Spring clean your outdoor equipment and check your gear to prepare for the new camping season.
Spring has sprung and now we’re leaving behind the cooler winter months, our minds are turning to getting out and about and enjoying the outdoors again. Before you rush off on your latest adventure and get a nasty surprise, its worthwhile doing a little prep work. It’s time to spring clean your outdoor equipment and check your gear for the new season.
First thing to do is to inspect all the parts of your tent, so retrieve it from its winter storage place and check for obvious signs of damage. Check your tent poles for cracks or breaks – poles can be damaged by drops, knocks or shocks and steel poles can be susceptible to rust and bending. Check that you have all your tent pegs and that your guy ropes are in good condition.
Rats, mice and damp can cause havoc with fabrics, so the best way to check your tent fabrics is to pitch your tent like you would when camping. Put your tent up in the garden and inspect for any signs of damage or mildew and check that all seams and attachments are securely stitched. It is also important to check that your tent is still waterproof, so whilst it’s pitched take your garden hose, watering can or bucket and wet your tent outside and check for any leaks. Remember to let your tent dry thoroughly before packing it away.
Now assess the overall condition of your tent. Hopefully everything is still in tip top shape, but if there are minor issues then replace any missing or broken parts, use a quality re-waterproofing paint or spray to fix leaks and repair minor issues with your tent fabric. If there is extensive damage such as serious holes or rips, large quantities of mould or mildew or major damage to components, it may be time to consider a new tent.
Hopefully these were put away clean and stored carefully after you last used them, but now is a good time to double check that everything is clean, fresh and in good condition. Air out your sleeping bags to make sure they’re fresh and use this as an opportunity to check that they’re clean and in good condition.
If your sleeping bag is dirty then follow instructions on washing down filled or synthetic filled sleeping bags. Make sure that zips work and seams are properly stitched – repair any minor stitching faults. Major damage to fabrics, loss of filling or filling that no longer lofts properly could severely impact your bag’s temperature ratings – if that’s the case, it’s time to consider a new sleeping bag.
Chairs and Stretchers
Get them out of their storage bags and inspect for damage; check fabrics and joints for signs of damage that could lead to failure. Vacuum any heavy dust deposits – remember that mixing dust and water results in mud, so vacuum thoroughly before wiping more stubborn marks with a damp cloth.
Air Mattresses and Self Inflating Mats
Inflate your air mattress or self inflating mat and check for punctures or air leaks from valves. Remember that sometimes there can be a slow air leak, so leave mats and mattresses inflated for a longer period to check for these too.
Check that all seals and threads are in good condition. Connect equipment to a gas bottle or cartridge and perform a leak test. Mix a little washing up liquid with a little water and apply it to any joints where gas could leak from. Gas from cartridges will flow as soon as the appliance is attached, but if you’re using a gas bottle open the regulator and look for any bubbles forming. If you see any bubbles then there is a leak – change sealing washers, tighten hose clamps or replace any damaged components.
Visually inspect hoses for wear, replace with properly certified gas hose if necessary. Try to light the gas supply, if you can’t or the flame is not consistent then check the gas jets for blockage or damage and replace if necessary.
Check out any other equipment that you use outdoors. Make sure that you have all the parts, that everything is clean and in good condition and take stock of whether there is anything else that you might need for the coming season.
Check that any rechargeable batteries hold charge properly.
Check that storage bags, boxes and gear covers are clean, in good condition and functional.
If any of your equipment has moving parts, joints or locking mechanisms, check that these work, operate smoothly and are free of obstructions and corrosion.
Cast iron cookware and any other metal equipment should be checked for signs of rust.
Footwear should be clean, free from rips or cuts and should still fit comfortably. Check that laces and eyelets are in good condition. Check that waterproof footwear is still waterproof.
Pick a fine, dry weekend to spring clean your outdoor equipment and check your gear and get prepped to get out there and enjoy your next camping adventure.