Badger’s Tip of the Week – Impromptu Kayak/Canoe Repairs

Badger’s Tip of the Week – Impromptu Kayak/Canoe Repairs

Badger Paddles’ Tip of the Week includes information on paddling, camping, portaging, boat transport, and maintenance tips, as well as any other information that we may find to be useful around our sett.

While we hope you don’t ever find yourself having to use these specific tips, we do believe the following information for emergency boat repairs is extremely useful to know…. because, well… you just never know!
Minor impromptu fibreglass/kevlar canoe or kayak repairs can be done while on a trip, even if you didn’t bring a proper repair kit with you. For a minor crack or leak, repair the area by carefully burning/melting some polypropylene rope and then dripping the liquid into the crack. Let cool.
Polypropylene can fix a small leak when
brought to it’s melting point.
For a larger hole or damaged area, seek out and respectfully harvest some Birch bark and Balsam sap from the surrounding forest.  Use a thin piece of Birch bark as a temporary emergency patch held in place with some gum from a Balsam tree. (If you do not have these specific species available to you, research your local flora and fauna to become familiar with substitute materials for those specified in this week’s tip.)
Use the “gum” from a Balsam tree as a sticky adhesive.
Use the bark from a Birch tree as a temporary patch.
These are all meant as temporary repairs, of course. We would always recommend repairing your canoe properly as soon as your trip has ended, but in an emergency, these quick fix tips could possibly get you back to civilization with much less worry. And, if you end up getting all that sticky sap on your hands, just grab some rubbing alcohol or on-the-go hand sanitizer from your first aid kit, apply to the sticky area and rub vigorously. The alcohol should dissolve the resin.

Do you have any tips to share? Send us your tips and paddling advice – and if your tip is featured here – we will send you a free Badger Paddles sticker!!! All you have to do is email us your suggestions.

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  • Anonymous
    Posted at 23:55h, 07 June

    Once you're back in civilization, how do you remove the melted rope from the crack so it can be properly repaired?

    This is good to know – I took my canoe out camping, and a bear "attacked" it, causing some significant cracks. We used vapour barrier sealing tape to cover the cracks as a temporary fix, but impromptu fixes are always good for those times when the usual repair items are forgotten, used up, or otherwise unavailable.

  • Badger Canoe Paddles
    Posted at 00:54h, 08 June

    Our suggestion for removing the melted polypropylene is to first make sure that when you drip it into the crack as a liquid that you do not smear it around. In our experience, it acts a bit like hot glue (from a hot glue gun). If left as a blob, you should be able to pick it out carefully with a small knife. Hope this helps!