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Wanted: Your Gear Failure Pictures

9:29 a.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi everyone,

We're mocking up some Trailspace banner ads for the site and need pictures of gear failures, for example: leaking tents, boots that have ripped apart, a stove on fire, a ski in two pieces, and so on. The more visual, spectacular, and obvious the failure the better.

The best images will be good quality and likely a close-up shot of the gear and/or its problem(s). Please feel free to share multiple images.

The best images also won't obviously identify a particular brand. We want to evoke the feeling of general outdoor gear failure angst ("Augh! My pack ripped in half!"), not point fingers at a particular product.

If you've got something worth considering, please share it here.

Thanks!

12:02 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I'm on it!

I'll go out and break some gear right away.

Jokes aside, this could be fun.  I think its a great idea.

I can see it now- "Dude, I'll be right there just sit still for a minute while I snap a few pictures, this will look awesome!"

 

Jeff

3:31 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I agree, this could be fun :) 

6:29 p.m. on September 19, 2012 (EDT)
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I have had few failures in over 50 years, and got rid of them or fixed them quickly.  I would probably not take a picture to remind me of a gear failure.

1:16 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I just took some great video of my tent leaking in the middle of the night a couple weeks ago. I can easily extract some pictures from the video, but I don't know how much of a story a drop of water on the inside of the fabric seam is going to tell for you.

8:15 p.m. on September 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I've had plenty of cheap gear fail - I never took pictures of it though.

3:04 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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I have cracked up plenty of canoes, punctured rafts, and had many mule and horse wrecks that tore up some equipment.  There are no pictures.

4:00 p.m. on September 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Well, my most recent "grenading" was my Aqua Source out of my Argon:

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Here is a broken lace hook and blown lugs on my Keen Oregons:

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Blown zipper on a Burton 3/2:

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A now "2 piece" GSI spork:

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I'm grasping at straws here. What failures I have encountered have either been fixed by myself or professionally or the item has been replaced.

I suppose I could include this pic of the BA Spur repair that was done by BA(which was recently sold):

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Here are some leaky tent corners:

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Leki poles locked up in the open position(still haven't been able to collapse them:)

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...and lastly a pizza I killed midway on my last trip:

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:p
 

6:45 p.m. on September 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Alicia, this may be too late - but are you still looking for images, or do you have what you need?  

7:33 p.m. on September 25, 2012 (EDT)
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Here's one for you---a crappy Atlas pole on a Mt Hardwear Light Wedge tent broke on a trip---and I had no pole repair sleeve.


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9:26 a.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Love that one, Tipi!

10:00 a.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks for sharing so far, everyone! The pictures are great, but even without them I think it's fun to hear people's gear failure stories (though sometimes that's really more of a personal failure story).

Feel free to continue sharing in words or pictures.

-Alicia

6:17 p.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Like Rick, I wonder if I'm hard on stuff but I don't think so. I just use it a lot.

Thankfully never had a catastrophic failure but lots of minor ones:

 

This happened two weeks ago on Mt Rogers when Susan and I were taking down the Fly Creek Tent:


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The tab that connects the fly to the side wall of the tent came right off. It's actually crucial in the design to keep the side walls from draping in on you.

 

 

 

The sole on these Vasque Mantra low top boots is already separating at the toe (both of them) and I barely have 200 backpacking miles on them:


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Bad picture, but there is a tear above the "A" on my new Gregory Savant pack. This pack has only been used four or five weekends:


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Again, the picture doesn't really show it, but the lower seciton of this Black Diamond Trail Shock poke is bent like a snake. It won't retract now. I've tried to straighten it but didn't do so well:


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The strap on this Sea to Summit dry bag is hanging by a thread:


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This picture was taken on location near Laurel Gap in the Smokies from a few weeks ago. Not to pick on my Fly Creek tent but the floor "wets through" whenever it rains hard and water flows under my tent. I do have near 100 nights in that tent now so it's been well used.


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(FYI, I'm about to ship the tent to Big Agnes and they have promised to address all issues.)

These were the only things I could get pictures of....

 

10:29 p.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Not actual gear but still a cherished part of my camping collection.


It fell victim to some straight line winds that blew through at the Indiana Dunes while we were camping one Memorial week end and wound up in the fire.


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10:55 p.m. on September 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Gregory Savant 48 : great backpack, ingenious design, but...


Very poor mesh pocket... first utilisation, one hole in the side pocket... cheap


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4:04 a.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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9:33 a.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Alicia,

Way back when in the Campmor Service Department, where we repaired stoves, packs, tents etc., a customer sent in a recently purchased MSR Whisperlite Stove and fuel bottle that had suffered a serious malfunction. A lot of the times we could trace malfunctions to customer abuse or user error. Not this time. The stove was completly toasted when we removed it from the box. The fuel bottle was dented and the fuel pump was melted and lodged inside the fuel bottle. A note accompanied the stove. It read, in part ".....I was cooking my meal , just like always when the stove began to sputter and the fuel bottle erupted in flames. That's when I ran. As I was running the fuel bottle 'Space Shuttled' and erupted a 2 foot long orange and blue flame. And then it was over, except for the smoldering." We could not figure what had happened so we sent it to MSR where it was disappeared and never mentioned again. I am regretful that we did not take a photo.

1:37 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Last year we were doing a JTT (Junior Training Trails) teaching some Church Boyscouts (Royal Rangers) some Backpacking skills.  I had most of the gear and had about 7 kinds of stoves out and the boys were going to be using the wisperlites (older models).

 

I told the boys now this is what your going to use. I haven't had much luck with them..they seem to catch on fire alot...grin!  I use propane butane stoves or Denatured Alcolhol stoves. 

 

There we were... paired up in sets and everyone got theirs going except two boys...they got a stove on fire... I went into the shop and got a wet towel and smothered the flames and the stove and the table was scorched...and we named the 2 boys.. sparky and flame.  No fault of theirs...the o rings were dryed out and the stove was leaking.  It was exciting though..and we laugh about it when our paths cross.

 

Had a alcolhol stove blow up on me when I used a metal match to deeply on it... aprears from my best guess.. the magnisium from the strike ignited down under surface of the alcholol in the stove and it caused a eruption that sent flaming alcohol in my face..it was exciting.  I no longer put the metal match all the way down in the stove...GRIN! Lesson learned but beware!


Mark Jones

 

3:02 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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OK, I've finally gotten my images ready showing various gear failures.  They range from rather petty (hook coming off Dirty Girl gaiter) to having more potential impact (tent zippers failing), to downright serious (pants falling apart, including stitching on the pockets containing my ID, cash, credit card, etc ... and stove not holding pressure ... etc...

I'm not sure why I have so many gear failures.  I feel like I take pretty good care of my gear, and some of the failures occurred early in the items' life.  I've had similar issues with my Nikon DSLRs (3 of the 3 I've owned have had issues requiring that I send them in for repair).   Similarly, one of my Nikon lenses had a focus issue from day 1, I had it repaired, and then partway thru the JMT trip the issue returned.   I'm really disturbed at the level of workmanship I'm seeing in products I buy, even after doing exhaustive research in selecting the items.  And it's not like I'm buying bargain basement brands either.  Grrrr...

This thread kinda got me going (that's one reason I waited a while before posting ;).  As someone who tries his best to do his best work every day, "poor quality workmanship" is a real pet peeve of mine.    Not only that, but particularly on a long thru-hike, even a failure that might seem relatively minor on the surface has the potential to seriously impact (or even terminate) the trip.

Here are some samples:

Both door zippers on my Mountain Hardwear Skyview 1.5 failed last year.  This issue is pending a cleaning of the tent so I can send it in to see how MH will handle it.  The tent is >12 years old so I guess they'll probably charge me for the repair.  I'm not complaining about this one because it happened after years of use, albeit light use...

Door #1
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Mountain Hardwear Skyview 1.5 door #2
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Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1 door zipper failure.  This tent had only been used for maybe 20 nights or so when this started happening.  This one, too, is pending a cleaning & filing of a repair request; hopefully given the premature failure it'll be covered under warranty even though I've had the tent since 2010.
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Salomon S-LAB gaiters.  These were brand new for my 2012 JMT thru-hike.  They started ripping on day 4 and got progressively worse.  If you expand the photo and look closely you can see where I used SuperGlue around the edges of the rips in an attempt to harden the fabric to stop the tearing.  That helped for a while but the rips continued.  Finally I was able to get a needle/thread & sew up the worst rip ... but even after that new tears started.  I discarded these midway on the trip when I discovered they sold Dirty Girl gaiters at one of my re-supply stops.
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Dirty Girl gaiter, one of the little hooks that holds the gaiter to the front lace came off.  Fortunately it happened when I was stopped so I didn't lose it.  By that time I had needle/thread & was able to reattach it.
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REI Sahara Convertible Pants:  these worked well design-wise, but the assembly quality leaves something to be desired.  Here you can see the stitching on the "hook & loop" pocket fasteners just completely disappeared.  From that point on I had to routinely (obsessively?) checked to make sure the pocket contents hadn't fallen out (and I didn't think it would be wise to leave my wallet in my pack, in case I got separated from the pack in an emergency).
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REI Sahara Convertible pants, more failures:  First there's the obvious total failure of the seam protecting hikers behind me from seeing whether or not I was wearing clean underwear.  Secondly, and probably more importantly :) is that you can see where the stitching on both rear pockets mostly disappeared.  This left the inner pocket material just flopping around unattached.  Needless to say, if I hadn't noticed this in time, anything in those pockets would have fallen out.  Initially this included my "hiking wallet" (including drivers license, credit card, cash, claim check for one of my re-supply buckets, etc.).  I didn't take note of exactly when all this started, but IIRC it was maybe about 10-12 days into the trip, and certainly no more than 15 days.

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here you can see the inside view showing the pocket material flapping loose.

I guess I'll take them to REI to get them replaced.  Part of me feels that since I used them for the whole JMT trip I should just consider them a trip expense.  But, still, it seems to me that a $65 pair of pants should last longer than this, especially since the failures started relatively early in the trip.  I'm pretty sure I was using them for their intended purpose.
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I've also had a couple of failures with my Deuter ACT Lite 65+10 pack which was brand new for this summer's JMT hike.  Fortunately both turned out to be very minor.  One failure involved the fastener on one of the "carry loops" on the side of the pack coming off.  I was able to work around the failure by tying a knot in the stretchy cord.  The second failure also involved a fastener coming off.  This one was the one that tightens the top pack compartment shut.  Fortunately I wasn't using that one on this trip (I used the one on the "extended" section at the very top of the pack).

Here's the fastener from the top compartment.  I thought I'd lost it but it had fallen into a flap on the pack, so I found it later.
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This is one of the fasteners on the side of the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10.  There's one on each side of the pack.  I used them to carry my water shoes.  Fortunately this breakage occurred while I was attaching them, so I didn't lose the shoe it was holding.
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On day 13 or 14 of my JMT trip, I also started experiencing a failure of my MSR Simmerlite stove.  I found the pump wouldn't hold pressure.  All I ever needed to do was boil something less than .9L of water.  The stove worked great up to this point.  But I noticed the flame would start petering out shortly after I started it.  I tried pumping up the tank without even attaching the burner, then opened the cap, and there was no pressure (no escaping hiss sound).  I tried applying pump cup oil to the pump cup, and I thought that helped, but the problem came back the next day.  Ultimately I ended up replacing the check valve at the bottom end of the pump assembly.

The one on the left (with the flat disc at the end) is the one I removed.  The one on the right (with the rounded piece at the end) is the one I installed.  I don't recall whether I had swapped these during the stove overhaul/maintenance I did using the MSR Expedition Repair Kit just prior to the trip.  But in any event, the original one worked find until partway thru this trip.  Replacing it with the rounded piece solved the problem for the remainder of the trip.

In hindsight, I also see now that in addition to the rubber tip being of a different shape, the spring on the one I removed seems more compressed than the replacement.  Maybe I could have stretched it out...

Anyone with a Simmerlite care to take a look at the pump to see which style check valve you have? :)


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and a close-up of the check valves:


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3:22 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Bill,

The standard valve in the pump for the Simmernot is round:

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3:47 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Rick, thanks for checking that.  I'll need to look into this to see if I can tell whether MSR included the wrong part in the repair kit, of if I received the wrong repair kit... everything else in the kit worked (and there were extra parts included, presumably for different stove models).

And the real mystery is why the flat version worked for the first part of my trip and suddenly failed.

3:48 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

Rick, thanks for checking that.

 Never a problem. 

6:59 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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About 1  1/2 tough miles from the entrance in Camps Gulf Cave, White County TN. An old pair of Danner's gave up and flopped open. The duct tape worked for awhile but got slippery when wet. Zane put on an old wool sock over the boot and this worked some better. We wanted him to wear the other sock on the other foot to match. Hardcore caving in stocking feet, thats a tough
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man for sure.

10:47 p.m. on September 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Ok, finally found a few.

The Hi-Tec Boots I bought my then seven year old son. Just a few months of only occasional use and the leather ripped at one of the seams. The stitching was so close, it was like the leather was perforated.


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More of a me failure than a gear failure. What happens when you let your metal water bottle freeze over night. Although I'm sure it didn't help that it was a cheap bottle with a square corner/welded flat bottom. But ice is like gravity, eventually it has it's way.


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9:12 a.m. on September 28, 2012 (EDT)
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These are great stories and pictures. I like them all!

My personal best (and worst) broken gear story would have to be the Old Town canoe that was ripped in half. That was not a "gear fail" situation however, but rather a "people fail" event. Luckily, the PFD's did not fail and no one was damaged.

Part of the canoe is now a bookshelf.

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Less dramatic are the rips I got in my first pair of La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0 trail runners. Below is the worst one. Running in a mountain trail race two weeks ago, I noticed that the woman who finished in front of me had the same shoes, with the same (smaller) rip in the same spots. We talked about it for a while.

That said, I really, really like these shoes, except for this one issue. I went back and bought a second pair to give them another shot.


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10:37 p.m. on September 28, 2012 (EDT)
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For those zipper sliders that don't close the zipper enough to keep the zipper from coming apart again, just squeeze the back end of slider with a plyers and it will probably be as good as new.   Sometimes this problem happens when the zipper is not opened all the way whihc puts some stress on the slider.  I have had it happen on the fly on pants when the stitched flap at teh bottom of the zipper that is supposed to protect from this stress is not stitched in the right place, so is too loose to protect the zipper. 

7:34 p.m. on September 29, 2012 (EDT)
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I had the same exact problem regarding thread damage on the rear seat of the REI Sahara pants.  Best I could figure is that it only takes sliding down a boulder or two to wear through the thread.  The pants seam to be made of good quality material.  I wish they followed that quality through to the stitching.  I just used whatever thread I had lying around.  Not sure if that have something that is more robust.      

1:58 a.m. on September 30, 2012 (EDT)
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image.jpg Falling alseep with feet too close to the fire..."Another Schlockmyr Moment"!

3:00 p.m. on October 11, 2012 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

This is one of the fasteners on the side of the Deuter ACT Lite 65+10.  There's one on each side of the pack.  I used them to carry my water shoes.  Fortunately this breakage occurred while I was attaching them, so I didn't lose the shoe it was holding.
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I think Deuter has a QC issue this my 50 +15

April 21, 2014
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