To love camping is to amass loads of gear. Unless you’re a real minimalist, think hiking into the wilds with a single backpack and a tiny tent, organising and storing camping equipment when you’re not using it can be quite a challenge.
First Things First
When you get back from a trip, the first job might be drying everything out, especially if you were unfortunate enough to have to decamp in a hurry, in the pouring rain.
If you have space, pitch the tent in the garden to give it a good airing, along with sleeping bags, ground sheets and anything else that got wet or damp. If you’ve got the slightest suspicion of damp, try not to skimp on this step. If it’s grubby, rinse it down with a hose and wipe off dirt with a sponge or brush.
You might want to wash sleeping bags and/or blankets that have been in constant use for a couple of weeks. Check the labels if you prefer to home wash, otherwise get them specialist cleaned before packing them away. If your trip was short and you don’t want to wash them, at least unroll everything and check nothing has been accidentally left in there. Stray socks come to mind.
With clothing, outdoor or sporty items probably need a good laundering, and boots might need mud cleaning off them. Specialist outdoor clothing probably isn’t your first choice for everyday wear, so you could save storage space by not keeping them with your everyday wardrobe.
If you use backpacks, empty them completely, air them out, and give them a scrub with mild detergent. They shouldn’t be soaked or tossed in the washing machine.
Consider a storage unit for camping equipment. Facilities are typically easy to get to and close to home, saving you valuable living space in the house while keeping everything dry and pristine.
Sort and Repair
Go through all your gear and equipment, checking for breakages, holes or rips, missing fasteners etc. Making repairs now will save time next time you’re off on a trip, and you’ll know everything is in great condition and ready.
If you’re storing basic food items, maybe tins, sauce bottles or jars, soups or other pre-prepared foods, check the dates to make sure they’ll last until your next trip. You can store foods with a long shelf life in airtight containers, where they’ll stay fresh.
Take batteries out of all the gear that uses them. Gas cannisters, too, should be disconnected from the equipment they’re used with.
If you find anything that needs attention, fix it before you store it. Replace anything that’s worn beyond repair as soon as you can, so you’re not scrambling for items just as you’re leaving home.
Organise Your Storage Space
If you have a self storage unit, this is the absolute best for all the equipment campers need. But even if you’re storing everything at home, these tips still apply.
- Use lots of plastic tubs – sealable boxes are brilliant. You can stack them safely, they’re transparent so you can easily see what’s inside, and they’re easy to label or write on. Getting tubs with different coloured lids lets you colour code categories of camping gear if you prefer sorting in a more visual way.
- Dust Sheets or Tarpaulins – use them to cover equipment to protect it from dust.
- Shelving – Gets stuff off the ground for easier organising and locating of items. You can designate areas on shelves for different kinds of equipment so you can quickly spot if anything is missing. You’re allowed to install freestanding shelving units into self storage units.
- Pegboards – Use them for hanging tools or gear like knives, torches, lamps etc. They’re also handy for larger items like folding chairs or stools, helping you keep the floor clear of clutter so you can move around your storage area easily.
Good camping gear doesn’t come cheap, and with there always being something bright and more modern to buy, looking after what you already have saves money on needed replacements, leaving you with more choice over what new kit you want to buy.