The camping season is almost over and our camping equipment is now a nuisance left on our garage floors. But the season shall be back again same time next year. This means we’ll be needing those camping accessories again when the time comes.
Cleaning and storing away the gear we use during our outdoor excursions is vitally important. The better we are at it, the longer we’ll have these reliable bits of kit around for many more trips.
A clean, well-kept tent is useful for many years. There are specific methods for ensuring the longevity of your camping tent.
Before packing away your camping tent, be sure to clean it thoroughly first. The dirt that is left on camping equipment such as tents can damage the fabric. Over time, the accumulated dirt becomes abrasive and deteriorates the quality of the fabric making it easier to tear.
First, brush the excess dirt and mud off the tent. Avoid being too vigorous here. The aim is to gently dislodge the particles leaving behind a visibly cleaner surface on the inside and out. To brush the inside of the tent, turn it inside-out. This way is much easier than brushing the dirt out from the inside.
Once you’ve gotten rid of the excess, you can now clean the tent using a cool water, a soft sponge and non-detergent soap. Detergent soaps are a big no-go. Not only can they destroy the water-repellent coating used on tents, they can also attract rodents and insects.
A sunny area often works best at drying camping accessories. What’s paramount is that your tent is as dry as it can possibly be. A damp tent produces mildew that can damage the fabric and cause odours. Set it out in the garden as soon as you’ve finished scrubbing. Just to make sure, consider setting it in front of a fan to dry off the last few spots.
Roll the tent away
Some camping equipment – tents included – come with a bag suitable for storing the product away in. Tent bags are breathable sacks that comfortably stow the tent, preventing damage. Roll away the tent and store it in the bag, if you have one. Rolling allows the tent to become more compact for space-saving and makes it easier to remove when required again.
If your tent doesn’t come with a specialist bag, it’s not the end of the world. You can use a makeshift bag or sack that’s big enough to house the tent without compressing it.
Store in a dry, cool place
Generally, you want to avoid places that are prone to moisture or humidity. Unfortunately, this means that your usual go-to storage places – garages, sheds and attics – may not be suitable places to store a tent. There are ways to utilise these storage spaces, however. For example, in hot temperatures, a dehumidifier will reduce the moisture in the air that causes damage to waterproofing.
Sleeping bag and insulated clothing
Sleeping bags and insulated clothing, as an item of camping equipment, need similar maintenance to tents. In fact, any camping equipment that is constructed using fabrics does. Still, sleeping bags use different fabrics, so the methods differ slightly.
Sleeping bags and insulated clothing, unlike tents, are machine washable. But they must be washed only delicately for a short period of time. Using a mild detergent, leave it in a cold water slow cycle for no more than 15 minutes.
Find a well-ventilated area where the sun and wind can dry these camping accessories out entirely. This can be anywhere located just outside the house – like a back garden or a doorstep. Allow for as much as three days of drying to be sure. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Pack it loose
Compressing the insulated products damages the insulating fibres making it less effective. Eventually, they will no longer hold warmth. Always have the insulated products loose. Ideally, you’ll want them to be hanging freely to maintain them for future trips.
Store it under your bed
Let’s assume you don’t have space to have a great, big synthetic bag hanging around the house – store it under your bed. The space underneath your bed has the ideal conditions – shaded, clean and out of the way.
It’s a good thing that camping cookware is made to be simple to clean and easy to store. This makes the task of ensuring that it remains high quality for a lengthy period, effortless.
As you’re dealing with dense metals and plastics here, you can give your cooking camping equipment a really good scrub down. This should be done at camp before leaving as you don’t want to be carrying around dirty cookware that attracts nasty things. Stoves, cookers and other camping equipment usually have instructions to help you to clean it properly. Follow those manuals and you can’t go wrong. Bits of crusty food may appear harmless but bacteria waste no time in growing from it. So, if you don’t receive an instruction pamphlet, our advice is to scrub using soap and warm water. Once completed, pour boiling water over the cookware to kill any bacteria that may be forming.
Like the cleaning, much of the drying takes place before you leave the campsite to return home. Wipe away water with a cloth or roll. Make sure to get it as dry as possible then leave the cookware out to completely dry. Luckily, you’re outside anyway, so this shouldn’t be difficult. Even before you pack for home, leave your cooking camping accessories to dry off for days before packing.
Camping cookware is designed to be portable. This makes them very storage-friendly. Commonly, modern cooking camping equipment is collapsible, capable of nesting within one another to save space. Because of this, camping cookware can be stored in lots of cool places around the house without causing an obstruction. You can even nest the set together and store it in a box on a shelf.