Due to extended use, hard use, and sometimes human error, backpacking clothing and equipment will break, tear, and wear out. Personally, in the field I’ve experienced:
- Torn trekking pants, rain gear, puffy jackets, sleeping bags, and backpacks;
- Leaking seams on shelters;
- Bent, splintered, and fractured trekking pole shafts;
- Cracked sunglasses;
- Punctured and cracked water bottles;
- Dead headlamp batteries;
- Slow leaks in air sleeping pads;
- Frayed mesh in shoe uppers;
- Delamination of rubber outsoles and toe bumpers from foam midsoles;
- Broken and fraying shoe laces, both conventional and Quick Lace;
- Blown gaskets in stove fuel pumps; and,
- Clogged stove fuel lines that reduced performance.
In addition, I’ve witnessed or have heard from others who have lost spoons and bottle caps, took out a new tarp with no guylines attached, abraded a hole in their Dyneema Composite tarp with the edges of their bridge hammock, broken tent poles, and blew out seams and shoulder straps on ultralight backpacks. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few, too.
Most wear seems to be expected and consistent. For example, extensive bushwhacking often results in torn clothing, and mileage gradually wears out the carbide tips on trekking poles. But I’ve had some surprise problems, too, like trail running shoes that began to fall apart after just 50 miles.
My objective in carrying a field repair kit is to fix these issues, ideally to as-good-as-new condition, or at least so I can exit and find a replacement.
Gear list: Backpacking field repair kit
To download this list as a PDF or editable spreadsheet, go here.
- Critical: A must-have, no exceptions
- Suggested: A valuable addition, few reasons not to bring
- Optional: Not critical, but worth consideration
- Contingent: Depends on trip objectives, conditions, and/or other selections
- Unnecessary: Unlikely to need and/or can be improvised
How does my repair kit compare to yours? Am I unprepared for a common repair job?
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