Building a good light repair kit for camping requires a bit of reflection and some screenwriting skills. We must first imagine all the possible scenarios-catastrophes and find a solution to them:
“What will I do if?”:
- My shoe sole is taking off?
- My backpack strap loops when I pull too hard on it to put it on my back?
- My backpack belt buckle breaks because I walked a long time on it?
- My rain jacket is tearing because I walked too close to a tree?
- An arch of my tent breaks because of the wind (or because what I did)?
- My canvas is torn apart?
Today we will see how to build a lightweight camping repair kit to avoid spoiling a stupid camp or even putting oneself in danger. Sometimes a small kit of a few tens of grams can make the difference between a good memory and a Calvary. And be careful, this is not valid only for camping for several days.
We will only talk here of the repair kit and not the survival kit or emergency kit – even if some objects have multiple uses.
Why carry a hiking kit?
During the tour of Queyras, a friend had a shoe sole that was peeling off. The problem is that we did not have a very supplied repair kit and the best we could do was to hold the sole to the rest of the shoe by wrapping the string around. That did not prevent his shoes from making “hello” and to the sole to hang everything that was lying on the way. I can tell you that with an appropriate repair kit, it would have been much less bothered. And that would have saved him his particular step of lifting one foot higher than the other.?
I’m not going to emphasize the importance of a repair kit, it sounds pretty obvious and this little anecdote illustrates it very well. I am even convinced that a repair kit is essential for many campers. This allows you to continue your camping in case of a problem or at least to go to a place where you can make a bigger repair.
Sometimes, a repair kit will allow you to continue to enjoy your hiking while it would have been a galley without. Other times, a repair kit will even allow you to stay safe while you would have been in danger without. And that adds only a few tens of grams to your backpack.
Having a repair kit also allows you to lighten your backpack by not having duplicate items in case one is failing. For example, if you have something to repair a rain jacket, it saves you from having an emergency solution like a poncho if you are afraid of tearing your jacket.
The goal is not to have a tool kit in his backpack, but a lightweight repair camping kit with items that can be used in a versatile way. For example, it is not optimal to have a kit to repair the tent, a kit to repair the mattress, a kit for the jacket, etc.
The kit should allow you to quickly repair something “vital” to continue your hike by taking pleasure or at least safely. All you have to do is have the equipment necessary to make a makeshift repair – no need for it to be final – you will do this when you return home.
I agree it is quite subjective, because what is “vital” differs depending on the people and conditions of hiking.
Is it still essential?
I admit I do not always have a repair kit for my day trips, but it may be a good thing to have in his bag for some day trips. The longer the hike is, the more important it is to have one. This is the case for hiking in extreme climatic conditions, in an isolated place or in a place where you will not meet anyone, etc.
To make a short walk of two hours in a forest frequented, it is not necessarily indispensable. At worst, if your backpack strap breaks, for example, you will carry your bag in your arms for the rest of the ride. You can imagine it’s a bit different for a multi-day hike.?
For your day trips and not to think about each time, make yourself a small kit that you store in a freezer bag or other and take it every time you go hiking. I assure you, if anything happens to you, you will thank me. Do not forget to send me a box of chocolate with your thanks ;-).
For multi-day hikes, I think a repair kit is essential. All the more so, that you have more hardware and therefore more chances that an item of your equipment is failing. The longer the hike is, the more it will need to be provided. It is not the same thing, if you do not cross a village in a week of hiking or if you cross one every day.
How to build your light repair kit?
This is where you are going to need your screenwriting skills . In fact, this is something that you should normally do when preparing a hike . We must think about all (probable) situations that can happen and have a solution for these situations. For example: in the event of a storm, if someone is injured, if the source of water is polluted, etc.
To properly construct a repair kit, think of all parts of your equipment that may be faulty or damaged and have a solution for them if the failure could ruin your ride or be dangerous. I have already given some examples at the very beginning of the article. Think that the fragile points are connections or connections: zippers, seams, glued parts, etc.
All solutions do not reside in the repair kit. For example, if your tent leaves you, you can squeeze into your teammate’s. You can also have a plastic water bottle in case your water bag breaks through for example. But sometimes, the simplest and lightest is to get out your repair kit and make your handyman talents talk.
Then, it all depends on the degree of comfort you can bear. Some people prefer to have a very lightweight and little-supplied repair kit and tighten their teeth in case of a problem. Others prefer to be better prepared and not lose too much comfort in case of a problem. In both cases, always carry the minimum for your survival. An unrepaired torn tent will not be very useful for example in the rain. For a little sleeping bag cold, you will endanger yourself. Wire, a needle, a little fabric, and you will spend a great night!
There are all-made repair kits. For example, tent repair kits, self-inflating mattress repair kits, Gore-Tex jacket repair kits, etc.
Rather than having a kit for every part of your hardware, I advise you to make a versatile kit that will cost you less and will be lighter. Instead, you can get inspiration from all-made repair kits to make up your own – there are sometimes good finds in it. Or you can even get a small one and complete it.
Some items that are commonly found in hiking repair kits
Here are some items that can be very useful to have in his kit. The list is by no means exhaustive , but these few objects are very common, light, and make it possible to do much of the necessary repairs in hiking for someone a little bit resourceful with his hands.
- Adhesive tape (duct tape type). This is almost indispensable to have in its repair kit – because has many uses possible. To save weight, it is possible to wrap around an object: gourd, hiking poles, etc. This avoids having a whole roll with yourself.
- Thread and needle . These two very light objects are also almost indispensable because allow to make the repairs on the fabrics. And, many items of your hiking gear feature cloth (clothes, tent, backpack, sleeping bag, etc.). Take a rather strong wire and a rather large needle, the finish does not interest us here. And if you’ve never sewed, train before you go. It’s not complicated – as long as it’s to make a repair that has no need to be aesthetic.
- Strips of fabric . Some are self-adhesive – which is quite practical, although it is sometimes necessary to sew them. The strips of fabric can make it possible to repair a rainwear, a backpack or a tent cloth for example. It is stronger than sewing two pieces of cloth end to end and water penetrates less easily. The ideal is to have strips of ripstop fabric (fabric that better resists tears because woven with different sizes of yarn – often resembling a grid).
- Cordelette . It is an almost indispensable element in a repair kit because it is extremely versatile. It is also very useful for many other uses, such as drying clothes, attaching something to the bag, etc.
- Wire. It is excellent for “sewing” solid fabrics or materials and serves as an alternative to string. I think thin and not too stiff wire is better.
- Rustine . This is practical for self-inflating mattresses, inflatable mattresses, rainwear or tent floor mats for example. When buying an inflatable or self-inflating mattress( how to choose a self-inflating mattress ), patches are often provided in the repair kit (when there is one).
- Glue. This is especially useful for removing soles from shoes or sticking patches. If you choose glue for soles, take neoprene glue. It does not happen often to you to see if you take the risk of leaving without glue or if you can make a repair with something else (sewing or tape for example). For mattresses, read the leaflet to see what type of glue is recommended.
- Silicone . This makes it possible to waterproof a repair on a tent or a rainwear for example. It can also be used as a booster glue, but I doubt that it will allow the shoe’s sole to be effectively glued.
- Tubes of metal. They are often found in all-made hiking repair kits. They are handy for repairing a broken tent arch and avoiding making a kind of antler with a piece of wood.
- Elastic . They do not allow for major repairs but can be very useful – especially for the weight they weigh.
- Nurse pins They make quick repairs and are often part of the pharmacy kit to hold bandages.
In addition to these elements, there are two tools that are very handy for repairs: a knife and a pair of scissors . I did not include them above, as they have several uses (kitchen, pharmacy kit, etc.). I will not stress the importance of the knife here, but you may be wondering what is the use of scissors other than for “DIY”. Scissors are often found in the first aid kit and are needed to cut bandages or “clean” wounds.
To give you an idea, on the GR20, our repair kit weighed 62 grams (with the rescue matches and without the scissors of the first aid kit and the knife).
Advice to finish
Tip: Always try to make repairs as soon as possible. Often, the quicker the repair is done, the more likely it is to be successful. This is why it is important to inspect your equipment regularly.
I know, it’s always easier to wait to say “we’ll see how it evolves,” but I would have warned you! How many of us have already been soaked with a rain jacket in the backpack because we were “just waiting for the shower to pass”?
When you hike, do you always carry a repair kit? If so, what does it involve? Share it in the comments!