A good friend of mine leapt up suddenly and stared horrified with wide eyes at the sleeve of his hardshell jacket. Such a wonderful ambiance around the campfire in the mountains was all at once ruined: “Oh no! My expensive jacket! I just bought it four weeks ago!” A quick look under the light of a head torch and we found the mishap. A small burn hole the size of a one-cent coin now decorated the expensive high-tech jacket. The good news with such a misfortunate accident: You can leave the needle and thread in your sewing box. Because if you do any stitching on your performance jacket, you’ll perforate the laminate with little holes from the needle ruining any waterproof ability. To repair holes or small tears, there are special repair kits available for GORE-TEX fabrics. But before you go out and buy such a kit, take a look at which membrane your damaged apparel has. Every fabric and all of the different colours have an appropriate repair kit with suitable adhesive patches. The advantage of these adhesive patches is how they are pre-cut. And these little patch kits don’t take any space in your pack, and you don’t need scissors or a pocketknife.
Instant repairs in the field, easy as pie
Clean the damaged area as much as you can if you’re out. Gently smooth out the outer material to get rid of any wrinkles or folds. Glue down the patch on the damaged area following instructions in the repair kit. Tests have shown that such a repair lasts for about five home launderings. When you are out on a tour or adventure, this is the simplest solution. If you are out without a repair kit with you, you can try this emergency solution that a friend showed me out on a rainy hike in the Scottish Highlands: He borrowed some duct tape, also known as gaffer’s tape, from a farmer nearby and stuck down a piece over the hole on the sleeve of his performance jacket. No, this tape isn’t breathable, but it certainly holds tight for a period of time.
Repairing your GORE-TEX jacket at home
Once home, you have other possibilities for a solid repair of the damaged apparel. Take a soft cloth and dampen one tip of it with rubbing alcohol. Carefully use that to remove any dirt around the hole both inside and outside. As described in the instructions, apply the adhesive – remember, it’s essential not to create any wrinkles when you actually apply the patch. Be sure to press it down firmly both inside and outside, carefully keeping the fabric smooth since water could come in via a wrinkle. Now allow the repair to dry for about 24 hours, depending on the manufacturer. Glued patches last significantly longer than self-adhesive ones. For larger-scale damage or if you don’t trust yourself to do your own repair, head over to a specialist outdoor or sport retailer. Retailers can send the product to the manufacturer for repair. Take a look here to find a list of repair centres. This will extend the life of your GORE-TEX jacket and save you money too.
Reattach loosened seam tape before water gets in
Seam tape is vital in that it covers seams and ensures that water can’t get in. So it’s important to reattach it if it comes loose. The simplest thing is to re-glue seam tape that has come loose. If you notice any seam tape peeling up or loosening, first clean the area well, hen reattach it with a special fabric adhesive. Well-stocked outdoor and sport retailers have quite a bit of this tape on hand if you need more. Be sure to re-glue the tape before it completely unravels or frays and becomes unusable. With most fabric adhesives, it’s necessary to apply pressure to a newly glued area to allow it to set. To do this, just put something heavy on top of the spot. Of course, it’s even easier if you just use self-adhesive tape. No matter what type you use, what’s key is that seams are repaired before it’s too late. At that point, sending the product to the manufacturer or taking it to the experts won’t help. Even better: Enjoy the campfire wearing a jacket that won’t be quite so damaged by a flying ember.