Friday, January 18, 2008

Fix-It Girl List

Imagine this, you're just about to reach tree line on Mt Madison in the White Mountains. The day has been absolutely gorgeous and the weather has been perfect. You even saw a moose! You have been the picture of perfection today- bringing just the right amount of water, having the tastiest trail snacks, saying smart snappy things to fellow hikers. Then a sudden shower whips through. Your handy $200 Gore-tex jacket suddenly isn’t so waterproof anymore and you are soaked. So much for being prepared right?

Well the good news is that I have broken everything at least once and have found some pretty good ways to fix things. So try these ideas out.

Fix #1 Your waterproof jacket isn’t so waterproof anymore

If you have only washed your jacket once or twice, or even worse, not at all please try this out. Washing your jacket regularly is crucial to keeping it around for many years. Even if you have neglected it and not washed it, using washing it could help revive the water repellency. I cannot rave enough about how good NikWax products are for reviving your gear. Use the Techwash to wash your jacket in the washer, follow the directions as to how much, etc. and be prepared to be surprised. My jackets came out looking brighter (all that build-up) and had a nice finish to them that I can only describe as being shiny, or thicker.

I’ve also tried the NikWax TX spray (they have a wash-in version) that adds DWR (Durable Water Repellancy) back into your jacket. This had a slightly chemical like smell to it, so definitely use it outside, but overall I was very happy with the results. You can also use this spray on nearly all of your other gear sleeping bags, tents, backpacks. Both REI and EMS carry these products.

Fix#2 You smashed your backpack’s buckle in the car door

This one is easy, but you would never know this until you do it. You can buy the buckles. Just measure the width of the strap and that corresponds with the size buckle to buy. Try EMS, REI, LL Bean.

Fix#3 Your camelbak looks, smells, or feels slimy, stinky, and nasty

Camelbak sells a whole slew of gear to wash out your bladder. Simple old denture overnight cleaning tabs will do the same thing. I have sometimes used a few tablespoons of bleach with water and left overnight too.

Fix#4 You have a small hole in your new down jacket

Gotta go with the Tenacious Tape here. It is clear so there is no need to search out the right color. Make sure you cut it in a circle versus a square and you won’t have to keep pushing down the little corners all the time.

Fix #5 You cut the bottom of your Gore-tex pants glissading down a mountain

Use the same technique as in Fix #4 but use a Gore-tex patch instead.

Fix #6 Your tent floor is delaminating

McNett Tent Sure is a super heavy duty sealant that should help reshape your floor. Be sure to always use a ground cloth and always, always, always dry your tent out after use.

Fix#7 Your double walled tent has double walls of mold

Yikes! You didn’t quite air out your tent enough did you apartment dweller? Well I know how tough it can be. This trick really does work, you may need to do it multiple times if the mold is really bad. Mix 1 cup (part) of lemon juice with 1 cup (part) of salt and slather your tent in it. Let it dry out in the sun and rinse when completed. Use your good sense here to rinse thoroughly and reapply if needed.

I’m not going to get into the wonders duct tape can do for your gear right now, that would need a whole post to itself. I’ll keep posting other fixes as I come across them. Feel free to share yours.

Now get out!

1 comment:

KrissyGo! said...

This is fantastic!

I enjoy hiking, etc., and being self-sufficient as a woman is really important to me, especially when I am the only woman in the group (which is almost always). But more importantly, I'd like to be able to do all this stuff on my own, period.

Thanks so much for posting it!