Repair – Within Limits

It is no surprise to anyone that knows me when I admit I am a sentimental slob. I am fiercely loyal to all the creatures in my life, but it goes beyond that. Some of the most memorable times in my life are the trips I’ve taken, especially backpacking trips. In the backpacking world, your body is your most valuable asset, followed closely behind by your gear. If your gear lets you down, the trip can quickly deteriorate from something pleasant to pure torture. I expend a great deal of effort finding the right gear, figuring out how it works, and taking good care of it.

The daypack pictured on the left was purchased more than 20 years ago. While it isn’t the pack I’ve used to haul all my gear on my backpacking trips, it has been my constant companion up to and after the trailhead. It has been sent back to Kelty ™ several times to be repaired, and at least twice to fix the shoulder strap. Half the weight from that strap is transferred to the backpack in a seam near the bottom. The seam started to fail on one side. I tried to fix it with my speedy stitcher, but it didn’t hold. I tried to explain to Kelty that they needed to use strong thread to fix that seam, they ignored my advice, used whatever black thread that happened to be in their machine at the time, and it broke again almost immediately.

As the years went by and the seam got weaker, I began to baby the pack for fear the seam would fail completely. Neither the pack nor I were happy with this situation. Enter Google. I typed in “backpack repair” and found Rainy Pass Repair in Washington State. These folks specialize on backpack repair, and once I sent them a picture of the pack along with a detailed description of what I wanted, we began an email conversation that convinced me this job would finally get done correctly. The cost, however, would be a few more dollars than I’d originally thought. No, a lot more dollars; about 200 of them as a matter of fact. The original bid was about $40 plus shipping. Once it was in their hands, they gave it a good going over and found several other seams that were weak or broken. So I kept saying go ahead, and go ahead they did. I got my old buddy back almost as good as new, and I supported an organization that feels, like I do, that good quality gear deserves some expert care now and then.

Which brings me to my Carhartt ™ jacket. Talk about some gear that has been with me on my adventures! This jacket is my constant outdoor companion for 6 months of the year. When I pick it up and toss it around my shoulders to go outside, two entities mesh into one. The thought, “I can’t do that job right now because I might get dirty,” never crosses my mind. As the years have rolled by, various abrasions have opened up to the point that I was getting afraid I’d hook the jacket on something and cause an injury. Looking at the extent of the damage, I decided that its useful life had ended, so I asked for and received a replacement for Christmas. Fortunately, the hood from the old jacket snapped right on to the new one.

This new jacket is stiff, of uniform color, and as yet does not conform to my torso. That will change over the years I’m sure. I kept my old jacket around so I could get one last picture of it for this post, but after today, it will live out the rest of its existence in a landfill somewhere. Makes me feel like I’m abandoning an old friend.

One Response to “Repair – Within Limits”

  1. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been doing
    a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your web site.

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