Now that the end of the summer holidays are approaching, with the shorter days, lower temperature and everything else that autumn entails, many families will be thinking about putting their camping equipment away for the winter.
As much as I’d love to go camping more, it’s a lot harder to persuade my family to head out on camping trips when there’s a good chance you’ll be sleeping in single-figure temperatures. So our peak camping season tends to start around May and end at the tail end of August, most years.
If you’re anything like me, putting the camping stuff away for another season is a bit of a faff – but there are a few simple things you can do which will make life much easier for yourself when you come to get it all out again next year. Not to mention extending the life of items like your tent.
Here are a few tips that you might find useful – if you’ve got any that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below!
Dry the tent out properly
If you’ve been camping at the end of summer, chances are high that you might have encountered a bit of rain – so you may well have had to put the tent away while wet. If you’re not able to properly dry it out before putting it back in storage, you could sprinkle in a few Silica Gel packets when you fold it up. You know the ones – the little paper packets you get when you buy some things, which help to absorb moisture. You can buy bigger versions on Amazon, and can re-use them year after year, too.
Clean your plates, cups etc thoroughly
As tempting as it might be to put everything away without a wash – after all, you’re probably going to wash it before you use it again, right?! – a good wash before storing will save a lot of wear-and-tear on your crockery. Getting your camping gear out only to find your pots and pans have mould on them because you didn’t dry them properly after your last trip… nobody wants that surprise. Give everything a run through the dishwasher and life will be a lot easier next year.
Fix/replace any broken tent pegs or poles
The last thing you want to do when you’re setting off for the first camping trip of the year is to realise you’ve got a bunch of bent-beyond-use tent pegs and a snapped tent pole. Replace/fix them now, and avoid having a bunch of tent-based maintenance to do in a rush before the next trip. You’ll also have more time to shop for a bargain – tent poles, in particular, can be an expensive item to replace, so having some time to shop around could save you some money.
Start a shopping list of replacement items
Most of our camping trips include at least one moment where we realise we’re missing something vital – whether it’s something simple like a corkscrew or something major like an event shelter. Spending the winter collecting these things together will save you having exactly the same realisation again next year. Plus, camping gear usually gets a lot cheaper in winter, so you might bag yourself a good bargain too!
Store camping gas somewhere safe
If you use gas canisters as part of your camping setup, the rules for where to store them while not in use should be adhered to carefully. Check the manufacturer’s website for specific details, but the most important rule is to store it in a well-ventilated place, avoid extreme temperatures – and away from your house! Don’t be tempted to stick it in the loft with the rest of your gear – especially if your loft gets hot, like ours does.
Our camping gear includes an entire box of lights – everything from strings of lights and torches to solar lamps and bulbs. Before putting it away for the season, I usually remove the batteries from anything that takes them – it helps to avoid them corroding in the case while not in use. For solar devices, ensure they’re switched off before boxing them up.
So those are my tips – what did I miss? Let me know in the comments!