Repair kits

I just found an ad for West System’s “Plastic Boat Repair Kit.” And it made me curious about what you all bring with you on a long river trip. How about for a FG or kevlar boat?

I’m usually packing some plastic sheeting, some two-part epoxy, some kevlar cordage for stitching and lots of good quality duct tape. What else do you folks carry?

Rather than the duct tape, you might…
want to consider packing tape.

We were in shallow river race a few years ago, and several of the light weight canoes ended up with holes punched in them.

The duct tape washed right off after a few miles.

A high end paddler says that the only stuff he carries is packing tape which won’t come off as easy.

Since then, that is what we have been carrying with us.

Jack L

Gorilla tape

– Last Updated: Feb-11-12 9:59 PM EST –

Put the duct tape on steroids !

This is also a solution - RecRepair

Second the gorilla tape
I found a correctly sized plastic spool and wound mine onto that so it doesn’t fall apart if wet. We also carry the aluminum tape used for heating ducts it sticks as well as gorilla tape. I carry the epoxy putty instead of glue in case I need to plug a hole. Also some wire, nuts, bolts, cotter pins, assorted zip ties, screws w/rubber washers for foot pegs and spare parts for rudders.

Good luck


I’m going to get some Gorilla tape …
… have never used it before but believe what you all have said about it being good duct tape … emphasis on “good” .

I’ve been disappointed with duct tapes I’ve purchased in recent years . Everyone seems to be less sticky , tears too easily , and cold performance is poor .

I just quit buying it from the stores . Almost ran out of duct tape . Started keeping an eye out when at flea markrts for some high quality stuff . Have managed to find a couple short rolls but my supply is low . Gorilla tape sounds like it will solve that issue . Hope it does cause I’m tired of dealing with junk duct tape .

There are aluminum tapes that one finds in the reg. hardware stores also that IMHO are just as much junk as the ducts tapes I’ve bought from them . The best I’ve used has the stick quality you want plus it’s reinforced with nylon weave under the silver back . I know were to get that stuff but I have to go to the HVAC commercial supply co. to get it , which isn’t close . The best duct tapes I’ve bought were also purchased at the commercial HVAC supply co. , they were pretty good .

Dental Floss
A surprisingly versatile small package of tough stuff.

Rudder issues can be a pain in the rear and simple

dental floss saved one of my trips in my kayak.

Tape and Wire
my repair kit is very limited. Duct tape, bailing wire, and string. And a multi-tool.

The only repairs I’ve had to make on trips were repairing a canoe seat that broke (lashed a branch to it) and a canoe that I rented which started leaking through a poorly repaired gash in the hull. The duct tape held up fine for two more days on the river. I did pull up on shore, turn the boat over, and clean and dry the hull before taping, and it was moderately warm, but the tape still looked strong when I returned the boat.


My problem with the West kit is that
it is set up for a one shot repair. If I’m going to take epoxy along on a wilderness run, I’ll take West’s G-flex which mixes at 1:1 and has high adhesion. For cloth I would take fresh 6 oz glass. I don’t see much merit in using Kevlar on field repairs. It’s only good for the inside of the hull. Polyester boat cloth makes a good repair material, though you must roll it to avoid creases.

I carry a kit with me
in a peanut butter jar. Contains:

Some Waterproof Duct Take (get the kind that works underwater) and a bit of Gorilla Tape

A tube of marine epoxy for plastic

folding scissors

matches, spoon and a stick of hot-melt glue

the usual cotter pins, zipties, razor blade, safety pins, hose clamps got paddle-shaft.

The thing about tape patches is you need to cut the patch into an oval shape. Square points and threads make the patch come off!

If I get a crack, I can stop-drill the ends with a phillips screwdriver or the hole punch bit on my multi-tool or swiss army knife. Put the tape inside, press well with hot spoon, then melt the hot-melt glue and force it into the crack from the outside.

Smooth with razor blade and cover with another tape patch. Heat the spoon and press the tape and it holds better!

Of course, my kit is designed for a plastic rec-boat.

Sea kayaks would need somethign to repair broken rudder and cable. Fiberglass kayaks would need a bit different kit.

I looked at my boat and asked, If this broke, how could i fix it on site?

Repair kits are for emergency repairs tro finsih the trip, permananat repairs can wait until i get home.

Duct tape
Is the only thing I carry in my composite boats. I did have to use it once which saved a week of paddling. I have an ancient roll of duct tape when it was still made good which holds very well under water. I have found a lot of the products labeled duct now a days are garbage unless it says its weatherproof.

Thank you
You guys are great. Thanks for the good ideas.

Emergency repairs
Nobody mentions missing hatch covers. Half way through a 6 week Nova Scotia trip we lost a rubber hatch cover fortunately I carry some heavy duty vinyl sheeting. After cutting to shape secured around hatch rim with 2 extra large zip ties. If your boat has removable hatches you’ve got to be prepared to improvise. Also I never leave home without my G Flex great stuff!!

funny repair story
Last summer, as we approached Low’s upper dam on the Bog River Flow, one guy’s kayak seemed to be sitting low at the stern. We had been kidding him about bringing too much gear (including a camp chair strapped to the deck), but as we attempted the carry, we quickly figured out that his boat was too heavy because the stern compartment was flooded! After a few colorful words on his part and emptying out of much wet gear, we discovered the problem: a 3-sided gash near the end of the keel, with about a 1/2" opening where the plastic was pushed inward. Somewhere on the Potomac back home where we had paddled a couple weeks earlier, an underwater rock was laughing.

We completed the carry and sat down for lunch at the dam, as we contemplated how best to repair it and not jeopardize the trip. One of the fellas was snacking on some Babybel cheese when the light went off in his head – the wax casing on the cheese was the perfect moldable material with which to fill the hole! A few Babybels later and the puncture was well sealed with wax, followed by a couple strips of Gorilla tape. The repair was watertight and held nicely for the rest of the week.

We now plan to install Rec-Repair strips on all our plastic boats as a protective layer on the vulnerable part of the keel, as well as carry a couple patches of it for field repairs, in addition to the Gorilla tape.

That’s ingenious! (nm)

What’s in my kit
Here’s a video link to my sea kayak repair kit: