One of the least enjoyed phases of camping is the packing up and putting away when you get home. It’s true, though, that good cleaning and maintenance of your camping gear can make it last much longer for you and save you much on purchasing new gear when yours wears out.
Tent – This is typically your most expensive purchase and is most important because, after all, it’s where you’ll sleep. The thing to remember first is that dry is important. Even tents made of the new fabrics can mildew if put away damp. Canvas tents are notorious for it. You can clean dirt and stains with a solution of a little bit of dish soap, water, and vinegar. If there is areas that have mildewed you can add some household bleach. Make sure it is clean and dry – completely dry – before packing it away.
Sleeping Bags – these can be washed in your household washing machine unless they are very thick or large. If that is the case, you can take them to a public laundromat and choose a large washer. Once they are washed and dry, you can fold them and pack them away with dryer sheets layered inside them. This will keep them from smelling musty for your next camping trip.
Cast Iron Cookware -most campers love their cast iron and it is great but does require some care. Cast iron can rust if not dried completely before putting it away. Don’t use soap on your cast iron, instead, just use water and a non-abrasive scrubber to clean it. Then place it on the campfire, grill, or stove top to dry the water out of it. Now coat the inside with a thin coat of oil to re-season it.
You can make the unpacking go quickly with a good system and you’ll be very glad you did when it’s time to go camping next time. You’ll be able to grab your gear and go without having to stop and spot clean problem areas.
We look forward to seeing you here at the campground and hope all your camping experiences are good ones. You can find more tips for cleaning your gear at How to Clean and Store Your Gear.