The Cleanest Line


Roadside attraction or emergency bathroom stop? Sometimes they are one and the same. Photo: Kern Ducote
Roadside attraction or emergency bathroom stop? Sometimes they are one and the same. Photo: Kern Ducote

Business Is Good

By Kern Ducote   |   Apr 10, 2019 April 10, 2019

I lost track of how many people asked us why we were driving into the deeper nooks of New England during the middle of winter. I knew the answer, but I’d be lying if I didn’t question the reasoning myself. The Worn Wear crew set out to visit a few snow sport communities in the northeast corner of the United States as a follow-up to our western winter tour from 2018. We had seven weeks of repairs on the road, freezing temperatures and the notorious “East Coast ice” to look forward to. It could be worse, right?

New Hampshire wasted no time breaking us in to the cold. We started out with a weekend of single digits at Loon Mountain, on the outskirts of Lincoln, NH. It snowed over a foot the day before we arrived so everyone had high spirits. I was glad we found snow instead of the ice. I was also stoked we were fully stocked with firewood for our little wood stove inside “Uncle Dave,” the Worn Wear repair trailer. It’s safe to say we burned through the wood.

Brendan McManus warms up by the fire as he carves open a jacket, prepping it for a zipper replacement.
 Photo: Kern Ducote
Brendan McManus warms up by the fire as he carves open a jacket, prepping it for a zipper replacement. Photo: Kern Ducote

Something happens to zippers when temperatures reside right around zero degrees Fahrenheit. We must have fixed a hundred of them the first day. We’d work outside, fumbling with zipper sliders until we had to retreat inside the trailer to warm up our numb fingers by the fire. Our go-to DIY fix, Tenacious Tape, didn’t like the cold much either. We’d leave strips of the fabric tape lined up close to the stove in preparation for patching down jackets with feathers flying everywhere.

A paper clip and some duct tape can go a long way for your zipper. Photo: Kern Ducote
A paper clip and some duct tape can go a long way for your zipper. Photo: Kern Ducote
This piece of Tenacious Tape was called into action and had to come out of hibernation early. Photo: Kern Ducote
This piece of Tenacious Tape was called into action and had to come out of hibernation early. Photo: Kern Ducote

Worn Wear doesn’t charge anything for repairs, on any brand, but some folks can’t accept that so they ask to leave a tip or inquire if we are in need of anything. We normally refuse, at least until the half gallons of locally harvested pure maple syrup come out. How can you say no to that? We made a pit stop at the nearest grocery store to pick up the necessary supplies for pancakes. From well below freezing temperatures at Sugarloaf and Mont Tremblant to freezing rain at Seven Springs in Pennsylvania, we continued rambling down the roads through the East.

A half-gallon of maple syrup for a new zipper. We may have come out on the better end of the deal. Photo: Kern Ducote
A half-gallon of maple syrup for a new zipper. We may have come out on the better end of the deal. Photo: Kern Ducote

For two months, we excelled at a number of terribly random things. Here’s the shortlist:

  1. Trying not to fall while walking around on ice
  2. Speaking broken Spanish in French accents
  3. Never taking our long johns off
  4. Listening to strange podcasts

Regardless of the peculiar things that become commonplace or the places we find ourselves on these outlandish Worn Wear tours, people are people. And what I mean by that is I think it’s high time we throw out our preconceived notions. Try to see a place and the people there for what and who they truly are. Yeah, the mountains out West are much larger and steeper. That does not mean people out East suck at skiing. They are tough and they can rip! At Seven Springs, we were cold and soggy. It must have been 30 degrees and as the rain fell from the warmer sky it froze on impact, covering everything in a colorless stained glass-like sheet of ice. It’s up there on the list of “Worst weather you can have trying to ski,” fighting for the top. I overheard a skier walk by and call it “Pennsylvania powder,” but folks were still out there, making the best of it because that’s what they had, and that is respectable.

Photo: Kern Ducote
Photo: Kern Ducote

Jim is 65 and rides every single day he can at Seven Springs. He says it keeps him out of trouble. When you use something every day it gets worn out, but you come to appreciate it. Jim appreciates these mittens because they keep his hands warm and have built-in wrist guards that keep him a little safer. He’s searched high and low for another pair just like them, but couldn’t find any, so we patched them up for him. While he was hanging with us we noticed a pretty big hole in his snow suit, so we fixed that too. As the snow melts Jim said he jumps in his kayak and paddles around the local lakes and collects trash to keep himself out of trouble, every day. (Sounds like he is never going to get in trouble.)

Photo: Kern Ducote
Photo: Kern Ducote

It’s easy for us to fix things for people like Jim, and we’d never meet people like him if it weren’t for these Worn Wear tours. You folks inspire us to continue taking to the open road, to continue repairing anything in exchange for high fives. I mentioned earlier that Worn Wear fixes things for free. We also fix any brand while we are out on the road because we believe that keeping things in use longer is better for the planet. We’re in business to save our home planet, and business is good.

If It’s Broke, Fix It

We want our clothes to live long, useful lives and never end up in the landfill. Visit WornWear.com for everything you need to get started.

  • DIY repair and care guides by iFixit
  • Instructions for sending your garment to our Reno repair facility
  • Ways to share stuff you don’t need anymore
  • Plus, more Worn Wear stories and videos from Patagonia ambassadors and folks like you   

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