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  • Shengying Zhao

Adventure Awaits: How to Prep Your Gear for Camping Season

Updated: Mar 11

1. Clean, Inspect, Repair: Get your Gear in Good Working Order

Ensuring the functionality and proper care of your camping and hiking gear is crucial each season. While it's true that outdoor gear is meant to get dirty, giving it a quick once-over and ensuring thorough cleaning is essential to keep it in top shape and ensure it withstands all your adventures. Dirt, sweat, and other contaminants left on gear can contribute to deterioration over time. While deep cleaning equipment once a year is good, it's not always a must. Remember that gear can vary greatly in terms of materials and construction, so individual care instructions should be the primary guide.

Address any holes or tears:

Optimize the lifespan of your camping gear by addressing any damage before putting it to use again. Simple repairs can be DIY, since fabric repair kits, tape, and repair patches are easily found at your local camping supplies store. Occasionally, requiring the help of professional services may arise in situations where DIY repairs are beyond our capabilities. It's crucial to be aware of the associated costs, or at least have an approximate estimate. Always go through company repair and replacement policies, and reach out if you have questions.

Wash and dry everything safely:

If there are no immediate repairs required, make sure everything is clean and dry. For camping and backpacking enthusiasts, it's essential to assess your tent's condition before embarking on the first trip of the season. While it may appear labor-intensive at first, using the right tent cleaner, a bit of dish soap, and a sponge can effortlessly restore your tent to excellent condition. If you detect an odor, a light spray of distilled white vinegar can help combat mold and unpleasant odor. These small steps can significantly contribute to prolonging the lifespan of your gear. Imagine the joy you'll feel preparing for your inaugural trip next year, knowing that your gear will be primed and ready to go!

For items like tents, sleeping bags, camp chairs, blankets, etc., it's recommended to wash them before storing. Keep in mind that not all outdoor gear can be machine-washed, and most should not be cleaned with standard detergent. Before washing, carefully review the manufacturer guidelines for each item. For example, we strongly recommend avoiding casually tossing your snug sleeping bags into the washer without consulting the instructions! Certain sleeping bags may require hand washing or exclusive use of a front-load washing machine. Best to always hang dry too!

Prepare your camp kitchen for spring:

Take the time to wash and organize all camp kitchen items. When dealing with cutlery, pots, pans, and other miscellaneous items, make sure to wash and thoroughly dry them before placing them in storage. Residual food particles can attract mice and other rodents in search of a snack. Whether you use lighters or matches, test them to ensure they still work. Matches can get damp over the winter and may need replacement. Now is also the ideal time to replenish your camp kitchen essentials – from dish soap and paper towels to spices and fuel canisters – for the upcoming season!

Deep clean your tent:

Once the exterior of your tent is spotless, shift your focus to the interior. Pitch your tent in your backyard, driveway, or even your garage. This makes it a breeze to reach every nook and cranny. Use a vacuum or broom to clear out any dirt, crumbs, or debris that may have accumulated during the summer. Keep your tent dry by wiping off any water with a cloth and avoid folding it while wet. For moldy tents, try this simple home remedy: brush off the mold, then clean with a solution of lemon juice, warm water, and salt. Scrub, let it dry, and fold as directed. For tough cases, consider a fungicide. Choose a solution that's tent-friendly and won't disrupt your camping comfort.

Electronic devices:

Electronic devices like GPS units, various lamps, flashlights, or outdoor smartwatches also require maintenance. For devices equipped with rechargeable batteries, make sure to remove them at the season's end and store them in a cool, dry place. As you gear up for the season, install fully charged batteries and don't forget to stock up on extras.

2. Gear Up for Success: Organization and Storage Tips

Proper storage is just as crucial as regular maintenance. Here are some tips for safely storing your outdoor gear.

Label everything:

While it may feel excessive at the moment, tagging your gear before storing it can save you from unnecessary confusion when the next season comes around. Opt for a smart solution by color-coding your poles using tape. This simple step prevents mix-ups between dining shelter poles and tent poles! Keep your kitchen organized by storing cutlery, pots, pans, and other supplies in labeled bins. No more rummaging through holiday decorations just to find that elusive pan.

Use a cool, dry place:

After putting in a ton of effort to dry out, clean, and label your equipment, the last thing you want to do is store it in the wrong spot. Keep your equipment in a cool, dry place. Avoid placing your equipment in areas with excessive moisture, sunlight, or heat. The presence of moisture and exposure to sunlight can accelerate the growth of mold and mildew, hastening the degradation of materials. It's essential to recognize that not all gear requires identical storage methods. Referring to the specific care instructions for each item is key to determining the most suitable storage approach. Following these general guidelines will provide a good foundation for maintaining the quality and functionality of your gear.

Protect against rodents and insects:

Periodically check stored gear for signs of pests, especially in dark and quiet storage areas. Insects or rodents can damage or nest in gear, so keep storage spaces clean and, if necessary, use pest control measures. To mitigate this risk, elevate gear off the ground and store it in sealed containers. While natural repellents like lavender and cedar can deter moths, the most effective prevention involves storing clothing in sealed containers or bags.

Roll it correctly:

The process of rolling and folding a tent are interconnected. Smaller tents can be neatly rolled around the poles. Conversely, larger tents should be rolled into a sausage shape, ensuring that the length of the rolled tent is somewhat shorter than the bag, making it easier to fit into the carry bag. Ensure you store your tent in a breathable sack rather than a compression sack, as compression sacks aren't suitable for long-term storage. If you haven't taken these steps at the season's end, now is the perfect time during spring prep.

3. Conduct an Inventory Check: Replace and Upgrade

Conducting a thorough inventory check allows time to hunt for deals on quality gear like camping chairs, tents, cookware, and wagons. Avoid settling for "good enough" items right before a trip, only to regret it later. Customize your checklist for spring/summer, fall, winter camping items, catering to all seasons. Further categorize them into those in good condition, items needing repair, and those you no longer require and should dispose of. Once you've secured the essentials, customize your checklist for summer, fall, and winter camping, catering to all seasons. A comprehensive inventory ensures a smoother "get up and go" during the bustling spring and summer months.

4. Camp with Us and Enjoy Top-Quality Gear

Once at camp, it's often the little things that can be the difference between comfort and frustration. From a functional tent to a reliable cook station, here are some of our favorite Timber Ridge products that enhance your outdoor experience from good to great!

Timber Ridge® Robinia Folding Camping Kitchen Table

For any dedicated camp chef, a portable camp kitchen is a must have. Constructed with a lightweight aluminum frame and polyester siding, Timber Ridge® Robinia Quick Fold Pantry features a mesh back for ventilation, and an easy-to-clean MDF tabletop. Inside, a compact internal organizer ensures your essential items are kept separate and well-organized.

Timber Ridge® XXL Zero Gravity Lounger

Relax for hours at the campsite or on your back porch with the Timber Ridge Zero Gravity Lounger. Its lightweight yet sturdy aluminum frame, coupled with the bungee system, enables seamless reclining from an upright position to fully laid back. The padded seat and adjustable headrest ensure you can kick back in comfort, providing support for your head or lumbar region.

Timber Ridge® Quad Folding Wagon

This versatile wagon offers ample space for all your essentials, making it perfect for beach days, camping trips, picnics, sporting events, block parties, gardening, and more. Maneuver it effortlessly on various terrains, thanks to its four heavy-duty wheels. The comfortable ergonomic handle, adjustable for height, eliminates the struggle of carrying heavy loads on your back. After your day's adventure, fold it down to a compact size for easy storage in your car trunk or any convenient space.

Timber Ridge® 5-Person SUV Tent

Turn your SUV or minivan into a luxurious home away from home with our Timber Ridge SUV Tent, complete with an additional movie screen. Designed for up to 5 adults, this tent offers generous living space, enabling you to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of outdoor adventures.

Timber Ridge® Cedar 2-Person Loveseat

Cozy up with your special someone at the campsite in our spacious cedar 2-person loveseat. Unlike similar chairs, this loveseat eliminates the annoying center bar, elevating comfort to new heights. The robust steel frame and a weight capacity of 300lb per seat guarantee that this chair will be your reliable companion, enduring season after season.

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