Time to clean up that Summer clothing & gear
Summer has come to a close, have you cleaned up and stored your camp gear & clothing properly???
Now hopefully you are reading this and scoffing at the notion that gear should be stored now, the fall is the best season of hiking, paddling, & adventuring, especially in the Prairies now that the bugs have been killed off. But regardless, you too will have to clean up your gear in the coming weeks/months. Here are a couple tips to make sure you get the longest life or best performance from your clothing & gear.
Wash your rain gear and re-treat the DWR coating. Even the most expensive rain jackets need TLC, and I am always amazed when folks buy a great waterproof breathable garment, and never get told to wash it, or wash it properly. Regular washings with a product like Tech Wash from Nikwax is the best maintenance. It cleans the smoke, body salts, lotions and bug sprays off the jacket so it won’t compromise the breathable coating or membrane. This is especially important if you have a non-Gore-Tex garment. If you wash your garment in a regular detergent, you will strip off the DWR which is what makes the jacket beed off water (think scotch guarding). Your jacket needs to beed water so it can have the best breathability. With normal wear and tear, packing, and stuffing your garment, that DWR coating wears off on its own, so once you notice your jacket is no longer beeding, use a wash like TX Direct to re-apply that DWR. Outdoor purists will prefer the spray on so you are only treating the exterior of the garment, I was once like that too but now with kids I am in more of a hurry and have to wash more so I prefer the toss in the wash option. Either works, but the spray would be the best. If you don’t wash and treat your jackets, they won’t perform, then whats the point of good gear???
Double check your tent and tarp, and make sure they are stored completely dry. If they are stored even a little wet, mildew starts, and you can never really clean it up. Poof, there goes a perfectly garment tent or tarp, great for retailers, bad for campers. Store them in a dry place, off the ground.
Do you use a water filter? Pull it apart and make sure the hoses and the filter are dry. I had a friend who totally destroyed a filter because he stored it wet, never checked on it, then in the spring, it was a mess of mold. Luckily a new cartridge did the trick and he didn’t have to buy a new filter but still, take the time to dry your filter before long term storage.
Clean & Dry your pot sets. Make sure you open up all your camp pots, wash the food particles off and properly dry and store them ready for the next trip.
I get asked lots if you can wash your backpacks, the answer is sure, and the fall is a great time. Mix up a solution of tech wash and hand wash the dirty areas, then turn the garden hose on it. Dry it completely and it will get off all those dirt stains, cedar redwood stains, or what ever you have on your pack.
Of course there are lots of other little tips, store your Therm-a-rest valve open and lying flat. Make sure your sleeping bag is clean, dry, and in a large storage sack, not compressed. When in doubt, call the store to ask for advice.
Great clothing & gear can last a long long time, just don’t forget the TLC.