I always see the colder months as the main time for my outdoor gear care and repair. In autumn, I’ll wash any gear that needs to go into the cupboard for a few months – things like my three-season sleeping bag, sleeping mat, tent and lightweight waterproof jacket – and I’ll also prep my winter kit too, making sure that my down jacket has a fresh reproofing added and my winter boots are all spick and span, ready to shed off any mud and snow.
The one-stop-shop for all of these maintenance needs during this period is Nikwax. They’ve got a solution for just about all of my kit care needs. Here’s an end of season kit care process I recommend.
Cleaning My Summer Waterproof Jacket
I have a summer jacket that serves most of my backpacking trips and this is too light for winter so it gets hung up for a few months. Before I store it away though, I’ll give it a clean with Nikwax Tech Wash to remove any dirt that could get mouldy and I’ll also reproof it with TX.Direct so its ready for use when I need it.
Cleaning My Three-Season Tent
My backpacking tent doesn’t see much through autumn and winter so, like my summer jacket, this gets a clean up before being stowed away.
For this, I pitch my tent in my garden and give it a clean down with Nikwax Tent & Gear Solar Wash then I restore its water repellency and add a new UV barrier using Nikwax Tent & Gear SolarProof. Don’t underestimate the importance of this; extended UV light exposure can drastically damage a tent’s tear strength. Bear in mind these two solutions are great for cleaning and reproofing backpacks too.
Cleaning My Summer Sleeping Bag
Dirt that builds up inside your sleeping bag and within the down clusters will attract moisture and can lead to things going mildewy. For this reason. I’ll wash my lightweight summer sleeping bag before stowing it away. Nikwax recommend hand washing sleeping bags in the bath with their Down Wash Direct. Finish up with a spin dry in the washing machine. Here’s a video where I’ve explained how I go about drying out a down product. It’s important to get this right to ensure the down doesn’t end up clumping.