Storing Camping Gear for the Winter

man in snow with fireYou’ve probably got a friend who was born in the wrong time. The type of person who brings nothing but an axe and a summer sausage camping, and would have no problem setting up camp in a foot of snow and zero degree temperatures. You’re actually convinced that they might be a reincarnation of Jeremiah Johnson.

Unless you’re the indomitable mountain man type, you’re probably going to hang up the camping gear at the end of fall like everyone else. Being a fair weather camper isn’t a bad thing. When temperatures start dipping, and your hands are too numb from the cold to put up your tent, no one is going to think less of you for calling it quits on camping season. Properly storing camping gear for the winter can help prolong the life of your equipment.

The change in seasons is a great time to do a thorough check on your camping gear and make sure that everything is in good condition.

Check your tent to make sure there are no tears in the sides or in the mesh netting. Take a look along the floor of the tent to check for spots that have been worn thin. Make sure there are no rips or tears in the footprint or the fly. Also, check the seams on the inside of the fly and make sure that they are still thoroughly taped. Check to see that all of the zippers have pull tabs and open/close properly.

If you find holes or tears in your tent, you can purchase patches or repair tape that can fix them right up. Seam grip and seam tape work wonders for keeping your tent waterproof.

Once you’ve thoroughly checked your tent and made any repairs, you want to roll, fold, and pack your tent into its protective sleeve and store it in a nice dry place out of direct sunlight.

Sleeping bags are another camp item that should be regularly checked. Patch up rips and tears before they get too big to manage. When storing your sleeping bag, be sure not to compress it. This is crucial for down bags, but it’s good for synthetic sleeping as well. Compressing a sleeping bag smushes the insulation, lowering its loft power and lowering its heat retention.

Store unpacked sleeping bags under a bed or hang them in a closet.

Tents and sleeping bags are two of the most important pieces of gear to check because they provide warmth and shelter, but you should check all of your gear: knives, chairs, stakes, water reservoirs, packs, tarps, stoves, cookware, etc. It’s good to know what is in working condition and what needs to be replaced.

While you’re checking the condition of your gear, you might as well clean it for storage.

Excess dirt and grime can cause bacteria to grow which can make your gear stink. Stinky gear is bad news, but that’s not the worst of it. Grime on canvas and nylon can cause increased deterioration, and grime on metal can cause rust, which will do the same thing.

Tech wash and knife oil are just a couple of items that we carry at Uncle Sam’s for gear maintenance. We also carry seam tape, ripstop nylon patches, and much more. Come by and see us for more information on how to prepare your gear for winter storage!

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