Even if you have the stamina to portage for a week, face heavy rain and still manage to keep a smile on your face, the equipment clean-up from a camping trip once you return home requires a different set of mental strength altogether. Beat procrastination and extend the life of your camping equipment by implementing these five steps.

  1. Right Away: Make sure you tackle the unpacking, cleaning and storing of your equipment and supplies are soon as you get home. The quicker you deal with the mess, the less stressful you will feel.
  1. Repair: Whether you are replacing the zipper on your tent, repairing the blade on your pocket knife, or patching a hole in your sleeping bag, make sure you tend to the damage right away. Faulty equipment that has not been fixed will only get worse. Protect yourself and your equipment by taking the steps necessary to fix it. If the item is beyond repair, replace it.
  1. Replace: Although you may have a lifetime guarantee on some of your camping gear, not every item in your arsenal is covered. Every once in a while, you’ll need to replace some essential items. Use your best judgement to determine when its time to let items go – or refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines. When you are shopping, look for items of quality, rather than the lowest price. Quality items often provide guarantees, warranty packages, and superior exchange policies. Always keep the receipt for big ticket items, just in case you need to return them.
  1. Reduce: As you begin to unpack your camping gear, think about how effective you were in packing the essentials. Did you bring too much, or too little? Reflect on what worked and what didn’t work and make a list. Reference the list on your next trip to ensure that you pack more efficiently. It may also be beneficial to bring multi-purpose items to reduce your supplies. For instance, bring ‘sporks’ instead of forks and spoons, or bring one pot which can double as a bowl or washing basin, instead of bringing extra gear. Have fun and get creative!
  1. Refresh: Before storing your equipment away for another year, make sure everything is completely dry. Tuck a scented dryer sheet into items that tend to get stale, like the folds of your tent, to keep it smelling fresh and clean until next summer!