If you don’t feel like braving the temps for cold weather camping, it might be time to put away the gear for winter hibernation. Proper camping gear storage is a great way to extend the life of your gear and avoid any last minute panic before your first adventure of next season. Here is a great way to assess your gear before putting it in storage.
Let it breathe! When storing your sleeping bag for the winter season be sure to, if possible, keep it free from the stuff sack. This will help keep insulation properties high and extend the life of the sleeping bag. We would suggest folding it and storing it in a closet like any other blanket. If you use a bag with synthetic insulation, give it a wash with light detergent before storage. If it’s a true down fill, let it air out or have it dry cleaned.
Wipe out the inside and outside of your pack. You can unknowingly accumulate a lot of dirt and getting rid of it will keep things fresh for next year. Be sure to check for any holes that need a quick patch or stitch. This way it will already be taken care of when you hit the trail or campsite next year.
Clean your remaining gear (hiking clothes, cookware, water bottles, tools, etc.), and we suggest putting as much of it back in your pack as possible. That way, when it comes time, all you need to grab is your pack, tent, and sleeping bag and you are ready for your next adventure.
Set your tent up in the backyard on a nice evening and clean out the floor and side walls or rain fly. Make sure you have all your tent stakes and that your poles are in good shape. This way, when it comes time to use them you are not wondering where that last stake went.
Be sure to run a small amount of bleach through your water filtration system before you pack it away for the winter. This will ensure no mold will build up in the filter and can extend filter life if you only use it 2-3 times a year. Most filters will come with directions of how much bleach to pump through.
Check and replenish your med kit. The last thing you want to do is reach for a band aid while deep in the backcountry only to find you used your last one the year prior. Take care of it in the off now and make sure it’s ready for next season.
Make A List
While you are going through your camping gear, make a list of your items. If you are feeling ambitious, weigh your items as well to see just how much you are packing into camp. The off season can also be a great time to buy new gear. If you find an item you need or maybe one that has just seen better days, you can find all you need at SCHEELS.com. See you on the trail next year!