With the temperatures dropping and the leaves falling, one fact is abundantly clear: winter is coming. For many that means it is time to begin switching from your warm weather activities to your winter activities. Camping is one activity most put a halt too once the weather turns cold, although some do engage in winter camping. It is important to make sure you’ve put your camping gear away properly so you can get right back into it next year.
Proper Gear Storage
Before you pack it all away, there are a few things you should do to make sure it comes back out in top condition.
Dry Everything Out
The absolute first thing you need to do is make sure everything has been properly dried out. Packing away your gear while it is still wet will lead to some unpleasant surprises come the spring. Mould, and mildew will ruin your tent, sleeping bag, blankets, clothes, etc, by making them smell real bad, and eventually rotting in storage. This is both unpleasant and expensive.
Before you pack your gear, take out your tent and set it up someplace dry. This could be outside on a dry sunny day, or it could be indoors. Wherever you choose, also take out your sleeping bag, blankets, and any camping specific clothes you have. Open/set them up, hang them if you can, just make sure everything is completely dried out. While drying, this is a good opportunity to touch up the water proofing on any gear that may need it.
Clean And Repair
Putting away dirty and damaged gear just won’t do. Dirt can lead to permanent stains and possibly cause even more damage then you might expect. Find out the best way to clean whatever material is in need of a refresh if you’re not sure to avoid causing any more damage. Pay attention to the condition of your gear to see if anything is wearing down and needs replacement, last thing you want is your tent ripping open in a rainy wind storm.
For any food items you have make sure you check the dates. If anything is going to be expiring during the winter then it would be best to use it up now instead of storing it. Obviously throw away anything that has already expired. Electronics should have their batteries removed and stored in a warm place to avoid them depleting, or leaking inside your devices causing them damage. Metal gear, like knives, axes, saws, kitchenware, etc, should be inspected for rust. Clean the rust off now before it gets worse, then coat with a thin coat of oil to protect the metal.
Now it is time to store the gear away. Avid cramming everything into some tight space and leaving it until spring, choose your spot with some thought. Select a spot that can easily keep all your gear that is cool, dry, and out of direct sunlight. It would be wise to make sure you aren’t blocking in anything that you might need access to behind a wall of gear. Additionally, if there is anything in your gear you think you might need during the winter, organize it in such a way that you have easy access to it.
It’s not a hard process to store your camping gear properly, and it’ll save you headaches come next camping season. If for whatever reason you don’t have the space at home to store everything, a self storage unit may be exactly what you need. So here’s to the end of another camping season, and let’s hope the next one comes along soon!