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Tools You Don't Need. And Some You Do.

Those expensive multi-tools are beautiful little things, combining knife, saw, screwdrivers (both phillips and slot), pliers, and just about everything you could possibly want in a tiny little package, albeit a heavy one. We have one that our daughter gave us that is truly a work of art. But in a recent backpacking discussion, we started thinking about the things that had broken when we were out in the woods.

Here's where and how we solved a few of those problems:

Broken zipper on tent door. Sewed and safety-pinned that door shut, then used the door on the other side for the rest of the trip. Good thing the tent had two doors.

M's pack tore open at the bottom. The problem was that there wasn't quite enough material in the seam. We re-sewed it with dental floss...and it has now carried us hundreds of miles.

P's Crocs split at the heel. We lived with this one through the end of the trip, then patched it up with duct tape. And we refresh that tape every year!

Water filter plugged. Yeah--this one was on a spring hike with very high, muddy water. And we didn't have a backup filter. We melted snow in our pots and bottles by putting them in a black bag and leaving that in the sun.

Bug netting on our tent got torn. Yep--another job for P and his trusty sewing kit. Tent is good as new, more or less.

Scariest of all: Almost ran out of matches! We each thought the other had packed them...we ended up with ten matches for five days. And we made every single one of them count!So looking at this, the most valuable tool we had was a sewing kit...and now we carry two BIC lighters!

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