If you are like many other campers out there your camping season will be drawing to an end as the October holidays are over for many, especially in the UK.
For the rest of you hardcore All-Year campers, this could also be of interest as storing your equipment between trips in winter is very important if you want to keep your equipment in tip-top condition and ready to go whenever you want.
Not all of us can rough it in the cold camping over the winter months and have a few months away from camping where we will pack all our kit away.
But, you need to do this in a way that will preserve your kit and keep it in tip-top condition and ready for next season. For this reason, I have written the following tips and advice. If you have any top tips of your own, please feel free to share them in the comments section at the end.
Making Use of Equipment During Winter Months
As you go through your kit think about what may come in useful around the home over the winter months and these can be kept out rather than having to rummage for them at a later date.
If you will be having guests over the holiday period it may be worthwhile keeping out beds and sleeping bags.
Torches, lights and headlamps may also be useful items to keep handy in case of power cuts.
Stoves, are you ever without a cooker during power cuts? Single stoves are ideal for getting something warm to eat or drink or even filling hot water bottles for everyone.
Your entire kit needs to be thoroughly cleaned and checked for damage. If you find any of your kit damaged this is a great time to get repairs done or even replace them. Remember that now camping season, for most, is coming to an end there are plenty of sales on and you may just be able to grab yourself a bargain.
Anything that is washed must be thoroughly dried before packing away.
Remove any batteries from lights, radios and any other gadgets that consume them. Batteries can leak and can cause irreparable damage to items and at best corrode any metal that it will come into contact with.
Tents, Awnings and Canopies
For these items, it is best to pitch them one last time to clean and check for damage. Clean any tree sap, bird droppings and dirt off material. Where possible try not to use detergents as this will damage the waterproofing. Re-proof if needed, from both water and UV rays. Follow manufacturers guidelines on when this should be done.
Sweep out tent floors and give them a clean too. Depending on where you are able to keep your tent this is a must as small critters will find any crumb you leave behind.
Where possible try to keep your tent inside and loosely folded. So, out of the storage bag is best. If you do have to keep it outside in a garage or shed, you will need to check on it regularly to ensure that no critters have started to gnaw their way through the bag to make a bed in your beloved tent, stored awning or canopies. It is cold outside, and they will look for anywhere warm to sleep and breed.
Remember as temperatures rise and fall over the winter that it can lead to condensation among all your equipment, but this is especially damaging for materials as it can cause mould and mildew and will also cause nasty smells that can be hard to get rid of.
I often save the little silica bags you get with new products and put a few of these in with tent to help keep it fresher and draw moisture away from it.
Sleeping Bags and Beds
These are also best kept indoors and stored loose. If you can pop the sleeping bags under beds or in cupboards, lightly folded. If you have the room single bags can be halved lengthways and put over a hanger to store. If you are able to do this, it is also a good idea to tie the storage bag for the sleeping bag around the hanger.
If you must store these away in a loft or outhouse the best thing to use are these vacuum storage bags. These are great at keeping things fresh and dry as well as compacting the size of space you use for storage. Again, please check on them at regular intervals just in case something decides to have a nibble.
Again, thorough cleaning of all equipment to make sure all traces of food are removed. If you have separate dry foods or condiments for camping it is best if they can be kept indoors too. These should be placed in a sealed container where possible. This saves them from drawing moisture from the air and spoiling.
Check dates on all dry foods that are kept for camping and if dates fall short of next years outings, take them in and use them or bin them.
Remove gas canisters from cookers and stoves and check the correct storage for the type of gas you use.
It may seem like a lot of work, cleaning everything and storing items correctly, but, it will save both time and money in the long run. If you take care of your kit it, in turn, will take care of you when out on your adventures.
Take care of storage then you will have nothing to worry about while planning your following years trips over the winter months.