Iron-on patch panic and success!

I know lots of you/us like to add patches to our packs and I have read several forum posts about sewing and gluing and velcroing things to lids and pockets. I have always stitched the forum patch on my pack as an icebreaker and also in case anyone should recognise it/me, but there was another I’d like to add too and today I just wasn’t in the mood for sore fingertips from trying to force the needle through the thick patch with gooey glue. So I decided it was time someone tested the iron-on method!

I got my pack – an Osprey Tempest (same as Talon) – which according to the manufacturer’s website is made pricipally from nylon and splash proof. It does look and feel meltable … Then I got my lizard* patch out, and it came with instructions. 1) Wet the back, the glue bit. 2) Position as desired and cover with thin cotton cloth. 3) Heat the iron to cotton setting and iron for 10-20 seconds or until utterly stuck.

Easy, right? Fearlessly (are you kidding?) I turned the iron on cotton – which is max! – and positioned my patch. I wanted it on the lid which is a bit oddly shaped, so I put folded tea towels inside it and put another thin cotton cloth over the patch and material. Then, when the iron was hot enough, I tentatively touched the top of the main pack, near the drawstring, under the lid so out of sight and also out of the rain etc, with the tip of the iron. Didn’t seem to do any harm to the fabric. I held it there a bit longer until I felt certain that the heat wouldn’t just melt it.

Then I pressed it firmly down on the cotton cover cloth, just for a few seconds, and lifted it up to see and feel how hot or gluey or melted things were. All was well. I kept at it in short bursts, and after a while the glue melted and started bonding with the material. I did try lightly picking at the edges to see if it would come off again until it finally seemed to really stick. I am very happy with it!


As you can see the material looks perfectly fine so it is doable without killing your pack. But do test a patch first though and do it carefully and a little at a time. I accept no blame.

*Why a lizard on my pack? It used to be on one side of my pack, and a smiling sun on the other, in memory of two peregrinas I will now never walk with again – the smiling sun for M, who died of cancer five months after her pilgrimage, and LA, who is no longer well enough to walk it. We might go on a town-to-town train and taxi trip along the Leon to Santiago trail one day though. I wanted to keep the patch somewhere I would see it better to remind me how lucky I am that I am here and able to walk.

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