*Storage of Camping Gear*
02 February 2004
If you are like me, you spent a lot of time selecting your camping gear and spent hard earned dollars to purchase, good quality gear. With proper care this gear will give you many years of good usage.
One important part of properly caring for your gear is the way it is stored when not in use. One of the major problems when it comes to storing gear, is you get home from a trip, you are tired from the drive home and so the gear gets thrown in the garage or closet and you tell yourself, " I will take care of it tomorrow ! " Unfortunately you forget about it and the next time you need it, find that it is now mildewed and moldy , which if it has been left that way over a long period is pretty much impossible to clean and also voids the lifetime warranty on the gear.
So how do you store your gear properly? After using it, make sure you take care of it when you get back home. Take all the gear: tents and sleeping bags especially out of your pack or vehicle and spend them out to let them dry out. This is also a good time to check to see how dirty they are, clean if needed and also check to see that they are still in good shape.
Sleeping bags and tents: These you will want to store clean, dry, and loose. After making sure they are clean and dry, store them loosely in large laundry bags, Rubbermaid tubs or something similar to them. You do not want to store them stuffed or rolled up tightly. Sleeping bags need to be loose so the insulation will not be compressed over a long period. This will eventually destroy the insulation. Tents can be stuffed loosely into the storage bags also, if you fold it up when storing it, this will eventually cause the tent to start leaking in the folds. Another suggestion if you are storing the tent long term is if you have shock-corded poles, put them together like you would if you were using them and store them along a wall. This takes pressure off the shock-cord and will make it last a lot longer. They should also be stored in a cool dry place, attics are normally not a good place to store them because they tend to get hot in the summer and that is not good for the gear
Self-inflating sleeping pads: After cleaning them, store them unrolled with the inflating valve open, under a bed is a good place to store these. If stored rolled up, it will collapse the foam inside of them and they will not inflate fully.
Stoves and lanterns: These should be stored clean and dry to prevent rusting and also with no fuel in the tanks so they did not get clogged up. Check to make sure the mantles on the lanterns are still in good shape so they will be ready for the next trip
This covers the basic gear and how to store it. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know.
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