The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for revering and promoting second-hand use. From fashion trends like “grunge” and “vintage” where the practitioner wants to make it known the items show cased are previously used, to an accepted practice of purchasing hard goods, even outdoor gear, under the pretense the product is still useable at a fraction of the cost.
Owner and operator of Bend’s Rugged Thread, Kim Kinney, takes the second-hand trend to the next level by adding repair to the equation. Proudly reciting the motto Rip-Repair-Reuse, Kinney, like a magician, takes customers’ damaged fabric based technical equipment such as clothing, tents and backpacks and restores them, all for a far less cost than buying new.
Kinney believes in the customer base that Central Oregon provides for her trade explaining, “People in Central Oregon are particularly resourceful and opening Rugged Thread brings a practical service to the active outdoor community. Rugged Thread is affordable, professional and convenient, and what might take the customer two days to repair on their own might take us an hour or two.”
If price doesn’t motivate you to try gear repair, than perhaps personal sentiments will. According to Kinney, “a lot of folks love their gear because it has great memories, in other words they have been places and done things together. Repairing instead of replacing keeps memories alive and builds new ones!” Maybe you will be more motivated to push extra hard on your next outdoor adventure with your trusty gear by your side.
Kinney adds, “for those who like to sell their used gear,” an increasingly common practice with facilities like Gear Fix, The Gear Peddler, and forums like Craigslist, “keeping it in good shape means you’ll get a better price and quicker sale.”
Another reason to contact Kinney is for custom work. In her early career, Kinney accrued 10,000 plus hours with Wasatch Design, at Snowbird Ski Resort where one of her specialties was performance outerwear design. Whether modifying ski wear for extra tall Utah Jazz players, assisting OAS (Oregon Adaptive Sports) with sit-ski harnesses, stitching sailing gear, or, most recently, a hunting guides equipment for an expedition to Kyrgyzstan, she relishes the challenge. “I can’t tell you how much I enjoy geeking out on the engineering aspects including the equipment and talent to beautifully get the job done.”
Kinney encourages customers to bring her their toughest damaged gear and customization dilemmas. Armed with fresh machines for working on backpacks and beefy zippers and new community drop-off and pick-up locations with local retailers, Rugged Thread is prepared for pre-season snow sport repairs.
Choosing Rugged Thread isn’t just a more financially and environmentally responsible decision when taking stalk of gear, it’s also choosing a solution unique to Central Oregon. Kinney feels “those who make this a practice tend to feel really good about it” and quotes a favorite Amish proverb,“Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.”