Camping offers a much-needed break from the hectic nature of life in the twenty-first century. The one downside is all that gear. Backpacks, tents, sleeping bags and pads all take up valuable space. They also can be a hassle to store between trips and then find when you’re ready to head out again.
1. Air it out. Before you even begin packing everything away, you want to make sure all your gear is clean(ish) and dry. Hang your tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and any other items that might have gotten damp and let them thoroughly dry before storing them.
2. Roll your gear. Folding your gear repeatedly in the same location can tear the fabric or damage the waterproof coating or insulation. That’s why it’s best to roll your gear. It’s also best to loosely store it--so let your sleeping bag have a little extra space--or even hang it in your closet.
3. Break it up. Store likes with likes. Cluster sleeping bags, pads and tents into a shelter group. Pack stoves and utensils into a cooking group. Gather outerwear and carried items like trekking poles into a wearing group. If everything is stored in groups, you’ll have an easier time finding what you need for your next trip.
4. Load it into bins. Once you’ve got neat piles of camping equipment, it’s time to pack them together into appropriately sized crates or bins. Be sure to label each with the right name--and it’s often helpful to use see-through bins so you know exactly what’s in each container.
5. Shelve it. We love tidy gear closets. That’s why we prefer lining everything up neatly on shelving. Whether in your dry garage or in a closet in your home, shelving will help keep things organized--and stop you from having to lift containers while hunting for that one piece of gear you can’t seem to find.
6. Keep away the light. UV rays are harmful for many items, including camping gear. You’ll want to store your all of your items in a dark, dry location that won’t get too cold or too hot.