Outdoor gear can be a huge expense so most of us like to get the most out of our gear before replacing it. Keeping your gear in excellent condition will save you money and frustration. Too many times, we throw away perfectly good gear just from the slightest imperfection, be it a hole in your sleeping pad or a small rip in your tent. Do-it-yourself gear repairs and maintenance can truly save your gear. If your gear lasts a decade or more, that’s awesome.
However, it’s also important to admit when it is time for an upgrade. If you hike often enough, upgrading your getup is inevitable. Gear techs are constantly improving our sport. Also, upgrading will most likely lighten your load and improve the duration of other gear. For example, upgrading to a lighter sleeping bag will have less stress on your pack’s straps and preserve it’s overall condition. Maintaining your gear is great but don’t be afraid to know when to let it go.
Regular maintenance on your outdoor gear can be daunting but it will keep your gear performing to its fullest capabilities. If you’ve had your gear for a while, maintenance should be performed before you head out on the trail. Don’t be intimidated by repairing your gear’s small imperfections yourself. When repaired properly, gear with imperfections can still last and function perfectly. Here are a few products / tips that we recommend.
Gear Aid Tenacious Tape is an all-purpose repair tape that fixes rips, holes and gashes in almost all of your outdoor gear. It stays put no matter what Mother Nature dishes out and leaves no sticky mess. Tenacious Tape comes in black, clear and popular colors, so you can match your fabric for nearly-invisible repairs. Try that with duct tape.
Toss Tenacious Tape in your outdoor gear kit for a little extra peace of mind. Repairs camping gear, sleeping bags and pads, tents, clothing, vinyl rafts, down jackets—whatever needs a quick patch, so you can stay outside.
Waterproofed gear does lose its ability to repel water over time and after multiple washes. To keep this type of gear working like it should, I recommend treating it with a waterproof spray or sealant. Think about treating your shoes/boots, tent, rain jacket, stuff sacks, backpack, etc.
Rain gear is most commonly treated with DWR (Durable Waterproof Repellent). DWR prevents water from saturating the garment’s exterior. DWR does wear off due to abrasion, dirt, body oils, smoke, and multiple washings. Smoke will degrade your DWR, so stay away from the campfire if you are wearing your waterproof garments. DWR will eventually need to be reapplied to keep your rain gear (and other waterproof products) functioning normally. Sometimes a good clean will restore your DWR. If water still beads off your garment, then you are good to go. If not, you might want to treat it with a spray or wash-in product.
WASH GEAR PROPERLY
Yes, your muddy, dirty boots should be cleaned. You should wash your stinky, reeky backpack and sleeping pad. And please don’t forget to clean out your water bladder. I know this might be a pain but cleaning your gear will make it last. Using an old toothbrush to gently scrub your gear will help remove dirt in the smallest crevices.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a zipper slider that sticks when you least expect it. Protect and lubricate your zippers to make them last a whole lot longer. The elements are conspiring against you—by jamming your zippers with dirt, sand and debris.
So by using a Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant you can keep those zips running smoother and quieter
There’s a whole range of replacement parts for your gear also. Like all sorts of Buckle’s should you break a buckle on a pack, Tent pole splints, Bug mesh repair kits, outdoor sewing kits and replacement shock cord to name a few.
Finally – STORE GEAR PROPERLY! CEAN, DRY, STORE.
WET gear should be dried before storing. Hang dry your moist gear. If you pack away wet gear, mildew and mold will ruin your outdoor items. Air it out, it’s that easy. Mold can easily happen to your tent if it isn’t properly dried before stuffing into a stuff sack. Finally, store your down bags uncompressed, hang in your wardrobe or store loosely in a storage bag which most come with these days.
See you out there.