9 Easy Backpacking Gear Repairs Every Hiker Should Know

Master these easy repairs to save on shop costs and replacement gear.

Retread Worn-out Heels

Apply a piece of cellophane tape along the perimeter of your clean, dry boot sole; the tape acts like a dam, keeping the new material flush with the original edge. Apply a generous amount of Gear Aid’s Freesole Urethane Shoe Repair ($7; 1 oz.; gear-aid.com) to the worn area (A). Use a plastic knife to spread the goo and level it with the original sole (B). Then, keeping the boots perfectly level (arrange a cradle of bricks or boxes before you start), let the glue cure for 48 hours, remove tape, and hit the trail.

Seal a Leaky Shell

Tiny burns/holes (Less than ¼-inch)
First, clean the area with an alcohol prep pad, then back the hole with a piece of tape so the adhesive doesn’t seep through. Spread a dab of Gear Aid Seam Grip ($7; 1 oz.; gear-aid.com) into the hole (extend it ¼ inch past the edges) with a plastic knife or toothpick, and allow it to cure for about eight hours before removing the backing.

Medium-size tears and rips (Less than 3 x 3 inches)
Trim loose or fraying threads and wipe down the area around the hole with an alcohol pad. Trim a Tear-Aid patch ($9; tear-aid.com) so it has rounded edges—which won’t peel up as readily as squared ones—and extends at least ¼ to ½ inch past the rip’s ends. Apply the patch to the hole and seal it: Either apply an identical second patch to the fabric’s opposite side (make sure the patches bond at the rip), or smear the hole’s edges (on the back side of the fabric) or your patch’s edges (for lined or insulated fabrics) with Seam Grip. For holes larger than your hand, opt for professional repair so you don’t compromise high-tech fabric performance.

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