Make the most out of your camping gear

July 29, 2015

The right equipment in good condition is essential for an experience that is both safe and enjoyable in your activities in the great outdoors.

Make the most out of your camping gear

Repairs in the wild

  • If there's one thing you should never leave home without when you head into the great outdoors, it's a roll of duct tape.
  • Quite simply, nothing is better when you need a fast, effective and waterproof patch for a tent, an inflatable raft, a backpack, a shoe — you name it — or for repairing any number of cracked or broken items. For the strongest patches, put duct tape on both sides of a hole.

A lighter lantern

  • A clean lantern is a brighter lantern. Clean off that black soot on your lantern's glass globe with a soft cloth dipped in 250 millilitres (.5 cup) of ammonia mixed with four litres (one gallon) of water — or just use a commercial glass cleaner that contains ammonia.

Don't store a wet tent

  • Did it rain on your last camping trip? Don't pack away a wet tent; it's likely to be covered with mold and mildew the next time that you take it out of storage.
  • Instead, hang the tent up to air-dry in a shaded spot when you get home.
  • Once all the moisture has evaporated, roll up the tent with the poles and other parts tucked inside to prevent them from falling out if the bag is jostled.

Clean a tent

  • Most tents and backpacks can go for quite a while without needing a cleaning, but when it's time scrub them down, don't use any harsh detergents or household or industrial cleaners — they could remove protective coatings from the material.
  • Instead, wipe down your dirty tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and other outdoor fabrics with a sponge dipped in warm water and a bit of mild soap.
  • Hose off any excess soap; then hang them up to air-dry.

Fluff up sleeping bags and air mattresses

  • Keep your sleeping bags and air mattresses loosely stuffed in a porous sack or an old pillowcase.
  • Leaving a sleeping bag tightly balled up in storage can bunch up or break the fibres in the filling material, which makes for lumpy bedding that's uncomfortable to sleep on.
  • For optimum care, store your air mattresses flat with the valves left open.
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