbreakers.
5) Safety Pins (various sizes): Whether you holding together an ACE bandage, temporarily repairing a fabric item, or popping a blister (even though you shouldn’t) these little bent pieces of metal are versatile.
6) Super Glue (x2): Super Glue is great for a variety of issues ranging from gear repair to wound care. I buy a big tube for large repairs and then a pack of small “single use” tubes. I like the single use because if a tube dries up you’re not totally out of glue and have a couple others. The same goes for many of the adhesives I use.
7) 303 Aerospace Protectant (x1 8 oz. bottle): I swear by this stuff, it acts as a sun-protectant for your plastic gear as well as a lubricant. If you have any Watershed dry bags on your trip this will help keep the seal lubricated and help with opening and closing the bags. Pro Tip: spray your gear with this before your trip to help prevent sun damage. I spray my PFD at the beginning of every summer and it really helps prevent fading of the material.
8) Isopropyl Alcohol (x18 oz. bottle): For cleaning any surfaces you might need to apply adhesives to.
9) Electrical Tape: Because you never know when you’ll need electrical tape.
10 & 12) Aquaseal and Cotol 240: This combo is a great adhesive to be used on gaskets, dry gear, waders and much more. The Cotol 240 mixed with the Aquaseal decreases dry times to 2 hours for those instances were time is at a premium.
11) JB Weld®: For fixing any of those items that aren’t flexible. Whether you’re fixing stoves, oars, dry boxes or anything else. JB Weld is tough stuff and worth having with you.
12) Cotol 240: See #10
13) Hose Clamps (pair of each size): Great for fixing propane hoses, oars rights, or just about anything you need to attach to a round surface. These little guys are tough, strong, easy to use, and versatile so bring a couple different sizes.
14) Index Cards (or paper cups, several): For mixing two part glues like JB Weld, Aquaseal and Cotol 240, or raft glues. I like paper cards and cups because with the raft glues they have some heavy duty solvents that will melt a plastic cup. Pro Tip: these can be used as shims for filling small gaps in a pinch.
15) Aluminum Tube .625” x 6”(x1): A broken tent pole can not only be inconvenient but it can also be dangerous in the wrong conditions. If your tent can’t keep you dry and warm hypothermia is a very possible scenario. These tubes slip over the broken portion of the pole and help keep your tent functioning until you can bring it to REI for a return.
16) Cableties! (various sizes): Notice how I put an exclamation point after cableties? THAT’S BECAUSE THEY ARE AWESOME AND SUPER USEFUL. Bring a variety of sizes. http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2661-cable-tie-mixed-bag
17) Kayak Back Band Ratchet: Like I mentioned before faulty outfitting in your kayak will ruin a trip. With modern outfitting these are pretty ubiquitous and don’t take up much space. Pro Tip: Go to the local Ski shop and ask the ski techs if they have thrown any of these away fixing people’s snowboards.
18) P-Cord (AKA 550 cord): I bring several bundles of this stuff. Super useful for fixing tents, tarps, or even a broken shoelace. Available at most military surplus stores.
19) Shoelace: Even though you brought P-Cord, having shoe laces with the plastic end on them are nice for lacing up a tricky pair of footwear.
20) Spare Cam Buckle: (x2): For fixing any busted cam straps.
21) Ladder Locks (x2): Breaking a backpack strap on day one of a 21 day trip would be a bummer, having a couple of these in combination with your Sewing Awl will have you back on your feet. http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2703-webbing-ladder-lock
22) Pine Tree Rivets: Modern kayak outfitting uses these to hold the seat pad to the seat; they are by no means essential equipment but will make getting in and out of the boat less of a hassle. http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2637-pine-tree-rivet
23) Tri Glides 1”(x2): For fixing back pack straps, chest buckles, cam straps, and anything else that uses webbing, these little guys are very useful.
24) Webbing Buckles (x2): Not to sound like a broken record but THESE ARE GREAT. Broken buckle? Not anymore. http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2702-webbing-buckle
25) Spare Valve (complete unit): A leaky valve will be a game changer. Pro Tip: Bring the whole unit so you can cannibalize it and not have to keep track of all the small individual parts.
26) Tri Glides 2” (x2): For fixing webbing items that use 2” webbing like your waist belt on a backpack or the rescue harness on your Type V PFD.
27) Little Squeezy String Things(x2): Not sure what these are called but when you lose or break one that is for your sleeping bag stuff sack you’ll be happy you had a spare.
28) Split Rings (x2): for use with pins for oars or anything else. http://sealectdesigns.com/groups/2638-split-ring
29) Zipper Pulls (various sizes): A broken zipper on a tent in the rain seriously sucks. You know how I know? Let’s just say I’ve been there, it’s still too painful a memory to revisit. Gear Aid makes a tent repair kit that has a couple of different YKK zipper pulls. Pro tip: take that worn out garment, tent or anything else that is in too bad of shape to send to Goodwill and cannibalize these and any of the other little pieces you can pull off of it.
30) Buttons (various sizes): Having your pants button blow out will mean you will have hitched up your pants 300 times by the time you get home if you don’t have a couple of these on hand.
Zipper Wax (x1 tube): Modern Dry suits, bibs, and some dry bags have Metal YKK waterproof Zippers, zipper wax keeps these zippers running smoothly. The most common reason that these zippers fail is because they get sticky and the user tries to force the zipper pull and tears the fabric near the zipper teeth. Nip this in the bud and treat your gear right and lube your Zippers (https://www.mcnett.com/m-essentials/zip-tech#27110).
Duct Tape (every person should have a roll): This item needs no introDUCTion (PUNS!). Stubborn males have been fixing items they don’t understand for decades with this versatile grey tape. The more broken it is the more tape you apply. Have no fear Duct tape is here!
At the End of the day your repair needs will vary and will change on a trip-by-trip basis, what I have on a 21 day Grand Canyon trip is not going to work for every one and your kit should be designed to fit your needs. All this looks like a lot of stuff but if you plan right and everyone brings a few items you’ll all be sitting pretty when things go pear shaped.
If you have any questions, additions, or comments feel free to e-mail me Jed@sealectdesigns.com. I’ll have a few more posts before I take off on the trip so stay tuned.