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A Beginner’s Guide to Backpack Repair

by , February 13, 2017

James Kamo digs backpacks, crafting and design. So much so that he founded Rucksack Village in order to make custom backpacks. And knowing how to build them means he has solid knowledge for repairing them too, so we asked him to share a beginner’s guide to backpack repair.

Backpack repair

I think the first action we need to take when buying something is making sure we need it in the first place. A lot of times we buy stuff impulsively, but yeah, there are times we buy stuff because we actually need it. I’m writing this for those times we buy things to replace something we already own. It could either be because it’s broken, or it doesn’t serve that purpose you initially bought it for, or you’ve used it super hard and it’s worn out beyond repair. I’m specifically writing about backpacks but the philosophies can be relevant for a jacket, wallet, pair of jeans or any other material thing really.

“I think the first action we need to take when buying something is making sure we need it in the first place.”

guide to backpack repair

There used to be a time when it was very normal to repair, modify or reinforce your pack. This was when backpacks were used more for hiking or climbing rather than for school or work. People would add things to make the pack more useful for their specific needs or subtract things that weren’t so useful to keep the pack lighter. They weren’t afraid of doing invasive things involving sewing needles, thread, spare fabric; “cutting” into the pack.

“People would add things to make the pack more useful for their specific needs or subtract things that weren’t so useful to keep the pack lighter.”

Guide to backpack repair 2

Now when something in a pack breaks that you feel you didn’t cause, you might be the type of person who instead of just buying a new one contacts the brand, and gets them to replace your pack free of charge since there’s a lifetime warranty on it. I think that’s a fair action, one I might even take myself, even though I have more of a means to repair a pack since I make them for a living.

Guide to backpack repair 3

There are many instances where we cause the damage ourselves. So why not treat the backpack with the same respect as a car? Sure, a car is more expensive so you might think it’s more of a reason to repair a broken car over a broken backpack, but it’s more about consuming less. It’s more about taking care of everything you own, regardless of the price. So if there’s a hole in your pack caused by a bear attack, sew a patch over it. If you want to be able to carry your sleeping bag on the outside of your pack to not take up the precious room inside, sew on some straps with buckles into the seams. If you’re worried about the durability of the pack, maybe you can paint acrylic paint over the hard-wearing places to give it more strength.

“If you want to be able to carry your sleeping bag on the outside of your pack to not take up the precious room inside, sew on some straps with buckles into the seams.”

Guide to backpack repair 4

“If you’re worried about the durability of the pack, maybe you can paint acrylic paint over the hard-wearing places to give it more strength.”

Sure, these repairs, modifications and reinforcements might not be as easy as taking out your wallet and buying a replacement, but if we keep doing the latter, more waste will keep accumulating, and that’s not good for anyone.

*pack featured in the hero image is the Fjallraven Kanken. 

  • http://www.ismono.com Youknowthebo

    What a great article! Thanks!!!

  • Nick

    I’ve been thinking of adding a handle to my Chrome Citizen for years now, and advice?

    • james kamo

      Hey Nick,

      If you email me at rucksackvillage@gmail.com I can give you a detailed answer, or we can skype and I can help you figure this out!

      Cheers!
      J

  • MTZ

    great! thanks! didnt know the acrylic trick

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