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My wife and I have hiked something more than 2500 miles in the Sierra Nevada and other parts of the West.  We've backpacked for years and years, and we are as experienced a pair as you are likely to find on any given day on the trail.  So what could possibly go wrong? 

Well, on our last trip, just as an example, we had a few misfortunes.  My toothbrush broke.  It was a source of some amusement to see me trying to brush my teeth holding the stub of the brush with both hands and still reach the teeth in the back of my mouth.  

And my sunglasses also snapped above the ear.  No worries, we had packed duct tape--except that for some reason I had switched lip balms, and the supply of duct tape was wrapped around the old lip balm tube, not the new one.  That's OK.  We also have adhesive tape in the first aid kit.  In fact, that tape came from my parents' first aid kit...and let's see...my mom passed away how many years ago? 

So It was tape, but it wasn't adhesive.  hmm.  Luckily, we still had a few small band-aids, and a couple of them, wrapped around a twig as a splint, fixed the sunglasses at least enough to get him home.  Just a reminder that it pays to make sure all your gear is newish...and that you've also got a back up!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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Aaron Zagrodnick

Nice fix! I've been updating my small repair kit as of late, a few items can go a long way towards repairing most anything (at least for a good enough field fix). However, perhaps I do need to check to make sure that tape I haven't used in years still sticks... :) 

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I am terrible about replacing miscellaneous stuff that I have used on a trip.  After leaving myself missing stuff because of this, I have finally trained myself to do a quick inventory of all of my small repair and first aid stuff before heading out.  Running out of the little things can make me fairly miserable at times.

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  • 2 years later...
Michael aka Mac

I got my Trail name given to me a long, long time ago,  and it seems  that even if people never met me before or knew of my Trail name, their name for me always seems to be  the exact same as my original Trail name given, MacGyver.

Prior to that tv show,  one would call someone that could fix something without the actual replacement parts  a "Sunday Mechanic" : a guy that could jury rig a solution when all the parts stores were closed  using whatever he or she could find around them.

My Nana's eyeglasses had one of its' screws fall out and got lost, so I shaved part of a toothpick and jammed it where the screw was then cut the rest of the toothpick and viola her glasses were fixed ( 4 years later she was still using it with the toothpick fragment still inside holding them together)

Another friends eyeglasses broke and I melted a toothbrush handle to mend the frame.

A flashlights battery contact spring broke off and I used a pen spring and some super glue to make a new one.

A emergency radio on and off switch broke and used a stripped garbage tie and super glue to bypass the switch so we could listen to music.

And my personal favorite,  my college lost electricity during a severe winter snow storm and only had emergency lights working.  I hot wired into the light switch and was the only student watching TV or listening to music  ( we were all broke in college and no one had batteries for walkmans)

Knowing how to fix your gear is a very useful trade skill, but knowing how things work in general and being able to manipulate them is equally useful.

But the best way to prevent these kind of situations is what Balzaccom is inferring,  check your gear prior to going out on your adventure.  You wont see a paratrooper skip checking his or her chute prior to jumping,  knowing ahead of time that your gear is in tip top shape will save you from a lot of chaotic circumstances.

Let me add one more thing,  always test your gear out prior to going out on your adventure, whether you just bought it the day before or have owned it for years.  Just because something is new, or because something has been reliable for years, it does not mean that it is currently going to be adequate when you go out on your trip.

Edited by Michael aka Mac
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