End of season: How to maintain and store your camping gear over winter

Here at Alde Garden, it’s the end of long, lazy days of summer. Which for us means it’s time to  put the accommodation into hibernation for the winter. For campers it means that it’s time to pack up your camping essentials and tuck them away until next time. We know that the urge to shove all of your camping gear in the garage, loft or shed is very tempting but to keep everything fresh & well maintained for next season there is some work to be done!

Eco-friendly camping and outdoor activities

Camping, hiking and other outdoor activities are not only good for our physical health but also play a very important role in maintaining our mental health. Everyone wants to enjoy a hassle-free camping or outdoor trip without worrying about gear, which is why it’s best to buy the best stuff you can afford and look after it well.  This way your equipment will be a trusty companion on many adventures for years to come.

To ensure that you your camping or outdoor activities are sustainable and eco-friendly it is very important that you must know how to maintain these products so that you don’t have to throw them away and buy again each year.

Do not put off until tomorrow

The biggest mistake people make when it comes to camping gear is that we forget all about organising and maintaining it after the trip is over.

If the camping gear is tucked away in its dirty and messy form it will not only reduce its service life but it will also throw your investment down the drain.

The following tips and tricks of organising and managing your camping gear are best if carried out as soon as your return from your trip.

Keep everything organised

After returning from the trip the first thing is to organise all your gear. To be really organised, you can make an inventory list of your gear. This makes planning & packing for a trip easier, as well as checking that your brought everything back home again. Our top tip is to check the list when you return from a trip – if you didn’t use something cross it out – there’s no need to bring gear you’re not going to use. This was especially important for us as we always travelled by train & bike – but equally if you have lots of family to fit in the car you need all the space you can get! If you are a camping enthusiast you should have a proper storage space and containers to put everything away for the winter.  Make sure that you remove batteries from radio, outdoor gadgets, GPS, headlamps and torches etc.

While you are organising and cleaning your camping gear, if you find any material that has a missing part or need replacing make a list of it immediately. So that during the winter you can replace these missing things and are good to go before the summer starts. Similarly you must also check your first aid box for any expired or outdated medicines and throw them away.

Cleaning and storage

Now let’s take a look at how to clean and store different summer camping gear.

Sleeping bags

It is best to wash your bags as little as possible. You can scrub your bag with a brush and a detergent and then rinse with water. After it has completely dried store the bag in a breathable cotton bag in a dry, mouse and moth-free space.

Cooking materials

Properly clean stoves and pots to make sure there is no possible food remnants left. Shut off the gas from the bottle rather than on the stove. Store the cooking gear inside, away from damp that could erode the metal.


Start by getting all the dirt out and off of your tent. Shake it, turn it inside out and scrub all its parts with mild detergent and brush. Thoroughly clean the stakes and the poles. Ideally, dry it inside the house or in the garage because direct UV rays can wear down the tent material  over prolonged amounts of time. According to the instructions on the manual apply UV treatment on the flysheet and on the outside of the tent – here at Alde Garden we use Nikwax – but there are a few reputable brands on the market. For storing the tent, break the poles and put them first inside the bag followed by flysheet, body of the tent and lastly the groundsheet.

Sleeping mats & mattresses

You can easily scrub sleeping pads with a mild detergent if they are dirty.  Inflate them first to make sure you scrub the complete surface areas but also to check for any sneaky air-leaks before they go into storage. Dry them inside away from the UV light and store in a partially inflated state with valves open. This is to prevent the pads from breaking down due to compression.


At the end of the season take good care of your hiking boots. Pull out the insoles and give them a wash by using cleaner, soft brush and detergent. Let them completely dry in the air and keep checking for any kind of degradation. Before storing them apply a leather conditioner and waterproof it with silicone based wax. Store your boots but don’t put them totally out of sight – there’s nothing quite like a crisp winter walk for blowing away the cobwebs and lifting your spirit!