DIY Gear Repair & Maintenance

Did you know that keeping clothing in use for an extra 9 months can reduce related carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%? Many of our Staffletes have a piece of equipment or garment that has a rip, running thread, or stain on it which means they’re pros at extending the life of your gear. Casey and Jen are sharing some of their favorite tips to repair your gear’s life.

Patching Gear with Tenacious Tape: 

Patagonia jacket with hole on sleeve laying on a deck with a pack of patches on it.Patching small holes in technical outdoor equipment with Gear Aid’s Tenacious Tape! Tenacious tape is made of magic (I’m almost positive) and can fix nearly anything! I once used it to repair a hole in my hydration bladder on a long bike ride. I didn’t have an option to dump water and I accidentally punched a small hole in the bladder and the water was leaking fast. I always keep tenacious tape in my bike pack for stuff like this, it was a lifesaver. Here’s how I patched my wife, Allie’s, Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket.


Gear Aid’s Tenacious Tape & the gear you’re repairing. Allie’s Patagonia Nano Puff has a hole in the sleeve–not a huge deal but some of the Primaloft insulation was coming out:

1. Tenacious Tape comes in fun shapes and colors. There is also a Gore Tex option available for anyone who needs a small repair on Gore Tex gear. Find the patch that covers the entire hole or tear.

Gear aid patches in different shapes and sizes.

2. Once you pick your patch, just stick it on and voila! No more leaking insulation.

Patagonia sleeve with a grey tenacious tape patch in the shape of a star where the hole was.

Nikwax waterproofing and cleaning solution for technical gear

Nikwax works for all technical materials including down, fleece, synthetic insulation materials, wool, etc. I will be cleaning my synthetic 20 degree sleeping bag. Using Nikwax tech wash helps restore the sleeping bags loft for maximum warmth. Cleaning with Nikwax tech wash allows for the water-repellant solution to bond to the fibers of the bag making for a bag that stays drier for longer periods of time. Plus, it’s super easy to use since you can use it in your washing machine!

For Top Loading Washers:

  1. Place maximum 6 garments in the washing machine.
  2. After the machine has filled, 5floz/150ml for 1-3 garments, 8floz/250ml for 4-6 garments. Add an additional 50ml for hard water areas.
  3. Set cycle to Heavy and Warm. 1-3 items: low water level, 4-6 items: medium water level.

Front Loading Machine Wash:

  1. Remove all detergent from detergent dispenser.
  2. Place maximum of 2 garments in washing machine.
  3. Add 3floz/100ml of Tech Wash®. Add an additional 50ml for hard water areas.
  4. Set cycle to Synthetics and Warm.
Sleeping bag that's wrinkled and flat.
Before Nikwax: Wrinkly and squished.
Sleeping bag that's been washed with Nikwax and is wrinkle-free and lofty.
After: Clean and full of loft!

How to repair a wetsuit tear:

Wetsuit with a tear at the neck.

Items needed: 

  • Wetsuit cement/neoprene cement 
  • A brush applicator (optional, recommended)
  • Junk mail or newspapers 

The drying time may vary depending on the product you’re using so be sure to double check that and follow their suggested times. 

Here are the steps: 

  1. Acknowledge your athletic prowess; you are such a beast that you couldn’t sacrifice your swim time to stop and get out to use the facilities.
  2. This project is going to be a stinker and not because you just had a bowl of chili. The neoprene cement needs to be used in a space with good ventilation. Find an outdoor space and lay your junk mail or newspapers out. 
  3. Ensure the neoprene suit you are repairing is clean and dry. 
  4. Shake/stir the neoprene cement well before using. 
  5. Squirt or put a small dollop of the neoprene cement onto your newspapers or junk mail. Only as much as you think you will need because it will start to dry up quickly. We will add more to a separate area on the paper as we need more.  Neoprene Cement, newspaper and scissors.
  6. Apply the neoprene cement on both edges of the tear. (Using a small brush to apply it makes it easier.) This will be the base of our repair. Allow to dry. The product I’m using says 5 minutes. Use this time to look at photos of yourself in a wetsuit and marvel at how great you look. 
  7. Squirt/put another small dollop of neoprene cement in a different spot than the first one you did. (The original squirt/dollop will be too tacky or dry to use by now.)
  8. Apply a second coat on top of the now dried first coat and allow to dry for an additional 10 minutes. I know...only another 10 minutes to marvel at how great you look in a wetsuit is not enough time to appreciate the greatness but that’s all the time we have. 
  9. Press and hold the edges of repair together. I like to do this for about 1 minute. You can also gently pinch the edges together.

The tear in my wetsuit is at the neck which is an area that is repeatedly stretched and stressed when I don and doff it so it’s a bit more prone to tearing again. The following steps are optional but I find it makes the repair job stronger. 

  1. Put a 3rd dollop of neoprene cement in a different spot than the first 2 you did.
  2. Paint a layer over the tear that extends beyond the tear itself so that it bridges both sides of the neoprene. Let it dry then repeat this on the other side of the tear as well as the edge.  Wetsuit with neoprene cement
Once you’re finished using the neoprene cement, make sure you seal it tightly so it doesn’t dry out and store it in a cool, dry place.


  • Megan Ayala says...

    @Ron Lichty Shoe Goo and duct tape is our go-to for patching holes in our shoes.

    On April 29, 2020
  • Ron Lichty says...

    I have a patching problem. Hole in the inside of the toe box of my cross-country ski boot. Must have jabbed the pole into it hard. I tried Shoe Goo (I think that was what the stuff was called. Didn’t hold long. Asked my car guy (I think I was thinking tire patch and my shoe guy – neither had any idea. The boots are cross country, to some flex but also pretty hard – and the hole has feathered and isn’t small (if it ever was). Ideas for a patch that would hold? (They’re my comfort boots!)

    On April 17, 2020

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