Open main menu

So one of your outdoor gear breaks ... Do you throw it away or repurpose it

Leave no trace  these words can be heard from any outdoors forum

But what of our own carbon footprints. 

What do you do when one of your pieces of gear breaks.  You probably looked to see if it could be fixed or to find the parts for it but sometimes its so old that parts are no longer available.  So do you throw it away?

Collectively, out of the 254 million tons of trash Americans can produce in one year, we recycle about 34.3 percent of it. For our average individual, 710.6 pounds are recycled and 1,361.4 pounds of trash are tossed out every year — about the weight of a grizzly bear.

I will give you a real life example of my own.  I had a portable gas BBQ grill that burners rusted thru and the company went out of business so no parts were available.  I gutted the inside to remove  BBQ gas components and repurposed it in to a wood burning firepit with grill.

Several years went by and the former BBQ housing rusted  thru so I was able to repurpose the grill portion and used it on my camping trips to cook food over fire pits. That is a total of 10 years later  before the last part of the BBQ grill was tossed  out.  Just imagine how much we could reduce our yearly  weight in garbage if we can repurpose any portion of our gear.

Someone had a 200 quart cooler that hinges broke off  so he dug a huge hole in his back yard and buried the cooler just with less then an inch of the top showing  and transformed it into a fish pond, putting some rocks  around it and even adding a water pump to create a water fountain 

I have seen those old wooden Box Tvs  converted into fish tanks.

When i have more then one of the same gear piece and it breaks  I will literally dismantle the gear and salvage all useable spare parts for my remaining gear. The last time i did this was for my Coleman single mantle propane lantern 3 days  ago. The lantern was still under warranty but no longer in production so i was offered 

  • Coleman Northern Nova Propane Lantern

but since i still had another single burner lantern i stripped the broken one for the spare parts saving approximately 1/2 the weight of what i ended up throwing out.

My friend  had an outdoor chair which straps eventually tore. he was about to throw it out when i said  why not just use all that paracord you have in your garage  and  use that instead of the straps.  Not only did it look great when it was done but it was able to hold more weight then before.

The largest piece i salvaged from being thrown out is a neighbors Ducane stainless steel BBQ grill.  He spent over $1500 on this grill but after 5 years it just wouldn't  work.  I was driving home and saw him pushing the BBQ grill out to the curb so i stopped and asked him if he minded if i took it.  He said sure by all means  as he just bought a replacement that was arriving the next day.

(just wanted to say that this should not be done unless you are a hands on person that knows how to work with your hands and work with gases.  Never attempt this for the 1st time on your own  as gases are not something you want to screw around with if you dont know what you are doing)

 Although Ducane went out of business prior to that their grills  had a lifetime warranty and the home depot near me once sold that unit.  It was obvious that the burners were rusted thru and needed to be replaced , starter too, but that wasn't  why he was junking the grill. What he couldn't figure out was that the diaphragm in the hose regulator was defective which is why barely any gas would work with a newly filled propane tank. For an hours  work of cleaning and removing components that were rusted thru and a trip to home depot to get the parts i needed for free under its original warranty  i was able to get this beautiful grill working just like the day it was 1st used.


Isn't she a beauty...

It weighs about 181 lbs  of which i had to throw out 3 lbs of rusted internal parts from it so that is 178 lbs that never got dumped at the Fingers lake region land fill in NY.

I am posting in the gear selection part of the forum as it is a really high probability that if you are asking for some gear advice  that it may be due to your other gear piece failing. And if so,  i am hoping that after reading this post that you may step back and take another look at whatever you are replacing to see if there is anything that is salvageable form it.

The chain and carabiner from my old propane lantern is now being used to hold up a different lantern i own that didn't have a chain on it . The glass bulb dome and top cover i am temporarily ( until my other lanterns bulb dome  breaks) using it as a windbreaker for a tea candle diy lamp

I would love to hear from other outdoors enthusiasts of how they repurposed damaged gear to be useful again.

Oh and if you are ever in Queens NY your welcome to join me for a BBQ :)


seems like the photo i uploaded didn't work for that post of this BBQ Grill

I salvage, reuse, repurpose when possible

Great to hear Old Guide. Btw  I see your a knife collector too. I only have one dagger that is a true find.. All of my other numerous knives that i own I alternate between  of different outdoor endeavors  below is my pride and joy ( the one on bottom  other is one i think from India that i got at Disney land lol along with the skull from  Pirates of the Caribbean )


Ivory and stag  and brass handle

-Damascus double sided dagger with leather sheathI picked this little beauty up at a gun show 30 years ago for under $10.  During the rest of the day there i was offered $20-$100 for it from other vendors and passer byes

Would be interesting to see what that might cost today.

Do everything you can to repair equipment and keep it in circulation.  If you don't need it, give it to someone that can. 

Old gear I donate to new hikers and people getting into backpacking and yes I repair my gear....BUT yes please keep it into circulation...

May 28, 2022
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply