Winter sleep for your equipment: Storing and maintaining your outdoor equipment

When autumn approaches, your equipment needs the extra attention: It's high time to get your strained outdoor equipment ready for the winter and give it some extra care for the cold season - all to have it ready for the next season. TATONKA wants to share some tips and tricks with you how to take good care of your backpack, tent and functional wear during winter.
Your backpack was a loyal and reliable companion on your treks and tours - now it needs to rest. After emptying all pockets and shaking out the sand and dust, brush your backpack out dry. Use a wet rug or a sponge for the soft cleaning - if there are bigger stains, use mild soapy water. But never use chemical or harsh detergents – also, never put your backpack in the washing machine or in the dryer: The high-quality materials and their coatings will get damaged and your outdoor fun might face an early end. Same goes for your tent - handling it wrong might damage the resilient material quickly.

All-round check before winter sleep

Leave your tent and backpack to dry after you have cleaned them: If you fold and store them while they're still wet, the remaining moisture will damage the coating; also, there might come up mould and mould stains. After they are dry, do an all-round check on your equipment: Have cracks formed? Are all straps, buckles and closures still working? Are tent and backpack complete or are important parts missing? Before putting your equipment away, make sure to complete all necessary repair works - this way, you will have a relaxed start into the new outdoor season and are perfectly equipped.

Store your outdoor equipment in an airy and dry place

The ideal storage for your outdoor equipment are dry and airy rooms that are not too cold but also not too warm. Keep in mind to store your equipment light-protected and to not put heavy things on it. Instead of storing your tent in its packsack, fold it lightly. The best way to store your backpack is to lightly close its straps - this is especially important for the hip strap to keep its shape.

Care for functional wear

When you take good care of your outdoor wear, it will be your companion on your tours for many years. Proofing and cleaning your helpers will keep them around for longer as waterproof and breathable fabrics might not be tight but brittle after only one season. High-quality outdoor equipment is extremely wear-resistant but still, you can only keep high functionality up with thorough, decent care. Dirt can have an impact on the functionality of your clothes or equipment and therefore it should be cleaned regularly; regarding functional wear always keep in mind to wash it no more than 4 times per year by normal use. Rule of thumb: Wash it as often as needed but as rarely as possible. Before washing it, check that all Velcro closures are closed. This helps to avoid additionally wearing off the already strained close parts. When washing your functional wear, only use a special, un-perfumed detergent that won't leave any residues. Use a low dosage only. But clothes with a non-porous PU membrane can be washed with standard detergents. Functional wear is best washed on the delicate cycle at 30°C. In order to remove all residues, make sure to rinse all pieces; no spinning.
The outer fabric of hard-shell wear is additionally water-repellent and dirt-repellent. This proofing also support the functionality and consists of a latticed molecule structure, which is "shifted" during washing. And this is why you always have to restore it afterwards with warmth - in a drying room, with a hair dryer or a flat iron with a cloth in between.

As the proofing will come off with time through washing or just by wearing, re-proof your function-al wear once in a while - e.g. by spray impregnation. You can check whether your clothes are still impregnated by water drops: If they don't drip off the outer fabric any more but the jacket soaks in the water or feels wet, it is no longer proofed.