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Organizing your outdoor essentials

Also available in: French

Become an outdoor gear storage master

It’s no coincidence that isolation rhymes with organization! It’s unlikely that housework is your favourite activity but taking the time to sort and organize your belongings is oddly satisfying and relaxing. And hey, going through all of your outdoor gear may just get you excited about future adventures!

Organization station!

Tired of being buried up to your nose in outdoor gear and equipment every time you open the closet door? Haven’t found a good spot to store your gear yet? Do you pull out your hair every time you need to try and find a charger or a specific hat that is tucked away behind a million other things on the top shelf?

Spring cleaning is upon us!

Step one: find a cool, dry place to store your gear.

Cool and dry? Yes! Storing items like your tent or high-tech dive camera where they can be exposed to prolonged humidity or heat (sun, water heater, electric baseboard) may drastically shorten their lifespan, weaken or even outright damage them. If you haven’t already, find a dedicated area in your home to store your precious outdoor equipment (large closet, drawers, shelves).

Step two: assess the damage and make any necessary repairs

If you haphazardly shoved all of your outdoor equipment in the closet as soon as you got home from you last outdoor adventure (several months ago), it may now be looking a little worse for wear.

If you left your sleeping bag or camping pad tucked away inside its compression sack, then it has probably lost some of its insulation abilities. Shake out any dirt, wash out any stains by hand and tumble dry your equipment on low so that the natural or synthetic filling can return to its original shape. Allow your equipment to hang dry on hangers or lay it out flat in a deep drawer to allow the materials to breathe.

The same goes for your tent and backpack. Give them a good once over and check for any stains, holes or tears, and repair them with the right kit before storing them away. It’s best not to store your tent folded. The canvas may start to wear and break down in areas where there are deep fold lines and creases. Although it may sound a little strange, the best way to store your tent is to take out the pegs and poles and then stuff the canvas into its carrying bag in any old which way. In any case, make sure that your tent is completely dry before storing it.

Next, why not keep the ball rolling by tackling your hiking shoes and boots? Wash them thoroughly, change the laces and soles, apply a layer of renovating cream to any leather areas and use a waterproofing spray on sections made of Gore-Tex.

And, if you’ve done everything you can to try and save your equipment, but it is still just too far gone, it may be time to throw it away or recycle it. Continuing to use any equipment that is well past its prime will not only be uncomfortable but dangerous. 

Sleeping bags and pads              Tents

Backpacks              Socks and boots

Repairs                   Cleaning and care

Step three: determine your needs

It’s as easy as that! Have you made a list and taken inventory of all of your outdoor, camping and hiking equipment? No? Well, now’s the time!

What are your dreams and goals for next year? Interested in getting into rock climbing? Are water sports more your thing? Looking to score some end-of-season discounts on cross-country skiing equipment? Curious about mountain snowshoeing? Write down everything you want to do this year and then make a list of any equipment that you don’t already have. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Tell your friends and family what kind of equipment you’d like to receive as a birthday gift and then go out and buy anything else that you need.

Rock climbing                Water sports              Winter sports

The ultimate essentials

On top of having a solid backpack, tent, camping pad, sleeping bag and pair of hiking boots in your outdoor arsenal, there are few other basic items that you will need to bring with you on any outdoor adventure. How will you cook anything without the proper cooking equipment, stay hydrated without a water bottle or flask, see in the dark without a flashlight or stay warm in cold weather without the right jacket?

If you realize that you are missing one of these essential items, don’t wait to replace it. If you dilly dally, you may just forget and then be left high and dry the next time you head out into the great outdoors.

Cooking equipment                 Hydration                 Lighting

Men’s jackets             Women’s jackets                   Children’s jacket’s and outdoor pants

The magic of tidying up

Organizing and decluttering has never been easier! All you need are a few tips and tricks. Here are some examples.

Once you’ve emptied and grouped all of your equipment together accordingly, put away the biggest and bulkiest items first (such as your backpack and tent bag). Avoid stacking large items and try to store them somewhere that is easily accessible. Install shelves, hooks or bars to make things easier to find.

Hang your jackets, outdoor pants, sleeping bags and camping pads on hangers, and neatly line up your boots and shoes on a shoe rack.

Finally, categorize and put away any small items in boxes or drawers. For example, you might want to group together electronic items in one area, books in another and maps and atlases somewhere else. Then you’ll know exactly where to find your camping, survival, orienteering or jogging equipment the next time you need it. Store your winter and summer gear in separate boxes, etc.

Why not get creative and hang pictures of your favourite outdoor memories on the door to your closet or storage boxes to inspire your next big adventure? ☺

Happy organizing!

Also available in: French