Nothing ruins an enjoyable camping trip faster than broken, dirty, or mildewed camping gear. If your camping gear is not ready to use and easy to find for each camping trip, then you are less likely to camp as often. Proper storage of camping equipment not only extends the life of your equipment, but it also makes it 100 times easier to gather the gear for next time.
If you store your gear properly after every camping trip, you will never regret it.
Clean Your Gear Before Storing
Before storing your camping equipment, all items should be clean and in like-new condition. This will prevent the spread of mold and bad smells, and will keep animals and bugs from getting into your gear.
Set up your tent in the backyard after you return home. Wash away any dirt with a hose and scrub brush. Spread the tent out to dry after cleaning. When the tent dries, use a vacuum to suck up any remaining dirt or sand.
Wash pots and pans in de-greasing soap. Make sure they have no stuck-on grease or food particles. Allow the cooking gear to dry completely before storing.
Any other wet gear that you have, such as shoes, sleeping bags, pillows, etc; place them on a drying rack to dry before storage. Remove any dirt from the gear before packing away.
Storing Your Camping Gear
Set up a dedicated storage area for camping gear. An indoor area is best, but a clean, dry garage or storage unit can also work. Try to choose a storage location that has a steady temperature and does not freeze or get above 80 degrees.
Use these ideas for storing your own camping equipment:
Electronics: Remove all batteries before storage to prevent corrosion. Place the batteries in a plastic baggie and store them nearby the equipment. Place all electronics into one airtight container, such as a large plastic tub.
Sleeping bags and blankets: Fold blankets and place on a shelf or in an airtight container. Do not store sleeping backs in the roll-up packs; this can damage the insulation inside. Use a pants hanger to store sleeping bags by hanging. This also prevents mildew and musty smells.
Cooking gear: Store cooking gear in a large plastic tub. Store larger cooking items, such as grills and washing basins on a shelf or the floor. Empty all fluids and dry the containers before storing.
Miscellaneous gear: Store all other gear, such as climbing equipment, special shoes and clothing, fishing gear, and any other equipment you have by storing with like equipment. For example, keep all first aid supplies stored in the same place, or all hiking gear in a single container.
Preparing for Next Time
As you store the gear, make note of any lacking supplies, such as matches, stove fuel, rope, and first aid supplies. Replace these items so you are ready to go for the next trip. Do the same with any broken gear. You can also make a list of supplies you wish you had and gather them for the next trip.
How do you store your camping gear?