Review: Gear Aid Repair Products

Gear Aid must be a greedy gear company’s worst nightmare. Their huge assortment of gear-repair products can extend the life of just about any outdoor equipment—raincoats, tents, rafts, down jackets—you name it. And here in the O/B office, we were in dire need of exactly that when a care package showed up on our doorstep. We tested out a handful of Gear Aid products and were thoroughly impressed. Here’s the scoop on a couple of our favorites that should be part of every gear junkie’s at-home or field repair kit.

"Down coats have many wonderful qualities, but durability ain’t one of ‘em. Hence the small gray squares peppering every puffie that’s seen any amount of hard use afield. Duct tape is great for emergency repairs, and it lends one a certain outdoor authenticity; but even better are Tenacious Tape Hex Patches ($5). Pre-cut in various sizes, these babies are longer-lasting, less-obvious Band-Aids for your down jacket—and also your raincoat, drybag, tent, or any other item made of nylon, vinyl, or rubber. Stash a packet in your vehicle for quick repairs in the field, and another at home for that surprise tear you discover as you’re heading out the door." —Mike England

"More than once I’ve been camping, enjoying a night under the stars, only to find myself on the cold hard ground atop a deflated sleeping pad. Usually, I suck it up and shiver without the added layer of insulation, but I won’t have to anymore with the Aquaseal FD Repair Kit ($10). Open up the screw case, which fits in any small, zippered pocket, and out pops Aquaseal, a brush, two patches, and a field guide to making almost any kind of minor repair you can think of. With the Repair Kit, you’re prepared for pinhole leaks in inflatables, peeling felt soles, leaky waders, and other quick fixes that you might face outdoors." —Fischer Genau

"Used to be that when my puffy jacket lost its warmth, the only option was to throw it away and buy another. Now, I can keep all my soft goods kicking well beyond their expected lifetime with both Revivex Down Cleaner ($12) and Tenacious Tape ($7). Who cares that I look like a Bozeman hipster version of Frankenstein’s monster? At least all my gear is still functional and in one piece." —Adam Brown

"Packrafters know how annoying—and hard to fix—pinholes can be. Tape doesn’t seem to cut it, and who has the time to stop for two hours to let glue dry? That’s where Aquaseal UV Repair Adhesive ($9) comes in. Pull over to a shady spot, squirt a drop on the hole, then either put it in direct sun for a few seconds to dry or hit it with a UV light (yep, I carry one in my patch kit for precisely this use). Tenacious Tape also works miracles on packrafts. It sticks, even when a little damp, and can at least limp you into camp for a more permanent repair. I keep a roll of it (and precut patches) in my emergency kit." —Eli Fournier

"When a raincoat 'wets out,' it becomes a soggy mess to deal with, not to mention it loses its waterproofness. To freshen up a raincoat or pair of waders, Revivex Durable Water Repellent ($10) is easy to apply from a spray bottle, making for quick work before or after a big trip into the mountains." —Eli Fournier

"Come turkey season, I like to camouflage my shotgun—given my substandard calling, I can’t offer a gobbler any other opportunity to blow my cover. After my first season, when I spent an hour prying off sticky tape remnants, I switched to a soft, self-cling fabric, basically a camo version of Coban first-aid wrap. The stuff’s great, but it ain’t cheap, and after a long season in the woods, it tends to lose its cling. Not so with Camo Form ($16)—not only does this stuff cling tight, but it can be removed and re-used, season after season. Not the best profit strategy, but it’s made me an unpaid ambassador for the company, so I imagine it all works out in the end." —Mike England

"All whitewater boaters know the first thing to go on a dry suit is the gaskets. They crack, stretch, or break all together, long before the rest of the garment wears out. To help protect those precious, thin pieces of rubber, use Gear Aid’s Silicone Lubricant Spray ($11). A quick hit is all it takes to lubricate and prevent oxidation, corrosion, and drying out. For a few bucks a bottle (which will last a couple years, at least), you could save yourself hundreds down the road." —Eli Fournier

"The Akua River Knife ($30) is a versatile piece of boating gear. It has a serrated edge for quick line-cutting, a blunt tip (good for prying), bottle opener, and—my personal favorite—a designated paracord slot so you won’t lose the thing. The Akua has a relatively long profile compared to other knives I’ve had in the past. The removable belt clip is strong but slick. Make sure she’s fastened tight to whatever you’re lashing it to." —Corey Hockett

"Seam Grip WP is a mainstay in my gear-repair kit. Whether I'm sewing a pair of climbing pants or patching a hardshell jacket, a brush of this waterproof adhesive keeps the mend strong for years to come. I paint it along the stitches, or along the edges of a patch, which drastically increases the lifespan of my repairs. I've even used it as a standalone glue for a blown-out drawstring seam along the waist of a puffy, and it's lasted even longer than the factory glue did." —Jack Taylor

We beat our gear to death in the O/B office, but thanks to Gear Aid, it’s now possible to extend the life of our garments, tents, rafts—anything, really, for years longer. Do yourself a favor and pick up some of their top-notch products, and save a few bucks on gear in the long run.