Broken zipper on Husky backpack

Why I repair backpacks even though it costs me more time and money

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Backpack Life

People buy things and then throw it away as soon as it’s not in 100% condition. It wasn’t always like this. When the goods were scarce, people used to repair it up to the moment it became impossible.

In the past, I threw away things the same way, backpacks included. But when I realized how much time and money I had to spend to find a new backpack, I decided to find a better way – repairing it.

It occured to me when I was reading this Carryology’s piece on backpacks repair. It gave several tips to repair or extend the functions of your backpack (tips are by Rucksack village founder James Kamo).

You may find it newish but my relationship with repairing stuff is older. Several years ago I found a project called iFixit. This NGO does teardowns of popular products (mostly electronics), rates their repairability and gives guides on how to repair it.

Recently, new guides have been added there – by Vaude and Patagonia. Those guides focus on backpacks and other non-electronic products.

And when talking about Patagonia, this company is well-known for nudging people to repair their stuff before buying a new one.

If it’s broke, fix it. Free repairs, better than new. By @patagonia

Příspěvek sdílený (@bekpeklife),

Another broken zipper

The last summer, I found a broken zipper on my old and not-so-good Husky backpack. I use it very often to carry my rugby stuff. I consider it ugly and of a really low quality. But I stick with it because I am not going to throw it away when it functions quite well.

Husky backpack hanging on a wall.

Definitely not my style. I bought it many years ago because… I really don’t know why.

Now I must have it repaired for the second time – another zipper got broken. Finally, if I count all related expenses, it is going to cost me more than a new backpack of the same brand. It will also look uglier as the backpack is not prepared for being repaired. And what’s more, it takes my precious time to take it to a repair shop and then pick it up again.

Why am I doing this if I can go to the first e-shop and buy a brand new backpack that will be delivered in a day or less? I could buy a new backpack from my favorite brand and forget that I’ve ever made such a bad decision to buy the Husky backpack. Why the hell?

To be honest, I don’t know.

But I have a rewarding feeling about it. Maybe because it is the old conscientious and sustainable way. Maybe because I don’t create new waste. And it makes me more aware of the quality of goods I buy today.

It would be great if all backpacks could be easily repairable. I think that in the future, you’ll see producers that will promote the repairability of their products as a competitive advantage. Brands that are not afraid of extending warranty already say something about their quality to the market (as in the case of Big Walker).

One more thing.

There might be a scary parallel here. What if we treat our relationships with other people the same way we treat our material possessions? Throwing it away as soon as there are first signs of a problem.

So, do you repair your stuff?