When heading outdoors with gear, especially backpacking trips where you may be many hours hike away from assistance, it’s important to carry a gear repair kit or have back-up items for your gear. Even if you check your gear before the trip, the reality is that during transit, things can get damaged. A hook can catch and you can rip water-resistant fabrics; a headlamp can be squeezed too tight in a bag, turn on accidentally, and have no more battery once you arrive (this latter one happens a lot!). For that reason, Last Minute Gear’s rental tent repair kits come with the "specialized items" (pole repair sleeve, Tenacious Tape, duct tape) and shock cord (you should bring scissors or a multi-tool/utility knife to cut these).
- Pole repair sleeve (or tube or splint) – if you have a tent, ensuring that it can stand is critical. Here’s a wonderful, visual guide to using a pole repair tube.
- Shock cord – poles don’t stand up by themselves, they rely on the inner elastic cord, called bungee or shock cord. Most tent pole ends can be unscrewed for easy access to the cord (make sure that the cord you have will fit the narrow diameter of the tent pole). In a pinch, regular nylon cord can do also, just be sure you tie it taut and after the pole segments have already been connected together.
- Tenacious Tape – more specialized than duct tape, Tenacious Tape is designed to fix all kinds of fabrics. The cloth versions are even made of the same rip-stop nylon fabric that most waterproof clothes and tents are made from, and there are even models with mesh for tent mesh repairs!
- Firestarter (either a tool, matches, or lighter) – unless you really know how to start a fire with rocks, always bring this along. Don’t rely on the “sparkler” of a portable stove entirely.
- Batteries – as mentioned earlier, it has happened multiple times to me or my friends that the headlamp, sandwiched in the recesses of our backpack, accidentally turned on and drained the battery dry. Better solution would be to carry the batteries separately, but even then what if they get wet?
- Water purification tablets – just in case the water purifier breaks (e.g., ours relies on a pouch which may leak). Don’t forget that water is the most important thing!
- Bags – Ziplock bags, extra stuff sacks, even the compact shopping bags that are so popular now (some are even waterproof!).
- Duct tape – for binding the pole repair tube to the regular pole segment, for fabric repair when you don’t have Tenacious Tape, or for anything else because duct tape can do anything
- Multi-tool/ utility knife – for cutting cord & tape, and then for whatever tools you have on it (mine is also a flashlight!).
- Rope or cord – like duct tape, there are so many uses for this. A thinner nylon cord can help prop up tent poles with broken bungee cord. Thicker ropes can be used to hang up items like an extra tarp, or even act as guylines for the tent. Make sure you know how to tie some essential knots! Here’s a guide we like: 5 knots you need to know how to tie at all times.