What's the best way to fix a small tear, maybe an inch wide in L shape, in an Alice pack? I haven't used in a while 'cause of the tear, but I figure I'll patch it up, replace the one or two loose rivets on the frame, and put it to use.
Any ideas on material, thread, etc.?
05-31-2008, 04:57 PM
No patch necessary if the ends of the tear aren't frayed too badly and can still be pulled together. Just use the heaviest nylon or polyester thread you can get. The heaviest thread is designed to be used with leather or canvas, try to find this. I like to make my repairs in a contrasting color such as red so I can keep track of them rather than trying to hide the repair by using the same color thread. A few stitches at each end of the tear to prevent it from getting worse then a simple blanket stitch to close the tear. If you want to reinforce it with a patch you may want to turn it inside out and iron it first to give you a smooth surface to work with and then patch the inside. There are denim patches that have adhesive to attach them in place when pressed with the hot iron. Then you sew the tear through the patch as described above as well as sew the edges of the patch to keep it in place because the adhesive isn't permanent. The patch, if you use one, should have at least an inch border all the way around the tear. A blanket stitch is just a loop that goes in one side then comes out the other. It's called a blanket stitch because it is also used to hem the ends of blankets, but in that case the loop just goes around the edge rather than through the other side of a tear. Don't forget to pull the stitches tight and tie it off at the end. If you go to a sewing shop to buy the thread I'm sure there will be someone there to show you how to do your repair.
05-31-2008, 07:31 PM
Alan K, thanks for the feedback!
Question, and I'm sure you know this, but the pack is a Cordura/nylon material; are you sure I can iron this without it melting or shrinking?
Also, do you know if I can find a decent, thick polyester/nylon in common stores like Walmart, Kmart, Sears, etc.?
05-31-2008, 11:30 PM
I was thinking of my old canvas ruck. Forget trying to iron or use self adhesive, iron on patches. You may be able to glue the torn edges back together or melt the edges together with a soldering iron while holding a piece of something heat resistant under it that you can press hard against. Or it can still be sewn but you'll have to get a heavy gauge needle to penetrate this material. Try a canvas needle or upholstery needle.
06-01-2008, 12:33 PM
If you are more worried about strength than appearance try this.
Use a match to hold a flame near the frayed edge of the tear. The material will melt and ball up. Try this with a scrap piece first to get the feel. What you want to do is seal the edge so it will not continue to fray and pull apart.
Now do your sewing repair as Alan suggested. It will be stronger and last longer.
At the sewing shop ask for carpet thread it is the heavy stuff, and make sure you get needles that have an eye large enough to take the heavy thread. You’re not sewing a prom dress here. Larger needles make the job a lot easier. Fishing line also works well. In the field I used a lot of dental floss. (Ever tried to break that stuff?)
I always carry a needle and thread in my wallet. Just stick the needle through a business card to keep track of it and notch opposite ends of the card to wrap some heavy thread around. You will be very surprised as to when and where this can come in handy. I once made a field expedient repair to a young ladies shoe, a strap broke, that saved her evening. Another time it was used to repair an evening gown. Like Red Green says, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they’d better find you handy.”
You can iron nylon, just use the synthetics setting on your iron and keep it moving.
06-02-2008, 09:01 AM
Ranger Z, thanks for the additional info.!
06-02-2008, 10:02 AM
Dental floss should work just fine for thread and you can back it up with a patch if necessary.
06-02-2008, 12:25 PM
Throw it away and get a new surplus....they aren't that expensive...
06-02-2008, 04:28 PM
[QUOTE=caver;359616]Throw it away and get a new surplus....they aren't that expensive...
Sure you can do that now but it's nice to be able to maintain your equipment in the future when there aren't any surplus stores.
06-02-2008, 11:03 PM
The tear is way too small to justify trashing the pack and, with the exception of paper napkins, I don't usually buy disposable stuff. Besides, now I can't recall whether it's my Alice pack or my LLBean, but repair would be the same (thicker nylon on LLBean).
06-02-2008, 11:36 PM
The beauty of modern milsurp gear is that you can pretty much repair or replace all the parts and it still functions and looks fine. Unlike my civvie pack which had ONE key part fail and the whole thing is useless so it got replaced by ALICE.
06-04-2008, 01:35 AM
Knowledge and Skills are the two most important things you can have. The best way to get both is through hands on practice. Don’t think that just because you have read about how to do something you can do it. Even if it sounds simple. Shooting a gun sounds simple. Just line up the sights and squeeze the trigger. But I doubt that anyone on this forum believes that you can do it effectively without a lot of practice.
Fixing and repairing things can be as important as knowing how to use your rifle. If you blow out the sole of your boot or break the strap on your HO Chi Minh sandals how far do you figure you can get cross country barefoot?
Practice fixing and repairing your gear now so you KNOW you know how to do it. Even if it is cheap and easy to replace. Someday when you really need it, it might be impossible to replace, at any price.