Get Your Gear Ready for Spring

river_viewSpring is just around the corner! Many of us are already saving up for Spring Break trips, making mental lists of hikes to go on very soon now, or at least gazing out the office window with yearning as skies brighten and the promise of spring seems more real by the day.

The best thing to do when you get that hankering to go hiking and camping and boating but you’re not quite ready to do it: clean, repair, refurbish, or replace your outdoor gear.

Clean was the first one on the list, just in case you didn’t clean your stuff when you put it away last fall. Remove any lingering items that you were going to throw away and didn’t (sand, candy bar wrappers, sticks, half sandwiches…). Scrub out the cooler with all-purpose cleaner. If there are some musty smells left over, put some vanilla extract on a cotton ball and toss it in for a few days. Coffee grounds or baking soda can also work.

Turn tents and sleeping bags inside out if possible and wash them gently with soapy water. Then set up the tent and wash the outside, scrubbing it down with a soft brush. Hang it on a clothesline to dry.

If, as you clean, you find holes and other damage, you can patch and repair a lot of your gear. We have repair kits at Uncle Sam’s which will work better than needle and thread on many high-tech fibers.

While you’re doing this fiddly work, you’ll have plenty of time to think about new gear you might need. Here are a few reasons to replace gear:

  • It’s not worth repairing any more because there are so many holes and gaps that it will no longer protect you from the elements.
  • The new stuff is seriously better than what you have, because of new technologies developed since you bought your tent or what have you.
  • The memories that come to mind as you clean and repair include frustration over having to get up in the night and disentangle your tent because you don’t have enough tent stakes, freezing because your sleeping bag is the one you used for sleepovers as a child, or eating nothing but Pop-Tarts because you have no camp kitchen equipment.

Make a list of what you want and need and bring it in to Uncle Sams’s for a shopping spree.

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