New Year, New Gear: 5 Signs It's Time to Repair or Replace Your Outerwear

The new year is a great opportunity to lay plans and set goals, and if you are planning an active outdoor season, you should take the time to go through your outerwear and other gear. Money is tight for many people right now, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your hobbies. Renewing your current gear is cheaper and less wasteful than buying new gear every year or so.

You can get your outerwear through another season by repairing the clothing or enlisting the help of someone close to you that is able to sew DIY outerwear. With such endeavors you may be able to extend the lifespan of your outerwear. On the other hand, there are a few instances in which your gear is just too worn to be of any further use.

Not sure if you should repair or replace? Here are the most common failures of active outerwear, how to repair them, and when to know it is time to just replace the coat or other gear.

Worn out or loose insulation

Your coat, hunting jacket, or fishing vest has insulation that will wear out over time. If the insulation is coming loose, you might be able to repair it successfully with the right type of durable thread. When insulation is too worn to be effective, you may be able to give the outwear item new insulated fabric for the lining.

If the seams are coming loose and there is deterioration of the outer fabric, sewing a new layer of insulation may not be possible. If the fabric you are trying to attach to is also worn too much to take a stitch, you need to get a new one.

Waterproof coating has worn off

Most outerwear for the active outdoorsman is coated with a waterproofing agent that helps the item stand up against the elements, including everything from heavy storms to falling out of the fishing boat. You can purchase a waterproof coating replacement, but you need to follow the directions carefully for it to be effective.

Hardware damage may be repairable

zipper that has broken can easily be replaced to prolong the life of the item. If the zipper functions but has come loose from the seam, evaluate if the fabric is strong enough to reattach the zipper. If not, you’ll need to get new outerwear.

Any other fasteners that have broken or come loose can also usually be replaced individually rather than throwing the item out altogether. Webbing that has ripped or come loose can also be replaced fairly easily, but make sure the fabric you are stitching to is still viable or it will simply rip again with the first use.

Loosening elastic causes a poor fit

No matter how well you treat your clothing, elastic is bound to wear out eventually. Even though you don’t wear your outwear often, it is still needing to stand up to some abuse. Loosening elastic is rarely a reason to buy new gear. Replacing it is easy, cheap, and can significantly extend the life of your outerwear.

Worn or faded high visibility strips are unsafe

Having high visibility strips or other visibility features sewn into your outerwear is extremely important. You need to be able to be seen and recognized as human by other hunters, other fishers, or in worst case scenarios, rescue teams. Thankfully, it is easy enough to get new reflective fabric strips to sew onto your outwear. This is also a great idea for upgrading any of your other gear that is not as visible.
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