Weekly Travel Hack: Fix Your Backpack with Dental Floss

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Weekly Travel Hack. In the last edition we learned some simple motorcycle hacks to save you from hassles you might figuratively or literally run into on the road. This week’s hack is going to help me cross off one of my New Years Resolutions to repair the ripped strap on my Gregory Baltoro 75 backpack.

The best Travel Hacks are the ones different strangers in different lands bring up to you again and again. These are like the holy grails of Travel Hacks. This week’s hack is indeed one of those holy grails.  It’s the Dental Floss backpack hack. Time and again backpackers from all over the world have sworn to me that if you get a tear in your pack or a strap hit it with some dental floss, so that’s what I did.

Dental floss is an ass kicker, it kicks the shit out of cavities & tooth decay and it is also just about the strongest widely available threading you can get your hands on. That’s right; dental floss makes SUPER STRONG thread and apparently it will hold up for a long time.

The cool thing about this hack is it requires only two things that are both small and you should be carrying around in your backpack anyways. Since your backpack is your baby on the road you need to be able to fix it and keep it functional at all times no matter what the circumstance, which is much easier than you might suspect.

First, you’re going to need some dental floss and a thick needle, neither super expensive nor hard to find objects. 

*Every backpacker should carry some sort of small sewing kit; you’ll end up using it far more than you’d think. I ran out of thread in my first one I used it so much. Also, it’s good to have one bigger sized needle to use on thicker items like a pair of jeans or in this case my backpack strap. Usually you can buy those separately; I bought a small pack called Singer Heavy Duty Hand Needles, which I used on this project.

My strap hanging on for dear life.
My strap hanging on for dear life.

Next, you just thread the needle with the floss and get right to work.  Given that I’m repairing a weight bearing part of my backpack and dental floss is super cheap I used the be-jesus out of it.  I don’t want this baby to ever snap again. 

No such things as overkill in my sewing vocabulary.
No such things as overkill in my sewing vocabulary.

Also, pushing the needle through a thick piece of fabric like a nylon backpack strap can be hard on the thumb and fingers so if you don’t carry a thimble around like me (I’m a weirdo) then you can use a coin between the back of the needle and your thumb to help push the front end of the needle through. If you are still having trouble getting the needle through bust out the pliers on your multi-tool and once the pointy end is through grab it with your pliers and pull it out from the other side.

And Walla!! You have fixed your backpack with simple cheap abnormally strong dental floss! Until next time, may your backpacks stay stitched and your travels be hacked!

Next entry: Vietnam Motorcycle Diaries

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