The importance of proper equipment maintenance comes to mind when the warm season begins. Camping is a popular pastime that can bring much enjoyment year-round. However, for many people camping is a summer activity that is placed on hold during the winter months when inclement weather can make it more challenging.
Knowing how to properly store and maintain camping and outdoor equipment is essential for longevity, particularly for gear that will be packed away from several months at a time.
Investment in Outdoor Equipment
Good camping gear is an investment and top quality equipment is not often cheap. Taking proper care of it can increase the lifespan and prevent causing unnecessary additional expenditure due to avoidable wear and tear.
When camping gear is stored properly and looked after well, it can last a lifetime. Taking care of outdoor equipment not only helps reduce the costs of repairing and replacing damaged gear. Dirty camp equipment that is not properly stored can attract all manner of pests or begin to create mould. Once mould has set in it is not only difficult to fully eradicate.
It can also cause health issues if the spores are inhaled, particularly for anyone with underlying breathing conditions such as asthma. Investing in a sturdy and durable storage container can take a lot of the worry about the state of camping equipment away over the winter months. Provided all equipment is properly cleaned and dried before being stored, a storage container can also help protect against damage from pests, mould, sunlight and other external factors.
Tent Equipment Maintenance Tips
The tent is likely one of the biggest expenditures for camping and also the item that is most likely to become damaged by weather or other factors. Upon returning from a camping trip, you should unpacked the tent. It must be shaken out thoroughly to remove and physical debris that has become trapped in the fabric.
If a tent needs cleaning, this should be done with soft sponges and soapy water to avoid causing any rips of tears which might be caused by wire brushes or other harsher materials. Once the dirt has been removed, the tent should be allowed to dry thoroughly before being repacked. Even a couple of days left damp in a bag can cause irreparable damage to a tent.
It also makes sense to use the time spent cleaning to check for any areas that might require small repairs and completing these before packing away. This way, the tent can be rolled out of storage after the winter and used straight away. Patching up any small holes, fixing broken zippers and checking all the poles before packing up will result in greater efficiency once the weather becomes nice again.
Backpack Maintenance Tips
Backpacks also experience a reasonable amount of abuse on camping trips. They are thrown on the floor, filled with dirty, smelly clothes, carried on sweaty backs and generally used as a repository for rubbish. The salt from sweat can be corrosive to the material if not cleaned out properly.
Most backpacks are not designed to go in the washing machine. They should be vacuumed to remove physical dirt and wiped down using tepid water with a delicate detergent. To dry a backpack after washing, stuff it full of newspapers and hang it somewhere in the shade. Never put in tumble dryers as this can cause more damage.
Proper Equipment Maintenance- Sleeping Bag Maintenance Tips
Unlike many other items of camping equipment, sleeping bags can be machine-washed. However, if they are expensive, it might be a good idea to take them to a commercial launderette rather than washing at home.
The larger size of the drums in commercial machines makes it less likely that the bag will become damaged during washing. You should always wash sleeping bags on a gentle cold cycle and using only very mild detergents. Bags with down insulation need specialist care – the manufacturer should supply instructions at the time of purchase.
Hiking Boot Maintenance Tips
Hiking boots- you should scrub them thoroughly within 24 hours of returning from a trip to prevent mud and other debris from cracking or eroding the material. A wire brush can remove dry dirt effectively, followed by a wash using manufacturer-recommended detergents only.
You can dry boots quickly by stuffing with newspaper and placing in front of a fan. Keeping shoes too near a source of heat, even if it is just to dry them, can cause the material to break down.
You should store all camping equipment in a cool, dark place such as a storage container to ensure it stays in pristine condition.