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Tips for removing stickiness from backpack straps?

I have a like-new backpack that has been hanging in my garage for about 15 years and I'd like to use it now that I retired. However, the straps have become "sticky" and don't slide easily through the buckles and adjuster clips. Any advice on how to restore the "glide" back to the straps? Thanks.

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@grizzlybob If by "sticky" you just mean they become stuck then washing in warm water with a mild detergent and rinsing will probably work.  If the buckles are metal and rusty, polishing them to remove the rust will help.

However a backpack hanging on a hook in garage for 15 years may not perform very well.  UV exposure, heat and age will takes its toll and you may find that the bag fabric while it looks ok is actually quite weak and anything plastic or glued is brittle.

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@grizzlybob I have to agree with @OldGuyot on the overall deterioration of the pack.  It's unfortunate, but a reality.  I have an old day-pack that sat unused for a number of years, and the interior, water-resistant coating has started to dry-rot and flake off.  It looks like dandruff of the pack.  And another, a Kelty pack of about 40L capacity, the padding in the waist belt and shoulder straps has become hard and brittle, even though outward appearances would have you believe it's in perfect condition.

Good luck with your pack.  I hope it is salvageable, but it may be time for a replacement.

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@grizzlybob What backpack do you have hanging?  While there were quality packs some fifteen years ago, most of today's packs are markedly superior and more comfortable, especially if properly fitted.

Father's Day is coming and you deserve a treat.  A new pack every fifteen years isn't excessive (and it will have very adjustable straps).

 

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@Rob6 wrote:

...I have an old day-pack that sat unused for a number of years, and the interior, water-resistant coating has started to dry-rot and flake off.  It looks like dandruff of the pack.  And another, a Kelty pack of about 40L capacity, the padding in the waist belt and shoulder straps has become hard and brittle, even though outward appearances would have you believe it's in perfect condition...

Both of these conditions are natural. I have several nylon bags and packs where the PU coating has peeled off. With something small like a day pack, if the bag is otherwise a goner, you could give it a few cycles in a washing machine to remove the remaining coating, then spray a water repellent. For more info see Delaminating of the Polyurethane Coating.

As for foam hardening, I don't know if it's a characteristic of specific foam materials but I've also encountered hardening and even crumbling over time. I doubt there's much you can do about that other than get a gear repair shop to open up the seams and replace the foam. That's probably too expensive to do unless the pack is a keepsake.

...Wanderer


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Don't worry about the "waterproof" coating coming off.  It's good riddance.  I have several packs that have shed their skin and they are as good as ever.  When i was hiking in rain and sloppy conditions, the only sure way to keep interior contents dry was to pack them in individual plastic bags, which worked just fine.

You might be able to find foam pads designed to slip onto your pack straps to supplement the original foam pads.  Or get entirely new straps....

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my advice is about the same, hot soapy water, but I would add, hanging it out to dry in the sunlight for a couple of days to help 'dry off' any remaining residue.

REI Member Since 1979 YouTube.com/philreedshikes
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