End of Season Essentials: Gear Storage
With the changing of seasons comes the time when we trade our shorts for ski pants, a mountain bike set-up for our backcountry ski gear. Our summer gear will get packed up and won’t see the light of day until the snow is gone again. When the seasons transition it is all to easy to throw your gear into a dark closet and not think twice. But in order to keep your gear happy and healthy for many seasons to come, proper gear storage is an important player.
Don’t go stashing your gear away before a good gear inspection. We know it is tempting, but the last thing you want is to put your gear away and leave your future self the surprise of smelly, dirty gear come spring. Or worse, to pull your tent out next summer ready to hit the trails only to find the gash in the fly. Yikes.
Not only can you leave yourself a nasty surprise, but improper gear storage is a sure way to cut years off the lifespan of your gear. At BMR, we want people to use their favorite pieces of gear for longer. We’ve compiled some gear storage tips and tricks we use to keep our gear in top working order.
Wash your gear before putting it away.
Seriously, this is the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your gear. When dirt, sweat, and other grime builds up on technical gear, it reduces water repellency, makes down lose its loft, and causes build up in zippers and other moving parts. By washing with a technical wash (we use Nikwax products) and re-applying a DWR coating to re-waterproof, you can restore your gear to working order. For more laundry tips and tricks you can click here.
Only ever wash your gear in a front load washing machine! Washing machines with agitators can destroy gear in the wash cycle. We understand that accidents do happen, and we can definitely help if they do!
Dont put your gear away wet.
After washing your gear it is important to let things fully dry before they are stored for the off season. Wet gear invites mold or mildew to make a home in your favorite down sleeping bag.
Hang your tent up to dry, never put your tent in the dryer! If you have the space, hanging your tent once it is dry in a cool, dark place (like your basement) is a great way to store for the off season.
Inspect your gear for any damage before putting it away.
There’s nothing more frustrating than going on a trip and finding a tear in a tent or puffy. Do yourself a favor and inspect the gear you’re putting away for rips and holes before storage. We advise looking closely at zippers!
Repair your gear.
Once you’ve found those areas that need some love, fix them before you put it away. We are happy to help at BMR if the damage seems too daunting to take on yourself. Check out our repair shop for more information on the repair services we provide.
Empty your pockets.
This includes dog treats, hand warmers, sticks of gum, and anything else you’re stashing in your pockets. No one likes finding the crumbly remains of a snack when you stick your hand into your pocket next season. That is, if a small critter doesn’t find the treat and nibble up all those crumbs first.
Release all draw cords and store un-crumpled.
Dirt and grime likes to hide in the small creases of your fabric. You don’t want wrinkly, dirt-streaked gear next season.
A crumpled up jacket with synched drawcords is going to be a bummer next time you need it. You’ll not only look like a wrinkly mess, but the areas where fabric is bunched are welcoming grime to collect. Leave things looking like this for too long and you might even create weak spots in the fabric along crease lines.
Ahhh.. much better.. we recommend hanging your jackets and pants up for the off season as well!
A final note on sleeping bag storage
Don’t be fooled into thinking because your sleeping bag can pack down into a small and convenient stuff sack it was meant to be stored that way. Most sleeping bags come with a larger mesh sack that is good for long term storage. This allows the fabric and the down to have more space and air, keeping the loft of the down and the quality of the fabric. After you’ve washed your sleeping bag and restored its lofty glory don’t go stuffing it away for the winter…
A sleeping bag stuff sack is great for backpacking trips. This is not a good method for long term storage.
Give your bag room to breathe! If you don’t have a large mesh bag like this for storage you can also hang your bag up in a dry place.
Find out more about the repair services we offer here at BMR. We can help you repair and restore your gear before you pack it up during the off season. If all your gear needs is a good wash, check out this blog to get our expert gear laundry advice. Remember that proper gear storage has the potential to add years to the life of your gear!