The right equipment in good condition is essential for an experience that is both safe and enjoyable in your activities in the great outdoors.
Repairs in the wild
- If there’s one thing you should never leave home without when you head into the great outdoors, it’s a roll of duct tape.
- Quite simply, nothing is better when you need a fast, effective and waterproof patch for a tent, an inflatable raft, a backpack, a shoe — you name it — or for repairing any number of cracked or broken items. For the strongest patches, put duct tape on both sides of a hole.
A lighter lantern
- A clean lantern is a brighter lantern. Clean off that black soot on your lantern’s glass globe with a soft cloth dipped in 250 millilitres (.5 cup) of ammonia mixed with four litres (one gallon) of water — or just use a commercial glass cleaner that contains ammonia.
Don’t store a wet tent
- Did it rain on your last camping trip? Don’t pack away a wet tent; it’s likely to be covered with mold and mildew the next time that you take it out of storage.
- Instead, hang the tent up to air-dry in a shaded spot when you get home.
- Once all the moisture has evaporated, roll up the tent with the poles and other parts tucked inside to prevent them from falling out if the bag is jostled.
Clean a tent
- Most tents and backpacks can go for quite a while without needing a cleaning, but when it’s time scrub them down, don’t use any harsh detergents or household or industrial cleaners — they could remove protective coatings from the material.
- Instead, wipe down your dirty tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and other outdoor fabrics with a sponge dipped in warm water and a bit of mild soap.
- Hose off any excess soap; then hang them up to air-dry.
Fluff up sleeping bags and air mattresses
- Keep your sleeping bags and air mattresses loosely stuffed in a porous sack or an old pillowcase.
- Leaving a sleeping bag tightly balled up in storage can bunch up or break the fibres in the filling material, which makes for lumpy bedding that’s uncomfortable to sleep on.
- For optimum care, store your air mattresses flat with the valves left open.