Whether you use your camping gear monthly or only once or twice a year, it can take up valuable space if you keep it at home. A small self-storage unit (like those at Access Self Storage) keeps your gear from taking over your house, while keep it safe and ready for your next trip.
A good tent is an investment, so you will want to store it properly between uses. After each trip, set the tent up in a dry area at home. Outdoors in the sun is best, but you can use an empty room, the basement or the garage if the weather is wet. Allow the tent to dry out completely and then sweep or vacuum out any dirt. You must always store a tent clean and dry if you don't want mildew or rot problems.
Don't skimp the tent poles and stakes. These must also be dry and completely scrubbed of dirt and soil. Failing to clean these can cause elastic cords in the poles to break, or may lead to rusty stakes.
After everything is clean, pack the poles and stakes back into the bag. Although you can store your tent rolled up in it's storage sack, it's better to store it loosely rolled in a large fabric bag. Loose storage prevents hard creases from forming, which can damage the tent fibers or weaken the waterproofing.
Bags and Pads
Sleeping bags need a thorough washing before you can store them. Most sleeping bags are machine washable, although down-filled bags may require air drying. Make sure the bag is completely dry before putting it away. The best way to store a sleeping bag is loose in a large fabric sack, and not tightly packed into its stuff sack. This ensures the sleeping bag filling keeps its loft, which makes it warmer.
Most mats, whether they are foam or air, only require a quick wipe down and a thorough drying. Store these flat or rolled, unless it's a closed-cell foam mat that's meant to be folded. Check air mats for leaks and make any necessary repairs before you store it away.
The camp mess kit can attract pests in a storage unit, so you must make sure every implement is thoroughly cleaned of any food residue. Make sure everything is dry to prevent rust. If you use cast iron, it will require a thorough oiling before you can store it.
Camp stoves require disassembling and cleaning. Make sure the fuel is stored in a safe storage container. Storage units may not allow the storage of certain types of fuel, so this will need to be stored in a cool, dry place at home.
A clean plastic tub works well for storing your cooking gear. It keeps everything dry while protecting from dust and pests.
The rest of your camping gear needs similar treatment – make sure it's clean and dry. Cloth items are best stored in breathable cloth bags, while metal and plastic can be stored in tubs or boxes. Proper storage ensures everything is ready and waiting for your next trip.