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How to Store Camping Gear: 5 Hacks to Make Your Life Simple (with Infographic)

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We, the hiking enthusiasts, get all excited with the aspect of a new outdoor adventure every time we hear it. But hiking is not only about setting out like a conqueror and enjoying the thrill of exploring new places – it also needs you to be organized and attentive.

For example, you come back from work and leave your important files and folders unkempt on your living room couch. What happens the next day as you are all set for work is you discover some papers to be missing, some crumpled and you are at a loss. It is the same with a hiking trip. You come back from one trip, leave the camping gears disheveled and before the next trip as you take them out, they are all in mess!

How to Store Camping Gear - Hacks to Simplify your Problem

So the question arises, how to store camping gear?

How to keep them in a proper condition, so that the “next time” it doesn’t scare you off? 

Before prescribing you about storing your camping gears, let's begin with the basic hacks which you need to apply while going out for the coveted trip, and then on how to store your camping gear!

Hack #1 Pack Properly, Camp Peacefully 

Don’t scroll down to end; we are starting backward before prescribing you camper storage ideas only so that you can initiate the process of ‘storing properly’ first hand. 

- A big storage bin is a must

Stuffing your duffle bags with all possible things on earth seems tempting enough, but it only makes things complicated while you are camping and can’t find the thing you are looking for. Turning the bag upside down is never an option.

So, why not save the duffle bags for clothing and most important things only?

Carry a clear stackable plastic bin that is weather resistant and can hold your groceries and other peripherals in an organized manner. 

- Carry spares for camping gears

How about a little pre-packing? On the day before setting out for your camping trip, it gets really exerting to run all the way for utensils, clothes, and toiletries.

So keep a spare for the essential items to be on the safe side so that you don’t miss out on anything. Paper cups, clothes, hand sanitizers, toothpaste, body lotions and spare camp-specific clothes are some of the camping equipment you can pack in your tote bag much before. 

- Pack strategically 

While space is few and far between, it gets necessary to pack your things properly. Don’t pack bulky and unnecessary items that eat up space.

Roll your clothes instead of folding to make it easily accessible and saving space. Pack the essential items like toiletries, flashlight, and tent in front to keep them handy. 

camping storage gear
Strategise your storage

Now as you are all set for camping, let’s revise camping storage ideas so that you can enjoy your outdoor adventure. 

- Organise camp kitchen properly

Creating a muddle in the camp kitchen makes the whole tent untidy and smelly like hell. So it’s better to keep things in their proper place.

  • Keep the utensils, cookware and other tools needed for food preparation in a fabric or plastic rack.
  • Keep the ice at the bottom of the cooler and place food on the top racks. Know more about  How to pack food properly
  • Wipe out any dirt or food crumbs from the floor to keep the tent hygienic. 

- Store everyday items practically

Pack old coffee cans and air-tight containers in camping gear storage to use them for storing dry foods and toilet papers.

In case, your paper towels get wet, hang them on wire clothes hanger. Don’t pack sunscreen lotions and toothpaste in new condition because they can leak due to the fluctuation of air pressure and humidity.

Pack the soaps and oils covering them in plastic packs to avoid leakage.

Organize camp kitchen properly

Hack #2 - Clean and Dry Before Packing 

Now, it is time to go back to civilization. So you need to act civil!

Let’s see how you can pack your camping equipment properly. 

Doesn’t it feel stinky to pack the unwashed cooking gears? So why not give your utensils, camp stoves and containers a little scrub and wash before putting them into plastic bags?

The plastic bag, on one hand, ensures that the items don’t get in contact with dust or grime and on the other, ensures that the remaining food doesn’t attract bacteria or pest. Also, make sure to remove any food stuck with your camping storage unless you want pests ruining your gears or a surprising odor the next time you open them!

Before crumbling and stuffing your raingear, sleeping bags, tents and tarps, hang or drape them over a rope, fence or just on the dry soil under the sun (if the weather permits, but not under direct exposure of the sun as UV rays can damage the nylon) for a while to let the dew or rainwater dry off.

Throw a few dryer sheets to make them smell fresh. Now brush off any dried up mud, dirt or sand. You can also scrub them with a slightly wet tissue. Deflate and unzip the tents and sleeping bags before packing them properly without creating unnecessary molds on the tent.

Learn How to Remove Mold and Mildew From the Tent

clean tent
Clean and dry your tent

Hack #3 - Clean Up and Organize After Returning 

No matter how rigorous it seems, the camping gears need to be cleaned up properly to keep them fresh so that they can last years to come.

Let’s check the steps for cleaning and organizing camping gear. 

  • Tents and Sleeping Bags

If you have a garage, then set up the tents and sleeping bags there so that they remain safe from outside and away from the interior to your home. Shake them and vacuum out the remaining dirt, if any and clean the tent along with tent stakes and poles and sleeping bags with lukewarm water and a small amount of soap with a softening agent.

You can also wash the sleeping bag in a front-loading machine. Dry the items off by hanging them by a hangar or a hook.

If you are using a dryer, then put terry-cloth towels and two tennis balls inside it. The cloth minimizes the static electricity to ensure quick drying while the balls fluff the filling. After they are completely dried up, place them in plastic sacks. Keep them out regularly and let them hang so that the insulators are not damaged. 

Also, learn about How to Wash a Backpack

  • Hiking Shoes and Backpacks

First, take the insoles out of your boots and use a toothbrush to brush off the dirt of the outsoles. The shoelaces can be washed in washing machine.

Wash the boots with warm water and mild soap; use a brush to remove excess dirt. Use mild soaps that won’t break down the cushion in the midsoles. 

Vacuum the inside of the backpack and wipe it with wet sponge or rag before putting it into a plastic tub filled with mild detergent in warm water.

Store the shoes and the backpacks in camping gear storage to avoid contact with moisture. Use a dehumidifier if possible. 

Know the basic procedure on How to Clean Shoes

Livingit Tip-
Never use a washing machine to clean up tents and backpacks as it will damage water-resistant coatings.   

how to clean dirty shoes
Clean the dirty shoes with brush and detergent 

- Electronic Gadgets

To keep the flashlights, headlamps, GPS devices, radios and other electronic equipment in a working condition for long, the idea is to remove the batteries to prevent corrosion, leakage or battery discharge.

Keep them in sealed plastic inside camping storage.  

Also, check Lithium vs Alkaline Batteries: Find out Which One is Better

Hack #4 - Store the Camping Gear in a Cool and Dry Space 

Once all the camping gears are cleaned and organized, now it is time to place them in one dedicated spot. It is better to rent a self-storage unit for storing camping gear if you have fallen short of space. Space should be safe from rodents and pests and away from direct exposure to UV ray. A cool, dry place not only keeps the gears fresh but also safe from hazards. 

If you surf through online sites or hardware shops, you will come across wonderful camper storage ideas that deal with storage containers. The containers will help you save space, keep your camping gears organized and keep them away from critters, bugs, and moisture.

While you set out for your next camping trip, you can just take the containers so that you don’t need to rack your brains in packing the gears accordingly. 

Go for durable plastic storage or bins. See-through ones make spotting gears convenient, but if you can’t find any, then just label them with a colorful permanent marker on strips or duct tapes.

You can also go for the heavy-duty storage containers according to your choice. Let’s see what you should check for such camping gear storage.

  • Sturdy handles 
  • Secure latch-on lids
  • Heavy impenetrable canvas or nylon bags can also work but should have good zippers and handles. 
How to store camping gear
Containers will help keep your gear safe!

Hack #5 - Label and Put Small Containers In Large Containers

As mentioned above, mark and label all the containers to keep the camping gears easy to locate and organized so that you don’t have to rummage through all the items while looking for a specific item.

While you need large containers to put relatively larger items like a camping stove, the plastic or nylon zipper bags work just fine for the small items like toiletries or electronic gadgets.  

After packing items according to their size, now put the smaller bags into the larger containers. Heavy Duty Containers can hold all the smaller bags and containers. 

Are you still at a loss of devising camping storage ideas?

Let’s take an example.

  • Put cosmetics and toiletries in a small container.
  • Carry medicines and first aid items in another bag.
  • Pack these together in one big container labeled as “health and hygiene”.
  • Now pack the food items in one container.
  • Pack the stove in another and the utensils in another container.
  • Put all these in one heavy-duty container labeled as “Food and cooking”.

Getting the idea?

Try it out and you will never have to rummage for the thing that was ‘somewhere in one of those bags’. 

Livingit Tip-
Don’t pack sleeping bags or pads inside storage containers as rolling them and stuffing them into these containers can cause tears and creases and also damage the insulation.

camping packing
Smart packing (source)

Having all these done, now you are all set for a new camping trip and that too without worrying about the whole packing-up process and storing them properly. 

Summing Up

Organizing your camping gears and packing them overnight is never possible.

So, are you preparing for the next trip while you are already camping?

Devise the items, practically pack them and use them in camp. While you are camping, keep the items according to their place, clean them up whenever possible and pack them in an unkempt condition. Clean the gears properly after returning and place them in a cool dry place safe from outside hazards.

By the time you are planning your next hiking trip, you will find them all in the exact condition you had packed and stored them.

No damage, no smell and no complication at all. 

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