Tips on winterizing outdoor gear.
Don’t start today by doing yesterday’s work. —Deniece Schofield
As the year winds down, warm weather activities come to an end. We squeeze in a final float, take the last ride, and go on a closing trip. And after we’re done, our toys need to be packed up for the long haul. In order for them to come out as good as they did the year before, there’s some legwork to do. When things get stored for a long time, weird things can happen—rusted metal, molded fabrics, and bad smells are among the most common. Come springtime, it sucks to pull out a piece of gear and find it ruined. Especially because a lot of times, dilapidated equipment is the result of laziness. But a little preparation goes a long way. Here are a few tips on winterizing warm-weather gear.
Storage Dos & Don’ts
Give all your heavily-used gear a deep-clean before storing it.
Wait until something looks or smells wrong to do something about it. Once it goes bad, rarely can you get it back.
Wait until all gear is dried completely before storing it for the long-term.
Store fabrics that are the slightest bit damp.
Store tents and sleeping bags in ways that allow the material to breathe.
Keep your down sleeping bag packed in a tight stuff-sack for months on end.
Store gear in a cool space out of the sun.
Leave gear exposed to intense sunlight or in a room with severe temperature changes.
Tired as you may be after your final fall camping trip, resist the urge to throw the sack and poles on the gear shelf without giving them a once-over. When it comes to tents, it’s best to stay ahead of upkeep. Run through this checklist before packing it up for the winter.
1. Inspect zippers on the tent and fly for dirt and grime. Clean with a toothbrush.
2. Clean the ferrules on tent poles with a wet rag. Cumulative build-up can lead to poles breaking.
3. Look for holes or tears in the tent’s fabric. Patch with repair tape in circular pieces.
4. If the body needs a deep washing, use tent-specific detergents. Apply solution with hot water, rinse with cold water.
5. Apply a fresh waterproof coating on the rainfly if water seeps through fabric instead of beading on top. Do this AFTER cleaning.
6. Stuff your tent into its bag instead of folding and rolling it. Folding in the same pattern over and over again can result in early breakdown along the creases.
Watercrafts – Check rigging, repair leaks, clean surfaces, and coat with 303 Protectant. If storing your boat inflated, let a small amount of air out beforehand. If storing the boat deflated, make sure it’s dried completely before folding.
Bikes – Hose down entire bike; inspect brake pads, cables, and cassette; service bearings. If using tubeless tires, add sealant. For mountain bikers, assess the rear and front suspension. As always, lube the chain with oil.
Guns – Disassemble into individual parts, cleaning each one with a rag and supplying a healthy amount of oil to all metal. Run a rod with bore cleaner through the barrel until spotless. Store unloaded.
Boots – Remove laces and scrub away all grime and dirt with a brush. If using water for cleaning, let dry, then apply a liberal amount of grease to all leather.