As the camping season comes to an end, thoughts turn to other outdoor adventures like skiing, snowshoeing, and tobogganing. However, before you start pulling out all your fun winter gear, it’s important to take the time to store your summer equipment properly. We have a few tips on how to store your outdoor gear for the year to make sure that when spring returns, you won’t have any nasty surprises.
Where to Store
If you can help it, we recommend not storing your gear in the shed, attic or garage without plastic bins. As the temperature drops, outdoor critters will be looking for a warm place to stay. Meaning the pockets of your backpack and that rolled up tent are going to look nice and toasty. If you have no bins and no other choice, be sure to leave all of the zippers on your packs open. Hungry squirrels, chipmunks, and field mice can and will nibble through nylon seeking out that one raisin you accidentally left sitting at the bottom of your pack. With this in mind, you will have to check in on your gear periodically during the winter to make sure some animal hasn’t turned it into their home.
If you’re not going to be using your sleeping bag for an extended period of time, it’s definitely best to store it unrolled. Same goes for any bed mats you have unless it’s specifically meant to be folded. The best option for storage would be under your bed; however, if you have pets or children that like to crawl under there you may want to consider putting them on heavy hangers in a closet. As a quick tip, make sure you avoid putting it in a closet that has air fresheners in it as the scent will get into the fibres, turning your sleeping bag into an insect and wildlife magnet! Also, we recommend putting some padding on the hangers to protect your pad from being pinched.
If you’ve been putting off washing your sleeping bag or getting that tree sap off your travel pack now is the best time to do it! In fact, give all of your equipment one last look over before storing it away for the winter. Give your boots a thorough cleaning and inspection, set up your tent one last time and gently brush out the dirt that has accumulated over the summer, and give your cookware another really good cleaning before letting it sit out to dry for a few days. Anything left in or on your equipment can become a much bigger issue if left unattended over the winter months. This is also the perfect time to inspect your tent for pulls, frays, tears, or potential leaks.
Make sure you open up those water bottles! That tiny amount of water left in the bottom of your canteen or hydration pack can easily fester into something really despicable if left over the winter. Give them a good cleaning with warm water and a tablespoon of baking soda before rinsing them out with warm water and allowing them to air dry. The best way to store this equipment is upside down with the caps open or loosely attached. We recommend putting them in your kitchen cabinet because it’s the best way to make sure they stay clean.
Last, but certainly not least, is remembering to remove the batteries from all your electronic equipment. This means going through every flashlight, GPS, weather radio, and other gadgets that has a battery in it. If left in electronic devices, batteries can corrode and leak destroying them and costing you a pretty penny. Also, devices continue to slowly draw on the batteries even when turned off, rendering them useless in the spring anyway.
Taking the time to properly store all your gear and equipment for next year’s camping season not only saves you a bunch of headaches but a whole lot of money too. With these tips, you’re sure to start off next year’s outdoor adventures on the right foot! Be sure to check out Mosaik Home’s blog series for more helpful tips and tricks like these.