Summer is quickly coming to an end, which means most casual campers will be putting away their tents and sleeping bags until temperatures are on the rise again. If your garage is jam-packed with items, you may be thinking about renting a self-storage unit and placing your camping gear in there. However, if you decide to do so, it is important that you properly prepare and store your gear. If you fail to do so, your camping gear may not be in the same condition as when it went in. Here are a few tips for properly preparing your tent and sleeping bags to be stored in a storage unit.
A tent is one of the most commonly used pieces of camping equipment. If it is not properly cared for, it can develop mold or mildew that can damage the structure and strength of the tent. Follow these steps to prepare your tent for storage:
- Pitch the tent in your backyard. If you don't have space, you can attempt to clean it by laying it flat. However, it can be harder to thoroughly clean and takes longer to dry when it is flat.
- Inspect the tent, looking for holes or tears. If there are any, now is a great time to patch them up.
- Spray the tent down with your hose to remove dirt, debris and buildup. If deep cleaning is desired, combine warm water with a squirt of a liquid dish soap. Dip a soft cloth, sponge, or soft-bristled brush in the mixture and wipe down the tent. Do not use a hard-bristled cleaning brush or anything abrasive, as it can damage the nylon fabric that most tents are made from. Use your hose to rinse away soap residue.
- Allow the tent to thoroughly air dry. This is important, as mildew can form if you fold the tent up while it is still wet. Additionally, if your tent has removable poles, you will want to remove any remaining water on those with a dry cloth or rag to prevent rust from developing.
- Fold the tent up, much like you would a sheet. Try to match the corners and fold it into as much of a rectangular shape as you can. Once it is folded down into a decent size, you can roll it up.
- Place the tent into a tent storage bag to keep it from ripping or being exposed to moisture while it is in storage.
A sleeping bag is another piece of common camping gear. And just like tents, a sleeping bag can develop mildew or mold if it is not properly stored. Follow these steps to prepare your sleeping bags for storage in a self-storage unit:
- Shake the sleeping bag out outside to remove any dirt or debris that may remain on it from your last camping trip.
- Wash each sleeping bag individually in a front-loading washing machine. The agitator in a top-loading one can be damaging to the nylon part of your sleeping bag. If your sleeping bags are large or you don't have a front-loading machine, pay a visit to a local laundromat. Follow the manufacturer's directions for washing. Most sleeping bags are washed on a cold setting.
- After the sleeping bag is washed, you will want to thoroughly dry it to prevent mildew. A sleeping bag can be hung outside to line dry, if desired. However, it should not be hung directly in the sun, as the sun's UV rays can break down the fibers of the sleeping bag. The sleeping bag can also be dried in a dryer on a low heat setting. Consider placing a couple of dry towels in the sleeping bag, along with two tennis balls. The dry towels speed up the drying process, while the tennis balls bouncing around inside ensure the filling comes out fluffy.
- Once your sleeping bag is dry, you will want to fold it in half and then roll it up. If your sleeping bag came with a cover, place it in that. If it did not, put it in a plastic garbage bag. This helps protect the sleeping bag from rips, tears or snags.
When you place your camping gear in storage, you want to be able to use it again next year. However, if you do not properly prepare the items for storage, they can come out damaged. Learning how to properly prepare and store items like tents and sleeping bags can help ensure you can use your gear again next camping season. For information on your available storage options, contact a company like I-70 Self Storage.