Storing and Making use of your Camping Gear in Winter
As camping season comes to an end, you’re probably going to put your gear into storage until next year. Here are some tips for storing and making use of your camping gear in winter. This way when spring returns, you won’t have any nasty surprises and also some ideas on how you can make use of some of your gear around the house. All camping gear should be cleaned before storing for the winter. I am always amazed at people that decide to throw their expensive camping gear in a corner without cleaning it first. It is much easier to clean before storage than to take it out in the Spring and find that your camping gear is dirty and needs to be cleaned BEFORE you can even use it.
4 Steps to Save Money and Time before Spring Camping.
Don’t store your gear in the shed, attic or garage
Making sure that your tent is clean and dry before putting it in storage is only the first step in making sure you have a tent in good condition in the Spring.
As the temperature drops outdoor bugs and beasties are looking for a warm place to stay, and the pockets of your backpack as well as your rolled up tent are just the perfect place. If you have no other choice than be sure to leave all of the zippers on your pack open. Hungry mice can nibble through nylon seeking out that one crumb sitting at the bottom of your pack. Check on your gear periodically during the winter to make sure that some animal hasn’t turned it into their home.
Clean and inspect the dirty equipment
If you’ve been thinking about washing your sleeping bag or getting that tree sap off the roof of your tent, now is the best time to do it. Set up your tent one last time and gently brush out the dirt that has accumulated in it over the summer. While cleaning your tent inspect it for pulls, frays, tears, or potential leaks. Consider going over the seams with a good sealant.
Store your sleeping bag under your bed
Sleeping bags and sleeping pads should be dry cleaned or at the very least washed before storage. It is very important to note, that sleeping bags can mildew very easily when stored damp for a period of time. If you won’t be using your sleeping bag for an extended period of time (although, with Christmas around the corner, it could come in handy for overnight visitors!) it is best to store it unrolled. Under your bed is an ideal location. If you have pets or children that like to crawl under there consider putting it on a heavy hanger in a wardrobe, space permitting.
Clean your cookware
That little bit of crustiness in the corner of your favorite pot can slowly grow into an intelligent life form over the next few months. Give your cookware another really good cleaning and let it sit out to dry for a few days before packing it up. If you store your stove with your cookware this is a good time to inspect and clean it.
Before you pack up your camping gear, take a look at this list of gear you can use all year round. Maybe some of it can be used in ways you hadn’t thought of — and can bring little reminders of summer every time you use them.
Headlamps and Torches
You probably already have a torch in a ‘ready-to-go’ spot for when the power goes out. Why is a headlamp any different? If you’ve used one while camping, you already know how sweet it is to go hands free while still illuminating the dark. How many times do lights go out because of a blown fuse? And how many times have you had to wrangle your torch in your armpit or hold it in your mouth in order to see the fuse box? Instead of packing it up for camping next year, tuck it in with your emergency torch and use them in tandem. Headlamps are also useful for illuminating the dark corners of the garage or shed when you’re searching for something — as well as walking the dog. I don’t even know why these are sold almost exclusively in camping shops — they should be sold in everyday stores.
If your a regular camper, like myself, you probably have an air mattress — whether it’s one you blow up with a pump or a self-inflating gadget. These are great for camping; they bring luxury to the outdoors. You wouldn’t go camping without it… so how come your impromptu house guests have to sleep on the floor? Your guest will be much more impressed about you whipping out a padded sleeping mat at 3AM for them to crash on than you drunkenly motioning to the hard floor.
You can also store your air mattress inside your sleeping bags, which benefit from being stored open rather than scrunched up, too. Stash it all behind the couch or under the bed and voila: world’s easiest set-up for a sleepover!
These are way more comfortable than most folding “extra” chairs people pull out of dusty cupboards when company arrives, especially over Christmas. Camp chairs come in many different colours, AND they have cup holders for that glass of champagne on Christmas day.
Author: Rosie Austin