Trail Tips: Build a Camping Gear Repair Kit

May. 14, 2013 By Tom Severin

One of the keys to a successful off-road trip is preparation. Iíve written about that many times. Understandably, the focus is on preparing your vehicle and yourself for the journey. With this article Iíd like to zero in on personal items and camping gear.

Do you know how to handle breaks, tears or holes in your camping gear, clothing or bedding? It begins with the proper tools and supplies. Letís take a look at some of the items you should pack.

For Camping
Several manufacturers offer camping repair kits. They appear to be pretty good, and you could probably get by with one of those. If you choose to build a kit, be sure to include these items:

Terma-A-Rest sells replacement kits if you lost or used the one that came with the Therm-A-Rest.

-Patches and glue for the tent fabric, and a bottle of seam sealer.

-Materials to repair broken tent poles. You can use short pieces of tube slightly larger than the tent poles, along with duct tape or other strong tape. Camping kits contain the short tubes, known as tent pole ferrules, so you may be better off just buying a kit. Some kits also include Tenacious Tape, designed specifically for high-stress applications.

-Extra mantel(s) and generator(s). If your lantern and stove use liquid gas, consider purchasing at least one extra generator. They wear out with heavy use. You can find those at camping stores and online. Also, make sure you have extra mantels on hand.

-Patches for repairing holes in the air mattress. Therm-A-Rest mattresses come with patch kits. The patching process is a bit complicated, but it works great.

Made in America, the Speedy Stitcher can come in handy for a number of fabric repairs.

For Your Clothing
Clothing takes a beating in the outdoors. A sewing kit will allows you to mend your clothing, as well as sleeping bags and backpacks. At a minimum the kit should include a needle, thread and buttons. For heavy-duty work (back pack seams and sleeping bags), pick up a Speedy Stitching Sewing Awl. These handy devices include two or three sturdy needles and heavy waxed thread.

Iíve used one of these to stitch up a tear in a canvas chair (hey, Iím a poet!), a seam on a tent pole bag and the seams on a backpack. 

Not quite enough tab left? Use a zip tie!

For General Repairs

Duct tape: The all-purpose repair ďtool.Ē Enough said!

Rescue tape: Designed for applications involving high temperatures and pressures, like radiator and heater hoses. Iíve also used it to repair tent poles (in conjunction with a short piece of pipe). Rescue tape is so useful, I recommend you pack one roll along with other tools and gear.

Safety pins and wire ties: Very versatile and useful. For example, you can use either to replace the handle portion of a zipper that has broken off. Simple feed one end through the hole in the zipper body and form a loop. Your zipper works like new again. Of course, safety pins and wire ties have multiple uses. Best of all, they donít take up much space. Pack a bunch of them.

All-purpose glue: Seal-All glue is quite versatile and can have applications for your vehicle as well. The manufacture states: "Repair and maintain oil pans, gasoline tanks, oil lines, golf club grips, fletching arrows, fishing rod tips and guides, tents, canoes, boats, outboard motors, fishing lures, woodworking, model kits, glass, china, crockery, leather, metal, porcelain, fiberglass, plastics, ornaments, figurines, linoleum, oilcloth, furniture, knobs and drawers, screens, tile, plumbing, gutters, and much more."

You can see all the possible uses on an outdoor adventure. When my brother and I were teenagers, we glued patches on our jeans rather that sew them. The jeans even went through the washing machine without the patches coming off!

Donít let a minor rip or hole put a tear in your off-road plans. Pack a repair kit and the proper supplies so you can deal with those issues that crop up during your off-road trip. The additional investment is minor, and it will allow.

Previous Trail Tip Stories
Trail Tips Keep Recovery Gear Accessible

How to Replace U-Joints

What Causes Washboard Roads


Badlands Off-Road Adventure
Off-road trainer Tom Severin shares insight and tips on a variety of topics related to preparing you for that next off-road adventure. With over 40 years of off-road experience, Severin operates under his business Badlands Off-Road Adventures. He is a certified professional 4WD Trainer by the International 4-Wheel Drive Trainers Association and a Wilderness First Responder (WFR). He is a member of the California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC), United Four Wheel Drive Associations and the BlueRibbon Coalition. He also is a certified UFWDA and a CA4WDC 4WD instructor.

For more information about Badlands Off-Road Adventures, visit 4x4training.com.

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