Here in Idaho, winter has well and truly settled in. While we long ago traded in our shorts and t-shirts for flannels and jeans, that doesn’t always mean we’ve done a great job of preparing our gear for the change in seasons.
If you’re an avid outdoor recreator, or even an amateur one, it’s likely that you’ve got your fair share of specialized outdoor gear that you only use at certain points of the year. As the seasons change, so too does the gear you use. But if you’ve been slow to get organized and ready for winter activities this year, there’s no need to worry. The outfitters at Killgore Adventures have put together this handy guide for you to use to get your gear ready for winter storage.
Clean Gear is Happy Gear
Summer time activities may be “good clean fun,” but that doesn’t mean that your gear doesn’t get a little dirty doing it. We always start our process by cleaning up all of our gear. Most outdoor gear gets a good coating of dust, dirt, and debris as we use it. Our gear is treated to a quick wipe down with warm water and a little soap. Most soft goods, like bags, jackets, and even tents can be rinsed with a detergent or mild dish soap with no problems.
For other items, like sleeping bags, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to clean it. For instance, down sleeping bags need to be cleaned with a special down detergent, and should be tumbled dry on low heat. We recommend throwing a tennis ball in there to fluff up the bag.
If you’re a boater, you’ll want to use a special cleaning agent to wipe down the interior and exterior of the boat. This keeps dirt and dust from wearing on the sides, which could cause leaks later. It may also be a requirement if you want to bring your boat into some bodies of water in order to prevent the spread of invasive species.
Make Time for Repairs
No matter how cautious you are, your gear is going to take a beating when you go outside. Tree branches catch jacket sleeves, backpacks tumble down rock faces, dry bags get thrown overboard. When your gear gets a little beat up, that doesn’t mean it’s time to replace it. Instead, you can make simple repairs.
We’re big fans of technical tape which can be used as an impromptu patch on jackets, tents, and bags. But once you’re back home, you should take some time to properly repair these issues with the right fabric or patching materials. For instance, rafters will need to patch any holes with the right material and proper cement to ensure that their boat serves them for many more years. Identifying and repairing any damage now ensures that you don’t start the next season with a huge hole in your favorite hiking shoes.
Restock and Refresh
During your outdoor adventures, you probably worked through a lot of your regular outdoor supplies. Headlamps drained through their share of batteries, friends needed a few more band aids than they expected, and you probably ate all of your favorite trail mix.
As your putting away your gear for the winter, restock on some of these consumable items. While you’re at it, take a look at items that may have expired or depleted while the seasons changed. For instance, take your batteries out of your headlamp, and see if your first aid supplies have expired. Take a few moments to restock these things now can save you a headache later.
If you’re a regular backpacker, it’s pretty likely that you’ve got a “system” for packing your gear. The same items go in the same place every time. You should apply this same thought process to your gear storage as well. For instance, take a few moments to look over all your gear, and figure out a way to store it that makes sense. You can store your sleeping ags hung up and out of their bags by hanging them in a closet. Your backpacks can be tucked into a corner of that same closet, and hard gear like stoves, fuel cans, and lanterns can go up on a shelf.
While organizing your gear, think about how you’re storing it too. You should store your gear in a cool, dry place, so that mildew doesn’t grow on it. If you’ve got the space, we like to store like items in plastic tubs and label them clearly. This helps us to keep organized, and allows us to see what’s where at a glance.
Dream of the Next Summer’s Activities!
Finally, plan out your adventures for next summer! Now is a great time to start planning where you want to go next and when. If you haven’t made a trip out to Idaho yet, why not come visit us here in Hells Canyon in 2020? We’ve got all of the outdoor adventures you could ever want, including jet boats, ATVs, and even helicopter rides!