It’s hard enough to rough it in the great outdoors, especially during the cooler months – why make it more uncomfortable by using musty camping equipment that wasn’t stored properly? Taking a few extra steps to create a camping equipment storage area in your garage will not only eliminate the need for bulky, space-wasting storage solutions, but it will also help preserve your camping equipment, ultimately saving you money in the long run.
And for those who don’t let the cold weather stop them, these storage tips work for keeping your gear in top shape between outdoor adventures.
Where to Store Your Equipment
The first step in getting your gear ready for winter is deciding where to store it. Indoor options include available closet space, under the bed, or in the basement. Just be aware that indoors is also appealing to mice and bugs, and you will have to plan accordingly. Although it’s tempting, avoid storing your gear in outdoor storage sheds or attics to avoid problems with moisture and extreme temperatures that can wreak havoc on equipment durability.
We suggest storing your camping gear in the garage. It’s dry and usually doesn’t experience wild temperature swings, and it doesn’t take up valuable living space.
Worried that your camping equipment won’t fit with everything you already have in there? Learn how to organize your garage, which includes organization ideas for any garage. Installing a Flow Wall panel system makes customizing your garage organization simple.
Best Way to Store Insulated Camping Equipment
Camping gear has come a long way, and insulation has added significantly to our comfort when enjoying the great outdoors. Insulated gear includes clothing, outerwear, tents, sleeping pads and even insulated coolers and bags, which, when added together, can cost a small fortune. To keep your insulated equipment in top condition, follow these storage tips.
Gone are the days of buying inexpensive sleeping bags for neighborhood sleepovers! Campers and hikers of all skill levels will tell you that quality sleeping bags can cost hundreds of dollars, but (when taken care of properly) are an investment that will last for years of adventurous trips and backyard camping. Although many bags are sold in “stuff sacks,” it’s important to avoid storing them rolled up for long periods of time. Not only will this damage the bag’s insulation, it will also increase the chance of developing mold, mildew, and even rot if the equipment wasn’t properly cleaned before storage.
Completely clean and dry your sleeping bags (and their sacks), then hang them for their winter rest. Synthetic-filled sleeping bags can go through the gentle cycle in your washer; down sleeping bags are better washed by hand in the bathtub. Rinse and dry completely. Dryer sheets placed inside a storage bag will help keep it smelling fresh. Cedar chips or a lavender sachet will also discourage any bugs looking for a new place to spend the winter.
Make sure that your tents are vacuumed out, clean, and completely dry before storing for the winter. If there is any dampness, mold or mildew will be joining you on your first spring camping trip. Like sleeping bags, store the tent either loosely packed or hanging. Avoid storing in a waterproof bag, which will trap any residual moisture.
The winter storage triple play for clothing is: 1) cleaned, 2) dried, and 3) sealed. This is especially important for natural fibers such as wool. You can use large zip top bags to separate clothing, and clear storage bins make it easy to see and find what you need.
Instead of stuffing all of these valuable items into precariously stacked bins in a corner of your garage or inside your home, taking up limited closet space, consider installing hooks either on the garage wall or inside cabinets to hang, organize, and protect valuable equipment. For extra care, you can even create a custom dehumidifier nook inside cabinets to cut down on storage risks.
Non-Insulated Equipment Storage
Proper storage is just as important for your non-insulated camping gear, like tools and cooking equipment.
Crumbs will attract unwanted guests, so empty and clean your backpack completely before setting it aside for the winter. Dunk your backpack in a tub of soapy water and then rinse it completely to make sure it’s ready to store. Once it’s dry, hang it in a place that mice will have difficulty reaching.
If you clean your shoes after every hike and keep them dry and at room temperature, then you’re mostly ready for winter storage. If not, then make sure you clean and dry your hiking shoes first. Store them in an airy spot at room temperature—not somewhere cold like the porch, where the cold and lack of movement could cause the leather to crack. Loosen the laces and take out the inner sole. For extra freshness, you can sprinkle anti-fungal powder inside.
Flashlights, Cooking Equipment, and Tools
These items – once cleaned and free of dirt, water, dust, sand, and food particles that will attract bugs and critters – can be stored in hard storage bins affixed directly to your Flow Wall. Not only does this eliminate the chance that bins will topple over and damage people or the expensive equipment, it will also keep the items out of the elements and properly organized, making it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Or store items on garage shelves, off the floor and out of the reach of mice or bugs.
It’s important to remember that although electronics can be kept safely in bins or in cabinets with the rest of the camping gear, batteries should be taken out and stored separately to prevent damage. Consider investing in smaller bins and cabinets to hold items like batteries so you won’t have to dig through cluttered drawers and large bins to find exactly what you need.
Tucking away your camping gear for the winter is a great time to inspect everything and make note of equipment that may need to be repaired or replaced. Check for cracks, tears, or holes. Fix or replace issues now, rather than waiting until you’re in a spring rainstorm in the mountains to realize that you never fixed the tear in your tent or the zipper on your sleeping bag.
This is also the perfect time to organize your gear. Label bins clearly so you know exactly where everything is. You might consider making an inventory list for easy reference. To save space, look at how you can nest items. Perhaps your headlamps fit nicely in cooking pots, or cooking equipment can be stored in an empty cooler.
Camping Storage Solutions for All Kinds of Campers
Whether you go camping once a year or once a week, your equipment should be stored effectively to free up space for all of life’s other hobbies. Making the choice to invest in a Flow Wall will guarantee your outdoor equipment is ready to go whenever you are.