When Cait, from the awesome team at iFixit, got in touch to say she’d just finished hiking through Central California and had used loads of sugru on her way, we had to find out more about her trip! Over to Cait to tell you how she got on...
Sunlight fights through the canopy of redwoods. Dirt sticks to my ankles. I’m in the heart of Big Sur—a massive region of mountain and forest in Central California.
I have a hodgepodge of belongings including a tent, a water filter, and an extra pair of socks. But also strapped to my back are three packs of sugru. Despite my efforts to trim every unnecessary ounce off my pack, I brought the self-setting rubber for two reasons: A) I wanted to put some of sugru’s wilderness hacks to the test, and B) working at iFixit has taught me that when things break—which they inevitably do—it’s best to have a tool around.
We’re about four miles in—and I’m cautiously walking along a three foot wide dirt ledge when my shoelaces start to undo themselves. Not the best of situations when you depend upon sure footing. With the speed of a lemur, I slowly lean down and tighten the lace. And when I make it to safe ground, I pull out my first pack of sugru.
I rip open the thin, aluminium pack and start to mould four individual balls. Dirt from my grimy hands and dust from the laces get into the white rubber. But, even if it’s not pretty, the hack works: it stops my laces from coming untied. Hallelujah!
After six more gruelling hours of hiking, we reach camp—tired, sore, and grimy. As the sun starts to lower, so does the temperature. It’ll be uncomfortable soon. We start a fire for tea. But my stainless steel cup, filled to the brim with boiling water, gets too hot for me to hold. I grab my second pack of sugru.
Slowly, I manipulate the rubber into a grip for the cup’s handle. I will not be denied precious tea. I eventually make it work and, happily, I can hold my cup without discomfort. Sugru has proven itself useful again.
But as it turns out … you can never have enough sugru around. Night fell and we climbed the side of the mountain. Terrified, we heard the rustling of nocturnal animals, echoes of the wind swooping through branches, and our own struggling inhales and exhales. The light on my headlamp wasn’t quite robust enough and suddenly I slipped on a loose rock, sliding to the cliff’s edge. I was shaken, but fine. In the scramble I somehow broke off the band of the watch I was wearing—a watch that belonged to my late-grandfather. It’s one of my most treasured possessions.
I quickly grabbed it and later on repaired it with black sugru. Now it’s good as (almost) new. And I know my grandfather, a lifelong tinkerer, would approve of my modifications.
All and all, sugru improved my backpacking trip (and it certainly improved my watch). Here are some tips for better wilderness sugru-ing:
1. Make sure everything is clean. I mean really clean. Try to wash away as much dirt and grime from your hands and the object as possible. Sugru will pick up all the tiny particles.
2. Pick a dark colour. It’s like momma always told me: white shows dirt—and sugru is no exception.
3. Wait until night. Don’t apply sugru during the day when you’re moving around a lot. Because if your sugru doesn’t get left alone for long enough—it’s gonna slip off. (I was hasty with my laces and had to redo them later…)
What have you used sugru for lately? Tell me below. Happy trails!
Thanks to Cait for sharing her story, seriously wish we had California on our doorstep now :) sugru is great for preparing your kit for your next adventure - it's strong, durable and can stand up to anything the weather throws at it, wet or dry, hot or cold. Plus you now you can buy sugru in outdoor stores right across the UK. Check out our stockist page to find your nearest store.
Isn't it time failure was less of a taboo?
Well that's what a major new exhibition called Fail Better is asking. For the next couple of months the Science Gallery in Dublin will be exploring the role of failure in design, science and innovation - plus, it's all being curated by our very own Jane, inventor of sugru! :)
So, for those of you unable to pop over to Dublin and take a look (it's totally worth it), we thought, over the next few weeks, we'd share some of the inspiring stories that are featured.
First up, Mark Koska. At 23 he was... well, like many 23 year olds, a little directionless. He says "after drifting through school and various jobs, my sense of direction didn’t go far beyond crewing yachts around the Caribbean".
The alarm bells first rang for Mark back in ‘84 when he read a newspaper article. It predicted that the re-use of dirty syringes would be a huge factor in the rapid spread of HIV. Mark knew nothing about the manufacture of syringes or the healthcare system, but he instantly knew that this was his purpose.
He threw himself into researching a solution, learning everything he could about HIV, global healthcare policy and plastic injection moulding technologies. Then every relevant patent and syringe design he could find. The solution he came up with was K1 syringe - a syringe that would "fail" after one use.
Marc had designed a mechanical valve into the plunger - after one use the plunger passes a ring inside the barrel, and if you try to retract the plunger it locks.
Today, 27 years on, the K1 syringe saves millions of lives every year by preventing the reuse of unclean syringes.
Mark's story came from a determination to solve a global problem, despite not having the necessary expertise at the time. Maybe it can teach us that perhaps passion is just as (if not more) important than being the 'right person for the job'.
Check out the other brilliant stories in the series and let us know what you think.
Meet Pascale Honore, a 50 year-old mother of two, who was left paralysed after a tragic car accident 18 years ago.
But don't think for a minute that wasn't going to stop her doing what she had always dreamed of. With the help of a Tyron Swan (an Australian surfer and friends of her sons) and some duct tape, she's is now a surfer!
“I was always talking about how good it would be to go surfing and one day, a friend of my son said ‘you know what, I think we could tape you onto my back and take you out there,'"
Check out their inspiring video, you really won't regret it.
[Did you know?] In 1970, Duct Tape was used patch up a the Apollo 13 spacecraft! It was used to retrofit square carbon dioxide filters into round lunar module receptacles. The down-to-the-wire duct tape solution saved three astronauts’ lives. Here you can see it used on the aft flight deck of Space Shuttle Endeavour.
We really like getting awards. I mean, who doesn't? So, not to brag (but we totally are) we were thrilled to be awarded Gold in the 'New Products' category at Totally DIY Show in Coventry this weekend. Woo hoo! That's Juan and Sarah looking smug behind the sugru stand and Katie showing off our new bling!
We had great company at the show, with some awesome brands like Bosch, Draper, Gorilla Glue, and B&Q. Our team were also introduced to SnapIt, a really nifty eyeglass repair kit (check out their video), some cool self-amalgamating tape, and paint brushes that never lose their bristles - it's like a DIYers dream.
We're super proud of them, GO TEAM!
As you might have seen, magnets are sugru's new best friend - sorry LEGO, it's not you it's us.
But while we just can't get enough of these super strong little discs, boy can they be flippin' fliddly to pack up!
Well we like a good challenge, so we called on Sal & Jude, our resident maker gurus. They set to work devising a cleverly cut cardboard packaging design and a whole new magnet dispenser solution.
Here's a little sneak peek behind the scenes, to show you how the sugru + magnets kits are being put together.