“One only needs two tools in life: WD-40 to make things go, and duct tape to make them stop”. G. M. Weilacher
When the word “tool” comes to mind, I cringe at the thought of Home Depot or laugh at the thought of a guy with a hugely over-inflated ego. To be honest, “tools” and “repair kits” are not in my vocabulary, which should be expected when I grew up with a dad who used duct tape to fix everything, from broken door handles, cracked side door mirrors on cars and damaged bicycle tires, to ripped tents and shredded bags; duct tape was always the answer. I sometimes joke my mom divorced my dad because everything in their home was fixed with duct tape (love you both mom and dad). When I moved away to college, my parents gave me one gift: a simple toolkit that consisted of a hammer, some nails, two screwdrivers, and a measuring tape. I had no idea how to use any of this and I secretly hoped I would never have to. Clearly, the apple did not fall too far from the tree when it comes to “fixing things”. I stopped using tools after my first and last experience assembling IKEA furniture and after putting some rather large holes in my wall trying to hang artwork. The lessons I learned from both of these experiences were 1) never shop at Ikea or a furniture store that requires assembly and 2) always ask for help when I have to use a hammer or a screwdriver. In fact, I could probably write a blog post dedicated to my most embarrassing stories that have happened while in Home Depot. Thankfully repair kits and “tools” in the outdoors are simple and minimal. So let’s keep this simple, shall we?
Repair kits in the outdoors
Realistically repair kits are only needed when you are backpacking or car camping. Repair kits are generally used to fix tears in material such as sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, and jackets. Thankfully most repair kits are bundled together and contain Seam Grip, Tenacious Tape patches, mesh patches, zip ties, and elastic shock cord. With these simple products, you should be able to patch a burn repair or repair a leaky tent or air mattress. Since I am terrible at repairing anything, I always YouTube any videos after I buy any new repair kit products. I would rather feel dumb at home than dumb and out of luck in the outdoors. I carry the following in my repair kit bag when I spend the night out in the wild:
- Seam Grip seals seams and repairs nylon, vinyl, rubber and more
- Tenacious Tape aggressive adhesive that sticks to almost any surface and repairs ripped outerwear, waders, sleeping bags, and tents; it sticks to polyester, nylon, plastic and more
- Duct tape
- Bug Mesh Patch Kit
- Tenacious Tape Repair Patches repairs camping gear, sleeping bags, and pads, tents, clothing, vinyl rafts, down jackets, netting and more.
Personally, I keep tools simple, I carry a foldable knife. Some may consider rope, tweezers, scissors and a flashlight other tools however these are two other ten essentials (check out my light and emergency kit posts). I don’t carry nail clippers on the trail as I always trim my toenails before a trip. In my opinion, all that is left is a knife. However, I have a lot of friends that prefer a Multi-tool. Multi-tools are an all-in-one tool that includes scissors, a nail file, tweezers, knife, bottle opener, a screwdriver and more and are often generally lightweight and can range from $20-$100 in price.
What’s your favorite repair kit item or tool that you use while in nature?
I would love to know.
See you on the trails xx,