Sep 20, 2013

Another helpful hint for hikers that will make life safer and more comfy in New Zealand's outdoors.


Fixing a dry bag seam split 

We often break and rip gear in the mountains on tough trips - raincoats, dry bags, packs, overtrousers, tents (and guides!). It’s a pain taping them up then later removing the gluey tape and trying to repair properly – especially if you need to keep stuff water tight. We often glue stuff these days as it is fast and lasts. Sometimes stitching just weakens older fabric too much and tape is not always the answer (especially around zips) and not a long term solution as UV disintegrates the backing tape quickly in NZ. We sometimes even take along a small tube of urethane glue on a trip – this is the type of adhesive used to glue wetsuits (although we rarely we take our wetsuit tramping). Urethane glue is great for fixing tears in fabrics, without the need for stitching. You can make permanent waterproof repairs in the field with no effort. Urethane glue is available from hardware stores. It’s expensive but it sticks! It takes 12 hours to dry (unless you use the McNett Seam Grip Seam Sealer with the fast set gunk) so make your repairs in the evening so the glue can dry overnight ready for the next day of hammering.

A freshly glued hole

You can glue a patch of something on top to make the repair look better or just smear the urethane glue all over the place if it’s not your Sunday best. Use some petrol (ideally methylated spirits as it’s a ‘polar’ solvent) from your cooker to clean the fabric first if you can, but this glue is pretty forgiving. Once a tube is open it doesn’t last long – perhaps a year at the most. So make sure you break lots of stuff all at once. If the tube has ‘gone off’ just cut it in half and there should be some liquid in the middle that you can make do with for the last repair.  

If you do choose to use tape, duct tape is not the only answer. We find the zinc oxide backed sports strapping tape is excellent on fabric. It doesn’t look waterproof as it usually has a cloth backing, but it is. Sticks better in the damp and if you warm it up first it will stick even better. It’s the only tape that will stick to a politician – now that’s a quality product!

Putting a repaired dry bag to the test

No worries now mate!

Hiking New Zealand is all about taking small groups hiking and trekking around New Zealand. We get off the beaten track to many places in National Parks that no other companies (and few individuals) ever get to. Sometimes we stay in simple lodges with good facilities, but more often we sleep in mountain huts or bush-camp far away from civilisation.

 We hope you enjoy our hiking tips.

Dan footer new

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