Whether you are between trips or simply stowing everything away for the winter off-season, your backpacking gear can take up a lot of space when it's stowed away. Keeping it in a storage unit, like at All American Self Storage, can conserve your limited space at home and keep your expensive gear safe. The following tips can help you store it correctly.
Tip #1: Dry and Repair
It's vital that you make sure everything is completely dry before you store it, otherwise you will be met with mildew and mold when you go to retrieve it. Specialty outdoor fabrics may have special care instructions, so make sure you read these. In most cases, clothing can be washed and dried on low; and other gear, like tents, can be wiped down and then air dried. As you dry, look for any damage like tears or weakened seams. A few minutes with a needle and thread or a glue-on patch ensures everything is ready for next season.
Tip #2: Fluff it Up
Whether you prefer down or synthetics, the fill inside your sleeping bag and winter hiking coats depends on loft to keep you comfortable and warm. Loft is how much the filling or insulating material fluffs up. When drying these items in a dryer, toss in a couple of tennis balls to fluff them up. Then, stick them inside a large plastic garbage bag once they are completely dry. The bag protects the items during storage but doesn't compress the filling and ruin the loft. Storing these items in their compression sacks (that are used when hiking) for an extended period could ruin their loft so they don't warm as well later on.
Tip #3: Avoid Hazardous Materials
Your pack or tent could house food crumbs, sunblock residue, or simple skin oils that could attract feeding pests. Make sure to clean out everything thoroughly and wipe it down. Next, store these items inside a sealed plastic container for further protection. Make sure other hazardous items like stove fuel or bug spray is kept well away from your other outdoor gear. Some bug sprays can damage synthetic outdoor fabric, while fuel poses a general fire hazard. It's best to store these items at home in a safe place.
Tip #4: Pack By Season
If you backpack in more than one season, consider using a separate storage tub for each season. For example, your winter tub may contain your 0-degree rated sleeping bag and insulated thermal wear, while the spring and fall tub contains your 20-degree bag and cool-weather jackets. This way, you can simply switch out the tubs when the seasons change, saving you time when you visit your storage unit.