Backpacking gear is expensive and you need to take care of it to extend its lifetime. Here’s a checklist of gear maintenance tasks I try to do the morning after I get home from a backpacking trip:
- Air out my sleeping bag, or quilt to make sure it’s dry before storing un-stuffed.
- Hang up my tent, tarp or hammock and make sure it’s completely dry to avoid mildew.
- Dry my sleeping bag if it’s damp.
- Dry my bivy sack if its damp.
- Throw out all my accumulated trash.
- Wash my cook pot, plastic spoon, and olive oil bottle.
- Stash any uneaten leftover food to prevent our house mice from eating it.
- Wash my dirty hiking clothes.
- Let my trail runners or boots dry.
- Let my gloves and hats dry, or run them through the wash.
- Replenish my first aid kit, particularly any Leukotape strips I used.
- Replenish my DEET and sunscreen.
- Replenish my Aqua Mira.
- Replenish my gear repair kit, particularly extra headlight batteries.
- Replenish my firestarter kit, including matches, esbit cubes, and vaseline covered cotton balls.
- Replenish any tent pegs I might have lost on the trip.
- Let my water Sawyer filter dry out. Backflush it, if it ran slowly on my trip.
- Inspect my backpacking liner for punctures, and repair with scotch tape, if necessary.
- Repair any damage to my pack or stuff sacks with tenacious tape.
- Store unused fuel in a safe place and dispose of used fuel canisters.
- Recharge my camera battery.
- Clean my camera lens.
- Recharge my portable battery.
- Put my maps in my map drawer.
- Put all my other away, so it’s easy to find for my next trip.
- Refill the gallon water jugs I keep in my car for impromptu car camping or resupplying my drinking water.
- Fill up my car’s gas tank for my next trip up north.
Admittedly, this is a long list, but taking care of it after your trip when you can still remember what went wrong or needs to be replenished will save you a lot of time and hassle, especially if you leave packing for your next trip until the last moment.
Written 2009. Updated 2014.
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