When your equipment breaks down and you’re miles from the car, it’s nice to know you’ve got the right tools and supplies to get you by. Whether you make it as-good-as-new, or just fix it enough to limp back to the car, having a good repair kit is critical in the backcountry. Here’s a short list of items that we’ve found useful for field repairs. And don’t forget to think out of the box – a whole lot of duct tape and a little bit of creativity can sure go a long way!
- Duct tape – wrapped around itself in a tight roll. You can also wrap it around trekking poles for quick access.
- Tenacious tape (store it around the duct tape roll). This is great for fabric (tent, jacket, sleeping pad) repairs, as it doesn’t leave the sticky residue that duct tape does. (Tyvek tape is also a great option!)
- Zip ties – 6 total, assorted sizes
- Bailing wire – 2 feet of about 16-gauge (especially helpful when Alaska backpacking with crampons)
- 2 ski straps – for attaching things together
- Multi-tool – we tend to use the plyers and knife options frequently around camp, but the other functions (scissors, screwdrivers) are great for repairs
- Safety pin, needle, and thread – for quick stitching fixes (dental floss also works great!)
- Para-cord – approx. 50-foot length
- Tent pole repair sleeve
- Chapstick – to lube zippers, but also for chapped lips!
- Toothbrush head – to clean out dirty zippers
- Spare stove/pump parts (especially O-rings) – keep in stove bag for easy access!
- Replacement hipbelt buckle
Keep in mind, there are plenty of items you could carry in your repair kit. Depending on the type and length of the trip, you can add or subtract to this list, however this is just a compilation of things we’ve found useful to have in the backcountry.