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Useful Backpack Repair Tips if You Want to Do It Yourself

Priscilla Greene |

Our backpacks and drawstring bags are precious possessions for many of us and sometimes, no matter the high level of their quality, they wear down and tear up, or suffer accidents. Instead of throwing away your favorite rucksack, you can restore it and make it as good as new with a few well-implemented tips and minimal skills. Today we will show you a handful of backpack repair tips to help you whenever you need a reliable fix to save your favorite piece of accessory.

1. Backpack Fabric Tears or Holes

Whether you wear a backpack to go to school, work, or casual outings, sometimes you find yourself in the situation of having to deal with a fabric hole or tear. This type of accident can occur in urban and outdoor environments, but you can fix it quickly.

  1. If your urban laptop backpack’s fabric tears while you are in the city, you should buy some duct tape and cover the tear/hole temporarily (from outside and inside as well) until you get home and fix it for good.

Once you get home, you can follow the next backpack repair tips to make your rucksack or even drawstring bag look and act as good as new:

  1. If you can handle sewing, pick a larger needle and fishing wire or dental floss instead of standard thread; they will allow for stronger patching of the tear.
  2. Sew the tear twice – and create a stitch pattern that will look pleasant if it is on a visible part of the backpack.
  3. If you have to patch a hole, overlap its margins and try to sew it as tight as you can. Then, use seam grip and two round nylon patches (1 inch larger than the hole). Use seam grip and a nylon patch for the exterior of the backpack and the same seam grip and the second nylon patch on the interior of the bag; make sure the two pieces overlap perfectly over the hole.
  4. Clamp together the two nylon patches together for proper sealing of the hole/tear, but you can also sew them together with a sturdy stitch made with nylon wire.

For small tears and holes, you can use nylon patches (inside and out) and seam grips without supplemental stitching. The latter also offers a water-resistant finish besides proper tear sealing.

 2. Backpack and Drawstring Bags Shoulder Strap Problems

One common problem with the packs that we wear every day is that their shoulder straps falter. There is nothing more unpleasant and annoying than your backpack strap snapping or the drawstring backpack’s strap tearing. Let us see a few backpack repair tips related to shoulder straps’ fixing!

  1. If there is a problem with the strap of your drawstring backpack, you should replace it with a new piece of string. You can make a secure knot if your cinch pack’s line needs only some tying.
  2. If your work backpack shoulder strap snapped from the opening, cut away along the seam to get to the opening and feed the belt back into the opening. Make sure the strap stays flat in between the two side seams of the opening;
  3. Use the backstitching technique to sew three parallel lines between the side seams and make sure you tightly hold the strap in between the seams;
  4. For more safety, use seam grip to secure the strap back in its place.

To avoid straps snapping, you should limit the weight you carry in your backpack. While some drawstring backpacks come with improvements and safety applications, they can hold so much.

3. Backpack Broken Zippers and Slides

Another common failure of a bag is a zipper that somehow stops functioning, as it should. Jammed zippers and distorted zippers are frequent. Worse than traveling with a duffel bag whose zipper does not work correctly is to carry your laptop in a computer daypack backpack with a broken zipper. Luckily, you have some solutions at hand.

  1. If you have to fix a distorted zip (ones that slides but does not close anything), you need some tools and some skills (a pair of pliers or a multi-tool with pliers). First, you open the zipper as much as you can and then gently squeeze the top and bottom of the slider together with the help of the pliers. When the slider gets closer to the zip, the ensemble should start working together seamlessly.
  2. If you have to fix a jammed zipper, focus on lubrication. Almost anything oily works. If you are not at home, try using a lip balm. Sometimes it also works with soap.
  3. Stuck zippers are a bit harder to repair. You should use nose pliers, as their will do the job with more finesse than regular pliers. If a zipper tooth is bent, you should lightly apply pressure with the nose pliers to bend the toot back into its shape and line. Make sure you do not use too much force, as a broken zipper tooth is nothing you wish to happen.

We have to admit that sometimes the best way to fix a broken zipper is to replace it altogether, especially if none of the backpack repair tips above did produce satisfactory outcomes.

4. Backpack Broken Buckles

Whether you are mountaineering or working in the city, you will find it hard to replace a broken buckle, mainly because nobody carries spare backpack buckles. However, the first thing you need to do is a shop for an identical buckle and change it yourself at home – if you can. If the buckle comes with a somewhat complicated mechanism or you cannot find one to fit the webbing or the backpack as a whole, go to a repair shop.

5. Backpack / Drawstring Bag Broken Mesh Parts

Mesh is a frequently used feature of many backpacks or drawstring bags. We use the mesh for backpack pockets or for lining drawstring rucksacks, among others. If the mesh part of your polyester mesh bag/rucksack presents tears or holes, take a needle, thread, and use your sewing skills.

  1. Sew together the overlapped edges of the tear/hole, making sure that you sew sideways, as you need to pull the mesh together;
  2. You will have to create a grid – if the torn mesh is visible – by sewing up and down to try making the mesh look as good as new;
  3. If the mesh is severely torn, you should get a new mesh piece and replace the pocket, the lining, or the entire mesh panel if you need to.

Mesh is quite vulnerable to physical accidents that can tear it out quickly. To avoid such nuisance, make sure you carry your backpack with care and safety in mind.


We hope you find these backpack repair tips useful and actionable. If you have other tips and tricks for us, feel free to share them. We know you care about your backpacks and drawstring bags and it would be a shame to give up on them when we could use our imagination and skills to get them back into shape. Before throwing away your backpack reconsider restoring them for better use and style.