Gear Care 101: Tips for making your outdoor gears last
If you’re like us here at Outside, you have your favorite shoes, layers, and gear that see a lot of use. We believe the most sustainable gear you can buy is the stuff that you can use season over season and year after year.
Fortunately, there’s loads of high-quality gear that’s versatile and durable enough for year-round use. But even the most bomber gear requires proper care to keep it functioning over time. Caring for your gear means it will take good care of you. Think dry, warm, and comfortable — trip after trip.
Here are our top tips to keep your outdoor gear in prime condition and ready for all those adventures that are still just ideas in your head.
DRY IT OUT
Keen sandals, sleeping bags, tents, packs, ropes: you name it, it’s all going to get wet at some point. Getting wet is OK. The important thing is that you make sure to thoroughly dry all gear before packing it back into its stuff sack, storage box, closet, or drawer. This may not always be possible mid adventure. Cramming a wet tent into a stuff sack on a rainy morning never feels good, but it’s occasionally necessary. And it’s ok for the short term. It’s over the longer term (ideally more than a handful of hours) that thorough drying is important. A little bit of moisture can lead to mold, delamination, and reduced performance. Dry gear is happy gear!
STORE IT PROPERLY
After it’s dry, make sure you store it right. A cool, dry place away from direct sun and any direct heat source is the ideal scenario for virtually all outdoor gear. If you are living in HDBs (just like most of us here at Outside), the corridor area/kitchen window's would definitely work too! Camping items like tents and sleeping pads can be stored in their stuff sacks. But it’s best to store your sleeping bag in the larger stuff sack it came in, rather than the small one used for packing it on a trip.
A little dirt won’t hurt your outdoor gear, but routine washing is important. If your tent is dusty or muddy after an extended trip, try setting it up in the yard on a sunny day, gently hosing it down, and letting it dry thoroughly. For clothing, routine washing is key for base and mid layers. Enzyme-based detergents fight the stinky bacteria naturally without the use of chemical-based perfumes. Best of all, they actually work!
Washing is important for sleeping bags, technical outerwear, and insulated jackets, too, but it’s a yearly thing, not an after-every-trip thing. There are a number of specialty detergents designed for GORE-TEX and down insulation. We recommend you follow the manufacturer’s directions on your gear for the best results. When it comes to cleaning hiking shoes, sandals, and boots.
Accidents happen. Tree branches cause tears. Sparks fly and melt holes. Sharp rocks damage tents. Fortunately, there are several great DIY repair solutions available for patching jackets, sleeping bags, and tents.
When it comes to worn out zippers, large tears, damaged or lost insulation, or broken buckles, many larger brands offer repair services regardless of the age of your item. There is a cost for repairs, but it’s far less than the cost of replacement. Here in Singapore, you can definitely head down to the wet market areas, or neighbourhood malls, you can find fix-it shops! If it's much easier for you, head down to Army Market at Beach Road. Confirm can get help hehe!