If you’re the kind of person who tosses all of their camping gear right into storage, you may want to reconsider. From mould and mildew building up to potential safety hazards with batteries, you want to thoroughly check all your gear before popping it into storage.
Yes, even your folding chairs need a little bit of TLC. Now is the perfect time to reassess your gear and get it fixed and cleaned. This way, you’re ready to go as soon as next year’s camping season begins.
Here are our top care tips for storing your camping gear this winter.
For a folding camping table, you’ll want to wipe down the surface using warm, soapy water. Check underneath for dirt and even spider webs that may have accumulated out of sight. After wiping it down, let it fully dry before storing it, especially if it collapses into a carrying bag.
Add some lubricant if the table is squeaking or having difficulty folding. Lithium grease is a great option for tables made of aluminum.
Now is a great time to clean up camping chairs. If they have any spills or stains, sprinkle some baking soda on top, spray it with water, and let it sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing it. Let it fully dry before storing.
If you have heated camping chairs, like our Lazy Bear Chair, you’ll want to remove the battery. Just be sure to keep your heated chair easily accessible for any winter camping!
If you can’t remember the last time you washed your sleeping bag, let the end of the season be a reminder that it’s time for a good washing. Always follow the washing instructions on the sleeping bag, often found on the tag or the stuff sack.
For example, our Jasper Sleeping Bag has a 100% cotton flannel inside, while the outer material is polyester. We recommend washing it in cold water on a delicate cycle and with a mild detergent. Hang to dry to keep it working in tip-top shape.
Shelters and Tents
Wait for a sunny day and bring out all your tents and shelters. Pop them up and do a thorough inspection. First, look for any holes or rips. These can be repaired using a patch or a fabric repair kit, which are often available at most hardware and camping stores.
Before packing everything up, ensure the tent and shelters are 100% dry. The last thing you want is mildew developing over the winter and welcoming you in the spring with its strong scent.
Even with all the sweeping you do while camping, outdoor mats get pretty dirty. Take the time to bring out your outdoor mat and thoroughly clean it before rolling it up for the winter.
For our outdoor mats, you can sweep, vacuum, and then hose down the surface. Hang it up or let it sit in the sun outside while you wait for it to dry before storing it.
After a summer of use, your propane stove may be grimy and greasy. Take apart your camp stove. Allow the stove parts to soak in warm, soapy water.
Use a sponge, if necessary, to scrub the stove. Just be sure not to use anything too abrasive or any oven cleaner, as this can damage the finish on your stove. Instead, use dish soap or soak it with a baking soda paste to help remove stubborn stains.
Propane Fire Pit
If you want to store your propane fire pit indoors, place the campfire rocks into a paper bag, and if possible, include a silica pack to help control moisture. Store the bag in a cool, dry place to prevent mould and mildew.
Before storing, ensure to remove any dust that may have accumulated on the rocks. Additionally, it’s essential to inspect and clean the campfire bowl and hose and wipe them down to remove dirt or debris. Don’t forget to check the nozzles to ensure that there’s no dirt or blockages!
If you plan on storing your fire pit outdoors for use over the winter, leave the rocks inside the campfire container and secure the lid to prevent any contamination. Neatly coil the campfire hose for storage, and consider covering it to protect it from the elements. To maintain the hose, periodically wipe it down to remove dust and dirt, and make sure the nozzles remain clean and unobstructed.
Prolong the Life of Your Gear
Your gear can last you for many camping seasons when treated right. While leaving it as is after your last camping trip is tempting, it’s best to ensure everything is clean and fixed before storing it.
From your folding chair to all your cooking gear, make sure to organize it neat and tidy. This way, you’re ready to go when the camping season kicks off again next year.
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