Spending time drying and cleaning your gear straight after you’ve arrived home, sore and tired, from a massive adventure, is hands down the least exciting part of the whole trip. Unfortunately, it’s an essential step. Good quality outdoor gear isn’t cheap, and you want it to have a long life. We can guarantee that when you pull your gear out of storage for the next trip, it will definitely have been worth spending a bit of time going through this checklist and ensuring all your gear is well taken care of.

Drying

Airing out or drying your gear is one of the most important parts of maintaining it. If you have dry shelter overnight, it’s great to dry out your hiking boots and rain jackets after a day of hiking so that they’re ready for the next day. If not, they can be properly dried out at the conclusion of your trip, along with your tent, groundsheet, pack and anything else that may have gotten a bit damp. 

Your hydration pack or bladder needs to be properly dried out as well. Leave it outside so that it has an opportunity to completely drain the water inside it. This is essential to ensuring that mould doesn’t begin to grow inside the bladder. Once you’ve done this, it’s a good idea to put your bladder in the freezer – this has the effect of killing any germs that might be hiding away in there, and ensures that it will taste good and be safe to use on your next trip.

Camelbak stored in freezer

Cleaning

Cleaning all of your gear after you’ve used it is really essential, especially for waterproof gear. If things like boots or raincoats are left damp or dirty for long (or even quite short) periods of time, the waterproof protection begins to wear away, and the waterproofing ability of the product is reduced. You’d be surprised how immediately this process begins happening, so make sure to clean your gear as soon as possible after you’ve used it. You don’t necessarily need to use a special wash after everyday walk, sometimes a simple wipe down will do. But after a long trip where the garments were tried and tested, muddied up and mucked around, it’s essential.

Marmot and Patagonia jackets

Caring for your rain jacket properly will help the waterproofing last longer. Photo credit: Lachlan Gardiner.

Choose a free rinsing soap or non-detergent cleaning agent to wash your waterproof and breathable garment. We recommend using a cleaning agent made specifically for waterproof and breathable fabrics such as Revivex Synthetic Fabric Cleaner or Nikwax Tech Wash. You can wash your jacket in a regular washing machine, in cold water, on a gentle cycle. Put it through the rinse cycle twice, to be sure the detergent residue washes out. Do not use bleach or fabric softeners, dry clean, or store when wet.

Our blog on caring for your sleeping bag goes into the specifics about washing your sleeping bag, and our blog on caring for your rain jacket into more detail about waterproof garments.

Before and after footwear care. Photograph: Lachlan Gardiner.

Before and after footwear care. Photo credit: Lachlan Gardiner.

Revivex Boot and Shoe Cleaner is a reliable and sturdy cleaning application for your footwear. If you want to re-waterproof your hiking boots or shoes, apply this first, and then apply a waterproofer such as the Revivex Leather Water Repellent or Nikwax Nubuck & Suede Proof Footwear Waterproofing.

Storage

The majority of the time, your gear is not in use but in storage, so the way that you store your gear is essential to taking care of it in the long run. When not in use your sleeping bag should always be stored uncompressed out of its stuff sack, allowing air to flow through the down. Many of the leading sleeping bag manufacturers provide mesh or cotton storage bags with your sleeping bag, but if you didn’t receive one or have misplaced it, mesh storage bags are available for purchase from Paddy Pallin stores or online. A large pillow slip can also be used, or you can hang it from a coat hanger in your wardrobe for maximum lofting.

Sleeping bag packed away tightly while on your adventure in comparison to when it is stored at home.

Sleeping bag packed away tightly while on your adventure in comparison to when it is stored at home.

Your tent and sleeping mat should similarly be stored in a dry, cool place with enough room to breathe and move around. 

Drop your tips for gear maintenance into the comments below, and don’t forget to tag us in your adventures on Instagram!

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

About The Author

admin

Some 80 years ago, a young bushwalker's dissatisfaction with the limited and heavy bushwalking equipment available prompted him to design and make his own. Before long, word spread, and Paddy Pallin's lightweight, functional designs were soon in demand among fellow bushwalkers. From its early days the company has concentrated on supplying bushwalkers, travellers and adventurers with the highest quality and most advanced products and knowledge. Since 1930 the company has grown to become Australia's leading supplier of specialist outdoor and travel gear. The company, still owned by the Pallin family, now has thirteen stores throughout Australia as well as online, mail order and corporate sales divisions. We are using our vast wealth of knowledge, and experience, to build an online community where we can share our stories, reviews and tech tips to help you research and plan your next adventure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.