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gear maintenance/environmental soundness

working at home, having more time on my hands, i cleaned and re-applied DWR on some hard shells yesterday. first, ran them through the washer with a tech cleaner i picked up a while back at REI. partially dried them, then put them back in the washer with nikwax wash-in DWR, then partially dried them in a dryer & let them hang overnight.  made a big difference on this a.m.'s walk.

will probably re-wax my leather boots this weekend.

i entitled this 'environmental soundness' because i was reminded recently, while testing a new backpack, that one of the ultimate 'environmentally sound' things in this arena is building gear that lasts a really long time, and maintaining it so it lasts a long time.  whatever someone does to be environmentally friendly, chucking a pack, jacket, or pair of shoes in the dumpster every few years has to be one of the least environmentally friendly things we can do.  

I rarely throw anything out...if Im done with it I give it to someone starting out, a hiking club or boy scout troop, etc. Some things get sold online and the funds go to purchasing my next item.

Leather boots from the 90s resoled twice and now a sturdy pair of work boots. Lighter walking shoes and boots, and clothes migrate from hiking to field work to yard work until they are pretty much unusable. Socks become my house wear once they have had a life outside. I pretty much wear Darn Tough socks every day of the year.

I really get attached to pieces of equipment so hang on to them and take care of them...havent volunteered to test backpacks or tents for the Review Corps yet as I really like the ones I have now. Sleeping pads on the other hand...got a collection but never toss one unless it is unrepairable.

what Phil said. 

give stuff away.  Keep using it. 

I agree with all of you on this! Although I don't have much Patagonia gear, I love how Yvon Chouinard really wants people to repair their stuff. 

It's not easy to step off the hedonic treadmill...

I have Patagonia that is over 30 years old now and I still wear it. Other things of longevity too. We donate to charity to recycle and keep the clutter down.

I'm definitely one who keeps and uses and reuses...but also gives away.

Heck I still have and use my Boy Scout Compass, own the same in hatchet/knife combo, wear 1980s polypro, mostly carry my 80s Wilderness Pack, use my -30 80s Down North Face mummy bag, use my 70s Bushnell binocs, Army knife, and much more similar.

Why replace it when its still good? New stuff often got far to expensive and doesn't fit my needs.

I'm also quite prone to buy old useable stuff to use, collect, share or just pass it along to say the Salvation Army before someone else tosses it in the trash...funny thing I've seen stuff I bought and gave away for sale in shops/booths...and I don't mean similar I mean the very same piece!...no I didn't buy it again lol.

Dana Design Glacier backpack question:

I have a Dana Glacier backpack that I bought in late 2001 to use as a “bug out “ bag. It has never been used and been packed, ready and stored on a shelf in my basement all these years. The Covid pandemic prompted me to check the contents. I discovered that the inside walls of the main compartment have become sticky and rubs off on my fingers  as if the water resistant coating seems to have broken down with age. Is there a way to wash off the sticky coating or is it time to replace this backpack? Interestingly I bought a Kelty backpack for my wife at the same time and it’s been stored next to mine on the same shelf but the inner coating seems fine.  
Thank you for your input.

Peter 5 said:

Dana Design Glacier backpack question:

"..Is there a way to wash off the sticky coating or is it time to replace this backpack? ..."

Washing with soaps and detergents will do little.  Gummy coatings require solvents like acetone, lacquer thinner or turpentine.  Then you have to deal with the stink of that process!

Ed

Peter 5 said:

Dana Design Glacier backpack question:

I have a Dana Glacier backpack that I bought in late 2001 to use as a “bug out “ bag. It has never been used and been packed, ready and stored on a shelf in my basement all these years. The Covid pandemic prompted me to check the contents. I discovered that the inside walls of the main compartment have become sticky and rubs off on my fingers  as if the water resistant coating seems to have broken down with age. Is there a way to wash off the sticky coating or is it time to replace this backpack? Interestingly I bought a Kelty backpack for my wife at the same time and it’s been stored next to mine on the same shelf but the inner coating seems fine.  
Thank you for your input.

 Many backpacks are made with nylon that has a water-resistant coating on the inside. You're correct, the inner coating on a nylon product can deteriorate for various reasons - time, humidity, heat, whatever. It happened to a my college roommate's tent fly, and it happened to an old rain shell and a backpack i used for a couple of decades. the inside starts peeling off or turning into little balls that feel a bit like slimy rubber cement.  

That coating does not mean your backpack was ever waterproof - you would still need a trash bag inside or a pack cover to really keep rain out - so the sticky little pieces are a nuisance but don't mean the pack is useless.  if you have or have access to a power washer, the kind of thing you would use to clean a deck or siding on a house, Mystery Ranch once advised me that I could clean pine sap off a pack safely with a power washer, and it worked.  make sure you adjust the nozzle so it's a wider spray - a narrow, focused stream could conceivably tear a hole in the material.    

I have peeled off the deteriorating coating of several backpacks over the years.  They still work fine when carried routinely outdoors, much less sitting on a shelf.  Andrew F. is absolutely correct.  To insure waterproofness you must have interior bags or a good pack cover.

Thank you both for your input. I will repack the contents in a plastic garbage bag liner to keep the sticky stuff off my gear. I do have a pack cover if needed As well.
I have heard that electric switches and starters in my oil furnace create Ozone when they activate. The theory is that the Ozone may be the culprit causing the breakdowns of the “rubberized” coating. Interestingly the Dana pack is stored about 10 feet away from the oil furnace. The other (Kelty) back pack is about 20 feet away and the inside coating is fine.

Mainly I repair, modify and use up my gear. If I want to replace it, as I have with packs and tents, I sell them by listing them online.  

Storing gear properly like sleeping bags and tents extends their lives. You know there are still beginners out there who think keeping a sleeping bag stuffed or, worse. rolled, is the way to store it. Sad.

And I have found which DWR treatments work best, like Grangers and Revivex. or the best wash products for Gore-Tex and down garments.

Our gear usually is pretty expensive, even when bought used or on a sale. I mean $280. for an LL Bean -20 F. down bag is a deal at 40% off retail but it ain't chump change for me. So it safely lays under my bed in all its glory. 

Eric B.

October 16, 2021
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