Checking Your Gear

Author: Taylah DanaĆ« Baggs  Date Posted: 2 October 2020

Stuck at home? Use this time to check over and level up your equipment. Danae takes us through keeping your outdoor gear and equipment in tip-top shape.

 

It's important to take care of your outdoor gear and equipment so it can take care of you when you're off on adventures. Nobody wants a sleeping bag to soak through or a jacket to rip halfway through a gruelling trek! Use your time inside wisely and check over your gear for any repairs or care you need to take care of.

 

Sleeping Bags

  • Store safely - wedging your sleeping bag into a tight stuff sack or compression sack is great for transportation and travel, but not for storage. Long term, that can impact the loft (fluffiness) the fill material, resulting in inferior performance. Use the storage bag that comes with your sleeping bag or an old pillowcase to stow your bag away. If you really want to let it air out, hang it over a large hanger in your wardrobe.
  • Repair snagged or stuck zippers - if you spot a snag, ease the fabric out of the zipper teeth; most modern sleeping bags use forgiving zippers with rounded teeth that are less likely to damage caught fabric. Fix stuck zippers and lubricate your zipper to prevent sand, dirt and salt build-ups that cause sticking with a product like the Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant.
  • Check for holes, rips or tears - you want to fix these quickly before they grow into bigger problems. Make sure to check for them before washing your bag, because a washing machine could rip the fill material or stuffing out through the hole. Use specialised repair products like Gear Aid Tenacious Tape (also available in Reflective fabric and Round Patches).
  • Wash your sleeping bag correctly - for down sleeping bags, use performance washes like Grangers Down Wash or Storm Down Wash-In to safely machine wash your bag. Unlike normal laundry detergent, these specialised washes don't strip down of its natural oils, which help protect and loft the down for its warm. For synthetic sleeping bags, use a general performance wash like Grangers Performance Wash, Storm Outdoor Clothing Wash, Gear Aid ReviveX Pro Cleaner or NikWax BaseFresh.
  • Recondition waterproofing with a DWR treatment - there are two main ways to reactivate a sleeping bag's DWR (durable water repellency) treatment, which is what makes small amounts of moisture bead off instead of wetting your sleeping bag. DWR wears off with use, so it's a good idea to reapply after each wash or if you notice that water no longer runs off your bag. You can tumble-dry your sleeping bag on a low setting (pro-tip: throw in one or two clean tennis balls halfway through to break up down clumps for the best loft). Or - which is more effective - you can use a DWR treatment like Grangers Performance Repel Spray, Grangers Tent Plus Gear Repel Spray or Storm Eco Proofer Spray-On.

Tents

  • Inspect your set up for missing pieces - pay special attention to small bits like the guyline, poles, stakes and clip anchor points and replace any broken or missing pieces before you go camping
  • Check tent poles for cracks, splinters or bends - nothing is worse than trekking out to the backcountry and setting up for the night, only to have your tent poles snap in the middle of a nighttime rain storm and come crashing down on you. Get any dodgy poles replaced ASAP!
  • Check the floor, canopy and fly for holes, rips or tears - you want to fix these quickly before they grow into bigger problems. Use specialised repair products like Gear Aid Tenacious Tape (also available in Reflective fabric and Round Patches).
  • Repair snagged or stuck zippers - if you spot a snag, ease the fabric out of the zipper teeth. Fix stuck zippers and lubricate your zipper to prevent sand, dirt and salt build-ups that cause sticking with a product like the Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant.
  • Revitalise DWR with a performance wash - UV light eventually reduces fabric tear strength and destroys water repellency treatments. Try Grangers Tent Plus Gear Repel Spray to removate dirt and contaminents, protect against UV degradation and revitalise DWR treatments.
  • Re-seal tent seams - your tent's seams are where it's most likely to spot a leak. Keep them sealed with Gear Aid Fast Cure Seam Sealant (for nylon, canvas, polyester or vinyl tents) or Gear Aid Seam Grip Silicone Tent Sealant (for silnylon or silicone treated tents). Gear Aid Seam Grip Waterproof Sealer and Adhesive is a heavy duty option for when you plan to camp in more extreme conditions.
  • Reapply the urethane coating to the tent floor or interior rainfly - if you notice flaking on these areas, carefully scrub off the flakes and apply a thin coating of tent sealant using the same products as above.
  • Reapply DWR to outer fabrics - Gear Aid ReviveX Instant Water Repellent for tents works great.

Packs

  • Clear out debris - get those trail bar crumbs out from the bottom of your pack!
  • Check for holes, rips or tears - you want to fix these quickly before they grow into bigger problems. Use specialised repair products like Gear Aid Tenacious Tape (also available in Reflective fabric and Round Patches).
  • Repair snagged or stuck zippers - if you spot a snag, ease the fabric out of the zipper teeth. Fix stuck zippers and lubricate your zipper to prevent sand, dirt and salt build-ups that cause sticking with a product like the Gear Aid Zipper Cleaner and Lubricant.
  • Spot clean or wash - use some water and a damp cloth with a little gentle soap to spot clean any dirty patches. If you want to give your whole pack a clean, try NikWax Tent and Gear Solar Wash Spray-On or Grangers Gear Cleaner Spray.
  • Re-seal seams - your pack's seams are where it's most likely to spot a leak. Keep them sealed with Gear Aid Seam Grip Silicone Tent Sealant for silnylon or silicone treated fabrics, or Gear Aid Seam Grip Waterproof Sealer and Adhesive for nylon, canvas, polyester, vinyl and most other fabrics.
  • Reapply DWR treatments - even the best DWR treatment will lose its ability to repel water over time or with extended use. Grab Grangers Tent Plus Gear Repel Spray or Storm Eco Proofer Spray-On to replicate your pack's original water repellent finish.

Apparel

If you don't want to do two wash cycles (one to clean and one to waterproof), try the Grangers Clothing Wash Plus Repel - although this will require heat activation via tumble drying or similar.

Footwear

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