The folks at Sugru stumbled across a camping checklist of ours where we list duct tape as a camping essential, and they sent us some of their moldable glue to rock our world. Forbes calls Sugru “21st Century Duct Tape,” so I went for it. Here’s a walkthrough of how I repaired some camping and outdoor gear with Sugru. Read more to find out if my duct tape heart has changed.
Basically play dough for adults, Sugru is versatile and comes in a variety of colors. Two important things to note for campers: this stuff is waterproof and heat-resistant (up to 24V). It’s also dishwasher proof, saltwater proof, and electrically insulating, which should give you an idea of what it’s capable of. Luckily, if you’re unhappy with your handiwork or want to try again, it’s removable too. They say you can stick it onto ceramics, glass, metal, wood, and most plastics and fabrics. I set out to see what Sugru can do for campers who cook over fires and get caught in the rain.
In my wild search for broken things I use while camping that I was going to pitch, I decided to use Sugru to bring my Moka Pot, speakers, backpack, and tent back from eminent death.
1. Mending the Moka Pot
My Moka Pot has seen better days. When I’m car camping, I like to warm my hands with a cup of coffee in the morning. Unfortunately, the handle doesn’t like this ritual as much, as you can see from the slightly melted handle.
The pot still does its job, but I must admit I was keeping an eye open for any Bialetti sales. With most of my gear on its last legs, I decided to give Sugru a try.
How it works:
1. Clean your hands
2. Cut open the foil pack
3. Roll the Sugru in your hands
4. Squide it onto something: mould and shape it for up to half an hour
5. Use toilet roll to clean your hands
6. Leave it on for 24 hours and it’ll turn into rubber
My packet of 8 single use packs didn’t come with black, so I opted for the bright orange to match the pot. After rolling the Sugru into a ball, I shaped the Sugru onto the melted handle to heat-proof what was left.
I think this is when my obsession began. I spent about 5 minutes on this project, and I’m no longer in the market for a new one.
2. Curing the Speaker Cord
A frayed cable is heartbreaking. I usually keep my phone turned off during a camping trip, but halfway through a hike returning from backpacking, a podcast helps me keep momentum. These speakers were another item I was ready to add to my holiday wish list, but the good folks at Sugru have guides for repairing cables so I gave it a go.
I taped the cable up in a desperate attempt to salvage these speakers a while ago. I cut the tape off and shaped the Sugru around the cable. Sugru turns into rubber after 24 hours, adding strength to its flexibility.
I smoothed the Sugru by rolling the cable in my hands.
When I showed a friend my handiwork, he didn’t realize I put anything on it because it blended right in. I was lucky with the colors, but Sugru hooks you up with so many different colors it’s easy to find one that works.
After 24 hours, my speakers are repaired and I am very happy. With electronics, you’re good to go with anything up to 24V. To put things into perspective, my speakers were 5V.
3. Putting Back the Backpack
My trusty backpack that I’ve had for over four years had a busted zipper, so I followed a Sugru guide on how to create a new one while simultaneously creating a simple ID tag for traveling.
First, I fixed a paperclip onto the zipper. Easy enough.
After rolling the Sugru into a ball, I flattened it out to stick onto one side of the paperclip.
Then I smoothed the extra Sugru around the other side of the paperclip for a paperclip burrito.
With my fingernail, I pressed in my initials. Adding a pop of color is great for identifying your luggage at the airport.
After 24 hours, the Sugru turned to rubber and I’m finally able to use that zipper again. Have a broken zipper on a coat or tent? I recommend trying Sugru before you invest in a new one. This project took me probably 5 minutes, making me regret throwing out things with broken zippers in the past.
4. Resurrecting the Tent
This was my last Sugru experiment, and even as I cut the pack open, I had no hope. This is a pretty big hole in the mesh part of my tent. Definitely one of those things where I could deal, but I didn’t want this hole to grow out of control. What would Sugru-ed mesh look like?
You know the drill. I cut the pack, rolled the Sugru in my hands, and opened another pack because the hole was too big. Then I asked for an extra hand. At this point, I’m still unsure about what I had in mind. I’m questioning my decisions.
I ended up with this. With two packs, we patched the hole. Time will tell, but I think this will stop the hole from growing and continuing to tear. Luckily, I don’t have any holes in the tarp material part of my tent, but it seems that Sugru would work really well on that material.
All in all, I want to keep coming up with ideas for Sugru projects. The possibilities are endless.
For campers, these little packs come with a lot of punch. I’m considering investing in some just to have around, maybe even to slip into my pack before I hit the road. It takes 24 hours to really turn into rubber, so it’s not ideal for quick trips but could work if you’re camping for a prolonged period of time. Of course, if you just want to repair or improve gear while you’re at home, this will do the trick.
Do your research if you’re testing Sugru’s limits in terms of heat and electrical situations.
For me, I only started to see what Sugru can do. As you can see, my experiments were fixes. I’d like to dig into improvements and how Sugru can make what I’m using now more convenient, like knife handles that actually fit my hands or some kind of hack to rig my flashlight up to my tent like a camping chandelier. This product is really easy to use and I’ve made some things I use all the time last even longer with this stuff.