I just picked up an old camp trails backpack at a flea market and it's in pretty awesome condition. The problems are it's got a year in the hip belt (which is too small for me anyway) every hem on the insides is unraveling and around the international frame some of the seam has come unsewn. It's also pretty dirty. I'm not sure if I'm able to restore it myself but I'd really like to so I can actually use it. Any ideas of companies or even DIY suggestions?
Vintage camp trails backpack
Oh goodness I just saw a million autocorrect mistakes. I hope you can decode my question.
The local shoe/luggage repair shop does my pack repairs. The stuff you describe is what they fix. But it sounds like you may have more work than what the pack is worth. Do them the favor and clean it up before making them work on it.
If the fabric is nylon pack cloth you can cut off the worst of the fraying. Then, hold the fabric in such a manner as the frayed edge stands upright and separated from the rest. Take a lighter and singe, slightly melt the edge. That fuses all the fibers together at the edge and the fraying will end. As you are doing it, if the fabric starts to burn, your holding the lighter to close. Find the proper distance and move the lighter right along the edge. If the fraying is so severe its into the stitched seam, then that's a bigger issue.
I have two vintage Camp Trails backpacks called the Vagabond. The Vagabond is a back pack that also allows one to pack away all the shoulder belts and hip belts in a zippered compartment and pull out a set of handles so as to have luggage. It is the perfect, backpack/luggage/over head compartment storage for the traveler/hitchhiker/air passenger. I highly encourage you to restore that fine piece of equipment that you found rather than throw it away and buy some ole/new piece of equipment that ends up being just some expensive disposable equipment that you sell on Craigslist/Garage sale/flea market/Ebay. There is something to be said about new gear............first it is new, so it is very expensive, second is that when most people don't use it I will own it for the fraction of the price that it originally cost. Camp Trails never made a big name for themselves but I sure love these two packs that I have. Good find and I hope that with just a little bit of rehab that you can rehabilitate this quality piece of gear. Remember that one always needs a back up piece of gear for when your new gear breaks, and or, when you want to take a friend out on the trail to show them something new. Please post picts and description of the back pack............if you fix it.
I buy used packs for a local Boy Scout troop, as a hobby. Some suggestions:
First, I always wash incoming packs, before I work on repairs. It always improves the experience. I find it easiest to take them in the shower with me - only a little kinky.
Second, the unsewn seam around the frame I'd take to the shoe/luggage repair guy, as suggested above. I keep a thimble and large-sized needle and heavy thread at hand and stitch things myself (available at your local JoAnn's Fabric store) sometime - most often when I see something weakening but it is still in place. Pleasant to do around the campfire mid-trip.
Consider buying a replacement belt, since that one is the wrong size. If buying new disappoints you, consider shopping on-line for a similar pack with an intact belt (Am I correct in remembering that Camp Trails uses a simple cotter-pin attachment for its belts?)
Pinesap's description of melting the fraying edges is what I do. Remember ventilation, bowl of water close by (in case you get a drop of melted nylon on your finger), and go very slow.
Finally, enjoy the maintenance work, but don't let it keep you off the trail. At some point, every pack deserves the dignity of donating its buckles and clamps and straps.
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