Recent Field Repairs

11:09 a.m. on July 2, 2018 (EDT)
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Here are a few pics from some recent excitement in the woods. Well, actually, I took the pics when we got home so you know the story had a happy ending. Sorry for the spoiler.


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The frame on my backpack failed in the middle of a family trip last week. I was a bit concerned as you might imagine heh.


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With a few minutes of thought I came up with this scheme using a tarp stake and guyline as a splint.


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Top dressed with some cloth tape from my FAK and we were on our way in less than 15 minutes from hearing the snap. Still amazed at how fast we went from up a creek to paddling heh.

If you'd like to hear me expound a bit more on the subject you can find it here: https://lesstraveledby.net/2018/06/29/field-repair/ but I am posting here because I want to hear your stories. I'm always looking for inspiration for the next time, because I know there will always be a next time.  What have you put back together on trail using your wits and what you had in your pack? Not looking to bash gear, just hear what crazy schemes you've tried that worked :)

9:58 a.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Buying good equipment and taking care of it is important when you have to depend on it.  I have had few failures of backpacking equipment.  Old leather on horses and mules is a different story.  I learned to always bring some extra leather, a hole punch and an awl and thread. 

The latest challenge was a raft trip on the Umpua River in Oregon last year.  I have an AIRE cataraft made in 1995.  The tubes have zippers and interior bladders that can be changed in the field.  I had a zipper failure and about 4 feet of the zipper came apart. We used a cominationa of a tarp, duct tape and maybe 15 straps to hold it together for a week.  After much searching I found a boat uphosterly guy to replace the zipper for $300.

3:31 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Nice job on the improvised repair! That is a really surprising failure given that Seek Outside is much about carrying big loads and hauling big game and so on. 

I'm sure this will be covered by them.....

5:11 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Patman said:

Nice job on the improvised repair! That is a really surprising failure given that Seek Outside is much about carrying big loads and hauling big game and so on. 

I'm sure this will be covered by them.....

We discussed it and came to an agreeable solution, but it was not covered by warranty. Once we had a deal I let them know I wanted more info to update my review and found I was talking with the guy who makes most of their frames all along.

His story is that these things just don't break very often at all. My guess is I likely broke it bouncing it off a rock at some point and the fracture eventually progressed to the failure point. He was able to actually tell me specifics about the other frame failures they have had, that is how few and far between they are. I can definitely vouch for some rock and ice bouncing so was willing to chip in on a discounted replacement. They paid shipping and PP fees plus its in the mail already so I'm happy enough.

6:45 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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All you can ask is honesty and a fair deal from a company so I give kudos to them. There is a high bar set for returns by some outdoor product companies...sometimes I think they are too generous but definitely appreciate it. I do want them to stay in business if they produce quality products.

7:31 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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Good that you were able to facilitate an expedient field repair LS. I do know the feeling exactly.

Mine was out in the Algonquin when the hipbelt webbing separated from the padded portion of the belt on my Arcteryx Bora 80. It would have near killed my back to continue with no hip support. I was able to sew it back on with the upholstery thread and needles that are always in my kit. It saved the day. Aside from those repair items there is some duct tape, first aid tape and Kenyon repair tape along with a couple safety pins. That’s it other than some first aid items. 

 

Just to add Arcteryx did give me a new hipbelt. 

9:51 p.m. on July 3, 2018 (EDT)
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@LoneStranger: That is one brilliant repair job. Very resourceful. Good to hear Seek Outside is handing things well.

We know who our Macgyver is...

12:02 a.m. on July 4, 2018 (EDT)
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pillowthread said:

@LoneStranger: That is one brilliant repair job. Very resourceful. Good to hear Seek Outside is handing things well.

We know who our Macgyver is...

Agreed, frame failures can be real tough to remedy.   The only pack failure I personally experienced was the eyelet on the top portion of the shoulder strap ripped out, where it is affixed to the pack frame by a clevis pin.  I sewed a loop of 9mm cord onto the strap, capturing the frame cross bar in the loop.  I tend to carry heavy loads, so from then on made it policy to take all my new shoulder strap with eyelets to the shoe/luggage repair folks and have them re-build the section of shoulder strap that has the eyelet to include a gusset of leather for the eyelet to pass through.

One time I showed up at a trailhead without my waist belt.  I ended up fashioning one using the shoulder strap off a sports gear duffel, a fleece top used for hip padding, and an inch and half thick blue foam seat cushion (used to make my bear canister a stool) as a lumbar pad.  It required pausing about every half hour to readjust the setup, but was surprisingly comfortable. 

Many non pack related repairs, too.  It has been my experience a gear repair kit gets much more use than a first aide kit.  Mine includes Gorilla and duct tape, sewing awl, superglue and epoxy putty, in addition to the other sundry kit items.

Ed

6:54 a.m. on July 4, 2018 (EDT)
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FlipNC said:

All you can ask is honesty and a fair deal from a company so I give kudos to them. There is a high bar set for returns by some outdoor product companies...sometimes I think they are too generous but definitely appreciate it. I do want them to stay in business if they produce quality products.

 Their relatively small size and the fact that I know what I've put that pack through over the past few years led me to take what they offered rather than push for a free replacement frame. Now that I know it isn't totally indestructible I'll have to try to stop falling down mountains ;)

10:28 a.m. on July 4, 2018 (EDT)
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It is interesting how quickly the technology changes.  The first 10 years I backpacked with cast iron frying pans and canned food there were no waist belts.  They came later and became popular by about 1970. 

In the old days people were hired as human freighters. They often carried really heavy loads, 75 pounds, 100 pounds sometimes much more.  They used shoulder straps and tump lines on the forehead.  Traditional canoe packs like Duluth canoe packs often still have tump lines. We use them for heavy but short canoe portages. 

For modern light loads of 25 pounds or less, the waist belt is much less important.  You could use the belt off of your pants in an emergency. Duct tape is your friend. 

12:59 p.m. on July 5, 2018 (EDT)
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Your break reminded me of when I was thruhiking the AT in 1990 and the frame of my Jansport broke on the side, near one of the cross bar brackets. It happened, or finished happening, on Moosilauke. I called from town, they sent me a new frame, and we agreed on a delivery in Maine. I splinted it at a garage that let me rummage through their old bolts bin and used their hacksaw to cut the head off a bolt with a diameter just a hair smaller than the internal diameter of the frame tubing. It worked so well, I felt sort of foolish replacing the frame with the new one. 

10:45 a.m. on July 9, 2018 (EDT)
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New frame received and installed so I have no choice but to take it out for a few days to test it out ;)

After examination and discussion it appears that I killed it with sweat. Not sure if I should feel guilty or special, but it looks like galvanic corrosion caused by salt exposure where the screw meets the frame. They say they've only seen this from a pack rafter in Alaska who exposed it to sea water frequently.


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This is the side that didn't break and you can see the damage clearly. Weakened like this it would crack more easily when bouncing down a mountain. Hopefully the new anodized version of the frame avoids this issue. They suggested I could get longer screws and add nylon washers, but I want to test it as is and see if the change to the frame is enough.

Now for some testing :)

July 19, 2018
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