Spring comes the opportunity for fresh air, sunshine, and adventure. What better way to celebrate this beautiful season than by breaking out your camping gear for an adventure in nature?
Before you hit the trails with your trusty tent and sleeping bag, take a few moments to give your gear a good once-over. Just like spring cleaning your home or apartment, taking a few extra moments to ready yourself for outdoor adventures can make all the difference.
We’ve put together a definitive checklist of spring cleaning tips to help campers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts make sure they’re ready when it’s time to hit the trails.
With just a little patience and TLC, you can make sure all your gear is ready for even more awesome memories throughout spring and beyond!
Look for signs of wear and tear. If something looks worn or frayed, don't take risks— replace it before heading out into the woods!
After inspecting each item for wear and tear, give everything a thorough cleaning. This will help ensure that your gear stays in top condition throughout the camping season—and helps keep pests like mice away from your campsite!
Use mild detergents and water (or specialized cleaners designed specifically for outdoor items) to clean tents, sleeping bags and backpacks. For items like camp stoves or lanterns that need more specialized care, be sure to consult their user manuals for specific instructions.
Once everything is clean and in good condition, it's time to organize it all so you know where everything is when packing up! Invest in some bins or containers that are lightweight yet durable enough to withstand being tossed around in transit (or look into vacuum-sealed bags if space is really tight). Label each bin clearly so you know what's inside without having to open them up each time you pack or unpack. You can also use dividers within each bin so that smaller items won't get lost in larger ones.
Tent and Tarp
Your choice of shelter is the most important piece of equipment when it comes to camping. Before you hit the campsite this season, make sure to thoroughly inspect your tent and tarp for any damage.
The best way to do this is to choose a sunny day and pitch your tent in the garden or somewhere accessible for inspection.
Gather Your Supplies
Before you start cleaning, it's important to gather all of the supplies you'll need. For this project, you'll need a mild soap, a soft brush, clean water, and a towel. You may also want to wear gloves to protect your hands from the soap and water. You will also need tear repair kits and waterproofing spray.
Clean the Inside and Outside of Your Tent
The first step is to take everything out of the tent. This includes all of the poles, stakes, and any other items that are inside the tent. Once everything is out, give the inside of the tent a good shake (or vacuum if you have one handy) to remove any dirt or debris that may be clinging to the fabric.
Now it's time to focus on cleaning the tent fabric.
Wipe down the inside of your tent with a damp cloth. Once you've done that, clean the outside of your tent with soap and water.
Start by brushing off any dirt and debris from the outside of the tent, then use warm water and soap or mild detergent to remove any stubborn stains. Gently scrub the fabric in small circles, making sure you get in all nooks and crannies.
Clean the Zipper of Your Tent
One often-forgotten step in cleaning a tent is cleaning the zipper. To do this, simply use a toothbrush or another small brush to scrub any dirt or debris from the teeth of the zipper. Once you've brushed away all of the dirt, run a lubricant such as WD-40 along the length of the zipper to help keep it running smoothly.
Once you've scrubbed the entire surface, rinse it off with clean water and allow it to air dry.
Cleaning Mould & Mildew Damage
These pesky fungi can not only ruin the integrity of your tent but also pose health risks to you and your camping buddies. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems, so it's important to get rid of them as soon as possible.
The good news is, it's relatively easy to check for and repair any mold or mildew on your tent. Look for any signs of discoloration or musty odor, as these could be indications of mold or mildew. If you find mildew spots on your tent, it’s important to treat them right away.
Start by mixing equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spritzing the affected area(s).
Next, mix baking soda with water until you create a paste-like consistency, then apply it directly onto the mildew spots and let sit for 30 minutes. Finally, use a damp cloth to wipe away any residue. This should remove most of the mould growth without damaging the fabric of your tent.
Once all of the mould has been removed, rinse off using water and a soft cloth before leaving it to dry. Make sure to dry your tent and air out your tent thoroughly before storing away; otherwise, new growth could occur over time. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, so airing out your tent whenever possible is key.
Inspect Your Tent for any Holes or Tears
Once you've finished cleaning your tent, it's time to inspect it for any damage that may have occurred over winter. Look for holes in the fabric, loose seams, or any other signs of wear and tear.
Holes and tears can let in water, which can damage your gear or cause you to get wet while you're camping.
If there's any damage, patch it up before heading out on your next adventure. If you find a tear, it's important to do this promptly, as a small tear can quickly turn into a large one if left unchecked.
Patching the Rip or Tear
The first step in repairing your tent is patching up any rip or tear that has occurred. If the rip is small enough, you can also use waterproof patch kits which come with adhesive backing that can simply be cut into shape and applied directly over holes or small tears. These products are designed specifically for outdoor gear and will help keep the water out during future trips. Most tents come with a patch kit that includes adhesive and fabric patches, but you can purchase these separately if required.
If there are tears or holes in canvas fabric, these can be easily repaired with some basic sewing supplies like thread and needles. Start by using strong thread that matches the colour of your fabric. Then stitch up both sides of the tear or hole using small stitches so that they are barely visible once complete – this will ensure longevity for years to come!
For larger tears, you could even purchasing a replacement fabric panel, which can usually be found online or at an outdoor retailer.
Sealing Up Any Potential Leaks
Your last step should be sealing any potential leaks in order for your tent to stay waterproof when it rains on future trips. To do this, apply a seam sealer such as Gear Aid Seam Grip directly onto any seams that have been compromised by tears or mould damage. This product will help ensure that no water gets inside your tent during those rainy days ahead!
Whether the tent is needing repair or not, its a good idea to update the waterproofing of your tent anyway. Over time even the best tents will develop weak spots where water can enter. Part of your pre-season prepping should include boosting the waterproofing with a waterproofing spray and resealing seams with a sealant.
Stakes and Poles
The next step is to clean the poles and stakes. If they're made of metal, you can use soapy water and a brush to scrub them clean. If they're made of plastic or another material, you can wipe them down with a damp cloth. Once they're clean, rinse them off with clean water and set them aside to dry.
Once your tent is clean and repaired, it's time to think about storage. If you plan on storing your tent for more than a few months, make sure its bone dry before putting it away. Additionally, consider storing your tent in a cool, dry place such as a basement or garage to help prolong its lifespan.
Tarp & Hammock Campers
Clean and repair your tarp applying the same principles as above. If your tarp has a reflective surface or rubberised lining, take extra care not to puncture these during then cleaning process. Read the manufacturer's instructions carefully to check which cleaning products are safe to use with specialized gear.
Spring cleaning your hammock gear in preparation for summer can help ensure that it is clean, functional, and ready to use. Here are some steps to follow:
- Inspect your hammock and suspension system: Check for any signs of wear and tear, such as fraying or stretching. Replace any damaged or worn parts as needed. If there is any mold or mildew anywhere apply the same principles as above.
- Wash your hammock: Depending on the material of your hammock, you can either hand wash it with a mild detergent or machine wash it on a gentle cycle. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning. Hang your hammock to dry thoroughly.
- Clean your suspension system: If your suspension system is made of straps or ropes, clean them by hand with a mild detergent and warm water. Rinse well and hang to dry. If your suspension system is made of metal hardware, wipe it down with a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
- Check your gear storage: Make sure your gear storage is clean and dry. Remove any debris or dirt that may have accumulated over the winter months.
Pack your gear for storage: Once your gear is clean and dry, pack it in a dry, cool place to prevent any mold or mildew from forming. Consider using a storage bag or container to keep it organized and protected.
By following these steps, you can ensure that your hammock gear is clean and ready for a summer of relaxation and adventure!
Your sleeping bag is your cozy companion while at camp so take care of it!
First things first, let's banish any dank smells by airing out your sleeping bag and sleeping gear. Be sure to air out your sleeping bag before packing it away again in its stuff sack or storage bag. Avoid packing it away damp (as this will encourage the growth of mold and mildew).
Sleeping bags can collect a lot of dirt and dust, so it's important to clean them regularly. Next, let's scrub away any dirt or grime that accumulated on your sleeping pad.
And don't forget about those pesky critters - give your gear a thorough check for any unwanted guests.
Most bags can simply be thrown in the washing machine on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent but check the manufacturer’s instructions first just to be safe. Then hang them up somewhere dry and airy until they're completely dry.
While washing your sleeping bag, you may want to also wash any bedding such as blankets or pillows that you plan on bringing along during your trip as well.
Check your sleeping bag for any signs of wear and tear or mildew and repair as necessary.
With a little elbow grease and some attention to detail, you'll be sleeping soundly in the great outdoors in no time.
Camping stoves can be dangerous if they're not properly maintained. Inspect your camping stove for any damage and make sure all the parts are in working order and repair or replace any parts that are worn out or broken.
Thoroughly clean the camp stove. Our go-to cleaning product is a paste made of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar which cuts through grease and grime beautifully. Be careful though only to clean those sections that can be wet.
Be sure to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully before using or cleaning your stove, and follow all safety precautions.
Cookware is key when camping outdoors so make sure yours is clean and free from corrosion! Start by prepping all of the cookware tools (pots, pans, spatulas) by inspecting them for rust spots or cracks that need replacing before giving them a good scrub with warm soapy water and steel wool pads if necessary. Once everything looks clean as new rinse them off with hot water and let them dry in the sun before packing away again in their designated container or bag.
Clean out the cooler including scrubbing down the inside and discard any leftover food or drink
Dust off your camping chairs, tables and accessories to get rid of dirt and grime build up.
Pack only what you need - double check all tools and be ready to prioritise their importance relative to the trip planned.
Make sure you have all the necessary safety accessories such as an emergency kit with first aid supplies and reflective gear in case of any unexpected emergencies.
Test your portable chargers and rechargeable devices to see if they still hold a charge
Take care of lighting gear such as lanterns and flashlights, making sure you have extra batteries etc.
Embracing the camping lifestyle is a great way to get out in nature and make lasting memories. Whether you're a first time camper or an experienced outdoors-man, taking some time now to prepare for your camping trip by spring cleaning your gear can save you plenty of headaches down the road—and ensures that you'll have everything you need when it's time to head out into nature.
From evaluating your shelter needs and selecting the right cookware to getting organized with sleeping accessories, there's plenty of decisions that need to be made before the season begins.
With these simple steps, you're well on your way towards having all your camping equipment ready for the upcoming season!
And if you need more assistance in configuring the right gear for your upcoming getaways, our expert advice section can help steer you in the right direction. So break out those cleaning supplies, check your gear thoroughly and get organized—it'll be worth it once you're out there enjoying yourself beneath the stars! Happy camping everyone!