The weather cools, the leaves change, frost gathers on the grass. Just like that, another camping season has come to an end. It’s time to store your tent, sleeping bag, camp stove and other equipment. Renting a storage unit is the perfect solution for people with a lot of camping items that don’t get used year-round. Because storage units rent on a month-to-month basis, you can rent one during the off-season and keep all of your seasonal items in it. If you’re seriously into outdoor sports, you might decide to keep winter gear—skis, snow boots, jackets, snowshoes—in your storage unit during the summer months.
Ready to store your camping gear? Here are our essential tips on storing the most common items:
Storing Your Tent
After a summer of camping, your tent is in need of some TLC. Go outside, take your tent out of its storage bag, and give it a good shake to get rid of dirt, rocks and debris (don’t forget to check its storage pockets for any items you might have forgotten inside). Next, wash it in your bathtub with cold water and mild soap. They actually make a special cleaner for this called Nikwax Tech Wash if you want to get fancy. Hang it to dry and once it’s really, totally, officially free of moisture, store it in a mesh laundry bag so that it has room to breathe while it’s in your storage unit. Wipe down poles and stakes and store them separately in the tent bag.
Storing Your Sleeping Bag
When was the last time you washed your sleeping bag? If you’re like most people, the answer is in years, not months. Hey, we’re not here to judge, but we are here to tell you that the time to wash your sleeping bag has indeed arrived. Not all sleeping bags are machine washable—especially if you have a top-loading machine—so play it safe and wash it in the bathtub like you did your tent. You can use the same mild soap you used for your tent. Rinse it well and hang it to dry. Like your tent, a sleeping bag needs room to breathe in storage. Store it in a mesh bag or large pillow case. If possible, hang it from a hook inside your storage unit. This is especially helpful for down sleeping bags, which will maintain their loft when stored vertically.
Storing Your Sleeping Pad
Proper storage of a sleeping pad will keep you comfortable on future camping trips. Storing this essential piece of gear is easy. Spot clean your sleeping pad with a sponge and warm water and let it dry. If you’re using a self-inflating sleeping pad, store it flat with the valve open inside a large bag (such as a trash bag) that gives it room to breathe. You can place your sleeping pad on top of boxes inside your storage unit to allow it to lie flat.
Storing Your Camp Stove
Storage facilities do not allow you to store flammable or explosive items, so if you have propane or other fuel for a camping stove or backpacking stove, plan on keeping it at home. You’ll also need to take special care when cleaning your camping stove to ensure that it’s free from oil, fuel and other debris, such as food particles which can attract pests inside a storage unit. As an added bonus, cleaning your camp stove keeps it in good working order by increasing fuel efficiency. Scrub your stove with a towel, warm water and dishwashing soap. Remove burners and other components and clean hard-to-reach areas with a toothbrush. Once the stove is clean, let it dry and then place it in a plastic bag with a twist tie.
Need more storage advice? Check out our blog and you’ll be a happy camper in no time.