How to Fix a Broken Backpack Strap

Picture this... You are on a hiking trip with friends and family in the Appalachian Mountains. The trip is arduous and you are carrying a lot of gear such as tents and sleeping bags, and people are depending on you because you are an experienced hiker. But suddenly, your backpack strap gets snagged on a branch and snap! The buckle is broken. There is not much you can do about it either; it has come off and you are now at the mercy of the fellow backpackers.

You can either; 1 — Wait for fellow backpackers to offer you help (such as distributing your stuff among themselves, 2 — Carry your backpack all the way back to the rest stop and hope someone will have useful advice or, 3 — Fix it on the spot and resume your hike. After all, your backpack is the most useful of your kits, and what good it is on a trip if it is not doing its job properly!

There are a few ways you can repair a backpack strap, and the most ideal way to go about it would be sewing the strap back on, using double threads. But as it goes, not all of us are adept at that art, and all thumbs when it comes to sewing. In this article, we will read about how to fix a backpack strap, learning how to fix a backpack strap without sewing and how to sew backpack straps.

Before starting on a trip that would require you to hike, camp or trek a lot, make sure you carry a set of repairing essentials with you, possibly in a separate backpack zipper or compartment. You never know what kind of issues you might encounter on your trail.

How to Sew Backpack Straps

So your shoulder strap broke off while taking the backpack off, or because you were carrying too much load. There is nothing to worry about, you can easily sew it back on using a simple backstitch technique. This not only saves you from packing your backpack up and sending it away for repair but also the cost of buying a new one. At the same time, it also saves you a lot of time. Let us start with this guide about how to sew backpack straps.

Tools Required

These are the tools you will need to sew the backpack strap back on.

  • Needle
  • Nylon upholstery thread (you require only a little, depending on how wide your strap is)
  • Nylon cloth (approximately 2 x 5 inches)
  • Scissors

First off, empty off your backpack completely. This is required to hold the backpack in a position that is comfortable for you, and so that the straps are aligned properly. If you can remove the frame sheet as well, that is good too. Keep the backpack aside for now.

Fixing a Backpack Strap by Sewing It

  1. 1
    Thread the needle with the nylon thread and align the two ends of the thread. This is to ensure that the thread does not slip off while you are going about sewing. Once this is done, trim off the extra thread off.
  2. 2
    Cut off the frayed edges or any loose threads off the shoulder strap of the backpack.
  3. 3
    Now, take the nylon cloth and align it with your backpack strap, folding it over the edge. This will act as a protecting cover for the edges of your backpack strap. Make sure that the two edges of this piece of cloth are aligned.
  4. 4
    Using the needle, start sewing the edge of the backpack strap to the piece of nylon cloth. While sewing, take care that the nylon thread is going through and through the strap and the cloth, and it is not too close to the edge. If it is too close to the edge, it may slip off and make this exercise pointless.
  5. 5
    Once you have gone around the edges of the strap and the cloth, you will need to close the stitch. Different people have different methods of doing this, but we will tell you the easiest way. Push the needle halfway through, take the thread, wrap it around the head of the needle (the sharp end) and pull the needle all the way through.
  6. 6
    Remember, depending on the size of your backpack and the width of your strap, you may need to replace the thread more than once, so it doesn’t hurt to keep some handy.

You have secured the end of the backpack strap. Now we shall proceed to attach it to the backpack.

  1. 1
    If required, thread the needle with more nylon thread. Remember not to thread too much, because it may get tangled while sewing.
  2. 2
    First off, you need to align the backpack strap to the end you are going to attach it to. This should be along the shoulder of the backpack.
  3. 3
    Keep the strap in place and aligned by keeping the pressure on it, and start sewing. There are many types of stitches that can achieve this, but adventure experts world over suggest that you do this by using the backstitching method. This type of stitch is not only very durable and reliable, but it is also redundant.
  4. 4
    Once you are done covering all sides, push the needle halfway through as we described before and loop the thread on the pointy side, ensuring a tight knot on the spot. Do this is a few times to secure it completely.

Once you are done doing this, cut off any loose or frayed ends at the edges, hence securing your backpack from any further damage. This is the first technique on how to fix a backpack strap. 

How to Fix a Backpack Strap without Sewing

When you are going to fix a backpack strap, you need to consider a few things. The straps are usually attached to a lot of things such as sliders, buckles and even straps. When a backpack strap happens to be detached, these attachments have a tendency to fall off and get lost.

As we already saw, sewing the backpack strap on is not a big deal if you have the right tools handy. If you have them at hand, you will always be prepared to fix the backpack strap right back on.

If you know how to fix a backpack strap in a pinch, you can take on any problems that might bother you later.

Your backpack strap will show signs of wear and tear just where it is attached to the backpack because you can actually see the threads loosening, making the straps look limp. This is a sign that your backpack is in need of immediate repair.

Fixing Your Backpack with Duct Tape

  1. 1
    First off, remove all items from your backpack and lay them neatly in order, in case you have maintained one. This will ensure that the tapes do not stick to any of your accessories. Some tapes leave a residue and are later difficult to get rid of, so keep this in mind.
  2. 2
    Clean the edges of both the backpack strap and the part where it has detached thoroughly with a damp cloth.
  3. 3
    Leave the strap and bag for drying, and wait until it is completely dry.
  4. 4
    Cut enough of the two-sided tape so that it more than covers the area where the strap used to be. Now take your time and push this tape gently inside the gap, making sure enough of the tape is sticking inside it and grips the sides perfectly.
  5. 5
    Now insert the backpack strap inside (just enough of it and not too much because it will disbalance both your straps), and hold it tight, applying pressure with both your thumbs so that it grips the fabric gradually and firmly.
  6. 6
    Using the duct tape, cover the entire area, but not over taping it, or else it will simply slide off.
  7. 7
    Staple the area where the two ends are meeting. You can do this as many times as the space permits, the metal staples will hold the fabric and the tape together firmly, leaving absolutely no wriggle room!

Remember that this is a quick fix, and should be done only if you are on the move and you do not have access to a needle, thread or scissors. The duct tape fix should be only considered temporary, because no tape will stick to fabric forever and has a tendency to slide or tear off, causing further damage.

Remember that wear and tear is expected and eventually, and you should be prepared for such a situation. But now that you are aware of how to fix a backpack strap in a jiffy, these tricks will get you out of a sticky situation. We will list a few essentials you should carry with you if you think you may need repairs on your trip.

Carry a Backpack Repair Kit

Keeping a repair kit with you at times when you are hiking will not only keep you prepared for emergencies but also save you a lot of money in case your gear fails. You should keep this repair kit with you at all times, in your backpack or your car. So the next time something like this happens, you should not be reaching for your wallet, but this repair kit, which contains ordinary household items, but comes very handy in a pinch.

This portable and versatile will take care of any major disturbances, or minor irritations.

Sewing Kit

The saying “A stitch in time saves nine” could never be truer. We know by now that just a duct tape is not a permanent solution to any wear and tear. Some repairs, like the topic of this article, are better done with a sewing needle and old-fashioned thread.

Look for a sewing kit that contains all the essentials; a thimble (necessary for those with clumsy fingers, for protection), sewing needles, buttons (you never know when they can come in handy!), a set of strong threads and straight pins. You can buy this kit off the shelves, or fashion one on your own. You can replace the ordinary threads with nylon upholstery thread.

Scissors

The scissors you pick should be lightweight, durable and sturdy. Many manufacturers make them available in folding models. These are excellent for quickly snipping any excess thread and trimmings. Some of the product also come with blade guards so that you do not cut your hand while rummaging in the tool kit. Almost all of them are available in stainless steel models so they are safe from rusting.

Tenacious Tape

This marvelous product is usually made from fabric that is used in tents and features a high strength adhesive. This type of tape is excellent for making quick repairs to plastic surfaces, neoprene, vinyl, rubber, polyester, nylon, canvas, and even leather. Keep a roll of this stubborn tape handy for nearly any kind of quick repair, it is a backpacker’s greatest friend, because it can also be used to repair water-resistant gear. This tape is freely available in standard roll format or pre-cut patches and is very effective in stopping any rips that are in the danger of spreading.

Knife/ Multi-Tool

A must-have item in any backpacker’s kit. If we start describing the usefulness of this accessory, we will fill pages upon pages. A lot of manufacturers produce knives that (apart from the knife) have a lot of useful tools, such as bottle openers, cane cutters, and some models even feature scissors and nail filers. Other knifeless multi-tools have rulers, screwdrivers, pliers, wire-strippers, hard wire cutters and many others (some as many as 15!). Most of these products are suitable for all-weather conditions and come with a lifetime warranty.

Pocket Torch

A great tool if you have to make repairs in the dark. These come in many variants, such as battery operated, solar-powered or even a dynamo powered setup. Others act as burners after you simply attach them to an ordinary pocket lighter and these can be used to blend objects together or repairing tears in harder-to-tape objects. And well, they are also great for night hiking!

Spare Buckles

Buckles on most backpacks are made of ordinary plastic that are susceptible to breakage or damage, and most backpacks feature more than one buckle. Some of them are really important for back and hip support. Having a couple of them in your repair kit will save you from making makeshift repairs.

Duct Tape

What can we say about this versatile and strong tape that is readily available and can patch up backpacks tents and other harder materials? You can bundle, join and seal heavy objects and bonds pretty well on rough surfaces, seals out moisture and can resist abrasion and wear. Though most duct tapes leave a residue after removal, some newer, improved quality tapes claim to leave no trails behind.

Zip-Ties

These are as versatile as the duct tape and as useful. These can be attached to buckles and other gear, or to tighten up loose bundles and create more space in your backpack. They are also pretty useful to secure gear if you are carrying it on the outside of the backpack. They can also be used to string loose items that are jangling in your backpack (such as keys) and can be used to organize any cables you may have.

Super Glue

And last, but not the least, this nifty item can be used for quick, fast repairs. It works on most surfaces, dries pretty fast and the more hardcore backpackers also use it for first aid or foot care (though it is not recommended and for these purposes, you should always carry a medical kit).

Conclusion

Here concludes our guide to how to fix a backpack strap. However, to avoid breaking them altogether, it is important that you choose the right backpack for you that covers all the bases. Backpacks are sturdy, but none of them are built to last forever. But if you make your selection carefully and know how to care for it, it will last you a long time. Knowing how to fix a backpack strap is great, but wouldn’t it be great if you don’t have to?

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