The right gear makes all the difference when spending time in the great outdoors. Outdoorsmen spend billions of dollars every year on gear, and that spending reflects outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, fully engaged outdoors enthusiasts were expected to spend nearly $800 million on outdoor equipment in 2020, while even less engaged outdoor enthusiasts were projected to spend more than $140 million on equipment (Note: Projections were released prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.).
Quality outdoor gear can be expensive, and outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels can benefit from a refresher on how to protect seasonal gear before placing it in storage.
Before storing summer outdoors gear, make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned. Mud, dirt or sand can accumulate on gear over the course of a typical summer, and if the gear is not cleaned off before placing it in storage this can lead to otherwise preventable corrosion. Carefully clean each item with an appropriate solution, and allow gear to dry before placing it in storage. It’s imperative that gear be completely dry before being placed in storage, as moisture can contribute to rust. Gear made from fabric, such as tents, also must be cleaned thoroughly and allowed to dry completely, as any lingering moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew over the winter. Mold and mildew can spoil gear and, if undetected, can even contribute to health problems.
Like summer gear, winter gear also must be thoroughly cleaned, and this might require a little more elbow grease than cleaning summer gear. Skis, sleds and snowboards may accumulate more pesky grime, such as salt, so outdoorsmen may need to apply a mild soap or product-specific cleaner to remove especially stubborn buildup. Dryness also is essential before storing winter gear, as moisture poses just as significant a threat to skis, sleds and snowboards as it does to summer gear. Snow sports equipment may benefit from a hot wax treatment prior to being stored away for the summer, but be careful to follow manufacturer instructions regarding application and removal of such products. Some manufacturers may recommend treatments be left on over the summer, while others may suggest otherwise.
Standard garages typically provide ample protection from the elements for winter and summer gear. However, some equipment, including skis and snowboards, may need to be stored in climate-controlled environments inside the home.