Repair Gear or Replace It?

Duct tapeThere’s a classic philosophical quandary called Theseus’s Paradox. Imagine you get a hole in your sock, so you decide to repair it. Obviously, it’s still the same sock, it just has a patch on it. Let’s say that you keep repairing that sock year after year after year; you’ve darned that sock so many times that every single fiber has been replaced. Is it still the same sock even though none of the original material remains?

Some philosophers would say yes, it’s the same sock, while others would say no. Really, the answer shouldn’t matter, because if you are working your socks that hard you should probably replace them before you have to wonder whether or not it’s the same sock.

If you put outdoor gear to use, it’s going to need to be repaired or replaced at some point. However, how do you know whether the gear can simply be repaired or if it should be replaced? To make that decision, examine your gear and ask yourself a few questions.

Does the damage affect the performance of the gear? Sometimes damage to gear can be superficial, or cosmetic. It won’t look pretty, but it will still get the job done. However, if the damage affects the performance of the gear, you should think about repair or replacement.

How easily can the damage be fixed? Sometimes gear can be fixed with a little needle and thread, a patch, or some seam tape. If your gear can restored with a simple repair, it makes more sense to fix it than to replace it.

How long will your repair last? Depending on your skill-sets, your repairs might be temporary. If you have the ability and equipment to sew ripstop nylon, your repairs will be top-notch and last a long time. If your repairs are made with duct tape, your looking at temporary quick-fixes. If your repairs can’t restore the functional integrity of the gear, you should take the gear to someone who can, or look to replace it.

How much will it cost? Of course, there’s a financial aspect to this decision as well. It’s cheaper to buy some seam tape than to buy an entirely new rain jacket. Determine how inconvenient the damage is, and how much you’d be willing to pay to fix it.

The decision to repair or replace gear will be different from person to person. Just keep those questions in mind and make the best decision for you. Some people will drop a hundred bucks to replace a rain jacket with a tear in it, others will spend five to patch it up, and still others will just let it be.

It’s important to take good care of your gear. Clean it, be mindful of your surroundings, and store it properly to get the longest life out of your equipment. We have everything you need for gear maintenance and gear repair here at Uncle Sam’s, and if you’re looking to replace your gear, we can help with that too.

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