How to Care for Your Overnight Hiking Gear
Did you just come back from an incredible experience of sleeping out in nature, under the stars? Packing up your tent and backpack and trekking from one campsite to the next? These experiences are what some of us live for and having the right gear is what makes them so worthwhile. However, the right gear will only last for as long as you care for it.
That’s why we've decided to compile this list of tips and tricks that you can use to care for your gear and to make them last for as long as they were designed to!
Tip #1 is all about your tent.
Buying a tent is a proper investment. It needs to be lightweight, weatherproof, compact, and durable for all the different types of adventures you’ll take it on. This means that a tent surely is a crucial part of your equipment and a high priority when it comes to taking good care of it.
The best way to do that is to make sure that you never ever pack up your tent whilst it's still damp and leave it in the bag for months. Packing away your tent as dry as possible is absolutely crucial. A damp tent can create mold and once there is mold, it will either be extremely difficult to get rid of it or it might indicate that your tent is no longer in a useful condition - and no one wants that!
If you’re on your adventure and it’s wet or damp while you pack it up, unpack it in the middle of the day to let it dry in the sun while you enjoy your lunch break. Otherwise, you could also travel with an extra towel and wipe it dry before packing it away.
Next up, your backpack!
Our tip #2 is dedicated to the backpack. This is probably the one piece of equipment that gathers more dirt and dust than anything else. Shaking out your pack after every overnight hike is a great start! Or you can even vacuum clean it if you want to make sure that you get every last layer of dust.
Once or twice a year, we’d even recommend that you do a proper clean of your pack. Hose it down, soak it in a bathtub (or a gear tub if you’re fancy like that), and wash every part of it with something like Nikwax tech wash.
Once you’ve scrubbed that pack clean, hang it up to air dry, and once again, don’t pack it away before it’s completely dry.
Tip #3 is a quick one about the mattress.
Your mattress is most probably one of the easiest pieces of equipment to care for. Using a damp cloth to wipe down the mattress will work sufficiently. However, our tip for you is to use soap water when you do this. Soapy water will indicate whether or not you have a leak and allow you to fix it before your next big adventure!
Tip #4 & #5
Tip #4 and #5 go hand-in-hand.
A sleeping bag should be stored loosely, hung up somewhere in a closet and not packed up in its bag.
The compression bag of your sleeping bag is very efficient for the overnight adventure as it sure helps to minimise the space that it takes up in your backpack, but once you are back home, give it a shake and hang it in a closet. Most Naturehike Africa sleeping bags include a stuff sack made for this very purpose.
And this brings us to our final tip for this post, use a sleeping bag liner with your sleeping bag. It’s much easier to wash the sleeping bag liner than it is to wash the sleeping bag itself, so save yourself the effort and invest in a sleeping bag liner if you don’t have one already!
Got any tips or tricks to add? Drop them in the comments and tag us in your posts next time you do a proper clean of your gear!