Outdoor gear and footwear are expensive! It really doesn't matter whether you buy online, from a big corporate store or from your hometown family owned stores - outdoor gear and footwear are expensive. As an employee of NAO for almost four years now, I happily report that if you do happen to shop around for deals, you will be pleasantly surprised to find our prices are often less than online prices and big store prices. But don't take my word for it, please shop around and discover this for yourself. The gear and footwear you buy are really an investment towards comfort and usability, so we want you to make the most of that gear, so here are some tips that will help prolong the life of your purchases.
Did you know that washing your clothes too often and using too much detergent, shortens the life of a garment? The mixture of detergents, softeners, hot water and agitation causes wear, shrinking and stiffening of many fabrics. Tullia Jack, PhD student at RMIT University, challenged a group of 30 people to wear the same pair of jeans at least five days each week for a three-month period without washing them. They discovered that after all those wears, they "weren't visibly dirty and they didn't get smelly." Natural fibers are especially good at not getting smelly - I wouldn't go a week without washing polypro items though! Another benefit of washing your clothing after 2-5 uses, instead of just one use, can be seen in the amount spent on utility bills and detergent.
Hiking boots, and running shoes now have construction (eg. fabric welding, stitching and gluing) that's much more complex than similar footwear built a decade back. With frequent wear hiking and rain boots can develop holes, splits at the seams, pealing of fabric liners and detachment points along the edge and bottom of the soles. Shoe Goo, Aquaseal and Seam Grip are great adhesives that can be used on the stitching and where the uppers meet the sole to prevent or at least delay the onset of these problems. These products offer excellent adhesion, long lasting flexibility, superior traction and abrasion resistance, with minimal shrinkage, they are also temperature resistant, waterproof, and dry clear.
Ideally you should seam seal your shoes before you wear them the first time to make them more more waterproof, resistant to abrasion, and longer lasting. If you are sealing used boots, clean them thoroughly. You can use
isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol or McNett Cotol-240™plus Cleaner to prep the boots before applying the adhesive.
An old toothbrush and toothpicks can be useful in the process. You can also protect the toe box of your shoes by painting a coating of adhesive across the toe bumper area or by using boot bumpers from Red Wing, if you prefer a more professional look.
All of the great qualities that make Shoe Goo, Aquaseal and Seam Grip perfect for repairing or preventing wear in your shoes, also applies to prolonging the life of your outdoor gear such as tents, waders, bibs, gloves, boats, sleeping pads, sleeping bags, packs and more. These adhesives work on natural and synthetic fabrics, waterproof laminates, leather, vinyl, Neoprene, PVC, rubber, and more.
- Permanently patches holes and repairs tears
- Seals the seams on tents, tarps, backpacks, rainwear
- Washable and unaffected by extreme cold or heat
- One tube seals seams on an average 2-person backpacking tent
- Patch holes in air mattress or sleeping pad
- Coat bottom of down booties for winter camping
- Repair fabric holes and tears on gaiters from crampons
- Coat seams on new hiking boots
- Reduce slippage between sleeping pad and tent floor
- Adhere patches to fabrics
- Seam seal embroidery on Outerwear
- Use to repair or create rubber foot for tent poles.
- Use to repair or fill in cracks around the glass on motorboats.
- Use to repair cracked flowerpots.
- Non-slip flooring.
- Cracked water pipes, holes in aquariums
- Repair torn seats
Tenacious Tape is another great resource for the repair of all sorts of outdoor equipment such as infield repairs on tents, tarps, rain gear, fishing equipment and more. This clear tape has a super-aggressive stick but leaves no sticky residue. It can be cut to the right size, just allow a ¼ inch border for best results. You can also get pre-cut gear patches in neon colors or in black to make really fun repairs or for decoration and they are washable!