Outdoor gear and recreational equipment can deteriorate over time if not properly stored. Therefore, knowing how to properly store camping gear, sports supplies, and other outdoor equipment is a must if you want your gear to be in good working condition next time you need to use it. Check out these self storage tips to keep your recreational equipment in good shape!
- How to Store Camping Gear
- How to Store Hiking Equipment
- How to Store Sports Equipment
- How to Store Watersports Equipment
- How to Store Snowsports Equipment
How to Store Camping Gear
Between being exposed to the elements and having to stand up to repeated packing and unpacking, camping gear is prone to a lot of wear and tear. If you’re wondering how to store camping gear to keep it in good shape, check out these storage tips for some of the most common pieces of equipment.
How to Store Tents
Though they’re made to withstand the elements, tents will wear out quickly if they aren’t stored correctly. The best way to store a tent is to keep it in a loose bag in a cool, dry place. Extra moisture can cause mold to grow on the fabric, and an overly tight storage bag can wear out the tent poles. So before you put your tent into storage, make sure to clean it using the following steps:
- Gently scrub the fabric with soap and water. Once it’s free of stains and odors, rinse it off.
- Hang the tent on a clothesline or lay it over a flat area, and let it air-dry completely.
- Loosely bundle the dry tent inside of a pillowcase alongside the folded tent poles. The small bag that tents come with actually isn’t ideal for proper tent storage and should only be used for travel.
How to Store Camping Furniture
Most camping furniture, including hammocks, folding chairs, cots, and collapsable tables, are built to sustain rough handling. However, proper camping furniture storage can extend the lifetime of these objects so you can get the most out of them. These items don’t require high maintenance, but there are a few general tips you can follow on how to store camping chairs, cots, and other furniture.
- Set up your camping furniture as you would use it. Then, wipe down canvas fabric and plastic surfaces with a wet rag. Use soapy water, if necessary, to lift caked-on dirt more easily.
- Leave your items set up to dry, since folding them immediately after washing can lead to mildew growth.
- Once dry, put your camping furniture in any coverings they may have and store them out of direct sunlight. Heat can damage the material and promote bacterial growth.
How to Store Camping Cookware
Portable propane stoves and grills are essential pieces of camping equipment, but improper storage can lead to rust or broken parts. And while it’s important to clean your camping stove after every use, things can slip through the cracks, making safe storage tricky. To store camping cooking gear correctly, follow these easy steps:
- Remove the burners and boil-over plates before cleaning your camping stove exterior with warm water, dish soap, and a soft sponge. Use a brush with firmer bristles to remove grease or melted-on food.
- Once it’s completely dry, store your camping stove in an air-tight plastic bag to block airflow to its fuel lines and prevent any dust or bugs getting in.
- To prep your grill for storage, use a scraper and dish soap to get any cooked-on grime off the grates. If you plan on storing your grill outside through the fall and winter, make sure you winterize it first.
How to Store Camping Gas
Improperly stored gas isn’t just inefficient—it can also be dangerous. Leaking fumes can be detrimental to your health, and exposed gas can be a fire hazard. While flammable materials like gasoline can’t be kept in a storage unit, there is a proper way to store it. Learn how to safely store camping gas by following these simple steps:
- Inspect the gas canister for damage. Dents, deep scratches, and other non-cosmetic issues could be a sign that your canister is no longer safe for use.
- Dispose of the unused gas at a local waste disposal site if you find significant damage, and purchase a replacement.
- If your gas canister is in good shape, you can store camping gas safely by tightly sealing the canister and placing it in a cool, dark place.
How to Store Camping Electronics
Like most electronics, the best way to store camping electronics is to keep them in a climate-controlled storage environment with minimal moisture, which could corrode the internal components over time. Follow these steps to prepare your GPS, portable generator, and other camping electronics for storage:
- Check the manufacturer site or instruction manual to see if there are any specific directions for storage.
- Take out the batteries to prevent corrosion.
- Use a dust rag and/or a can of compressed air to remove dirt, which can damage the electronics’ internal components over time.
- Put the electronics back in the original packaging before storage, if possible. If you don’t have the original packaging, put them inside a cardboard box since plastic containers tend to contain moisture. Add a couple of packets of silica gel to keep them extra dry and store them in a dry place off the ground.
How to Store Sleeping Bags
Proper sleeping bag storage is not only important for maintaining the integrity of the bag itself, but also for your own health and hygiene. Like any other kind of bedding, sleeping bags trap dead skin, sweat, and dirt. Therefore, to correctly store sleeping bags, you’ll first need to clean them.
- Wash your sleeping bag by following the instructions on the label—typically, you’ll use warm water on gentle with down-safe detergent. Make sure the bag is entirely unzipped before you run it through to ensure an even clean.
- Squeeze all the excess water out and air dry flat in a low-humidity area with zero direct sunlight, since warmth can cause mildew to grow on wet surfaces.
- Store the sleeping bag in a loose mesh sack, instead of in the storage bag it came in, also known as a “stuff sack.” The mesh sack allows the fabric to breathe and diminish odor build-up. “Stuff sacks” should only be used to save space when traveling.
How to Store Hiking Equipment
Hiking is a notoriously rugged activity. As such, the equipment you use when hiking sustains a lot of wear-and-tear when in use. To make sure it doesn’t take any further damage when not in use, follow these tips to learn how to store hiking equipment.
How to Store Backpacks
The ideal way to store backpacks, similarly to hiking packs, is to keep them somewhere cool and dry, preferably out of direct sunlight to reduce the risk of moisture. Get your backpack ready for storage with these easy steps:
- Remove perishable or easily damaged items, such as food, camping electronics, or anything else that requires special storage.
- Wipe down the fabric with soapy water if necessary to remove stains. Air dry completely.
- Pack other small items inside for space-saving storage.
How to Store Hiking Gear
One of the best ways to store hiking gear between adventures is to put away everything inside your hiking pack, then keep the whole pack in a closet or another dark, cool area. Not only does this save space, but since hiking packs are specifically designed to store hiking gear, they can help keep your equipment in better shape than if they were stored separately. These steps can help you maximize the storage potential of your hiking pack:
- Make sure that every piece of hiking gear you store is clean before you put it away to avoid mold growth and to inspect for damage.
- Protect trekking poles from breaking by attaching them to your pack through the side loops.
- Keep other miscellaneous outdoor equipment like headlamps, compasses, and bungee cables inside the pack itself.
- Wrap easily breakable items in something puffy, like outerwear, which can also be stored inside your pack.
How to Store Hiking Boots
Knowing how to store your hiking boots correctly will help keep them comfortable and in good condition for as long as possible. When they’re ready for storage, make sure to keep them out of extreme heat, which can evaporate moisture from the material and lead to cracking. But first, prepare your boots for storage with these steps.
- Ideally, you should clean mud and debris off your hiking boots after every use, but giving them a good scrub with a boot-cleaning kit right before you store them will also help keep them in good shape.
- Allow your boots to dry completely after cleaning.
- If you have leather boots, use a conditioning product to prevent cracking.
How to Store Sports Equipment
Your sports equipment withstands a lot of stress when in use, but this shouldn’t be the case when it’s in storage. These tips will teach you how to store sports equipment to keep it in good shape between uses.
How to Store Trampolines
Outdoor trampolines are intended to be weather-proof, so it isn’t necessary to entirely disassemble them. That is, unless you’re expecting a stretch of extreme heat, strong storms, or heavy snow since excessive, consistent weight can damage the springs. However, it’s still important to know how to store a trampoline in case you’re planning a move or just need some extra space.
- To winterize your trampoline in place, anchor the frame to the ground with metal stakes to prevent high winds from blowing it away. You should also take down the netting, which can be stored by rolling it up in a large storage bag, and then secure a cover over the jump pad.
- To store your trampoline, disassemble it completely, then seal the jump pad and frame parts inside a plastic tub. The material isn’t especially sensitive to heat or moisture, but storing it in a cool, dry place is still a good idea to keep pests away.
How to Store Golf Clubs
Even if you don’t go more than a few days without hitting the green, you should never store golf clubs in the back of a vehicle—the clubs rub against each other while the vehicle’s in motion, which damages them. Instead, follow these tips for proper golf club storage:
- Clean the heads and grips of your clubs with soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse, then let them completely dry.
- Place the clubs back into your golf bag, and put a rain cover over the top, if you have one.
- Finally, keep them upright in a cool, dark place like a garage or storage unit.
How to Store Bikes
Bicycle storage is fairly straightforward once you know how to do it, but simple mistakes can lead to significant damage. Keep your bike working well between rides by taking these steps:
- If you ride your bike in the winter, the first step of bike storage is to rinse off the salt that’s used on icy streets. Wash your bike and make sure it’s fully dry before you store it to prevent rust.
- Be sure you’ve greased your threaded components, chain, and gears, and make sure there’s no liquid trapped in your bottom bracket—otherwise your bike could seize.
- Set the PSI before putting your bike in storage. For mountain bikes, set the PSI between 5 and 10 PSI.
- Extending the dropper post and leaving your bike upright is ideal, if possible, or hang your bike upside down from a mounted bike rack. Never leave your bike lying on its side.
How to Store Skateboards & Longboards
Skateboards and longboards are fairly sturdy, but it’s still important to minimize unnecessary damage. Keep your board ride-ready by following these skateboard and longboard storage tips:
- Inspect your skateboard or longboard for damage and make repairs if necessary. Soak open bearings in acetone, and dry before shaking dirt out. For closed bearings, remove the shield before using acetone.
- Keep the board in a shelved box or on a mounted skateboard rack. It can be a tripping hazard left lying around and car trunks draw in moisture, which can damage your deck and dilute the lubricant.
- Make sure you never leave your skateboard outside for long amounts of time. The elements can warp the wood and rust your bearings, and extreme temperatures will dry your bushings.
How to Store Roller Skates & In-Lines
Roller skates and in-lines aren’t especially hard to store, but they can attract mildew and odors if certain steps aren’t followed. Check out these tips on how to store roller skates:
- Wash and patch up the scratches on your skates as part of general maintenance.
- Loosen the laces and pull the tongue out to help the fabric breathe and prevent mildew. Allow slack in the straps and keep the buckles open.
- Put a scented dryer sheet inside the skate for freshness.
- Store the skates in a cardboard box or canvas bag—somewhere with little heat and moisture to keep mildew at bay.
How to Store Safety Pads & Equipment
Your helmet and safety pads are some of the most important pieces of sports equipment, so it’s important to know how to store them. The steps below are a great place to start when storing sports safety equipment:
- Remove the hard shells from your knee and elbow pads, then wash the soft cloth portion in a bucket of hot water with a cup of vinegar to remove bacteria. Soak, agitating occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Dry the padding by squeezing out excess moisture, toweling it down, and hanging it to dry somewhere with consistent airflow.
- Once the padding is fully dry, put it back inside the hard shell and store it in a duffle bag or other sports bag until the next time you need it—preferably in somewhere cool and dry to avoid moisture or mildew growth.
How to Store Watersports Equipment
Watersports equipment is most often used in the warmer months of the year, so unless you live in a city with warm year-round weather, you’ll probably need to store some of this recreational equipment for at least part of the year. Follow these tips to learn the right way to store your watersports gear and equipment. And remember to always inspect your gear for invasive species like zebra mussels after exiting every body of water.
How to Store Fishing Rods
Unless you’re casting off every day at the best fishing lakes in the U.S., you’ll need to know how to store your fishing rods. Fishing rod storage is fairly straightforward, but there are still a few tips you should follow to prevent tangled lines or damage to the pole itself.
- Remove the reel and carefully coil it up, then place the rods upright in a rod rack to avoid tangled fishing lines.
- Next, place a small piece of electrical tape over the fishing line to keep it from unraveling, then put the spool in your tackle box.
- Finally, place the rod upright in a fishing rod storage rack, then keep it somewhere cool and dry.
How to Store Tackle Boxes & Bags
The most important thing is to keep the box and its contents in good shape, so you should store it somewhere cool and dry to keep plastic parts from melting or warping. However, there are a few additional steps you can follow to store tackle boxes more efficiently:
- Make sure everything is dried out from your last fishing trip before you put it into storage.
- Organize your tackle box or bag before you store it by keeping soft plastic baits in separate plastic bags by color to prevent staining, and divide lures by their purpose.
How to Store Wakeboards & Water Skis
To store wakeboards and water skis, it’s important to use the proper storage equipment. Both of these pieces of equipment are best kept on specially designed storage racks. Check out these steps to learn how to prepare your wakeboard and water skis for storage:
- Inspect your water skis or wakeboard for damage. If they have minor damage, you can do some at-home maintenance to get them in better shape.
- Wipe down your wakeboard or water skis so they’re nice and clean before you put them away.
- Avoid storing your wakeboard and water skis where there’s direct sunlight, extreme temperature, or moisture, since these can damage them over time.
How to Store Surfboards & Paddleboards
Surfboard and paddleboard storage has a few definite “dos” and “don’ts” to remember. Learn more about the best way to store them with these simple tips:
- Always wash the salt off your surfboard or paddleboard before you store it.
- Remove the wax and fins before you store your surfboard, too.
- Store your board on a stand-up rack, wall-mounted rack, or in a surfboard sock—a large, bag-like covering that will offer extra protection if you just want to stand your surfboard up on its own or lay it flat on its side. Whatever you do, never leave the rails, tail, or nose of your surfboard on hard ground.
- Keep your board out of direct sunlight while in storage, since this can cause the foam to expand and will burn away some of the epoxy and fiberglass layers, leaving your board more susceptible to damage.
How to Store Canoes & Kayaks
If you aren’t taking them out on the water any time soon, you’ll be glad to know that storing canoes and kayaks is relatively easy compared to other kinds of recreational equipment. Proper storage helps elongate their life, so when you’re ready to visit the best boating lakes in the U.S., you can bring your canoe or kayak!
- Clean and dry your canoe or kayak thoroughly to avoid mold and moisture build-up.
- Whether you store it indoors or outdoors, it’s best to keep it wrapped in a waterproof, weather-resistant tarp, rather than lying directly on the ground.
- Store your canoe or kayak somewhere with consistent temperature and no direct sunlight.
How to Store Snowsports Equipment
Whether you live near the mountains or the middle of the desert, if you want to keep your skis, snowboard, and other gear in good shape during the off-season, you need proper snowsports equipment storage. Check out these tips on how to store winter recreational gear.
How to Store Skis
Like most sports equipment, skis can accumulate a lot of wear-and-tear. Therefore, before you can store your skis, you’ll need to do some basic maintenance.
- Start by washing them down with a garden hose. Tackle particularly stubborn grime with a cloth soaked in a little bit of citrus solvent, which is acidic enough to lift tough dirt without damaging the equipment itself.
- Once your skis are dry, sharpen their edges and use summer ski wax on their bases generously—and don’t scrape it off.
- Keep them in a cool, dry place in a position that won’t put stress on the cambers and rockers. A good option is to strap them together and lay them on their side in a climate-controlled storage unit.
- Hang the ski poles by their straps from the wall using hooks or a small rack.
How to Store Snowboards
The ideal environment for snowboard storage is somewhere cool and dry. In addition to keeping it out of harsh heat or moisture until the next time you hit the slopes, follow these steps for how to store your snowboard.
- Wipe it down thoroughly with a wet rag to clean it.
- Remove bindings and hardware and put a coat of wax on the base.
- Next, sharpen the edges with a snowboard file.
- Put your board into a snowboard bag, which will keep it safe from direct sunlight and accidental damage. Keep hardware and bindings in a separate sack, and nest a smaller plastic bag full of your screws inside of it all.
How to Store Ice Skates
When considering how to store ice skates, you need to think about safety as well as the condition of the skates themselves. Since ice skates must be kept sharp for optimal use, it’s important that you store them in a way that won’t injure you while taking them in or out of storage.
- Sharpen your ice skates so they’re ready to go the next time you use them.
- Make sure they’re completely dry, then cover the blades in a towel soaker designed for ice skates. This will prevent rust.
- Cover the leather portion in skate shoe polish to help them retain moisture and prevent cracking.
- Store them in an open box in a cool, dry place. A closed box can attract moisture.
How to Store Winter Sports Gear
Most people don’t use helmets, boots, goggles, snow coveralls, and other winter sports outerwear all year. Therefore, it’s essential to store winter sports gear when it isn’t in use.
- Wash and dry all clothing items like coveralls and coats using the instructions on their tags. Fold them and put them away in a cardboard box.
- Wipe down helmets and goggles with water and a microfiber cloth for a gentle clean that will remove smudges and grime. Put them into a padded bag to avoid damage.
- Store all winter sports gear in a dry environment with minimal variation in temperature.
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