So, we’ve discussed the WHY. Now, let’s talk a bit about the HOW. There are…
Of course, you will have inspected and replaced any worn equipment before departing on a great adventure. But remember Murphy’s Law and be prepared.
There are very few things as frustrating as having spent hours and hours planning and preparing for a wilderness adventure, driving a great distance to your trailhead and hiking a couple of hours to set up your base camp only to find that you have put a crampon through the side of the tent or ripped a hole in your sleeping bag or some other disaster. All the effort is going for naught unless you have the material or tools to effect a repair. In many cases, this may only be a temporary repair but it could save your experience, or your life.
Like other items in the Ten Essentials, a Repair Kit should be created based on the extent of your planned experience, the types of equipment you are depending on, the length of your time in the wilderness and what you can improvise. At the low end of the repair spectrum, you should, at least, carry a multi-tool. This is an instrument that has multiple purposes. One of the most well-known is the Leatherman. With this you can cut, scrape, use multiple screwdrivers, open a can of pork and beans, cut wire or cord, pull splinters and . . . open a bottle of wine. All of this depends on the model and extent of the tools offered.
OK, we have solved numerous mechanical problems. What else can go wrong? That tear in the tent fabric needs to be closed. Duct Tape, or its equivalent, can do it on a temporary basis. It is very handy to rewrap a few yards of duct tape around your hiking or ski poles. If you are going to be out for several weeks it might help to have a roll of repair tape or even a sewing kit. The sewing kit can double as a clothing repair item. Having taken care of rips and tears, the tent is still the most likely to have other problems that should be considered. How about a broken tent pole or a frayed tent guy rope? The broken pole can be taken care of with a commercial repair kit that contains a tube that slips over the break point of the pole. Or, again, temporarily with duct tape. The frayed tent guy rope can be replaced if you bring along enough cord. 3mm cord, in sufficient lengths, can solve several problems. It comes in very handy to replace a broken shoe lace.
What you include in your kit is a personal decision affected by space available in your pack. The extent of the Repair Kit should also reflect the time, distance and how long you plan to be out. If you have had particularly bad experiences with a specific item or if a specific piece is indispensable, it might be a good idea to have replacement parts or even a backup piece.
Your clothing and equipment have to work to get you up the mountain and down safely.