Tips For Storing Camping Gear – Camping Gear Storage Ideas
As we work on this article to help provide you with tips for storing camping gear it is late summer. Sadly, that means the end of the camping season for a lot of folks is rapidly approaching as kids head back to school or it starts to get too chilly for them to camp. Well, that tends to lead people to ask the age-old question of what do we do with our camping gear this winter? Some seasoned campers already know to store the camping gear. However, pros or novices we all can use some tips to help for storing camping gear. I have to admit, while I was looking up and researching this article I did find some really cool camping gear storage ideas and sadly I did find some ideas that left me scratching my head. To help avoid any confusion on what to do with your camping gear during winter, I decided to come up with the list that you see here.
Clean All Of Your Camping Gear First
I cannot emphasize this point enough. The first thing to do before you even think about storing your camping gear is making sure it is clean! No, I do not mean looking at the sleeping bag and not seeing any dirt on the surface. I mean taking the bag out to the laundromat or using your own washer if it is large enough and washing it. This allows the sleeping bag to get clean from all the sweat, dirt, and grime you may have had in it from your camping trips during the year.
Just think if you go out the next spring and grab your unwashed sleeping bag? Can you imagine the stink that would come flying off of the bag? I have to imagine you could probably compare it to the stink that comes from the gym locker room after a football teams win on Friday night.
Now, the sleeping bag was just my first example of what to clean. However, another item that I found very important to clean and make sure it is dry is your tent. A tent is often exposed to multiple conditions and weather types. One part of the cleaning that is overlooked is the dust that accumulates over the year.
Yes, the dust is easy to rinse off and scrub off, but a lot of people tend to overlook cleaning the tent. Simply take your hose and spray off the hose and use a gentle soap if needed. Then the key thing is to make sure it is fully dried before you put it in the storage back. The nice thing is a lot of the companies who manufacture tents with storage sacks often sell them with a breathable sack, which helps lessen the chance of mildew developing.
Camping Gear Storage Container Ideas
I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people who were looking for different storage container ideas when it is time to store their camping equipment. Personally, I tend to use a variety of methods to store my gear before I put them into a bin to get put away. However, that is because I tend to be over-cautious and after having mice break into my detached garage one year I have found that it is always best to air on the side of caution. So, when I start storing camping gear, I have several different items I use and here is a list of what I have used in the past.
While I tend to shy away from the garbage or plastic bags as much as I can, because of the moisture aspect and sweating, they do work great for some items. When I use a garbage bag I tend to put items inside of them that will go into a storage bin as well. What else I do with the garbage bags and find useful as one of the ideas for storing camping gear is put items that are resistant to mold or mildew.
In addition to putting these items in the garbage bags, I make sure the bags are unscented. While the scent is pleasant the camping equipment you put into the storage bags can start to absorb the smell. Then you have to deal with the gear you have put in the garbage bags smelling like the scent off of the bag.
What else I do to help with the garbage bags and keep them from ruining my camping gear is put some type of absorbent material inside of the bag. I have found that the silica gel packets you get in some items you buy can work great, but you do have to watch those around kids and pets. So what else I have done is put paper towels inside of the bags to absorb any excess moisture. The downside is this often means having to get the bag out over time and change out the towels to remove the moisture.
Well, I have to admit this is one that I found as a no brainer. However, the plastic storage bins are an item that people tend to overlook as well. These bins make it very easy for you to store your camping gear and have them protected from rodents. Now, the downside is with a lot of the bins on the market it can be hard to pick out which one you need to have. Which is exactly why I have decided to break down the considerations to make in the plastic storage bins you can buy.
Size Of The Storage Bin
You already know your camping gear is big and often bulky. With the bins, you want to make sure you pick a bin that is large enough for your camping gear to be stored in snuggly, but at the same time allows some airflow. The airflow, definitely for a fabric, like a sleeping bag, can help reduce the chance of mildew forming or even worse mold getting into your camping equipment.
At the same time, though, when you consider the size of the bin think about the location you are putting the bin. I know for me I always used to find the biggest bin I could find at the store with a locking lid, but I got broken from doing that. I bought a bin that worked great at storing almost all of the items I had to go in. However, I forgot one key element and that was the size of the closest versus the size of the bin.
Well, to make a long story short, I had to find a different bin to use and had to spend more money on a new bin again and taking the size into account. I can tell you that the new bin was of better quality, but still it is the idea of having to get a new one because I was not bright enough to take into account the size of the area to put the bin and only thought of what was going in the bin.
Material The Bin Is Made From
I know that I usually think right away of the plastic storage bins, which is what I would think of as well. However, what you need to realize is you can find storage bins made from multiple materials. I personally prefer the plastic bins because they will latch and tend to allow for easier stacking of the bins. What else is great about the plastic bins, I have found them to be fairly rodent-proof as well. This does not mean that they will not be completely stopped, but it will take them time and if you check on the storage area on a regular basis you would notice any damage on the bins.
Cloth bins are another option that I have seen people use. These bins, I think are nice and easier to store when not in use as they tend to collapse, but this means they often collapse in on themselves if they are full as well. When the bins do this it often means the items inside of them have to support that is needed to keep the items in place. What I have found great about the cloth bins is they do not sweat and often make it easier to store items that are moisture sensitive.
Type Of Lid The Container Has
A storage container needs to have a lid if they are to do the job properly of protecting the gear. Yes, that may sound a little extreme, but most of the gear is stored in the garage and face it in most garages they are usually not the soundest part of the house and that is very true if they are detached.
With that being the case, I always look for a container that has a lid on it that locks in place and is made of the same material as the rest of the bin. This allows me to know the bin is going to have the same type of protection in place as the rest of the bin. Not to mention, the locking system makes it easier to secure the bin and know it will not be opened with items sitting on it or just by knocking the lid off by setting something down next to it.
Storage Location Selection
With most of the camping equipment, it can be put into a bin and that is good enough. However, what I have found is you have to make sure you know where you can put the bins at. Yes, that is right you need to have a plan in place on where you can put the camping gear. Here are some of the ideas that I have used in the past and continue to use. Remember the key thing is the type of container you have and the items inside of the bins.
An obvious choice for a lot of people is the garage. If you have a garage with a loft this is the perfect place for you to store your gear. Even if you do not have a loft, shelving units you put around the garage walls can definitely help out in getting the gear stored and keeps the bins off of the floor, which can start to cause the bin to sweat. It is key when you have the bins in the garage that you have the proper airflow to help prevent any unwanted damage.
If you do not have a garage then you may want to consider a storage shed or storage unit. Both of these are a great option, but the shed is a one time fee that you pay versus the unit that you have to pay rent for each month. Personally, I have used a storage shed before and when you use a shed make sure that anything you are putting in the unit will not get damaged by moisture.
Sometimes, if you are using some of the cloth bins it is important for you to store inside of your home. Typically you can find a closet is a great place to put your gear. Now, I say the closet, but it is only if you have room in the closet. Remember some of these bins are not going to be stackable and that does make it hard for you to get the stacking completed. At the same time, though, it is easy to store these in the closet and know the items you are storing will be properly protected.
Moisture Control Measures
Ugh, let me tell you moisture is one of the major considerations to make when you store your camping gear, but sadly it is one of the considerations that is easy to overlook at the same time. That often comes from the fact that you never think about the storage bins sweating or having other issues. Well, I can tell you, from experience, moisture control is one of those things that if not properly done leads to mold or mildew growth.
A great way to control the moisture is by using the proper storage container. However, even with those containers, I have found the silica gel packages you get in almost anything you buy to be a great option. Yes, they are a little bit on the pricey side at times, but if you save some from the food that they come in or even buy new ones it definitely helps in getting the moisture control done and keeping the gear free from the mold or mildew threat. It is important to note that it does not remove it completely, but it will help in getting the moisture out of the storage container.
Something else I have done in the past with the storage of the gear and definitely in some of the plastic bags, like a Ziploc type of bag is to put a paper towel in with the gear. While it does not help out as much as the silica gel packages, it will absorb the moisture. You just have to make sure you change out the paper towel on a regular basis or you could be stuck with a soaking wet paper towel and ruined gear.
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Camping Gear Storage Is Easy
When it is not camping season, it is important that you start to find the best camping gear storage ideas. These ideas will help keep your gear organized for the next season as a camping organizer would, but at the same time helps guarantee it will not be ruined during the winter by not being properly protected. You may find that a camping gear storage bin is all you need, but if you have a lot of gear or are new then you may not know how to protect your gear. I know it sounds odd to say that you may not know how to store it, but we all start somewhere and not all of us have been taught by our parents or scouting programs. No matter what, finding the best camping storage solutions makes it easier for you to be ready to camp next year, but also allows you to sleep better knowing your camping equipment is properly protected from the elements and animals.