A Cleaner World Blog
Outdoor Gear Care Guide
I have such fond memories of childhood and family vacations. From the time I was 5 until my mid-teens, we typically took two camping trips a year – one in the early summer for a week and one in late summer over Labor Day weekend. I vaguely remember tent camping and one sloppy, rainy trip; shortly after that my parents splurged on a popup camper.
I also recall that packing for vacation was way more fun than unpacking. That’s because my parents insisted on putting things away properly, so that they were already ready for the next trip. Recently, DLI (Dry-cleaning and Laundry Institute) put out a guide on caring for outdoor gear, and as I read it, it reminded me of the things that we did to properly care for our camping gear. Here’s what they (and my folks) recommend:
Tents – If your tent is dirty, set it up and wash it down with a mild detergent and warm water. Allow it to dry completely before putting it away. Be sure to waterproof it at the beginning of each season by opening it up and spraying with water repellent. In addition, check for holes and patch them to keep water and insects out. To store your tent, roll it (instead of folding) and place it in a cotton storage bag.
Sleeping bags – Most sleeping bags can be washed at home. When storing sleeping bags, never put them away without washing or cleaning first because dirt and body oils will attract insects. And as with any fabric item, we recommend storing them in a cool, dry place.
Backpack – If your backpack sees lots of use, it can get awfully smelly, and the type of material it is made of dictates how you might go about cleaning it. Most can be hand-cleaned using a mild detergent and warm water, rinse thoroughly, and then hang upside down to dry. Store your backpack either hanging or lying flat. It’s also a good idea to waterproof your backpack as well as look for and patch any holes.
Boots – A quality pair of boots should last a longtime, especially if you take the time to provide the proper care. Thoroughly clean your boots and allow them to dry completely before putting them away for the season. Waterproofing your boots will also keep you from feeling like you’re walking in a puddle all day.
Raingear – Slickers and rainboots are treasured items when outdoors in the rain, but they can develop odors and bacterial films which can cause infections if they sit too long. If you're wearing a plastic poncho, make sure it is completely dry before folding it up and packing it away for the season. If you prefer canvas, make sure the water repellent is refreshed at least once per year.
Camping season may be winding down for this year but following these suggestions will ensure your gear is ready for many camping adventures to come. Of course, if you have any camping gear questions or any garment care related questions for that matter, just call or stop by one of our locations.