You spend hours researching the right gear for your needs. You spend your hard earned money on that gear, then you spend your free time beating that gear into the ground. Do not underestimate the importance of gear maintenance and repair to get the most for your investments. The right tools and a few minutes of your time can greatly extend the life of your equipment and take you from the new gear honeymoon phase to the “this 10-year-old piece means more to me than my left arm” phase.
Some of the most common work orders I see come through my repair shop are so basic that anyone can handle it with a beer in one hand. All the consumer needs is a little bit of knowledge and a DIY attitude. Here are my top three requests:
- “I tore my jacket and now my puff is leaking feathers.” Solution: Gear Aid Tenacious Tape. Cut a piece large enough to cover the tear and be sure to round the corners to prevent peeling. Hit it with a hair dryer to better activate the adhesive, then give it a blast on the cool setting to cure it. Tenacious Tape can also be used just as effectively on sleeping bags and small tent rips. Good as new.
- “This jacket is supposed to be waterproof. Why is it soaking through?” Solution: First, the jacket needs to be cleaned regularly with a technical cleaner to remove the dirt and oils that break down the liner and prevent breathability. Avoid conventional detergents that break down water repellency and opt instead for Nikwax Tech Wash. Once the garment is cleaned, a DWR (durable water repellent) will need to be reapplied. Nikwax TX.Direct is my go-to with wash-in or spray-on options. When you start to notice your jacking wetting out, its time to give it some love.
- “My zipper is busted but I love this piece.” Solution: If you notice that your zipper slider is not catching and you are left with a cape rather than a wearable piece, chances are you just need to crimp the slider back down with a pair of pliers so it can catch the teeth or your slider has worn out. The latter is easily replaced with a FixnZip Replacement Zipper Slider by matching the existing slider size with the new one. If the teeth or coils on the zipper are busted, this will be more complex and require a full replacement. Best done by a professional gear repair shop, tailor, or talented seamstress who can be paid in baked goods.
Bring your item and come find me at Ski Haus if you have a piece that needs some attention. We have plenty of repair goodies and the knowledge to get you a diagnosis. And when in doubt mid-repair, YouTube!