4 Tricks for Storing Your Summer Gear

Summer is, sadly, drawing to a close. But, if you’re like most gear-hounds, you’re sadness is mitigated by the fact that you now get to don all of your sexy fall layers and, of course, winter snow gear. But how to store your spring and summer clothing, packs, boots, and tents? Never-fear, for there are several tried and true tricks.

Cedar Chests and Closets
You may remember your grandmother or grandfather storing keep-sakes in a cedar chest. Turns out, your grandparents were pretty smart. Cedar is known for repelling termites and has long been used to trim houses and build closets. For summer clothing, climbing harnesses, backpacks, and any other items that are made of cotton or various linens, storing them in a cedar closet or chest can prevent them from being eaten up by bugs. Not to mention, the earthy smell of cedar is one of the must pungent of all woods and will make your belongings reek of adventure.

Plastic Bins Lined with Plastic Bags
Double bagging-literally. Take any relatively cheap plastic bin and line it with a plastic bag. Then place various gear inside-particularly gear that will rust or mold when being exposed to the elements. This is great for storing camp shovels, camp stoves (minus the propane tank), camp plates/utensils, and backpacks.

Neat Trick: If you store summer clothes in a shed, vacuum sealing them can further protect them from moisture and grit.

Wash and Dry EVERYTHING!
Most gear junkies know that keeping your gear clean is one of the most important factors in the life of your items. Regardless, how often do you throw tents, skis, packs, and other toys into the shed or closet without wiping and drying them out? Various materials can be washed using a variety of liquids. Some cottons can be cleaned with soup and water (we recommend all-natural castile soups, which are less harsh than, say, Dawn). Also, try natural detergents such as Seventh Generation. Wiping down tent floors and footprints are particularly prone to the elements, so always be sure to wipe these items down with a water-soaked dish rag. Other all-natural gear cleaners include:

—Vinegar can be used to remove stains and disinfect camp stoves and utensils
—Citrus bike chain degreasers are highly effective
—Hydrations packs should be rinsed with a hot water and hung to dry after every use. Before storing the bladder, rinse with a hot water and mild salt solution, which will kill some lingering bacteria.

Hang ‘em High
When Boulder and Lyons, Colorado was hit by the 500 year floor a year ago, you best believe there were a lot of people who lost precious gear. Now, granted, this can’t compare to losing your life or your home but, for many, their gear is an extension of themselves, cost them money that they earned by working hard and saving. Furthermore, gear can also be a precious hand-me-down: your Dad’s old travel pack or your brother’s snowboard that he bequeathed to you and that reminds you of your great rides together. That being said, when you hang your gear, you further protect it from water damage if flooding were to occur, plus you deter those rodents and short roommates who always seem to “borrow” your items without asking.

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