Spring Cleaning for Outdoor Gear

daffodils-by- s1ng0The first daffodils are starting to pop up out of the ground and the beautiful spring blooms will soon grace their stalks. Spring is nearly here! That means it’s time to get your gear ready for another season of outdoor fun. Let’s go over exactly what you need to do before camping, hiking, and climbing is in full bloom.

Who wants to miss out on a trip because their gear busted? Now is the time, before the weather gets wonderful and you’re too busy to deal with it.

  • Tents: set it up and air it out in an open space, indoors or out. Check for signs of mildew and mold, test out every zipper and closure, and check waterproofing to make sure it still can withstand water. You might want to reapply a waterproof coating and seam sealant if your tent has seen a few seasons. Repair any holes or rips as best you can or consider buying a new one or replacing missing parts, like stakes and guy lines.
  • Sleeping Bags: since you stored them out of their bag over the winter but likely in an area without much airflow (right?), move them into an open area to air out for a day or two. Check for smells, mold and mildew and make sure that every closure is in working order. Repair any tears or holes. Stuff sacks should be washed in mild detergent and dried thoroughly to prevent future issues.
  • Sleeping pads: check for any wear and tear or holes that need repair and test each pad out to make sure it hasn’t lost its loft and comfort. If you’re using foam style pads, make sure you’re comfortable and not lying on the ground instead of in the air above it. If the foam is dead, it’s time to buy a new one.
  • Cook stoves: while you should have cleaned it before putting it up for the winter, giving it another once over to make sure everything is clean and unclogged is a good idea. Check fuel supplies too and stock up if need be.
  • Coolers: as with stoves, these are best cleaned before storage. If you forgot or it developed a nasty smell, a mixture of bleach and water is a good idea to kill of everything before using it for food storage. If you avoid bleach for environmental reasons, baking soda and white vinegar work as well — add a little vanilla if you don’t like the smell.
  • Packs: with all the sweat they accumulate, they can smell pretty rancid after a year of use. Wash your pack as best you can on areas that come into contact with your body, like the inside of straps. A mild tech wash is usually best to help preserve the special properties of your pack but be aware that scrubbing can damage protective and waterproof coatings.
  • First Aid Kits: check to make sure medications are still within date well to the end of the season and replenish and replace as necessary.

We hope this list of spring cleaning tips for your outdoor gear helps you make quick work of getting ready for the season!

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