You've probably spent a lot of money assembling good camping equipment.
The proper care, maintenance and storage of your gear will greatly extend the life of your equipment.
Find a convenient, easy to access, dry, bug and rodent free place to store your gear.
This could be shelving or cabinets devoted solely to your camping equipment or a dedicated closet in your home or apartment. Avoid damp basements or crawl spaces and places in direct sun light. Dampness can cause mold or mildew and sun light can break down technical fabrics and cause fading.
Organize your gear by category.
When you put your gear away organize it by category. We suggest that they be divided into cooking, sleeping, shelters, lighting, repair supplies and miscellaneous other items, storage/organization sacks and hydration. We suggest using large storage boxes for each category and labeling them with the contents. This makes finding specific items quick and easy!
Store sleeping bags and pads loosely or hanging if possible.
This is important to ensure that bags will retain their loft. Self-inflating pads should be stored inflated and with open valves. This keeps moisture out of the foam and helps the pad inflate faster when you get to camp.
Remove batteries from headlamps and flashlights.
Before your lighting and other electronic items are stored remove the batteries in order to avoid corrosion.
Clean and dry your gear before you store it away.
Dirt will clog mechanical items like stoves and water filters, hold germs on cooking items and may damage fabrics. Wet storage can lead to mildew and ruin much of your equipment.
Water filter care.
Each model of Water Filter will have its own instructions for cleaning and care prior to long term storage. In each instance, flushing the filter and treating areas that retain unfiltered water, will insure that no bad bacteria or germs hang around to make you ill when you use it for your next adventure.
Stoves and lantern care.
Devices that use fuel, such as liquid or bottled gas stoves and lanterns, can have their burners, generators or jets clog from regular use. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning before storing these appliances away and they will work properly when you take them out for the next trip or outing. Also it is important to properly dispose of all empty canisters.
Tents and tarp care.
Do not put tents or tarps away wet! Set up your tent after you get home and make sure it is completely dry. Check all poles and fabric for areas that may need cleaning or repair. Count your good stakes and replace any that are badly bent or missing. If your tent is dirty use non-abrasive materials and warm water for most cleaning jobs.
First aid kit care.
Did you use anything in your first aid kit? If you did either replace it now or make a note and put it with the kit so you do it before your next trip. Check for anything in the kit with an expiration-date and either replace it or make a note to do so.
Packs and stuff sack care.
Clean out and dry packs after a trip. Check that all the cord locks, buckles and zippers work properly. Inspect them all and repair or replace any parts that no longer operate correctly. Clean stuff sacks of any food or dirt residue.