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Repairing Old Backpacking Gear as a Christmas Present

Sometimes hikers just don’t want to part with that treasured piece of gear, even if it is worn and has seen years of service. Instead of buying a replacement, why not try to get that old pack or pair of boots repaired or refitted, so that it can continue to see life on the trail. This is also an environmentally sustainable idea, as repairing gear reduces the amount of waste that is fed into landfills.

Repairing Old Backpacks as a Christmas Present

Getting an old pack fixed doesn’t have to be a hassle, and can be cheaper than buying a new backpack. Depending on the repair, most backpack companies will either fix the problem for free or for a fee. Common problems with the pack could be that the fabric has been worn through in places, buckles are broken, should straps worn, zippers stuck, etc. Note that sometimes companies will not be able to repair the product, rationalizing that the repair would cost as much or as more as simply replacing the item. Check to see what the individual manufacturer says.

Repairing Hiking Boots as a Christmas Present

Hiking boots are another piece of gear that can have its life extended by making repairs. Oftentimes the boot soles need to be replaced because the tread has worn down. The boot company can make these repairs, or also a local cobbler. Deep cracks in the leather may not be able to be repaired, but can be treated with leather moisturizer and waterproofing sealant.

Repairing Hiking Clothing as a Christmas Present

Sometimes that favorite hiking shirt, shorts, or pants can be repaired instead of being thrown away. Worn knees are common, which can be fixed with patches. For jackets that have broken or stuck zippers, try taking them to the local gear store to see if it can be fixed. For example, REI has a repair shop in some stores that can fix these kinds of problems. Zippers can also be repaired or replaced on sleeping bags as well.

Things to Keep in Mind When Getting Gear Repaired

When getting outdoor clothing and equipment repaired, especially if it is to be sent to a repair shop or gear company, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Make sure that the item is clean. Either launder the garment or wipe off dirt and grit from the boots or pack.
  • Mark the item if there are multiple things that need to be fixed. For instance, on a backpack use tape or ribbon to mark each spot that needs repair.
  • Be patient. Sometimes companies will have a lot of orders to sort through. If this is to be a Christmas present, plan ahead and have the repair made several months in advance to be ready for Christmas, or let the recipient know Christmas Day what your plans are. Maybe place a note under the tree.

Having old backpacking equipment repaired not only helps extend the life of favorite pieces of gear, but also saves you money from having to buy a whole new item, as well as keeps trash out of landfills.

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