With winter settling in and paddling season winding down for most, it's time to store your paddling gear and dust off the winter sports quiver. Before putting your paddling gear away, however, I encourage you to take a moment to give your gear the love it needs to continue loving you. That, after all, is what this blog post is all about, love. Love for yourself, love for paddling and love for the paddling gear that loves you. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to care for your gear and what you should be looking for before you hang that gear up for the long winter months.
- Start with a full clean of your paddling gear. This is an important step and should be done at the very least once a year. Cleaning your gear goes a long way to extending your paddling gear life expectancy and overall performance.
This nifty little cleaner is great for drysuits, dry wear, wetsuits, and neoprene accessories you might have in that smelly gear bag. The best part is how simple it is to use! Fill a washbasin with water and add a cap full of shampoo to the basin. From there give it a quick stir and drop your garment into the basin. Give it a thorough sloshing to make sure the garment absorbs the water/shampoo. If you have any tough mustard/ketchup stains from that hot dog eating contest you can use a cloth to scrub them out. From there give the garment a thorough rinsing with cold water to remove all the suds and soap.
If my super simple instructions were too tough to follow check out this great video from Gear Aid.
If your gear is extra smelly you can then wash your garment with Revivex Odor Eliminator. Again, this stuff is super simple to use, fill your washbasin with water, add a cap full of the odour eliminator and give it working in the basin. When done rinse with cold water and boom! No more stinky gear!
The last thing to do here is to hang your garment up to dry. DO NOT PUT YOUR EXPENSIVE GEAR IN THE DRYER YO! I’m serious don’t do it, just put your garment on a hanger and let it air dry. If you want to speed things up, you can point a fan at it for a little more air circulation but that’s it!
- Next, do a re-proofing of your paddling gear (this does not apply to neoprene). This step reapplies the oh-so-important Durable Water Repellent layer that beads water off your waterproof/breathable garment. This is especially important for the whole breathability aspect of your gear so don’t skip it otherwise you’ll be stewing in your stinky sweat every time you wear that piece. I know it’s gross and unnecessary so re-proof your gear!
Like the previous step, this stuff is straightforward to use. With your garment still hanging just remove the cap and spray your garment down. Then leave it to dry for at least 48hrs. Once again here is the all-caps disclaimer about drying your gear. DO NOT PUT YOUR EXPENSIVE GEAR IN THE DRYER YO!
For you visual learning folks here is yet another simple to follow video, just skip the last step, you know the one that completely contradicts the above all-caps disclaimer about you NOT putting your expensive gear in the dryer. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
- Now that your gear is clean, smells nice, and has a fresh DWR layer it’s time for a visual inspection of your garment. Start with an inspection of the outside of the garment looking for any holes, tears, abrasions, and general damage to the face fabric. Let’s say for example during your inspection you come across a small tear in the face fabric. Don’t panic, this can be easily repaired at home with…wait for it…simple to use Tenacious Tape Repair Patches. See the trend here, I like simple things, they make life…well, simple.
The tape patches are pretty self explanatory, just remove the backing to expose the adhesive and apply the patch over top of the damaged area. Just in case here is the video for you!
Now let’s say you come across a straight-up puncture on your garment, also don’t worry Papa has some advice to save the day. All you need to do is use two patches of the Tenacious Tape. First, apply a fabric patch on the outside of the garment overtop of the puncture. Then flip that thing inside out and apply one of the clear patches on the interior centred over the puncture. Voila! Your uncle is now Bob and your gear has been repaired.
- Once you’ve completed the outside inspection of the garment and made any required repairs, it’s now time to flip that thing inside out and give it a thorough interior inspection. Start with latex gaskets if your garment has them. Look for any holes, knicks, or cracks in the gasket.
If you need to replace a gasket you have a couple of options. If you’re a DIY kind of soul you’ll need a replacement gasket and some aquaseal. Below is a how-to video on gasket replacements done by our in-house repair expert Matt. Fun fact about Matt he has a ponytail (or “bun” as he like to call it) and likes open boat whitewater canoeing.
If you’re like me and hate doing repairs yourself because you’d end up gluing your fingers together permanently, I recommend our repair services. We’re happy to offer repair services, for more information head over to our repairs page.
- Once you’re done with your gasket inspection, it’s time to look over the seam tape in your garment. This is a simple visual inspection in which you’re looking for any areas of seam tape that are lifting or no longer glued to the fabric. Seam tape can begin to lift if your garment doesn’t get dried out properly between uses. It’s important to rinse and hang dry (out of the sun) your gear between uses. If you notice any areas of seam tape lifting mark them with a coloured pencil, a nice colour that pops like red or magenta or whatever colour makes you happy.
Once you’ve marked all the seam tape problems with your colourful pencil you can start with repairs. Again, if you’re the DIY type it’s a simple repair that only requires a clothing iron and some patience. The glue used on seam tape is heat activated and can be reactivated with a little hot hot heat. Start by turning on your iron and adjusting it to a cotton setting, give it some time to heat up properly. From there it’s easy, just run your iron over the seam tape until the tape has stuck to the garment. IMPORTANT TIP: KEEP THE IRON MOVING! Seriously if you leave it in one place for too long you risk burning the fabric which is no good. A burn is easily avoided by keeping that hot iron moving.
If the above makes you nervous and you prefer to have a long-haired open boat whitewater canoeist with steady hands and expert knowledge in repairs do it for you, just head over to our repairs page to book a servicing.
Well folks, that concludes our blog journey together, hopefully, you felt the love and learned how to love your gear so that it can continue to love you in return for years to come. I’ll wrap up by saying that I love you, yes you stranger reading this blog post about repairing gear. Go forth with this newly acquired knowledge and spread love all over the world.
Patrick Quinney – Sales Manager