Tips for storing your camping gear away for the winter
Camping season is well and truly over - unless you’re seriously hardcore. So what to do with all that camping equipment now the weather has turned and you won’t need it until next spring?
Read on for our tips on packing your camping gear away into storage for the winter months.
1. Dry it out
Job one on your list for packing your camping stuff away is to make sure it’s dry. Fail to do this and you’ll be greeted with an unpleasant surprise when next year’s camping season comes around. Not only will mould and mildew make your tent and sleeping bags smell really bad, but they’ll also cause them to eventually rot. And if you’ve invested significant amounts in your camping gear, this will come as a real blow (and at considerable expense).
Hopefully, you’ll have taken your tent down during dry weather, but if you had to pack it up in a hurry during sudden heavy rain (which - let’s face it - is highly likely during the Great British summer), you’ll need to ensure it’s fully dry before packing it up. You can do this by rolling it out back at home, either in your house, garage or shed if there’s room, then leaving it to dry fully before you roll it back up and pack it away.
Packing away your camping items into storage is the perfect time to re-proof them, so grab a waterproof treatment like Nikwax and give your tent the once-over, to prepare it for your next camping trip.
2. Think about what you may need
You might be in a hurry to pack everything away until next spring, but you could find yourself reaching for camping items over the winter and regretting packing it up in the far corner of the attic or underneath heavy items in the garage.
So, take a step back and consider which of your camping items you may need over the winter.
For example, do you use camping beds when you have guests? Will your children need their sleeping bags for sleepovers? Will the blankets come in handy around the house or in the car for long journeys during the colder months? And might those torches be useful in case of power cuts?
Once you’ve assessed which items could be used regularly, you can keep these close to hand and pack the rest of your camping equipment into storage for the winter.
3. Clean, sort and repair
When you’ve sorted out which pieces of camping kit need to be stored away for the winter, it’s time to get it in tip-top condition for long-term storage.
- Give everything a good clean to make sure it’s clean and fresh for storage, avoiding any nasty surprises when the camping season starts up again. Pay special attention to food containers and cooking equipment, as food smells or stray crumbs could attract rodents.
- Check dates on any food items which you keep in storage for camping trips, like packets or jars of sauces, rice pouches, noodle pots, tinned beans, soups and tomatoes - if they’re going to go off before next year’s first camping adventure, then transfer them into your kitchen cupboards to use up in good time. Anything with a longer date can be stored in airtight containers as long as they’re fully sealed and haven’t been opened.
- Next, remove gas canisters and any batteries, as these can leak and cause serious damage to other pieces of camping kit. You can store the batteries for your camping gear separately, in a cool, dry and sealable container.
- Then, identify any repairs which need to be made to any of your camping gear.
- Fix anything that can be fixed, then throw away or recycle items that are beyond repair.
- This may be a good time of year to replace essential camping items, as equipment like tents, sleeping bags and other camping kit is often cheaper during the off-peak months.
- Keep an eye out for sales at this time of year, as with Black Friday approaching next month, you could nab yourself some serious bargains on camping equipment during autumn and winter.
4. Organise your space
Before you cram everything in the cupboard under the stairs in a mad tidying spree, think about the space you have and plan how to store your camping gear away accordingly. Follow our camping storage tips below:
- Camping equipment needs to be stored somewhere clean, dry and cool, away from any direct sunlight which could cause damage to your gear.
- Make a list of items and tick each piece of camping kit off the list as you store it away, being careful to ensure you’ll be able to reach it easily when you need it (without everything toppling down onto you when you attempt to retrieve it).
- Be careful not to store camping gear in front of anything you’ll need to access in the near future, like Christmas trees and decorations, for example.
- Roll up sleeping bags and tents and store them loosely in breathable cotton or mesh bags. A pillowcase may do the job for smaller sleeping bags!
While many of us may have space in the spare room, shed or garage, more and more people turn to storage facilities to store their camping equipment in a dry and clean space where they can't trip over it on a daily basis (which is always a bonus). With many storage centres offering 24-hour access, you can collect your camping equipment day or night, in case of spontaneous trips once the forecast improves.
Whether you’re storing your camping equipment under the stairs, in the loft, garage, spare room or an external storage centre, make sure you prepare it correctly for storage, then make a clear plan on how to maximise the space you have available and ensure easy access.
That way, when camping season rolls around again, your camping equipment will be fresh, fully functional and ready to break out of storage into the great outdoors!