After you have invested in the right camping tent, sleeping bags, and the other gear you and your family need for an enjoyable and relaxing camping vacation, it is important to properly care for your camping equipment so that it gives you plenty of years of use.
You should take the time to clean and inspect all of your camping gear after each trip before putting it away for your next adventure, but it is especially important to pack things away the right way at the end of the camping season to avoid damaged, useless equipment next camping season.
Caring for Your Camping Tent
Roll out your tent, wash down the inside and out with a mild soap and inspect the seams and fabric for weaknesses and tears. Use the Coleman Seam Seal & Outdoor Repair kit to reinforce any troublesome areas. Allow your tent to air dry completely before packing it again. Gather all the stakes and replace any that have been lost or damaged through the season. Pack the stakes in their own bag to prevent the sharp edges from tearing your tent and place the stake bag inside your tent bag. Store your tent in a dry place that is not prone to insects or rodents.
Cleaning and Storing Camping Stoves, Grills, and Lanterns
Thoroughly clean your camping stoves, grills, and lanterns before putting them away for the season. Use warm water and a mild dish soap. Disassemble the items as needed to clean away all grease and food debris in your stove or insects and other debris that may be trapped in your camping lantern. If necessary, you can clean the inside of your stove with a high pressure hose like those found at carwashes.
Dry your camping gear completely. Turn the stove upside down if you have rinsed it with a hose to empty out any water inside. Replace bulbs, mantles, seals, and other parts that are damaged or worn and empty liquid fuel tanks to prevent buildup while the equipment is not in use. If your camping gear doesn’t have a protective case for storage, place it inside a plastic bag and seal it tightly to keep spiders and other insects out.
Proper Care of Sleeping Bags
Most sleeping bags are machine washable and can be tumble dried on low. Wash your sleeping bag in warm water with a mild detergent in a commercial washer with a drum, using the gentle cycle. Rinse cold and add a liquid fabric softener. You can also hand wash your sleeping bag in the bath tub using a mild detergent. Tumble dry the sleeping bag on low or let it air dry. Make sure the sleeping bag is completely dry before rolling it up. Avoid storing your sleeping bag in a stuff sack or other constrictive pack for long periods. Roll it and store it in a dry place away from mice and insects, like your tent.
Cleaning Your Cooler
Coleman coolers are popular because they are so easy to care for. Before putting away your cooler until next camping season, give it a good cleaning with soap and warm water. Wash the inside and outside of the cooler, using baking soda to remove stains. To get rid of odors, wash the cooler using a mixture of bleach and water. You can also wipe the inside of the cooler with vanilla or peppermint extract, leaving saturated cotton balls inside the cooler overnight. Before storing your cooler, let it air dry completely with the lid off. Remember to wash drains and faucets thoroughly as well.