There’s a chilly snap in the morning air. A crunch underfoot. The leaves on the trees are golden, russet and red and shimmering in the low autumn sun. It can only mean one thing for the warm weather camper… time to pack the gear away till next year! And the key to ensuring successful adventures next year – and in years to come – is to make sure we store our camping gear with care.
Ready to house your outdoor adventure gear for the winter? Follow our guide!
Don’t Need it? Donate it!
Hoarders of outdoor equipment? Us?! Never!
Before you store something which is only going to take up valuable space for the next six months, assess whether you’re actually going to use it next year.
We know how easy it is to get carried away with buying camping gear, but if you’ve not used an item in recent years, think about getting rid of it. There are often community groups you can donate items to, or consider selling them. And we’d definitely not be the ones to encourage you to use the funds to buy new camping equipment… definitely not!
Preparation is Key
Just like when you’re going on a camping trip, preparation is key. Make sure everything is clean and dry before you start packing it away. If not, you’ll find that it will attract pests, or mould or mildew will grow on it. Vacuum out your tent to get rid of any last bits of dust and dirt, and, if possible, set up your tent so that you can be sure that it’s completely clean.
Any food storage containers, including cool boxes and flasks, should be thoroughly cleaned so as not to attract pests and vermin. Similarly, remove all batteries as they can corrode or leak if left inside your electronics, and remove all flammables. Lighter fluid and kerosene lamps, for example, should be completely emptied out, and containers should be stored away from your house, in a shed or a detached garage ideally.
A Place for Everything
To put everything in its place, we’d advise investing in some clear plastic tubs if possible, and / or a sturdy shelving system. If you have a watertight garage, it’s a great place to store camping equipment, as it means that it’ll be quickly available when we get an early spring bank holiday weekend heatwave (wishful thinking?!), so that you can pack up the car quickly, ready for your first camping trip of the year.
If you’ve got time on your hands we’d suggest labelling any tubs that you use so that you can find the bits and pieces you need quickly. There are lots of small pieces of equipment involved with camping which, when lumped together, can be tricky to find unless you’ve been organised in advance.
Putting Sleeping Bags to Bed
Tents and sleeping bags should be stored in loose mesh or fabric bags rather than vacuum storage bags, as these can cause moisture to be trapped in the middle of them. Old pillow cases work well.
Air sleeping bags out before storing them, or if at all possible, store them by hanging them in the back of your wardrobe, as this will limit any damage to the filling. Alternatively, loosely fold your sleeping bags and store in a watertight tub.
It may seem like a big job to put your camping gear to bed for the winter months, but you’ll be glad you did it come spring. Storing your outdoor equipment properly is essential for keeping it in good condition, ready for you to enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer next year!