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What Backpacking Gear have you Damaged or Destroyed?

The problem with mesh side pockets is that they are easy to tear. Montane Grand Tour 55 Backpack.
The problem with mesh side pockets is that they are easy to tear. Montane Grand Tour 55 Backpack.

Describe a piece of hiking gear or hiking clothing that you damaged, destroyed or wore out this year, including what it was, the circumstances leading to its demise, whether you plan to repair or replace it, and if the latter with what.

Here are a few examples:

Damaged: I tore a hole in the upper arm of my Patagonia R1 Fleece Pullover this spring on a bushwhack. I plan on sewing up the hole eventually, but it hasn’t grown in size since then, so I’m not in a rush to repair it.

Destroyed: The waterproof zipper on my EMS Helix Ascent Hard Shell Jacket fell apart when I was unzipping it and a section of the teeth fell out. I took it back to EMS and they replaced the coat with the 2012 model of the same coat, which is made out of a better shell material than the previous one I owned.

Worn Out: I finally wore a hole in the butt of my full-zip Marmot Precip Rain Pants this year after wearing them for 4 maybe 5 years, and they’ve started to leak when it’s raining. These pants are already patched all over with duct tape and sewn together in places, but my friend Pam told me of a way to repair them with silicone sealer, which I think I’ll try.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll probably just buy another pair of full-zip Precip pants to replace them with since they’re not expensive and a good value.

Please leave a comment.


  1. Worn Out: I took a pair of New Balance Minimus 10 shoes to hike the GR20, hoping to prove anyone who told me they are too lightweight wrong. After 4-5 days the soles of the shoes were in really bad shape, and I had to think where I put my foot down on every step of the rocky way. It was not comfortable/fun in any way.
    Luckily I managed to hitch a ride to Corte, from Vizzavona, and buy a new pair of Salomon trail runners, which were much sturdier and lasted the rest of the trip.

    I still use those worn out NB when going to Tai Chi at home, but the sole is definitely not cut out for the rugged terrain on the GR20.

  2. destroyed : my Big Agnes Fly Creek ul2 …one of the few items i splurged on for My A.T thru hike ….and i regretfully set it up too close to the campfire and while i was sleeping some other hikers thru a big log on the fire and embers just rained down on it….i would love to replace it but its not in the budget .i had to buy a walmart brand tent for my paddle down the mississippi river …and you get what you pay for …zipper broke first week into the trip and then no matter how much i seam sealed it,it constantly leaked ….doing my pre trip planning and purchasing for my second A.T hike in 2013 and the though of carrying a cheap heavy tent 2,200 miles makes me ill….

  3. I broke the main tent pole of my Eureka Solitaire tent this year. These poles are short and bend into a tight curve over the small tent, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. I was able to splint it crudely with duct tape and a tent stake, to make it through the weekend. This isn’t the best tent in the world, because it lacks room to sit up inside, but it is inexpensive, compact and lightweight. Sadly, I attempted to contact Eureka, but never received any response. I looked up the cost of replacement poles for that model and they end up being more than 50% of the cost of the entire tent. I’ve resolved to use my Hennessey Hammock instead, but when I’m hiking above the treeline or in burned areas I still need the solo tent option. However, it will unlikely be with another Solitaire tent.

    Also in August I completely wore out my General Ecology, First Need water purifier’s filter in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, where the water is VERY dark. This amounted to normal wear or a replaceable part, but I had never experienced a water purifier/filter clog so quickly. We had 4 different filters for our 9 person trip and 3 ended up failing before the trip ended, because of the heavy mineral and tannin in the waters we traveled. I have already replaced this filter because I LOVE this water purifier. I originally learned about it from this blog too.

  4. Gear is rarely replaced. My clothing is, however. While doing some climbs in the High Peaks of the ADK’s, I made a bad step. I landed on my butt and slid several feet on a descent from Gothics. The cables, of course, allowed me to simply snatch it and arrest. But my pants took a beating, both pockets were badly torn and the crotch was ripped on one side. Besides the indignity of the fall, nothing else was hurt.

    The pants themselves were EMS pants from about 2007. (I bought two pair.) They had large, very deep side pockets, After returning, with my butt dragging, more literally than metophorically, I looked at them with an eye to repairing them. The seam was good but with one “cheek” showing through the frayed nylon. Both pockets were flaps, unusable for their intended purpose. So, I thought I needed to throw them away. The wife actually repaired them two weeks ago!! I won’t ask her magic, but they look real solid. Good enough for another 5 years! Thanks to my magician of a wife…

  5. Destroyed: My feet – while not technically gear, pretty important in the overall scheme of things.. I have a very difficult time finding boots that (1) fit my square feet, (2) are comfortable, and (3) withstand supporting a “husky hiker” to last longer than a few months. I have never had a pair of boots wear out and die a natural death, instead I usually end up with a pair of boots where the lowers pull way from the uppers. I figured I would try a pair of Asolo’s Fugitive boots (I do have there 520s and they are the closest I’ve ever gotten to owning “worn out” boots). On the first day I soaked them and walked around in them. The suede uppers conformed very nicely to me feet. The problem – the hard rubber toe cap doesn’t stretch out or conform to anything other than the mold it was created by. Of course I didn’t realize this until I was well into an easy two day backpack trip. The corners of the toe cap dug into the sides of my feet as I descended and my foot slid forward. They also dug into my feet as I ascended or on the flats too since they were right where my foot pivots as I step. The result – huge blistering sore spots on both the inside and outside of each foot. It took a couple of months for them to fully recover.

    Will be tweeting theink out to my small number of followers, am already a fan of both you and section hiker, and I will post it on several message boards of hiking groups on meetup and Facebook.

    • Michael – you might want to pop into Peter Limmer and Sons in Jackson to check out his custom boots. I know many people who swear by them. They’re an investment but last years and years. I interviewed Peter last year for an article on Trailspace and he’s the real deal.

  6. Damaged: For my Boundary Waters trip about three weeks ago I decided
    to bring my MLD Trailstar for a shelter. In order to use this I
    brought my trekking poles. Because my friend and I were single
    portaging, my hands were full of other items so I ended up putting my
    collapsible trekking poles in my boundary waters bag. Unfortunately I
    wasn’t paying a lot of attention when I was rolling the top down. I
    managed to poke three holes in the top part of the previously
    waterproof bag.

    Since the inside of the bag is in essence rubberize for
    waterproofness, I used a rubber raft repair kit to patch the holes.
    I’m not convinced that this is going to be a long-term solution. If
    the patches don’t hold I’ll probably try some of that silicone “goop”
    sealer. I’ve had good luck with that in the past and it seems to have
    longevity. The bag, even though it’s almost 10 years old and has seen
    quite a few miles, is still in great shape and I hate to give up on
    it. Especially considering when I bought it 10 years ago it was $30
    and now it’s it’s $110 replacement.

  7. Destroyed (but repaired): four out of eight Easton-stakes (the long ones (golden) as well as the shorter ones (blue)): their heads separated from the shaft when I pulled softly on them.
    I was lucky to have another, broader stake at me which I used to dig them out of the ground.
    With the help of strong glue, I could fix it on the spot. Back at home, I drilled a hole through head and shaft and glued a small nail into the opening.

  8. wore out: I bought a pair of new Keen sandals for a week-long canoe trip in the Adirondacks. They worked well, but after a week of dragging the canoe over beaver dams, and stepping into muck, they had a 1 cm area of stitching that came out. Luckily, it didn’t interfere with function, and EMS was happy to replace them. (OK, so not backpacking gear, but I did hike in them!)

  9. I live in Maine, so the trails available to me for hiking close by are endless. While planning my big trip next June I’ve been working on getting myself accoustomed to carrying a heavier bag. I bought a cheap pair of Merona Hiking Shoes from target. Biggest mistake I ever made. You get what you pay for in most instances, and in this one, I did. I got to use them a few times without any issues, and without any warning at all blew the toe right out of them on my last hike. What made it worse was the red duct tape I had to use in order to walk back out of the woods in them. While worrying about gear for my upcomming hike of the 100 mile wilderness, and trying to get my pack weight down, I never considered that by June I will definitely be needing a good solid pair of hiking shoes. But its for the best, I am so happy that I test my gear repeatedly before going on long 10 day or more hikes. That could have been disasterous. I’m not sure what I will replace them with, but I will be checking out Cabella’s, L.L. Beans, and Dicks before I buy anything. I want to make sure I’m getting exactly what I need in a shoe this time. And possibly a roll of black or even grey duct tape….I don’t know what it was, but something about that flaming red tape had people laughing everywhere I went!!!

  10. While I was cooking on a hike I burned a hole of my hydration bladder (Platypus Big zip SL) bladder. It was in the middle of a 3 day hike and I needed the bladder, luckily I had some duck tape which held up pretty nicely. I used the bladder again since then but it started to leak after a couple of trips so I recently replaced it. Always carry some duck tape!

  11. Wore out: I have a Green Marmot Pre-cip shell that is starting to de-laminate and fray in high friction areas. The jacket is about 5 years old and I have used it on many hikes as well as some runs and mountain bike rides. I have re-applied the DWR a bunch of times but I think it is time to upgrade to a better shell. I have a Marmot Super Mica on my birthday wish list.
    I’m not taking anything away from the shell, it served it purpose & I like Marmot gear. The jacket makes a great wind shell for mountain biking which is what it is relegated to at this point.

  12. Damaged: I tore through most of the mesh drain ports on my Merrell WaterPro Tawas and the rubber sole is beginning to peel off in the front. That said after 500 some miles of backpacking in a shoe never intended for backpacking they’ve gotten in a good workout. For a $30 clearance purchase they’ve already paid for themselves and then some… Now to add some shoe glue and see if I can make them last to 1000.

  13. Wore out: I can’t say that I’ve damaged anything or destroyed any gear while hiking this year, especially considering that since our babe was born almost 10 months ago and that has limited us to maybe 15 miles of real hiking. She has outgrown her baby carrier and thus leaving us without anything to carrier her in while hiking. However, if I’ve worn out anything this year it would be my Merrel Hiking Shoes. They’ve got hardly any tread left on them and I mainly wear them to work or around the house. I dare not wear them on the trail anymore. I’ve had those shoes at least 3 years now and they are still good to wear around and work in but definitely not for hiking in East Tennessee unless your idea of hiking is slipping and falling every few steps. :D I do have a couple pair of trail runners/hiking shoes that I’ve been wearing in their stead, the Vasque Mindbenders and Columbia’s Master of Faster Low Omni Tech.

  14. I ripped a 5″ hole in my waterproof Helly Hansen jacket. It’s on the back, where the seam under the vent is, so I’m not sure if it really needs repair yet. It’s getting to be almost 11 years old now, so I might be replacing it.

  15. michael g hippie muzzillo

    Damaged (I sprung a leak) my big agnes sleeping pad on my AT adventure that included stops at Trail Days, an aqua blaze to Glasgow, a stay in duncannon to help trailangel mmary for the induction day, more fun in glasgow, hiking the dragons tooth to daleville, hiking southern maine from gorham to rangeley, 3 weeks in rangeley, a few nights in the whites (kinsmans and liberty), a few nights at chets, the hikers welcome, a few days in VT in and around the longtrail inn, a stay at the vortex and a few days at the birdcage. I ve tried to find the leak several times with no luck, I d like to fix it with a patch kit, but may upgrade for a neoair.

    • May be a foolish question, but worth asking…..Did you try putting it under water and looking for bubbles, or spraying it with soapy water in order to find the leak? Just figured I’d throw that out there as this trick has saved me on more than one occasion with my bike tires and sleep pads….

  16. I was hiking with a motley group of local dad and daughters and I wanted my pack to be squared away so I didn’t look like a suburbanite who wandered into the woods. When we got to the trail head there was a light drizzle so I took out my new, never used pack cover and fitted it to my pack. Of course previously I had fitted my trekking poles to the pack and they punched right through my new cover.

    I figure some fabric tape or good glue should get the cover back into usable condition.

  17. Damaged: My plan this last Labor Day weekend was to do three days on the Lone Star Hiking Trail which has been closed all year due to tree mortality from last year’s drought. Of the 11 miles I did on day 1, about 10 of them were bushwacking through thick underbrush (where the trail should have been). It was the first hike I ever bailed out on just because I wasn’t having fun. I shredded my Fila Skele-toes Bay Runners that just weren’t meant for that kind of abuse. I intend to replace them since they’re great shoes.

  18. Damaged but not totally ruined…..

    Our group of guys went on our “inaugural hike”, a 35 miler. It was my first hike and very strenuous. On our 2nd day we hit some trail magic on the Blue Ridge Parkway. When we left it was about 5:30 p.m. We decided to keep moving past the Thunder Hill Shelter ’cause it was full and found no suitable tenting spots. We kept moving and descended 4 miles down Apple Orchard Mountain, all downhill and switchbacks. And we were hiking in the dark. My arthritis kicked in (I didn’t know I had it) and I had all I could do to continue. We finally came off the mountain in the dark and tented at Petite’s Gap. I was having a lot of pain and told the guys I didn’t think I could continue the next day. Well. I took Iboprofen and slept. I felt better the next day and finished the hike. :) My knees are much better now; gotta get this left leg fully healed from a broken femur in July.

  19. Wore out: several of my hiking shirts need to be replaced, simply because they already smell as though I just finished a major thru-hike. Eventually, washing machine and other tricks just couldn’t do their magic anymore :) That said, the shirts themselves are still in excellent condition–I like those brands; it doesn’t happen often that the product remains intact and it’s just my own fault/doing that forces a replacement (oh, the lovely sweat…)

    Damaged: need to replace my microspikes by the end of this season. One of them is damaged in that one of the connectors always comes apart–it does not impact the usage negatively, but it is annoying when you walk on them. All fixing attempts have been unsuccessful. Will be replaced with same brand, Kahtoola Microspike Traction System, this time purchased at REI so if same problem should re-occur I can replace them. :)

  20. Worn Out: I found my Columbia Powerdrains so comfortable that I ended up wearing them everywhere. After a whack load of city and trail miles followed by 2 overly abusive (but comfortable) descents down an Incan trail they changed from white to brown and boast several quarter sized holes in the upper. I’m hoping to replace them with the new drainmakers or maybe the peakfreaks.

  21. Damaged: My rain-pants. The bottom cuff snagged on a sharp root on the trail, and I ripped a nice 4 X 6 in hole in them. They were not the most expensive rain-paints, but I wanted to repair them. Back home, I found some kite-tape (which is rip-stop fabric with adhesive on one side), and I patched the hole on both sides. Even if I upgrade my rain-pants someday, I’ll probably save these for bushwhacking adventures.

  22. My Zamberlan Vioz GT boots. Altough there are only a year old, the sole is totally destroyed by now since I’ve section hiked the AT in New Hampshire and Maine this year in pretty rough terrain. Since the sole can’t be replaced, I will be looking to buy new boots; I’ll make sure to pick a model where the sole can be replaced when worn out. I’m surfing Internet right now to try and find the perfect boots, I’ll soon head out to stores to try them out.

  23. Wore out. My walking sticks. One received a very slight bend when being used to untangle a bear bag line two summers ago. It has gradually increased and now makes it difficult to collapse/extend. Otherwise I’ve kept the mechanisms clean enough to work and they are nicely scuffed up and stylish in a rough and low manner. If I can find a replacement tube (very unlikely) I’ll repair it. Otherwise, it’s a new pair as they are a knee-saver on the down hills, make getting over downed trees and other things like streams in trail much easier, and even help me set a fast pace on the flats.

    One thing I just found that needs to be checked/replaced are the sterile pads in a group first aid kit that started from a commercial one. They had nice big envelopes which stated the pads were 2″ or so. When we needed them on a scout trip, they were much much smaller and almost useless. ARGH!!

  24. Wore Out: After several years of faithful service my Camelbak water bladder has retired. The bite valve has dripped for a few seasons. But this fall it started shedding chunks of itself. The grime in the hose has become un-cleanable. I thought of just replacing the hose and valve. But the bladder never really fit into my pack properly. So I am undecided on its replacement. I really like the ease of the water hose while on the go. But dislike chomping on a piece of plastic.

  25. Destroyed…I never have been big hiking pole user, but since i bought them i decided to have them with me, because you never know when u may need it. On one of the nice winter hikes in the Whites i had them with me and decided to use them sliding down the mountain on my butt. I figured they could help me stop when i take the wrong turn. I did not use them much, sliding turned out easier then i thought, but what a surprise was it when at the bottom of the slope i found out i only had half of the one of the poles with me. I have no idea when it broke, and it was way too much to go back looking for it.
    Since then i did not get to buy another set, but i am thinking i might need them for this winter sliding :)

  26. Damaged: my Lunar Solo. Totally my own fault – rather than inserting my hiking pole into the grommet, I stuck it in the peak of the fabric and riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip. Luckily, though more embarrassingly, I wasn’t even in the woods. I was practicing the pitch for an upcoming trip and had plenty of time to think properly and do it right. I fixed it well enough, but actually don’t plan to use the shelter again. I found it difficult to set up, especially on some gravelly Vermont surfaces. I’d like to replace it with something freestanding like, say, an EMS Velocity 1. Cough cough.

  27. Well, Michael Blair and I seem to be sole siblings. I also wore out my feet hiking this summer, first on a pair of Vasque boots that gave me the worst blisters I have ever had, and made my feet hurt after only a mile of hiking. I returned them to EMS after about two months. I replaced them with a pair of Montrail waterproof boots that did me well on a Bonds backpack this summer, but I haven’t worn them since because I also got a pair of Invo-8s which I wore on every other hike this summer. They have been terrific except that last week they gave me a blister for the first time. I have never had such terrible blisters as I have gotten this hiking season.

  28. Worn out/Repaired- Montrail Mountain Masochist Trail Runners. First- I HATE buying hiking shoes as I apparently have hard-to-fit feet and it seems to take forever. When I finally find something that works I want them to last as long as possible since shoes seem to change year-to-year. I moved from Salomon XA Pros to the Mountain Masochists after Salomon significantly widened their heel cup (would love to talk to the manufacturer about that decision).

    After the end our my latest section hike I was dismayed to discover the toe cap on both shoes pulling away, even though the rest of the shoe was in good shape. I remembered doing a number of repairs in my running days with Shoe Goo- and finally found some locally. Not sure why that product seems to work so well, but it fixed my shoes, as well as two other pieces of hiking gear that I had issues with!

  29. Destroyed: Osprey 3L hydration bladder. I was hoisting my pack onto my shoulders at the start of a hike and I noticed the bottom of my pack was wet. Weird, so I opened it up, pulled out the bladder and sure enough it was a little low and when I squeezed it, I could get small bits of water to come out near the base. It was a slow leak, but enough to ruin a hike. Luckily I had three 1L Nalgene’s in my car, so I filled those up and went on my hike.

    When I got home, I did a quick online search for repairing these things and found a tip that it could be done with an iron. So I heated up my iron, carefully went to fix the small hole and… wound up melting the skin and making the whole 1000 times bigger. Oh well, in the trash. I don’t use the hydro-bladder in the winter, so I haven’t bought a new one yet. I’m still not sure if I will… it certainly is convenient for drinking on the move, but obviously they are fragile.

  30. Hiking downhill on the Finger Lakes Trail, I tripped a fell backwards onto one of my Black Diamond hiking poles. snapped it in two. I have since replaced them with new poles.

  31. Damaged: One of my trekking polls (black diamond z -poles) where the top connects to the middle is really loose. I’m not exactly sure how I broke it, or if my wife broke it (so I will blame it on her). All I know is that my wife and I went on a hike before she dropped me off and when I got my R trekking pole back I started walking down hill, and the pole got stuck in the mud and when I pulled it out of the ground it came apart. My solution was to use duct tape. I doubt I will replace the pole because its not completely wrecked and I don’t want to part with my money.

    Another thing I damaged last week was my cold weather emergency sleeping bag. I just ripped it, so I’m planning on sewing it up and putting a zipper on it (because I’m not a fan of the velcro)

  32. I have a nice pair of rain pants. 3/4 zip legs, fairly light, breathable. I decided to wear these rain pants over my motorcycle gear to help keep me dry on an outing last week and my right knee had a bit of a run-in with my exhaust. Melted holes in my pants !

    It will probably be worth repairing them and downgrading them to bicycle rain pants then picking up a rain wrap or other similar piece of gear to keep me dry while hiking.

  33. Destroyed: Kinvara 2 lightweight running shoes. I thought it would be super weight-savvy to take my lightweight running shoes on a long yellowstone hike. After miles of rocks, and climbing over felled trees I turned the lightweight shoes into rags. Have replaced, but wont wear again for backpacking.

  34. Worn Out: My 2009 SMD Lunar Solo shelter is ready to be put to rest. It served me extremely well on my A.T. thru hike in 2009, 1000 miles in 2010 and 2011, and an additional 800 miles in 2012 including Mt. Whitney and part of the JMT. Good bye dear friend.

  35. Destroyed: Used a High Sierra pack on one backpacking trip and not only did most of the seems start to fall apart but a large hole ripped in the bottom. I ended up returning it and I’m going to be purchasing a new Golite quest. Although its not ultralight it should hold alot of weight which I will need for my splitboard snowboard trips this year.

  36. Worn Out: In the last 8 months, my Lowa Renegade II GTX boots have taken me to 13,000ft on Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park, to 12,000ft on Charleston Peak, many miles on desert trails in Red Rock Canyon Conservation Area, and several backpacking trips in Zion National Park to Kolob Arch, West and East Rim trails. I did not wear them on my 2-day backpacking trip down the Zion Narrows :-)
    The front toe seam began to delaminate, and I applied seam grip. Then after further sole separation, I had to put the boots to rest. Desert dry heat and limestone trails wear down backpacking/hiking boots earlier than normal. I’m breaking in a new pair of Vasque Talus boots. Nice hiking boots, but we’ll see how they hold up to a 25 lb pack and miles of backpacking.

  37. Worn out: My Vasque Sundowner boots. These boots have sentimental value. They went with me when I moved to northern Japan for two years. There is lots of hiking there and they took me to see things I never thought I would see. I summited active volcanoes and calderas. They took me to see waterfalls and rain forests. I even walked up a mountain to see snow monkeys. Earlier this year while hiking in the San Juan National Forest one of the soles separated from the boot. I ended up replacing them but they are still in my closet because I think of them as an old friend.

    • I used to hike in them too. I think I went through 3-4 pairs before I switched to Asolos.

    • I still hike in them. Mine took a beating this summer, but are still serviceable. I recently swapped them for a pair of light weight Lafuma’s for a hike. Never slipped around so much before in my life. Since then I’ve cleaned/treated the leather on the Vasques and they are ready for my next hike. They just work.

  38. Damaged: On a overnight backpacking trip this spring i put several holes in my Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody. Got too close to the campfire while loading up the wood and a pile of embers settled on the jacket, burning several small holes. Although it looks terrible with the synthetic insulation sticking out, it still keeps me plenty warm.

  39. Destroyed: I bent one of my REI hiking poles pretty good. I went on a hike to see how my knee would do after feeling some pain in it a few weeks prior. I had no pain on the way up the mountainside, but as soon as I started going back down, things were hurting pretty hard. I tripped over a root and reflexively put all my weight on one of my poles, which bent it quite a bit. I was able to bend it “back” for the rest of the hike out, but I will be replacing it when I am able to. I got them cheap, so I’m not too bummed.

  40. Worn out: The locking mechanism on my REI Ascent trekking poles finally gave out on a recent backpacking trip to the West Rim Trail in Norhtern PA. The poles took a good pounding on the steap descent down the mountain on the last day of the trip. Half-way down the mountain, the poles would no longer stay open. When I returned home I inspected the locking mechanism and found that the plastic compression washer had been crushed to pieces. Unfortunately, REI no longer sells replacement parts for this product, nor are they returnable. I purchased these trekking poles at an REI garage sale for $10, so I’m not heartbroken over the loss. I will certainly be replacing these poles with another pair before I head out on my next backpacking trip. I like the latest offerings black diamond.

  41. Recently hiked a section of the OT and my Camelback resevoir of the last five years finally gave out and sprung a leak. It must have nicked something when i grabbed it from the garage. Im not really mad about it considering how rough I can be to my gear . It could only hold 2 liters anyway and i was already thinking about getting either the 3L version or perhaps a 3L platypus.

  42. Worn Out: Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra GTX Trail-Running Shoes
    These served me well for several sierra backpacking trips and uncounted day hikes. After a couple of seasons of use, my feet began to hurt EVERY TIME I wore them – regardless of circumstance. Other shoes – no prooblem. The Salomons still looked great with no outward signs of wear, but the insoles no longer provided sufficient support to my feet. A case of plantar fasciitis was diagnosed. So I washed them and gave to chairity. I’ve replaced these shoes with a (larger sized) pair of Merrill Moab with superfeet. My feet feel fine and carried me and backpack all over teh sierra this summer. Moral of the story: light shoes are great but be sure they provide sufficient, ongoing support for your feet.

  43. Damaged: Earlier this year, I went on an overnight bp trip and tore a hole in my DIY hammock. Due to the lack of selection where I could hang my setup, I had no choice but to hang my hammock between two trees that had sharp rocks underneath. I guess in the middle of the night, the fabric on my hammock touched on of the edges of the rocks underneath and tore a pea-size hole in the fabric. Luckily it wasn’t that bad that I had to sleep on the ground but it will definitely require some fixing…or replacing.

  44. Damaged/Destroyed my 12-year old rei/reichle boots. We hike 6 miles in to our weekend campsite and then set out for additional exploring. By the time I made it back to camp the sole of my right boot had come off at the heel. I duct taped up the heal and that lasted 4 miles, but I flip flopped all they way to the trailhead for the last 2 miles. The left sole looked ready to give way as well. I’ll look into getting them resoled, which means they are damaged, or it may just be time for new boots (destroyed).

  45. I destroyed my Kelty Salida tent on top of Mt Baden Powell (the founder of the Boy Scouts) in a wind storm. I was hiking on the PCT this year and didn’t think to stake my tent down when I set it up. I tossed my gear inside and went out exploring to try find an old miners camp in the general area that I found on a map years ago. I was only gone a few hours and decided to head back when a wind storm picked up and the temp dropped. I made it back to what I thought was my camp but my tent was gone. It was not where I had set it up. I looked for about 20 minutes and found it a football field away down the hill with all of my gear tossed around inside.The front wall and door zipper had a huge tear in it and a big sagebrush branch was still stuck through the bug netting. Lesson learned to never set up a tent and not stake it down again.
    Good luck to everyone who enters.Thanks again for a great review of the EMS Velocity 1.

  46. Worn out/Damaged: My EMS Ridgelite Women’s trekking poles purchased in 2006 for a Long Trail thru hike (EMS no longer sells their own branded Komperdell poles). They fell apart and were collapsing during our PCT hike this year and one tip wore out and one fell off. Had to replace them on the trail, but now that I have seen the YouTube video you mentioned on cleaning/fixing the twist mechanisms AND found universal tips and basket on Amazon for cheaper than brand name options they will be resurrected as a back-up pair!( I love giving new life to perfectly good gear!

  47. The only thing that has been destroyed in the time I have been hiking was my brand new Osprey 100 liter hydration pack. It got attacked by a very wild animal. My cat, Cheeto, thought it would be a fun toy. He punctured it with his claws. I was very mad. I had to go buy another one. I hadn’t even used the first one once yet.

  48. Worn out: New Balance MT573. One of my first overnights this season in Wisconsin left me with a worn out liner in the heel of one of my shoes. Sadly the shoes were still in good condition otherwise. They have held up for alot of abuse but it was still sad to see them go. I ended up finishing that hike with duct tape on my heel and have since replaced them with a pair of MT610, since the MT573 are no longer made.

  49. Actually a friend did the damage to my Tarptent Double Rainbow but I was standing there stupidly when it happened. Rather than pulling the pole out of its hole before unstaking the tent, he took all the pegs out, flipped the tent over, and then tried to bend the pole enough to pull it out of the holes. Well… he bent it far enough. Easton aluminum makes a loud “Crack!” noise when it breaks. Fortunately, this happened on the last morning of our journey and we didn’t need to use the tent again. Henry Shires graciously sent me new pole sections at no cost, even after I ‘fessed up as to how it all happened.

  50. Damaged: Last weekend, I discovered a small rip in the arm of my (beloved!) Mountain Hardwear down parka. I’m not sure if the cause was a burning ember or a snag from a branch. It’s not bad but it could get worse, so I will be repairing it before my next outing — either by sewing it, or with an as-yet-undetermined glue-like substance if I can find such a thing.

    (I tend to take meticulous care of my equipment, and thankfully haven’t destroyed anything yet.)

  51. Damaged…the scissors on my Swiss Army knife. The little wire between the handles got bent while putting them away too hastily at a campsite in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains in CO. They have “lost the spring in their step”…but still cut pretty well anyway, so no real need to repair or replace them.

  52. Damaged: One of my two Leki trekking poles with the shock absorbers. When I am descending I tend to put a lot of weight on my poles, to take the pressure off of my knees so I must have put too much weight on them. Not only did I break the shock absorber but I also seem to have broken the lock to keep it at the length I want. What is astounding is that I am only 5’4 and I only weigh around 110lbs. I’m not really sure how that works!!

  53. Damaged: My Stoic Merino wool base layer got torn up pretty good on a Long Trail trip. There’s blood stains on the top that won’t come out – but worst is the huge series of small holes from hip belt wear. There’s no fixing those, so it’s sort of a “use it until they open up and tear the whole shirt apart” situation!

  54. I destroyed the Goretex lining in my Keen boots through over-use in about 6 months. Don’t get me wrong, the boots are awesome (and will be replaced by EMS free of charge)… I have climb 80 mountains in that time!

  55. Destroyed: LED PrincetonTec Fuel headlamp, I tossed it into my tent and missed, hit a rock, and now the battery cover wont stay on. I upgraded to a more robust and brighter headlamp. Its much heavier, but I like that it takes AA batteries and is super bright.

  56. Damaged: another TarpTent entry. Used our TT Double Rainbow for 5 months on the PCT this summer and we suffered a few holes in the insect netting, failing zippers on both mesh doors, need to replace guylines, and sil nylon that needs to be retreated for full rain protection. Got some scrap netting and guyline cord from Tarptent, new sliders that are the prescribed fix for the mesh doors that are splitting open, and going to try to recoat the sil nylon thanks to the handy instructions from another blogger on how to do so:
    A bit of work, but better results and less expensive than Atsko Silicone spray. All this minght take the off season but hoping the tent is ready to go for many future trips!

  57. Destroyed: My cat used my Big Agnes AirCore mummy pad as a scratching pole. Unfortunately I didn’t figure this out until I spent two nights sleeping flat on the ground. I am a side sleeper so I prefer my thick pad. The pad has too many holes to patch. I will be purchasing a replacement AirCore.

  58. Destroyed: Snapped the end off of one of my trekking poles (BD TrailShock) when caught in a deep space between two rocks. Not sure if I will replace. I think I have a growing affinity to hiking with just one pole. It gives me the stability I want for different hiking situations but leaves one hand free to pull out the camera or water bottle. This may be my new preference. Thanks rocks!

  59. Whoops, typo in my email from the last post Lets try that again.

    Tore the zipper pull tab off of my backpack while leading a Boy Scout High Adventure trip. I do plan to replace this, likel with a lightweight self done repair. 500 para-cord, perhaps?

  60. Worn Out: The piezo igniter my JetBoil stove gave out while on the JMT, luckily that was the only thing. Bic to the rescue. I’ll probably replace it eventually.

  61. Worn Out: Bought some LaFuma trail runners over the winter. Hiked about 150 miles this summer and these things are completely worn out, tread peeling off, and sole torn to shreds. I liked them but they didn’t hold up as long as I thought they would. I’ve replaced them with Brooks Cascadia 7 and have used them for running (fantastic) and looking forward to getting in some hiking with them before the snow flies.

  62. Damaged: I got a tear in the butt of my Salomon Windstopper pants while butt sledding this winter on garbage bags. I did a quick sew job and got some real butt sleds for this next season of winter hiking!

  63. DAMAGED: My Filson Double Mackinaw cruiser. I was unpacking hiking gear from my car. I was holding my Filson jacket and accidently the lower half of the jacket was still in the truck but I didn’t realize it. I slammed the truck down and it crushed one of the large buttons on the front and cracked it in two pieces. This is an excellent jacket and my great, great wife said she would sew a new large button on it since I don’t know how to sew.

  64. Wore out: I started getting into MYOG about a year ago and this past summer the mock MLD Cricket tarp I made wore out. I’ll take some lessons away from trial 1 and improve upon it before next summer.

  65. My go to Mountain Khaki Granite Creek Shorts came to an early demise while hustling thru a rock scramble at dusk in an effort to make camp before dark. Dirt bagging it, I hadn’t brought any additional shorts or pants. For the next two days, I was quite a sight.

    I was hoping to stitch them up but it seems my wife had other ideas. They’ve disappeared.

  66. Damaged: My Lowa Renegade boots. Had them for 3 years and they finally bit the dust on my mt whitney hike. The rough and rocky trial tore chunks out of my sole. I had no idea how people use vibram five fingers to go up, intense! On the way down, I stubbed my toe on some rocks and ended up tearing the sole away from the shoe. Worst possible timing since it was getting dark. I did the only thing I could do and slapped on duct tape (what can’t it fix?!?) when I got back, I applied shoe goo and good as new!… Well almost :)

  67. Worn Out: My favorite Merrill Trail Shoes. I don’t know the model name, but I have walked many miles in these well-loved kickers. The rubber on the toe has been peeling off and I have been trimming it like a cracked fingernail– just so it doesn’t catch and peel worse.

    Help me, Phil! Johnny needs a new pair of shoes… or a EMS Velocity 1 Tent! I wanna win this raffle!

  68. Destroyed: I took my Byer Moskito Traveller Hammock on a three day outing this summer with my children (8 and 10). The kids love the hammock (as do I) and we had it set up between two trees to the side of our campsite. At one point, they came over to me and confessed that they had “torn” the hammock. The hammock has two loops in the netting that you run a line through to tie to the ends, which when pulled moderately tight holds the netting up. One of them just ripped right off the netting. I wasn’t there to see it happen, so I can’t really blame the manufacturer (otherwise I would have taken it back to EMS, where I’m sure they would replace it). I plan to just cut the netting off altogether and use it as a plain hammock. So I guess maybe destroyed is the wrong term, but it was destroyed for purposes of being what its name implies. I’ll probably buy another one.

  69. Alpkit airo sleeping mat punctured by my failure to notice the tiny gorse bush underneath it. Repaired easily with cycle puncture repair kit

  70. Damaged: On a weekend hike thru the Lower Stein valley in British Columbia I stupidly left a granola bar in the top pocket of my Serratus 80L Condor pack overnight. Needless to say, in the morning there was a mouse-size hole chewed in the top of the pack and wrappers scattered about the site. The mice, or maybe something more sinister(?), had also nibbled the edges of my leather Danner hiking boots. I’ve repaired the boots but have left the little hole in my pack unrepaired. It serves as a great teaching moment for the Scouts and leaders when I teach backpacking skill in our local Scouts Canada council!

  71. Destroyed: Coocon Hyperlite pillow. Very light! Tested it at home to see if it held air then brought it as my only pillow for a week in Cloud Peak wilderness. Didn’t last even one night and got worse as the week went. All I can think of is it might have gotten beaten up in the initial hike in/full pack, but no real abuse and just no good. Returned and replaced with a Thermarest stuff sack pillow that is simple and works well with some clothes in it.

  72. Damaged: Craghoppers jacket. Climbing over a barbed wire fence I slipped and tore a gash in the jacket. The gash was small enough to repair so I sent it off to a company that I found on a leaflet given to me by an outdoor store. The jacket came back after 6 weeks, returned by the Post Office as the company had gone out of business. I found another company and sent the jacket to them and they did a good repair on it. I washed it 6 weeks later and the patch the company had repaired it with fell off in the washing machine, so I then super glued a patch inside of it. The jacket lasted a few months later until I upgraded to a Rab eVent jacket, which is so much better. When climbing over the fence, had I have looked right, I would have seen the gate 20 feet away. Doh!

  73. Worn out: Asolo TPS535 boots. Sole was badly worn. With a couple of big trips coming up, I didn’t want to risk blisters by breaking in new boots, so I had them resoled. Unfortunately, I now see that the fabric lining is developing holes, so they will have to be retired.

  74. Worn Out: Marmot Dri-Cline Shirt — I’ve had this one for year, and it’s the old fit, so it fits better than the new larger larges. At one point, I had to send it back to get the zipper replaced, but it’s finally done. The elastic in the wrist bands isn’t elastic anymore and the fabric is starting to look pretty thin with holes here and there. There are a few rips and burns from fire sparks. I’m going to miss this jacket. I have another, newer Dri-Clime, so this one won’t get replaced.

  75. Worn out: Mountain Equipment Coop merino hoodie, zipper finally gave up after 6 years of flawless zipping but fortunately a seamstress was able to put a new one in for just 20 bucks.Hope I get another 6 warm years out of it.

  76. Damaged: 2010 Gossamer Gear Gorilla UL Pack. Carried this pack while hitchhiking the east coast of Australia carrying everything I lived off of for 6 weeks, including all the gear for a 4 day/3 night trek on the Fraser Island Great Walk. Pack was absolutely superb, but overloading it led to some tearing at the weak attachment points of the shoulder straps. After getting it home and cleaned up, I took it to my local alterations specialist and they did a fantastic job reinforcing the attachment points and reattaching a blown-out attachment loop. Just carried the now repaired bag on a 3-day 50 mile Yosemite loop and it performed outstandingly.

  77. I have an old Thermarest, (orange) 1984 vintage with the metal valve, that finally went flat on me during an overnight trip this summer. I have always alternated this old Thermarest with my newer Thermarest Ultra light because, honestly, they both have about the same comfort level. I hate to get rid it, but I’m not really sure if I can even replace the valve. It’s sad really, we’ve had so many wonderful trips together.

  78. My Vasque Breeze Hiking boots finally wore out. I bought them 3 years ago. I wore them out by wearing them every day for work. I’ll be replacing them with the same boots if still available.

  79. Describe a piece of hiking gear or hiking clothing that you damaged, destroyed or wore out this year, including what it was, the circumstances leading to its demise, whether you plan to repair or replace it, and if the latter with what.

    1)Damaged: Coleman Peak 1 Tent.

    2)Demise: I damaged it, somehow, during storage. Took it out for a short trip to the woods, noticed the rain fly had holes spread throughout the peak. Not sure if it was dry rot, mice, or what. It was 13 years old, so probably just dry rot. Not the lightest tent, but it was a reliable piece of gear that will be missed.

    3)Replaced: Rather than trying to patch it, I found a Marmot Haven 2p online for a pretty good price. I’ve moved to hammock camping during most months, but every now and then I’ll bust out a tent in colder weather. The Haven is pretty cool for cold weather camping. It’s a single wall with a removable floor. I don’t worry about critters when I bring it because it’s during the winter months. It’s big enough for me and all my gear to be spread out comfortably. All in all, a good replacement.

  80. I had a Golite windbreaker that ripped in the back. The jacket had seen lots of use so I wasn’t upset, its lifespan seemed about right. Although I am bummed because Golite doesn’t make the same one. I replaced it with a Ruta Locura Raft River Jacket, which is a non-breathable waterproof jacket. I have never owned a non-breathable waterproof jacket so I thought I would dabble with it; thus far on two outings I love it! I debated about getting a windbreaker from Montbell but I am happily liking my jacket from Ruta Locura.

  81. Wore out: 2001 Columbia OmniTech Rain Jacket. This thing had never let so much as a drop through, but during the last major rain event I subjected it to… it was like condensation built up through the entire thing. I couldn’t find a seam to seal, so I think maybe the fabric just gave up. Admittedly, the older it’s gotten, the less reluctant I’ve been to washing it. I plan on replacing it with something lighter… but I’m not too light. I’ve grow accustomed to its durability and ability to pair with a fleece. I just realized “system failure” had been reached, so I’m beginning the research phase of the process – admittedly, I’ll enjoy the process as I haven’t been able to do it for over 10 years. I got this brand new in 2001, at a pricetag of $110+. At the time I had just heard of OmniTech, and the jacket felt solid. So, I told myself that if I got 5 years out of it, I’d be happy. It’s not the lightest jacket on the planet, but it was packable, and had a visor built into the hood – two things I wanted at the time. It was my only spring/summer jacket durring that time period, and in the fall I’d pair with a fleece. Well, 11 years later, I can say it was a stellar purchase. As soon as I pick up something else, I’ll “retire” this to storage compartment on the CRV. It’s still perfect for everything… but wet weather :)

  82. Tore a hole in my REI rain jacket on a bush whack to Bear Pond. Repaired it with duct tape in the field and later with Tentious Tape.

  83. I only have been recreational backpacking for a few years and was bummed that I had not damaged, wore-out, or destroyed any gear yet and would not be able to enter the raffle. But yeah, last night my Neo Air sprung a leak and I got to sleep flat on the ground!

    I received my long Neo Air when they first came out and have loved it, but this summer I noticed that I would wake with less air, sometimes would give it a few extra puffs in the middle of the night if I was side sleeping. But Saturday night, it was not holding any air. I do not have a clue why the full out leak now. I have been using a bag to inflate lately instead of blowing it up by mouth – maybe the more forceful push of air?? Anyway, not for sure what I will do. I may modify my Mt.Washington foam pad, so I can fold it and go back to using that, while I send my Neo-Air in for repair to try to patch myself. Or I may look at the newer All Season Neo Air.

    Funny the timing of the fail this weekend, for I was trying for the first time to sleep in my floorless shelter to see if I could handle sleeping so close to nature. I just had to laugh how close I got to be.

    Thanks for a great site!

  84. Damaged: Terra Nova Laser 35L pack. The side compression cords got tore out from its holes. Very disappointed with this as it was a brand new pack and i was just starting to use it. The material to hold that cords was too thin. No longer used that pack and now i am back to use my old pack, Golite Jam, or my newest one, GG Murmur 2012.

  85. Destroyed: a Trangia alcohol burner. Yes, it is hard to do, which is why (along with weight, economy, simplicity, safety and reliability) I use one in the first place. But temperatures unexpectedly went to freezing, and I didn’t tuck the cup into my sleeping bag as I usually do in the cold. In the morning, I reached out of the warm tent from my warm sleeping bag and lit the stove without even a thought that preheating/priming might be required. And the cup split, a hairline crack down one side. No worries, really, the Trangia aluminum windscreen/stand held any leaking fuel, I just had a larger flame burning more fuel (at $4 per litre, I might have lost a dime). But the simple extinguishing method of dropping the closed simmer ring on top wasn’t going to put it out, and I couldn’t use the screwcap on the burner to save unused fuel afterwards. Which left it behaving like a homemade alky stove, I guess. I used it like that for the remaining two days, but I’ll replace it. Cost: $13.50 Canadian.

  86. My REI Half Dome tent was bent in half (or nearly so) by 50+ MPH sustained winds (for a few hours) at Green Mountain Reservoir in Colorado. Luckily, REI is good on its return policies. I returned it and invested the funds in a Hammock setup that I’ve been wanting to try for quite a while (which is working out great).

    Luckily, the Old Town canoe I pulled up on shore during the wind storm survived being tossed up the beach about 200 yards by the wind, spiraling end-over-end in mid air. That was quite the sight to see!

    RIP Half Dome.

  87. Worn out: After MANY miles hiking and bushwhacking, my Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 trail runners recently gave up the fight. The soles are separating from both shoes and there is zero tred on them anymore. They’re the best hiking shoes I’ve ever owned (never a blister in those shoes).

  88. I ripped up the leg of my REI Sahara pants when I was walking off trail earlier this summer. Walked through some thick vines with thorns on them. I was fortunate that the pants were the only thing on my lower half that got ripped up. My arms didn’t fare so well. I was wearing a t-shirt so my skin got scratched up quite a bit. Ouch. Next time I’m bringing a machete! I really like these pants, so I’ll probably get whatever direct replacement there is for them.

  89. While hiking the VT 4000 footers not too long ago, I finally wore out the stirrup strap on my REI Trail Gaiters. I had them nearly two years, and obviously put a lot of use into them through each of the seasons. The strap is probably easily repairable, and I’m sure REI would do me good if I wanted to try, but I’m still satisfied with the quality and value in the purchase, considering the affordability of this basic gaiter from REI. I will not put the time into repairing the item, but hope to pick up a durable winter-use gaiter as well as a short gaiter for 3-season use. I think I will shift towards using a shorter gaiter more often anyways.

  90. Destroyed a Mountain Hardwear Fluid 18 pack during a January fastpack of the AT section through Shenandoah NP. I didn’t overweight the pack, but definitely had it packed full. The lightweight nylon across the top at the main compartment tore away from the seam. Bottom line is I turned it into an open top bag with no way to close it by the last day. Thank you MH for replacing in short order and standing behind your goods. Thank you hefty for making trash bags to cover torn packs!

  91. Seam tore on old Walrus 360 tent. Need to either sew or find new tent. It was too heavy, anyway

  92. Damaged: I blew out the seam of my Alpacka Inflation Bag on my first outing. It was easy to repair with a sewing machine, but was a little disappointing considering the price.

  93. Pre-damaged: I hiked the Adirondacks with an REI Chrysalis tent that was produced with one too many links in its structural frame, causing the tent to list. It tipped so badly that I rolled in it and crushed the frame. Do you know that REI replaced it without batting an eye? Now I have an even steven tent to take with me next time I hike the Northville-Placid Trail.

  94. Gear: Montane Lightspeed Jacket

    My go to three season wind and light rain jacket for the Sierra Nevada Mountains around Lake Tahoe. Take it on every day hike, climb and backpacking trip as it packs up smaller than an apple and after 5 years is still pretty waterproof.

    Issue: Blew the zipper pull last spring, no zipper damage, the pull just came apart.

    Initial Solution: Emailed Montane in England for new zipper pull. Fantastic service and it showed up in two weeks….. problem, no pull in envelope, some jerk off had ripped the envelope and taken the pull. Called them again, same thing happened. Gave up.

    Final Solution: Dug through my mother in laws sewing supplies and found a tiny zipper pull, undid the top of the zipper, install new pull, add a little thread and some super glue and it is good as new.

    Follow up: Repaired jacket has another 25 days on it with no issues.

    I bought two more off ebay just in in case.

    Thanks for the consideration.


  95. I ripped the front pocket off a Columbia hiking shirt when I caught it on the forward push of a two-man saw while cutting trees of the trail this summer. I didn’t much like that shirt anyway, since the billowing pockets had just a tiny piece of velcro to hold them shut. I had lost my favorite pair of eyeglasses early in the summer when they fell out of that pocket unnoticed.

  96. I left a mixture of Gatorade and water in my bladder for a two weeks, and when I went to go clean it out it was mold stained on the inside :(

  97. Garmont trail shoes – The front toe bumper separated from the shoe upper, so they now let water in. Not great in my main winter shoe. I duct taped them when it happened, on day 1 of a 3 day trip and reapplied some a couple times a day. I won’t get another pair, they lasted 2 years at most, not drable enough for what little use they got.

  98. Khris,

    That’s why you need to take a pee every now and then…

  99. Damaged: I have the bad habit of picking up my Go-Lite Quest pack by the lid instead of the shoulder or lift straps. While hiking on the AT in MA this summer, I went to pick it up and my hand pushed through the seam that joins the main pack body to the extension collar. It’s far less waterproof now and will only get worse until I repair it, which I do intend to do.

  100. Worn out:
    I’ve owned a pair of Merrell Blade (birch/yellow) for a few years now however I’ve only put maybe a 70 miles on them. It’s really unfortunate that it’s so few mile because I like them a lot. I love all but two things about them. For one they are a bit snugger in the toe pocket then I like but I never wear wool socks and liners with them so it’s manageable. The second, and most disappointing, is how fast the soles wear out. I bought them to be my quick day hike shoes. Quick day hikes often have mixed trail surfaces, some paved, some gravel, and some dirt. The Blade’s soft sole material provides great traction on all surfaces but just cannot stand up to the wear and tear of pavement.

  101. Damaged: I tore the extension collar on my REI flash 30 backpack that I use for overnighters. The extension tore at the seam where it joins the main compartment. This was due to me gripping the extension collar while stuffing in my sleeping bag into the pack. Guess I should have held it by the shoulder straps or haul strap while stuffing. REI replaced it with a brand new one.