Outdoor Gear Repair – Get it Fixed
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Sometimes our equipment falls into disrepair. Either through heavy use, neglect or just normal wear, our prized adventure gear may need attention. Fear not! We’ll share a variety of options for outdoor gear repair. We hope to save you time and maybe even some money.
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Why Fix Old Gear?
There are a variety of reasons you might want to look into outdoor gear repair.
- Fixing your existing items can save you considerable money over buying new replacements.
- This stuff is worth a lot more money when in excellent working condition, should you choose to sell it.
- You already know what you have and you know how to use it. There’s no need to break-in new gear or learn a new system.
Options for Outdoor Gear Repair
Most people think outdoor gear repair is too expensive or that they have to trust a local shop to do the work. Let me share several options you have to get your stuff fixed.
Option 1: Check Warranty Status
You may not know this, but many of the higher-end outdoor brands offer lifetime warranties on their products. May will repair or replace the item for little or no cost. The best will do so even if it wasn’t due to a manufacturing defect. Here are some we’ve had good luck with:
Their apparel warranty is pretty straightforward. It states, “If for any reason, you’re not 100% satisfied with your Black Diamond apparel, we’ll repair, replace, or refund it. No charge, no fine print, no debate. Guaranteed.” However, their exclusions section does mention normal wear and tear is not covered. So, it looks like they do have some fine print. I’ve only had one item repaired and it was due to a defect. However, they were very courteous and quick to fix the issue.
Their GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise covers all products made with their fabric by trusted partners. It is limited to the “useful life” of the product, which they determine. In our experience, this guarantee saved many of us at NV lots of money by repairing items that we would have had to replace. It’s definitely worth a look if you need outdoor gear repair for your Gore-Tex stuff.
This is a great company with great products. A shirt I had purchased at least five years before had frayed along the bottom hem. Even though their guarantee claims they do not warranty against normal wear and tear, the customer service rep agreed this shouldn’t have happened. I fully expected to pay their “reasonable fee” to repair it, but they sent me a brand new replacement shirt at no cost.
I own quite a few items from this brand and have only had a problem with one jacket, when it lost the ability to effectively repel water. Despite their more limited lifetime warranty, they took it back and replaced it with the newest model, no charge.
Their All Mighty Guarantee is just as the name implies. In the US, Osprey will replace any damage to any pack they’ve ever made, regardless of the reason. If they can’t repair it, they will replace it. I’ve used this warranty on one of my very favorite packs and it is as advertised. They fixed the handle returned it to me as good as new. In fact, I suspect they cleaned the whole thing as well. It looked much better than when I sent it to them.
The Infinite Guarantee is much like Osprey’s warranty, but it covers the “life of the product.” They don’t seem to go into much detail on the website, but none of us have ever had a problem with it. They replaced an older jacket with the newest model due to water repellent issues. When I had issues with the hood on another jacket, they offered full retail credit toward anything in their online store. It’s a solid warranty and their support center is very helpful and knowledgeable.
I like their Ironclad Guarantee, even though they claim, “Damage due to wear and tear will be repaired at a reasonable charge.” No one at NV has had any trouble returning something that didn’t work for them, myself included. In short, they’re a solid brand that stands behind their wares.
Other Great Warranties
The above list is just a start. There are many other great guarantees out there. While I don’t have direct warranty experience with the following brands, I know people who do. Many of these companies offer similar lifetime warranties. If they don’t cover the repair, most will fix wear and tear damage for a very reasonable fee. In any case, it would be worth checking out the following: Arc’teryx, Camelbak, Eddie Bauer, Filson, Granite Gear, Jansport, Kelty, The North Face, Therm-a-Rest, and Tortuga.
If you don’t see a brand on this list, that doesn’t mean they won’t help you. It’s always worth checking their website or calling their support center. Most of the good ones will find a way to help you – especially if it means the item won’t end up in a landfill.
Option 2: Original Manufacturer Repairs
As I mentioned above, many manufacturers will repair their garments and gear at a very reasonable price. This option ensures you get top-notch outdoor gear repair on your critical items. In some cases, we’ve had manufacturers fix our out-of-warranty items for nothing more than the cost of shipping. It’s well worth checking with them before you go it alone.
Option 3: Local Repair Shops
Finding a local shop with the expertise to repair your technical equipment may be a challenge. However, many mom-and-pop tailors can fix zippers, straps and other fasteners. We’ve had great luck with some of the local dry cleaners. Many have a seamstress on staff all the time. In fact, we once brought in a bag with a broken zipper. She fixed it in an hour and didn’t charge us anything.
Best for: Fixing minor items like zippers, snaps and straps
Finding a Local Gear Repair Shop
These might seem a bit elusive, but there are likely more gear repair shops near you than you think. Look for:
- Tailor shops
- Dry cleaners with an on-duty seamstress
- Awards shops (those that offer embroidery)
- Dress makers
- Costume shops
Look on Craislist for Gear Repair Service
You might also consider looking on Craigslist, under Services to find a local gear repair shop. Use search terms like “backpack repair” or “fix a sleeping bag zipper.”
If you don’t find what you want, try placing an ad. I once found a local sewing professional to make a product prototype. She worked out of her house, so I never would have stumbled upon her otherwise. Better yet, it was less expensive than having the same item made by a specialty shop and the quality was equal or better with more personalized service. You might find the same experience for a repairing a backpack strap or fixing a tent seam.
Option 4: Online Resources for Outdoor Gear Repair
There are many online resources for outdoor gear repair. These range from specialized technical repair companies to simple Etsy vendors. We’ve listed a few below we’ve used.
Best for: Reasonably priced repairs when the manufacturer can’t help or is too expensive
Boulder Mountain Repair
Based in Boulder, CO, Boulder Mountain Repair has fixed over 30,000 items. They know technical fabrics and they can work with waterproof textiles and treatments. Check out their repairs page for more information.
The Gear Fix
This shop is based in Bend, OR – one of the meccas for outdoor activities. The Gear Fix offers a full menu of outdoor gear repair services. If you’re in the area, stop by for a quote. Otherwise, check out their online price sheet and ship in your items.
Rainy Pass Repair
Rainy Pass Repair is located in Seattle, WA; but you can ship your items in for service. They have a pretty simple repair menu with general pricing. While not cheap, they do quality work and they know how to work with technical fabrics.
Repair Lair can handle most outdoor gear repair. Out of Minneapolis, MN, they work with a wide variety of fabrics. If they can’t fix it, they will tell you who can.
This is another Bend, OR company and they know outdoor gear repair. Rugged Thread is socially responsible, creating living wage jobs and trying to keep textiles out of landfills. They’re a solid option. Contact them for a free quote.
These guys know everything about tent poles. They can fix broken supports, fabricate new ones or create something for a custom project. Bottom line: If you need tent pole repair/replacement, check out TentPole Technologies. Enough Said.
Outdoor Gear Repair - Final Thoughts
So there you have it. Four different ways to get more life out of your old equipment. Even if the warranty has expired, you still have options for outdoor gear repair. Why buy new when you can save money and space in the landfill.
If you have more suggestions, we would love to hear them. Leave your thoughts in the comments.