When you return after a day trek or camping trip, the limit of your gear care is scraping dirt off your trekking boots and discarding energy bar wrappers from your bag. However, if you haven’t maintained your leather boots or oiled your bag zippers in a long time, you’re reducing the durability of your gear.
A little care makes a big difference when it comes to gear that lasts years (or even decades). The outdoors tests your clothing and gear’s fabric by exposing it to harmful UV rays, slicing rain and wind, and attrition from sand and dirt.
The good news is that with appropriate maintenance, care, and safekeeping, you can reduce wear and tear and prolong the life of your outdoor gear by years.
Allow ample time before starting the trail to inspect your footwear and repair any faults. Replace any weakening or visibly worn laces before walking or running. Check whether the midsole, the layer between the outer sole and the top section of a boot or shoe, is cracking on hiking boots.
If the midsole hasn’t degraded visibly but is 15 years or older, it’s time to resole or upgrade. It is critical to maintain all footwear dry and clean, whether made of leather or composite material.
If you’re going on a multi-day hiking trip in the woods, it’s a good idea to remove damp or sweaty shoes during stops, even if it’s just for 15 minutes. Moisture management is critical to the life of your footwear.
It’s essential to loosen the laces once a month. Thoroughly clean your shoes using a stiff brush, tepid water, and a footwear-specific solvent like Nikwax’s Footwear Cleaning Gel.
At the absolute least, wash your footwear after every other trek when you get home. Leather boots should be conditioned every three to six months, more frequently if you’re hiking on muddy and swampy routes or in dusty and dry terrain. Water repellency is restored, and the leather is kept supple and soft by using this method.
Numerous backpacks are comprised of polyurethane or polyethylene, which are chemically treated materials that will begin to degrade over time. Look for odd, cakey dirt at the bottom of your bag. That’s the cloth peeling. If you discover weak seams or minor rips, you may repair them with a strong needle, dental floss, or fishing line. After every trek, dump your pack entirely of garbage, leftover food, crumbs, and gear. Partially eaten energy bars and stale wrappers will decompose into a moldy disaster, and the mere mention of food will bring creatures to your bag.
Keep dirt away from zippers and buckles since accumulation in the hardware can ultimately cause these things to break. Once the pack has been adequately air dried, and the zippers have been oiled, it’s time to put it away for the season. Avoid keeping your bag anyplace with changing heat and humidity, whether you hang it up, put it flat in a canister, or store it beneath your bed.