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Gear is an investment, and especially because with outdoors gear you may not use it very often, you need to take even greater care in proper storage & maintenance. Otherwise you may use it two times, and then find that by the third time (potentially some several years down the line) it's already noticeably under-performing. And that, certainly would not be getting your money's worth!
Those 4 words represent an essential gear storage & maintenance philosophy. Gear not in use should be cleaned & dried and then stored loose & in a dark environment.
This is a no-brainer. Gear that is stored dirty may attract pests, or result in permanent stains that are harder to remove in the future. However, what's less obvious is that machine cleanings damage gear either mechanically (e.g., gear has parts that get snagged and lead to rips or tears) or chemically (e.g., traditional detergents break down the water repellancy of the fabrics used in gear). Specific gear tips:
Outdoors gear is very liable to get wet. But it should not be stored even the slightest bit damp. Moisture leads to mold and mildew growth, which not only smells terrible but can lead to health hazards. Gear should always be dried very thoroughly (not to mention this airing out will remove odors, particularly for sleeping bags), and stored in a dry spot (i.e., not somewhere humid like the bathroom). The trick here is that sunlight also damages gear, so line drying in a non-directly-lit location is key. Specific gear tips:
Gear functionally does a lot of work. When it's not working, it needs rest. This means you generally want to store things loosely, rather than compact (which unfortunately means a greater space requirement than you may otherwise believe). Specific gear tips:
Yup that's right, sunlight (or more important, UV-radiation) damages gear by breaking down the water-resistant coatings (which are almost ubiquitous now in outdoors gear). Did you know, you should even set up tents in the shade! Furthermore, extreme heat may also damage some materials (i.e., melt them); and while this is less likely to happen outside, it does say don't store gear on the dashboard of a car in the desert. That's why we say to line dry out of direct sunlight. While there are no specific gear tips here, with all the tips so far, I think basically the easiest thing to do is this: have a separate gear closet!
If you follow our advice, your gear will last for much longer, giving you the chance to actually get your money's worth! Of course if the maintenance & storage looks too troublesome, well that's why we rent everything mentioned above (and care for it well, so you don't have to)!
Thoughts, ideas, questions? Let us know in the comments below! We're Last Minute Gear, and we'll do our best to get you ouside!
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