Hikers are fundamentally carefree. Part of the beauty of being outdoors is that there’s just so much unraveling and wondering going on. It’s hard to pay attention to everything that comes up.
Little details like taking care of their gear are sometimes the last thing on a hiker’s mind. When you’re out climbing crazy mountain peaks and navigating rough weather, it’s hardly possible for you to do field gear fixes. Whatever it is that needs your attentive hands, you’ll have to resist fixing until you get home.
Hiking gear makes sustaining outdoor living possible. Keeping your gear usable and functional is only practical if you wish to spend more quality time in nature. Also, it will help you refrain from spending too much money on replacements.
For beginners or advanced hikers, there are several ways you can protect your gear while on the field.
Wash Hiking Gear Properly, and Keep Them Away from the Sun
It’s hard to avoid mud or dirt from getting into your gear. Before you put them in the washing machine, get rid of the heavy soil on surrounding areas by spraying a mixture with equal amounts of stain remover and water. Let them sit for a few minutes.
Open the zippers of your backpacks, and loosen up the straps. Do the same for your jacket and other zippered gears. When camping, there will always be grime buildup around the straps whatever condition you may have been in. For most hikers, they prefer to wrap around a piece of clothing on the zipper sliders to prevent it from retaining water after washing. Wool-based socks and ponytail beanies can be thrown in the washing machine like everyday outerwear would be.
When it comes to drying them up, make sure that your gear isn’t in direct contact with the sun. Try to put it under the shade as much as possible. The sun’s harmful rays can cause your gear to fade quickly. It can also crack or impair your gear’s waterproofing capabilities.
Same goes for hiking. If you can avoid the sun while you’re on the trail, this will significantly increase the life span of your gear.
Regularly Check and Repair Your Gear for Rips and Holes
It’s always good advice to take your own handy repair kit with you when hiking. When you’re in the middle of the trail, try to resist the temptation to pull a loose thread; wait until you reach the campsite.
When you do, check the level of damage sustained by your gear. If it’s a small hole, sewing in a patch should do the trick. Or if you have duct tape, you can use it to prevent the breach from expanding.
Hiking jackets have feathery small fillings sewn into them. When they get ripped, these fillings start coming out, and you risk deflating the jackets if you don’t put a backstop.
Though regular maintenance can be taxing, it’s one of the most effective ways of keeping your gear intact. It helps you spot problem areas right away before they become more prominent and unfixable. This applies to tents, sleeping bags, and backpacks. Anything that has a bit of cushion on it should be checked regularly for possible leaks.
Reduce Wear and Tear by Keeping It Light
It’s important not to push your gear to its limit. A hiker’s mind is anchored on survival and reaching the summit no matter what. At times, this can get in the way of a gear’s life span. When you take on a Rambo persona, chances are that your reckless tendencies also come out.
Less recklessness can give your gear the leg up it needs to survive longer. Mindful trekking includes avoiding sharp rocks and stepping away from rocky roots as much as you can. This will allow you to extend the life span of your hiking shoes.
Most hikers who adhere to careful and light stepping can attest to the impact they have on both the shoes and the shoe wearer. Taking it step by step with care can also prevent foot problems later on. Less recklessness means a win for your foot and for your gear.
Pamper your gear when you have the chance, and be gentle with it. When you take on steep terrains and have no other choice but to slide, avoid using your backpack as a kind of sled to get you to the bottom. Pick a twig or other available alternatives, if possible, instead of your bag.
When you’re going through a thicket, try to take off your jacket to avoid getting it ripped. Same goes for your tent. When you pitch it, don’t mindlessly lay it out without checking the ground for rocks with sharp edges. Treat your gear with the tender, loving care it needs—like the critical piece of splendidness it genuinely is.