With the rain, snow and cold temperatures, the time comes to store away the summer camping gear and outdoor activity equipment. When the weather gets nice, many families and individuals head for the hills (or forest or ocean) for some camping, boating, hiking, water skiing
or other fun activity. It can be a very affordable way to get away from things and experience some of the great outdoors. In order to keep it affordable, however, it is important to keep the tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear in good condition and this means adequate storage over the non-camping or winter months. With the correct storage, camping gear can last for years.
Of course, it is important to keep tents and sleeping bags (and any other cloth items) away from moisture, insects, mice and other pests. It doesn’t take much for a good tent to be been ruined by mildew or sleeping bags to become cozy winter nests for mice or other rodents. Consider storing these items in rubber or air-tight plastic containers with lids just to be sure that pests and moisture cannot get to them. This storage solution can also keep gear from being exposed to too much sunlight which can cause fading and wear on the fabric or other materials. Make sure that tents and sleeping bags are clean and thoroughly dry before storing, however, as the moisture becomes trapped and causes problems. Air dry or let dry in a cool, moisture free place such a garage, basement or storage shed.
Consider other summer and outdoor activity gear that needs storage. This can include candles and lanterns, dishes and cooking supplies, and safety equipment. It is important that you store any lamp oil or propane safely-out of direct sunlight and in a cool place. Any fuel should be tightly capped or sealed and kept out of the reach of children and animals. Consider storing all of your camping gear in an airtight chest or plastic/rubber storage container-supplies such as candles, oil, and lanterns in one; dishes and cooking supplies in another; and safety and first-aid supplies in another.
Remember to inspect all of your camping gear and outdoor equipment each year when you pull it out of storage, as well as each time you pack it away. Look for any wear and tear and replace used, broken and lost items. This will ensure that your camping gear is ready when you are and that you have everything in working and usable order.