How to

5 December 2016

Getting Your Summer Adventure Gear Ready for Winter

For fans of the outdoors and adventuring in general, winter can be a bit of a drab time. Unless you’ve got a decent snow resort nearby to satisfy your adrenaline needs, it’s hard to deal with those grassy hikeable, bikeable mountains becoming icy death-traps, and that lovely 5 mile stroll in shorts and vest becoming a fully wrapped up minute walk to the shops. Hard as it is to admit that the fun is over for now, you need to make sure that all of your gear is packed away so that it survives the frigid winter and springs out in spring ready to use. There’s nothing worse than finally getting out for that first camp of the season to find that your tent has fallen apart on the trail. In this article, we’ll take a look at how to make sure all your summer stuff is safely stashed ready for winter.

Mountain and Road Bikes

Leaving your bike out on your balcony may seem like a convenient option, but it will be much less so when spring rolls around and you have to pay £200 to replace the whole drivetrain. Experts recommend properly “winterizing” your bike, which doesn’t mean covering the whole thing with sick snowflake decals, but rather checking everything is working, repairing when necessary, cleaning, removing unnecessary parts, and organising everything before storing it in a relatively warm, dry place.

This warm, dry storage location is vital to keep your bike in top shape. The best is, of course, somewhere heated and inside, such as a closet or a wall mount. If you can’t find the space, then the next best thing is somewhere that is at least sheltered, such as in a shed, in a 4x4, under decking. Make sure you wrap your bike in a tarp to keep it protected from weather exposure, both snow and sun (too much sun can corrode the rubber on things like tyres and handlebar grips).

Make sure that before storage, you give the bike a good clean to prevent contaminants corroding any parts. Clean the frame, check tyres (don’t deflate them), and clean and lube the drivetrain. You want to get off all dirt and road salt, and prevent rust.

Boats and Kayaks

Similarly to bikes, adventure gear such as kayaks and paddleboards should be stored in a warm, dry area. Anything inflatable doesn’t have to be deflated, but if you need to for space reasons, mark sure you don’t fold it too sharply, as you want to avoid stress cracks in the material. Make sure any watercraft are completely washed to remove dirt, and then dried to prevent mould.

For some hard shell craft such as kayaks, it is possible to leave them outside, just make sure they’re sheltered from potentially damaging weather such as snow build-ups. Cover it with a tarp as well, both to protect it from said weather and, hopefully, to keep out any small animals that want to make their nest in there and chew up your nice foam seats.

Camping and Backpacking Gear

Camping gear - things like tents, sleeping bags, boots, backpacks etc. - can get just as dirty as your other equipment. Thankfully, it’s a little easier to store this stuff in your house. Follow the same procedure of cleaning and thoroughly drying to prevent any mould.

This means that, unless you have a way to dry them well (outside is not usually an option at this time of year), just brushing off dirt with a stiff brush can often do the job. For any particularly tough stains, add a little bit of washing up liquid to ease the cleaning process.

If this isn’t enough, make sure you read the care label before chucking things in the washing machine, as some detergents can adversely affect certain fabric used on adventure gear.

Now is also a good time to check all equipment integrity, such as seams and straps. If there is some fraying or splitting, you can even use melted wax as a natural alternative to chemical seam-sealers.

So that’s it, all your stuff should be safely stored, ready to excitedly bring out at the first sign of spring before realising it’s going to be another month. Still, at least you know how to store it again!

Sam Franklin

With a master’s in Literature, Sam inhales books and anything readable, spending his working hours reformulating the info he gathers into digestible articles. When not reading or writing, he likes to put his camera to work around the world, snapping street photography from Stockholm to Tokyo. Too much of this time spent in Japan teaching English has nurtured a weakness for sashimi, Japanese whisky, and robot caf├ęs.