Last week while Lady MacBeth and I were out on the ice, I all of a sudden felt my right snow go all floppy. I feared the heel strap or binding lace had failed, but was surprised on inspection to find the metal hinge had broken. It was the last thing I expected to fail.
We were approximately two kilometres away from home up the north coast and I anticipated a challenging trudge home. Fortunately, a quick inventory of my pockets provided a short-term solution. I always carry a number of just-in-case items including hunting knife, matches, paper, multi-tool, shotgun shells, aspirin and snacks. I also happened to have some plastic zip ties.
I MacGyvered the binding back together using zip ties and we headed for home. As you may imagine, zip ties turned out not to be the most robust binding material and I had to replace them a couple of times on the way home, but we made it without having to resort to walking without.
I immediately tracked down my receipt, took a photo of the broken hinge and emailed Yukon Charlies customer service. I love this company. They immediately acknowledged my claim and within a couple of days had approved it and shipped my new snowshoes, no questions asked.
The thing is, even if the customer service was above and beyond–which it turned out to be–I knew it would be at least a couple of weeks before I had my replacement. My snowshoes are my only mode of transportation up here on the edge of the world, so I needed a medium-term solution.
Back to MacGyver mode. The way the binding is constructed, there is a leather flap that creates a slot through which the hinge bar is inserted. There was just enough room on either side to insert a coat hanger. I bent the thing, ran it through the slot and wrapped it around the loop that anchors the binding to the frame.
The amazing thing is how well it is holding up. I now have at least 20 kilometers on my jerry-rigged snowshoe. I am now carrying a spare coat hanger along with zip ties and my other just-in-case items while I await my replacement shoes.