Introduction: Disaster Preparedness (Gear Repair Kit)
Murphy's law states; "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." There's a disheartening truth to that. Given enough time any piece of gear you've got (including you) will stop working like it used to and that's to be expected. Ever see a sand mandala? Impermanence yo! It's a fact of the universe. That being said things break; buckles, belts, hearts you name it! Though the later might require some time, a bottle of Jack or open heart surgery depending. Most everything else has a fix if you've got the tools and the know how. That's what makes this such a crucial piece of gear. It's designed to help you keep on keeping on.
You don't need a full tool box here, it's designed to be compact, light weight, rugged and comprehensive enough to repair, replace or otherwise fix most of the gear I carry.
Step 1: All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men...
When it comes to important pieces of gear your pack should be considered "Mission Critical." After all, without your pack your going to have your hands full in more ways then one.
The pack I've chosen is the USGI field issue medium A.L.I.C.E pack. I choose this pack because it's tried and tested by the United States military. When it comes to R&D (research and development) why not trust our nations finest? When you start out with bomb-proof gear to begin with you'll find you'll have to do fewer repairs in the long run. But just in case here's what I carry for bag/fabric repair:
6-8ft of 1" wide nylon webbing: This is probably one of the most useful/versatile tools in this bag and almost no one carries it in their kit. Strapping has almost as many uses as 550 para-cord. This coupled with the replacement quick release buckle and slider can make a impromptu belt. With the slider and webbing alone you can make a field expedient tourniquet. You can snip off smaller sections and use them as a patch for either your clothing or your bag & you can use it as cordage of course!
Pro tip: With the increased surface area of the strapping makes an ideal cordage to wrap a splint. Think about it..
Outdoor purposes sewing thread with size 18 upholstery needles: The needles can be sterilized with alcohol prep pads from the medical kit (instructable to come, stay tuned) to lance a boil or blister (repair gear fixing you.) They're really too thick to be effectively used to suture, though thin enough to puncture most materials without tearing, thereby maintaining their structural integrity. Some people chose sail needles to add to their kit but I find they're a bit too unwieldily to do fine tasks, you know like sewing. It's important to have a few because in all likelihood your gonna lose some (hay stacks man, what ya gonna do?) When they start to get dull you can sharpen them up on the whetstone. Repair gear, fixing repair gear, Yeah, that's how I roll.
The sewing thread is synthetic and super strong. You could save space and weight using either fishing line or un-waxed dental floss but they're a poor substitute IMHO. Dental floss can be used as emergency cordage though strong the tensile strength isn't spectacular and the shape is a bit ungainly. Fishing line allows you to pick the perfect tensile strength for the purpose and it's great when it comes to "bounce stress" which is why it's great for fishing. That being said, monofilament fishing line tends to retain its shape when spooled over time and braided line costs too damn much. This thread is fantastic as fishing line and works well for sewing too.
I had a heck of a time trying to figure out how in the heck to seal off the ends of the spool to contain the needles. In the end "In vino veritas," (latin translation: "in wine there is truth.") Well actually, in this instance beer. I used two beer caps which fit perfectly on the ends. Free-cycling at it's best!
Step 2: And on the 8th Day God Invented....
Duct tape! Actually rumor and Wikipedia have it that the idea originated during WW2 from the mind of an ordnance worker/mother of two named, Vesta Stoudt. But that's just the rumor. Duct tape is one of those ubiquitous fix all's no respectable tool box would be complete without. There are plethora of uses for duct tape the limits of which are regulated only by your imagination.
There's not too much to be said as it pertains to the how and whys of it all. What I will say about duct tape is that all duct tape is not created equal. I've tried a great many facsimiles and have since graduated to gorilla brand duct tape. This stuff is tough, thick, tears well and the adhesive it top notch. Unfortunately there really isn't a substitute for duck tape (gaffers tape, maybe.) That most assuredly doesn't mean that you have to pay full price. Do your research and take your time, wait till you find a good deal and jump on it.
In a great many of the kits I've seen people take a few feet of silver wonder and wrap it around a spent gift card or their lighters, zipper pulls, water bottles basically wherever the sticky stuff can be stuck.
Personally I'm a huge proponent the sticky stuff. But if your gonna to do it, do it right. I took about 15 minutes and a fair amount of care and managed to wrap about 20-30ft on a spent gift card. This wasn't as easy as it seems it should have been...
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have enough to be useful. If you decide to go full metal jacket with it you can bring the whole darn roll if you'd like. Though I'd advise smashing it down a bit to conserve space.
While we're talking adhesives, E6000 adhesive, defiantly not hand crafted on high, just saying. This stuff smells so toxic that you could use it to repel a wild cougar!
*Disclaimer: Do not test as wild cougar repellant! What I'm trying to say is, "this stuff stinks!"
What I like about it is that it dries clear, holds fast and remains flexible once dry. In my experience it works on metal, leather and fabric equally well. I will forewarn you, ignoring the noxious stench this stuff is very much like a can of Pringles. Once you pop, this stuff will not stop, oozing that is, for anything.
One of the little tricks I employ is to coat the threads with a dab of silicone grease. If you wipe away the excesses glue and "move like tiger," you can usually get the cap back on without having to combat the spooge. The grease will keep air from getting at any excess glue meaning that when you go back to use it a second or third time you'll still manage to be able to get the cap off and the contents of the tube won't be all dried out, maybe.
Step 3: Slippery When Wet.
Oils are another of one of those things that while yes you can find them in nature the oils you're liable find are going to be less then ideal. Here I've chosen highly refined mineral oil. This little vial was originally intended for high quality chefs knives. I managed to pick it up on clearance at William Sonoma for a song and took a sec to coat the threads with silicone grease and wrapped some electrical tape around the base of the cap to prevent leakage. This can be used to treat knives (after a proper cleaning of course), as a fire extender coupled with the cotton balls from the fire kit (Check out the instructable here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Disaster-Preparedness-Fire-Kit/ ) or you can use it with the Whetstone to make sharpening a bit smoother.
*Caution, once you use oil on a whetstone you're committed, oil's your oyster from then on. Water really won't penetrate making sharpening difficult. You've been warned.
Speaking of sharpening, I picked up a medium grade Arkansas whetstone for under 10 bucks at one of those highfalutin sporting goods stores. These are a happy medium if your only going to pack a single stone. I wear a leather belt regularly and can use that to strop my blades after taking off a bit of material with the stone.
Sharpening can be a bit of an art. Now's the time to hone your craft. If you don't know how to properly sharpen a blade or simply cannot be bothered you might want to consider using a lock-back utility knife as your "survival" knife. That way you can pack a good ten to twenty pre-oiled double sided blades, should last ya a while
Step 4: "We Can Rebuild Him, We Have the Technology..."
This last bit here is the most specialized piece of gear in this kit. If your putting together you own mini repair kit you can forgo these items unless you've got a similar Coleman stove. My Coleman stove is made in the good ol' US of A circa 93 or 96, honestly I can't remember. What I can tell you is that it's user serviceable, has moving parts and in all likelihood cannot adequately be fixed with duct tape!
Any piece of gear you bring with you into the "field" you can't take apart and put back together with what you've got on ya has the potential to become a hindrance to you should something go wrong with it *See: Murphy's Law.*
Parts for this model stove aren't easy to come by and are becoming more difficult to find by the day. If what you've got is obsolete that doesn't mean it's time to upgrade, it means that it's time to make sure you've got what you need (now) to keep it running (later.) Having a stockpile of parts handy is a must.
Hope you enjoyed this article please take a moment to check out my full "disaster kit," if you haven't already.
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