How can you recondition nylon straps?

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How can you recondition nylon straps?

Post by Medic73 » Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:21 pm

I also posted this question in the Bug Out Gear Section.

I need your help. I've got some old, as in over 35 years old, USGI backpacks that need some reconditioning.

These are the US Jungle Rucks with the curved frames that were used in the early Viet Nam war before the ALICE packs came out. I really like these packs because of the curved frames and smaller packs that allow other things like Medic bags or sleeping bags to be lashed to the frames, leaving an over all smaller pack.

The pack I am talking bout is the one on the far left in this photo from our entry in the Winter Bug Out Campout Contest.


The problems I'm having are the nylon straps. They are now very stiff and are very hard to move through the strap buckles. They are putting up one heck of a fight!

Is there any good ways to recondition the nylon straps, making them more flexable and sliding easier through their metal buckles?

I really do not want to replace the nylon straps with new ones because I want to keep these packs as original as possible. I have 3 of these and I would like them as close to 100% functioning as I can get them while remaining original. I still use these for hiking and backpacking.

Thanks in advance for any good advice you may be able to share with me.


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Re: How can you recondition nylon straps?

Post by Jeriah » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:41 am

One option, and I don't know if it would weaken them or whatever, but it's a thought, would be to "work soften" them, the way one softens a rawhide or leather thong. You take a hard edge, like the back of a knife or the edge of a sheet of plywood or anything like that, and you lay the strap over it and rub it back and forth really hard and fast. This seems like it should either bend or break up some of the fibers, softening the strap. On nylon, if it's too stiff, I don't think it'll weaken it too much, and should make it soft again. I'd definitely seek a second opinion or do some tests on non-critical gear before trying it on something life-supporting or mission-essential.

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