Trail Fixers – October 2019

October 23, 2019

Regardless of what kind of vehicle you’re driving or riding during an overland adventure, or maybe even before you leave home, one thing is certain: Stuff breaks, and if Murphy is standing by your side, you won’t have a replacement. You will have choices: Live without it, fix it, or worst case scenario, start walking or set up camp. Over the years, we have discovered a few amazing products that we would never leave home without. Experiment with them a bit when it doesn’t matter. A little imagination and a touch of MacGyver goes a long way before you throw your hands up in the air.

A quiet camp overlooking the vineyards of the country of Georgia between Turkey and Azerbaijan along the Silk Road.

A quiet camp overlooking the vineyards of the country of Georgia between Turkey and Azerbaijan along the Silk Road.


Fiber Fix Wrap  

FiberFix Wrap is especially useful for repairing round objects like shovel or axe handles, tent poles, fishing poles, water pipes or any shape than can be wrapped. Combining industrial-strength fiber and a specialized resin into a wrap, it will bond with woods, plastics, metals and PVC or almost anything. It hardens like steel. Claimed to be non-toxic, it does come with rubber gloves. It is water activated, sets in 5 minutes and fully cures in 20. It comes in seal packets of 1”, 2” and 4” wide strips about 3 feet long. We repaired pick and hoe handles with good results.


Gorilla Glue

Gorilla Glue is a legend. It will work where other glues may fail. Its water activated polyurethane formula expands into materials to form an incredibly strong bond to virtually anything. Because it’s like heavy syrup, it can reach difficult places. It’s 100% waterproof. It does need to be clamped. Once on a lengthy backpacking trip, the stitching on the side of my boot completely failed. I applied Gorilla Glue and weighted it down with a couple of big rocks overnight and it held well until we reached civilization where the boots could be replaced. It sets in 20-30 minutes of clamp time, fully cured in 24 hours.


J-B Weld 

J-B Weld is the original cold weld two-part epoxy system that provides strong, lasting repairs to metal and multiple surfaces. Mixed at a ratio of 1:1, it forms a permanent bond and can be shaped, tapped, filed, sanded and drilled after curing. Because of its ability to withstand temperatures up to 600°F and its tensile strength of 3,960 PSI, it is ideal for serious mechanical repairs. It sets in 4-6 hours with a full cure in 15-24 hours. J-B KwikWeld is a fast setting version of the original J-B Weld. It sets in about 6 minutes and is fully cured in 4-6 hours.


RapidFix Dual Adhesive   

Rapid Fix 2-part Dual Adhesive System is basically a high-tech super glue which can work well by itself. When mixed with RapidFix welding powder, it can fill cracks, gaps and holes and can be drilled, sanded and painted instantly. The moment the welding powder comes in contact with the adhesive it turns rock hard. It bonds to plastics, metal and rubber in seconds. You can build with it—a little adhesive followed by a little welding powder and then a few more drops of adhesive. If anything breaks, Rapid Fix 2-part Dual Adhesive System is usually one of first products I grab.


RapidFix Fiber Patch UV   

We were looking for a way to patch big things like plastic/fiberglass fenders, canoes/kayaks or even a hole in the side of a camper. RapidFix Fiber Patch is an extremely durable fiberglass re-enforced self-adhesive polyester fabric repair patch. One step. No mess. It cures in 5-10 minutes with an optional UV lamp or in bright sunlight, 50 minutes on a cloudy day. It can be drilled, sanded and painted in less than an hour. It will bond to all surfaces except Polypropylene (PP). It comes in 6” X 6” and 9” X 12” sheets packed in a re-sealable aluminum pouch, so you only use what you need.


RapidFix Liquid Plastic UV  

A bit of UV magic, RapidFix Liquid Plastic UV is another amazing glue, except that it’s not really a glue. It applies like honey or a gel, but it doesn’t run so you have control. It bonds to plastic, metal, glass and wood and can fill cracks, holes and gaps. It cures in 20 seconds when you shine the special UV flashlight on it. Think broken sunglasses, taillight lens, jewelry, loose screws, frayed electrical wire or a small hole in your tent or rain fly. When cured, it’s crystal clear and can be filed, sanded and painted.


Shoe GOO/E6000 

Shoe GOO/E6000 are similar products and both have multiple applications beyond shoe repair. They are excellent adhesives, but each has interesting limitations that you need to read on the tube before using. Shoe Goo is slightly thicker. Once we had a big cut in a tire. We filled it with Shoe GOO and parked it overnight on a piece of wax paper. It kept the cut clean for months. Both products can be schmoozed out to form a waterproof seal, but E6000 warns against applications that are exposed to sunlight. If Shoe GOO repairs your Tevas or your Birkenstock sandals once on a long trip, it has paid for itself.


Loctite Stripped Thread Repair

Loctite Stripped Thread Repair is not something you need every day, but if you need it, it can be worth its weight in gold. The product comes in a two-part tube for easy mixing and a release agent once the epoxy is set. It will adhere to most metals including aluminum, iron, steel, brass, magnesium, and copper. It is resistant to most solvents including engine oil, diesel fuel and gasoline, but is not recommended for use with brake fluid. Initially it sets in five minutes and can be used after 30 minutes. With a temperature resistance of -65°F to 300°F, it has a wide range of applications.


Elmer’s Glue-All & Glue Stick

Good old fashion Elmer’s Glue is probably one of the first products you would always see in our stationary box. It bonds to most porous materials like paper, cloth, and leather, and also to semi-porous materials such as wood and pottery. For wood or pottery, like that broken coffee cup handle, it should be clamped for 35 minutes before use. Its little companion, the Glue Stick, is just a great tool for sticking post-its or other notes where thumbtack won’t work.


Premium Silicon Glue

Premium Silicon Glue (by GE) is great for general household/camper repairs and craft projects. It adheres to glass, metal, plastic, rubber, ceramics, fiberglass, painted services, and wood. It is permanently waterproof flexible and shrink and crack proof, which makes it ideal for sealing around windows. It’s much easier to apply than the heavier ShoeGoo but perhaps not quite as strong. It’s basically clear, tack free in 30 minutes and fully cures in 24 hours. It has a service temperature rating of -60°F to 400°F. You can clean up excess with mineral spirits, but being careful to apply it only where you want it is easier. A few paper towels could be handy. It also sticks to skin.


Fix-it Tapes 

While tapes are not really glues, they often work hand in hand with them, as a quick clamp, a backing, or maybe just a third hand when you need one. Duct Tape sticks on most stuff, doesn’t like long exposure to weather and can leave gooey residue sometimes. Gaffers tape is more expensive, but it has many uses as temporary clamps for nearly everything. It does not stretch like other tapes, sticks on everything, can be removed and used again and leaves no mess. Blue masking tape is cheap and just plain handy for holding repairs together, backing a glue repair or even a quick bandage. In case you wondered, Duct Tape was Originally Named “Duck” Tape and came in Green, not Silver. Duct tape was invented by Johnson & Johnson’s Permacel division during WWII for the military. The military specifically needed a waterproof tape that could be used to keep moisture out of ammunition cases.



2 Responses to “Trail Fixers – October 2019”

  1. I think I read some of those on your previous posts before but they are well worth reading again. Most i had not heard of before. Thanks for the share, ted

  2. Very usefull info, many thanks.

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