Hiking in New England is really rough on gear and I go through many rolls of Tenacious Tape and tubes of Shoegoo every year to repair my favorite backpacking and mountaineering gear, outdoor clothing, and electronics when they are damaged or wear out. If you don’t try to extend the lifespan of your gear today, you’d be amazed how far those two products can restore hurt clothing, footwear, backpacks, tents and sleeping bags and extend its lifetime.
Here’s a roundup of the hiking and backpacking gear that I hurt and repaired during the past two years along with a few details about the repairs I made. This post is a companion piece to one I wrote two years ago: see Hiking Gear Casualties and Deaths, 2012.
If there’s a theme across these posts, it’s that zippers, lightweight fabrics, mesh pockets, and high tension seams tend to be common points of failure in hiking gear and clothing. That shouldn’t be surprise. What is surprising is how fast outdoor gear breaks or wears out if you use it a lot. For example, there are only one or two items on the list below that I’ve owned for more than 5 years. I can’t say that hiking gear has become less durable during the past decade, but it’s a good question to ponder. Given how expensive this stuff is, you’d expect it to last longer than it does.
Here’s a list of gear that I’ve broken or hurt in 2013 and 2014, but repaired well enough to continue using.
Black Diamond FirstLight Tent – Broke one end of a pole segment at the lip. Patched it together with duct tape so it’s still functional, but I expect to purchase a replacement or upgrade to carbon fiber poles set to shave a few ounces off this outstanding freestanding winter tent.
Hillsound LT Gaiters – Broke strap buckle within 2 hours of my first hike. These high gaiters are very breathable and stay in place without the strap pretty well, just using the front lace hook, so I cut the strap off and have been using them that way. Sent feedback to Hillsound.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa (Older Dyneema Version – no longer manufactured) – Ripped a seam in the back panel facing the shoulder straps when I tried to over stuff the pack with 20 days of food. My bad. Patched it back together with Gorilla Tape and Shoegoo, which held together pretty well. The new Mariposa has been revamped with a more durable back panel and seam reinforcing to prevent this from happening.
Gossamer Gear Mariposa (New Robic Version) – Ripped out bottom of tent pocket on a bushwhack within 4 hours of use. This was a complete surprise, since I’d heard that the new model has stood up to bushwhacking use in the Adirondacks and Olympic National Park. Returned to Gossamer Gear for repair.
Granite Gear VC Crown 60 Backpack – Tore a side mesh pocket on a backpacking trip. Repaired with Tenacious Tape.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Trail Runners – Tore a hole in the top mesh above the toes on a tree root. Patched with shoegoo. I’ve also started adding shoegoo toe caps to these trail runners when I order new replacement pairs.
Montane Grand Tour 55 Backpack: Tore both side mesh pocket on a bushwhack. Repaired with Tenacious Tape.
Mountain Laurel Designs Lightsnow Gaiters: Torn and abraded. Repaired with Tenacious tape.
Pacerpoles: Bent the bottom section of one of my alloy poles. Bought a replacement section and stockpiled a few more alloy and carbon fiber spares. Love these poles.
Outdoor Research Foray Jacket – Several holes torn into sleeves – Repaired with Tenacious tape. I like this technical hard shell so much I acquired a second coat for use when the current one wears out.
Tarptent Notch – Poked a hole in the fly with a trekking pole when pitching the tent in the dark. Repaired it with Tenacious tape and super glue. User error.
Zpacks.com cuben fiber stuff sacks – A few abrasion holes repaired using Tenacious tape.
Here’s the list of gear that I consider dead and destroyed, either from overuse or because it never worked in the first place. I tend to replace gear that I like and plan to replace many of the items below.
CAMP XLC Nanotech Aluminum Crampons. Wore down the points to flattened stubs. Filed them a couple of times, but they’ve given up the ghost. I’ll probably buy another pair. They weigh slightly more than a pair of Katoolha Microspikes, which is pretty remarkable for a high angle capable, step-in crampon.
Forty Below Insulated Water Bottle Boot – The seams pulled apart from overuse. I will replace this item.
Garmont Momentum Snow GTX Boots – Blew out a seam from overuse. Bought another pair.
La Sportiva Ultra Raptor Trail Runners – Wore out a pair after about 400 miles. Replaced with the same.
Outdoor Research Helium Rain Pants – Very lightweight Pertex rain pants. I patched lots of holes during the year using Tenacious Tape, but ripped out the seat on and had to toss the pants. I will replace these. They’re great rain pants.
Outdoor Research Stamina Gaiters (2 pairs) – Pulled out eyelets that hold keeper strap in place after just one hike. Will return to manufacturer for replacement under lifetime guarantee.
Rab Momentum Jacket – Failed to hold a DWR coating after extensive use. No longer usable in wet conditions.
Salomon Minim 2.5L Hard Shell Shell Jacket – Total DWR failure on second hike in freezing rain last winter. Sent back to manufacturer. Never got a good explanation of why the DWR coating on this super lightweight jacket failed.
Scarpa Omega Mountaineering Boot Liners – Worn to pieces. Replaced with new liners, but a slightly different model. Scarpa has since stopped manufacturing the Omega plastic boot which is still considered a mountaineering classic.
Therm-a-Rest Altair 0 Degree Sleeping Bag – Zipper completely fell off after approximately 10 nights of use. Not sure what I’m going to do with it.
Under Armour Heat Gear Boxers: Wore through area behind the thighs on a pairs. I’ve had these for a few years and gotten my money’s worth out of them. Replaced with more of the same.