By BENJAMIN ROMAN
Hole in your canoe? Cracked paddle blade? Broken pack frame? The Rec’ Repair Emergency kit from CRG Industries (kits from $14.99, www.recrepair.com) promises to be an all-in-one, field-usable fix for these potentially trip-ruining calamities.
Last week I put it to the test to see if it could match its claims.
The heart of the kit is a rigid, heavyweight plastic patch with adhesive backing. When heated to about 200 degrees, it becomes rubbery and moldable, so it can be cut to size and formed around your broken gear. As soon as it cools, the adhesive sets and the patch hardens.
Rec’ Repair Emergency Patch Kit
You don’t carry a heat gun on your overnight trips? No problem, the Emergency Kit is actually a foil-lined bag with an MRE-style chemical heater (just add water), which readies the patch in 10 minutes. The kit also contains alcohol wipes to prep your busted equipment, and liner gloves to protect your hands.
To avoid purposely destroying any of my outdoor gear, I simulated some field conditions, and the Rec’ Repair kit was darned impressive. First, I chopped a golfball-size hole in a large plastic bucket, then patched it using the heater bag to prepare the patch. As soon as it cooled I filled the bucket with water, and sure enough, it held tight — I poked it, flexed it, and left it overnight, and not a drop escaped.
Although the patch is designed for nonporous surfaces like plastics or metals, I pushed a little further and tried it on rough wood. Wrapping the patch around a broken wooden rod, it still did pretty well — certainly well enough to fix something like a broken tent pole.
Extra patches ready for emergency use
The Emergency Kit comes in a small size with a 4“x6” patch (5.3 ounces) and a larger 2-patch size (9.3 ounces). The patches alone are also available in assorted sizes for home use, and the manufacturer states they can be sanded, drilled and painted when applied. The only drawbacks are that the patch material is flammable, and the chemical heater is a bit tricky to use (especially for a first-time user in a field situation).
But the kit is a clever way to make the patch usable on the go, and the patch itself definitely lived up to its promises.
The bottom line: A clever patch system for adventurers, great for saving mangled gear at home or in the field.
—Contributor Benjamin Roman is a writer and design consultant from Venice, Calif.