Equipment Clean Up

     I hope some of you will continue to paddle for at least another month or so, but up here in the Northland, our paddling season is quickly coming to an end.  It’s the time of year when we need to put away canoes, life vests, paddles, and all other camping and canoeing gear for the long winter.  Before we store it away until May we need to make sure everything is clean and in working order.  We could put it away dirty or wet or with something needing to be fixed and hope we have time to do it in the spring, but believe me, we’ve tried that and it doesn’t work as well as just getting it done now.  So, my advice to you is before you put away your paddling and camping gear be sure to take the time to clean it up and make sure it is in proper working order. 

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    There is tons of information on cleaning gear on the web but most useful is a little bit of common sense.  Launder your sleeping bag, make sure it is dry and then hang it up for the winter.  If you stuff it into a sack then it will compress down, lose some of it’s insulating ability and shorten the life of it.  Be sure to store your sleeping pad unrolled with the valve open.  Mattresses tend to remember the shape they are most often in.  Store your pad flat either underneath a bed or behind a door.  Tents should be put away after repairing them and making sure they are dry to prevent mildew from forming.  Camelbacks and other hydration packs should be cleaned out to prevent mold as well.  This website has some great information on how to clean the reservoir and the tubing of hydration packs. 

     Taking the time to clean and repair your gear now, will save you time in the spring when you are most anxious to get out into the wilderness to paddle and camp once again.