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emergency repair kit


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Hi everyone, I'm trying to put together an emergency boat repair kit, and I'm wondering what are the generally used/recommended items, esp. what do folks recommend for field emergency repairs. I've heard all kinds of advice about various kinds of tapes, etc. Any input is greatly appreciated!


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I took a quick look at Tom's website, and could not find a link to any bot repair list. I myself am relatively new to the boat repair kit concept, but I will try to share what I know. The key is to determine how much of a boat repair kit you want, and this is typically determined by a couple of factors:

- Who are you paddling with (are they likely to need help with a boat repair)?

- Where you will be paddling (short paddle in safe waters or multi-day paddles in hazardous conditions)?

- How much are you willing to carry with you on every paddle?

Like any equipment list, you need to determine your own priorities to determine which items you will get now, and what you will accumulate later. I find it helpful to start with a simple list of what can actually break, and how you would fix it. Then prioritize the materials based on factors that are important to you, such as: failure probability, item availability or cost, item size, practicability of repair in the field, etc. Here are some things to consider for the list:

- You mentioned the discussions about various types of tape and their uses, so let's leave that as it's own separate discussion

- Chamois cloth to dry around a patch area to help the tape stick

- Hatch cover - there are manufactured replacement hatches, or simply keep a contractor-grade trash bag and tape or bungee handy

- Deck line and deck bungee (most boats can accommodate section repairs, and do not require replacement of the entire system)

- Skeg cable (there are a number of designs out there, so maybe just to repair your own?)

- I have seen someone who actually carries spare hardware to attach the skeg cable to the skeg, but that also seems manufacturer specific

- Zip ties (also known as cable ties or straps) are a really handy think to keep around

- Multi-tool with screwdriver tips, knife, scissors, needle nose pliers, etc. can be really helpful for more technical repairs

- I have seen a 2-part epoxy as putty form that activates when kneaded together - maybe a bit advanced but something to consider.

- A float bag (typically used in kayaks without bulkheads to provide floatation) may help with larger hole punctures or missing hatch covers

I don't think that you should just by whatever someone tells you to buy, and pack it away until you need it. There are plenty of good ideas out there, but there is not only one solution to every problem. You need to experiment with what works for you, which means practicing with different options. Try replacing a "lost" hatch cover with a trash bag for a day and see how well it holds. Put a "patch" on the bottom of your boat and see if it stays on, and how hard it is to clean the goo off when you remove it (which is why it is best to try it on your own boat). I am sure I am missing some, but this gives you an idea of what to think about. Prioritize the list of things that you might need, and decide if there is anything you can live without. Play with the the various things you choose, and then let us know what works for you and what didn't.

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filed repairs are just to keep you going, get you home, on the water. they aren't meant to be pretty - just functional.

self tapping screws, ratcheting driver, multi tool, sandpaper, nylon webbing, line, bungie, zip ties, nuts, bolts, thin cable/crimp ends, window flashing squares, 2 foot square thin neoprene, 2 part adhesive, float bags, paddle float, extra dry bags, spare paddles, lighter....various small bits/bobs, small rag....and DUCT TAPE. think that's about it. all in little nalgenes and in the repair bag. with the exception of the window flashing squares, everything goes in the day hatch....the squares are in baggies and go under my shirt when i am paddling....that way they're good and warm if i need them.

Edited by rick stoehrer
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Epoxy putty and Seal-Eaze (similar to window squares I guess) in my vest for small to medium holes. I can get that out in seconds and start working on a boat on the water if need be (probably not necessary most of the time but good to have just in case). Seal-Eaze works on a wet surface. I have most of what Rob put in his posting (except skeg-related stuff, which I would only bring on an expedition) in my day hatch.

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Hi Beth-

Folks have covered a lot of good points. I like to think of repair kit as an ever changing collection of pieces that work to what you (and your paddling buddies) are likely to experience. The average paddler might put a hole in a boat and that could make it hard to get home. On a day trip, loss of a skeg is probably not so disruptive.

Various tapes and a dry towel make patching a small to moderate leaky hole in the boat pretty straightforward. The plumbers putty/two-part epoxy putty is great if that hole is somewhere like the keel where where tape would get abraded. Emergency hatch covers and flotation are valuable if you lose a hatch cover (I accidentally let go of an untethered one at sea this year). And don't hesitate to get creative. The best solution to my dropped hatch cover event was a moderate size kids inflatable beach ball!

Also, consider your clothing and it's repair. A small tear in a drysuit when you slip on a rock might really screw up the day, but some gear-repair tape (like tenacious tape) would probably deal with the situation until you could get off the water.



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