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Packing your camping gear away for winter

Are you done camping for this year? To get the best life from your equipment, it’s important to make sure you store it well over the winter months.

MAKE SURE IT’S DRY…
Mould and mildew will make your tent very smelly when you bring it out again next Spring and eventually it can make the fabric rot away.

Avoid mould with a few easy actions:

  • Take your tent down when it is as dry as possible. If it is wet at packing up time, shake off as much water as possible and wipe more off with a clean dry cloth or a towel.
  • If the tent is damp and you have room in the car, drape it loose over the luggage in the boot rather than putting it in the bag
  • When you get home unpack it and leave it out to dry as soon as possible. If the weather is still causing a problem, spreading it out in a garage or shed is better than leaving it in the bag while its wet. Even waiting a few days can cause damage.

ADDRESS ANY TEARS OR REPAIRS
Once you’ve arrived home and the tent is nice and dry, look and address any repairs that are needed.

  • Replace broken poles, damaged zips and worn guylines. Also check for tears in the groundsheet and flysheet. Some rips on seams can be simply sewn back together, either by hand or with a sewing machine, then coated on both sides with seam sealant. For ragged tears and seams it makes sense to add a patch. Gluing as well as sewing the patch on will make the repair more durable, and again, apply a seam sealant. 
  • Sewn-in groundsheets can easily be damaged by stones on your pitch. A small tear or hole can easily be fixed with a patch, but the best way to avoid this happening is to use a groundsheet footprint from the start. This protects the groundsheet from any sharp objects on the pitch and is much easier to clean when you get home.

WATERPROOF YOUR TENT

You’ll know your tent needs waterproofing if the rain starts to darken the flysheet.  Thoroughly clean the tent fabric before applying the proofer. Large tents will have to be pitched and washed/proofed by hand, but smaller tents can be washed in the bath or large sink.  Don’t be tempted to use washing up liquid or detergent of any kind, as these products will destroy the waterproofing on your tent.  We stock cleaning and reproofing materials from Nikwax and Grangers Fabsil.

STORE YOUR EQUIPMENT WELL

  • Make a check list and check your gear as you store it, looking out for anything that is missing, broken or damaged
  • Pack the tent loosely and store it somewhere dry and cool, like a loft, garage or shed, and out of direct sunlight.  If you’re lucky enough to have the luxury of a spare room, then this is the best place, as the temperature is kept more even
  • Storing gear high helps keep it away from rodents and insects but remember tents can be very heavy, so be very careful not to put it somewhere that it could fall on your head!
  • Food smells attract rodents and they will cause irreparable damage to gear by chewing through it on the hunt for something tasty to eat. Make sure you air out or wash all gear that smells of food and sweep out any crumbs before you pack it away
  • Air out sleeping bags and store them loosely in a mesh bag rather than leaving them in stuff sacks
  • Self-inflating mats fair better if stored unrolled – perhaps leave under a bed if you can
  • Remove the batteries from any gadgets and store them separately. This will stop the batteries running out and will avoid the danger of corrosion damage.
  • Unpack your stove, check the burners and give it a good clean
  • Wipe down tent furniture like wardrobes, kitchens, tables and chairs and check for any damage
  • Clean out food storage containers thoroughly

Take the time to pack away your camping gear properly, and you’ll be sure of making the best start to next year’s adventures.

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