If you are a lover of the outdoors and have collected a large amount of camping gear and supplies that you use regularly, it is essential that you have an efficient way of organizing all your items. Camping gear can take up a lot of space, but if you use some specific strategies you can easily arrange your equipment for easy access. And, with your gear stored appropriately, you will ensure it is ready to go and in top condition whenever you plan for a camping adventure.
To prepare your tent for storage, make sure that you let it dry it out completely before folding it up. If any moisture is left on the tent, it can create mildew and unpleasant smells for the next time you use it. Another key point to remember when storing your tent is that you want to avoid compressing the tent for long-term storage. It is better if the fabric has a chance to breathe and be in a more relaxed state so that it will retain its strength. Also, if possible don’t store your tent in a damp location or one that might reach high temperatures.
Sleeping Bag Storage
When you arrive home after your outdoors trip, remove the bag from its stuff sack (if you use one), then make sure it is completely dry. Once it is dry, place the bag in a loose mesh sack and store it in a dry and cool place. Avoid keeping sleeping bags in garages or other places where the temperature can get too cold or too hot. An ideal location would be in a closet to protect the bag from moisture and temperature extremes. You can even hang your bag in the closet if you have enough space.
Sleeping Pad Storage
Fortunately for outdoors enthusiasts, a sleeping pad is one piece of gear that does not require special maintenance. The most important thing to remember for sleeping pad storage is to keep the valve open if you have an air-core pad. Pads that are only comprised of foam need no special care and can simply be stored in a location with a steady constant temperature and humidity.
Your backpack should be clean and dry before putting it in any kind of storage, the same as all your other camping gear. If you have space in your closet or wherever you store your other equipment, hanging your backpack is a great option. This will keep it from getting bent out of shape if it has an external frame and will also allow you to use the pockets to store smaller camping items.
Cooking Gear Storage
Before putting any cooking utensils or equipment in any type of storage, ensure that all items are completely clean and dry. Always remember to place a layer of cloth between pots and/or pans before stacking them in any kind of storage area to prevent scratching. Another storage suggestion is to keep your cookware in a stuff sack once you have stacked it properly, to keep it clean and ready for use. Utensils can be stored together in plastic bags to keep them all in one place. And wherever you decide to store your cooking gear, it should be moisture-free and as cool as possible.
Before placing any electronic camping equipment into storage, remove all batteries to avoid leakage and battery corrosion. Items such as flashlights, headlamps, GPS devices and radios should all have their batteries removed if they won’t be used for more than a month. Also, leave the battery cases open to keep the air circulating and prevent potential electronic malfunction. Keep the batteries in a separate bag in a nearby location.
Storing Small Items
Smaller items can be particularly difficult to store efficiently so they are at hand when needed and don’t get lost.
- First, categorize your gear by what it is used for, such as cooking or sleeping. This will make it easier when you go to pack your vehicle for your next outdoor adventure.
- Next, decide if a container or a crate is the best option for storing the items. Small plastic containers are very useful for organizing flashlights, utensils, and other items that may not take up much space.
- Decide if you want mobile storage. There are container options with wheels that simplify transporting camping gear from inside your house or garage to your car, so this is something to consider as you evaluate container choices.
Camping Gear Storage Ideas
When storing your camping equipment, it is helpful to keep smaller items in clear plastic bins on a shelf (in your garage or attic if they are items that are not sensitive to temperature differences).
A few other key points to remember:
- Keep all your camping gear together if possible. This will make it effortless to load up your vehicle before you head out on your next campout.
- Protect your equipment from heat and light. A cool and dark place is the best option for storing most gear, ensuring protection from damaging UV light.
- Smaller containers that nest inside larger ones will maximize your storage efficiency and improve your ability to easily prepare for your next camping trip.
- Labeling your containers is top consideration. In the case there is a specific item you are looking for, you will be able to access it easily.
- Use clear bins or containers so you can easily see what you’ve packed away versus sifting through a duffel bag.
- Consider keeping your containers and bags on a multi-shelf rack if you have space for one. This will keep your equipment well organized and prevent wear that may occur from being stored on the cold floor.
- Have commonly used household items such as paper products and hand soap that are set aside specifically for camping so you don’t have to “steal” from around your house before each camping trip.
- Repurpose household items for camping hacks. Keep toilet paper in an old coffee can. Use tic-tac boxes to store spices.
- Clean and air out hiking shoes. Remove the dirt from the soles and remove and air out the insoles.
- Frequently reviewing your camping gear is a good idea; evaluate the usefulness of all your items and get rid of anything you don’t use to reduce the amount of storage space you need.