16 April 2020 by Cotswold Outdoor
Here’s some advice on caring for your kit from our friends at Cotswold Outdoor
We may not be able to get outside in the ways we’re used to at the moment, but there are still plenty of opportunities to connect with the outdoors – and making sure your kit is ready to take to the trails when the time comes is one of them. Storing your kit the right way is an often-overlooked but necessary part of looking after it, so that it keeps performing at its best season after season. Whether it’s time for your hardworking down jacket’s summer rest, or you won’t be pulling on your walking boots for a while, here’s how to put your kit away the right way.
Washing and drying your down jacket the right way is essential before storing it for a long time; you can read a full guide on how to wash your down insulation here. If you wear your down jacket weekly, it’s recommended that you should wash it once every two months; for less regular users, washing it once a season is plenty. Some brands even offer kit washing services, if you’re not confident doing it yourself.
Once you’ve washed and dried your jacket, hang it up instead of folding it or putting it into a stuff sack. A down jacket’s performance relies on its filling, and compressing it can cause the down to clump together and lose its insulating effectiveness. This is the same for synthetic insulated jackets, although synthetic filling isn’t as sensitive to compression so can be stored folded in a pinch.
When you get home from a camping trip, always take your sleeping bag out straight away, unzip it and air it out in a warm, dry area to make sure it’s completely dry. Once you’re sure there’s no moisture left, store your bag in a large cotton or mesh storage sack – sleeping bags often come with these included, but they can also be purchased separately. Like down jackets, it’s important not to compress your sleeping bag, as this will damage the filling.
Perhaps the neediest of all your kit, storing your tent properly is always important, but especially if it won’t be used for a while. Before storing it, you should spot-clean your tent using cold water and a mild detergent before allowing it to completely dry - preferably pitched to ensure all areas are aired out, but hanging the tent should also work well. Your tent should then be packed loosely into a mesh bag to allow the fabric to relax, and stored in a cool, dry place like a garage until it’s time for your next adventure.
It’s a good idea to remove mud and grime from your walking boots after every wear to prevent it wearing away at the material, but before you store them, you should always properly clean and reproof your boots. Once they’re totally clean, reproofed and completely dry, store your boots in a well-aired, dry place away from direct heat and sunlight, to avoid damage and keep them in great condition.
How To Clean and Care For Your Boots
Walking boots are built to be sturdy, and the excellent choices from our range will hold up in demanding conditions. However, a little care and attention once in a while will keep your beloved walking boots performing for longer; simply follow these simple steps to get the most out of your walking boots.
Top Tips For Looking After Your Boots
1 - Scrub clean
After a trip, take a moment to wash off any mud and grit you have accumulated with warm water and a semi-stiff brush - no detergents!
2 - Re-proof them regularly
Use Nikwax Fabric & Leather Proof or a suitable substitute to treat your boots after every couple of wears, to keep them performing at their best.
3 - Avoid softening uppers
To avoid your boots losing their shape, care should be taken to avoid excessively softening leather uppers. This means do not soak the boots in warm water during washing or use products which are intended to soften leather.
4 - Absorb all moisture
If your boots get really wet, stuff them with newspaper or use Absorba Balls to help draw out moisture, maintain their shape and prevent odour.
5 - Dry carefully
Never place your boots next to a direct heat source, as this can cause the upper to crack. Allow them to dry naturally in a warm room or outdoors.
6 - Check for wear
Occasionally check your soles for signs of wear. If you notice you are losing grip, you may want to have the sole replaced. If the boot uppers are damaged, this is likely to compromise their waterproofing, and it may be time to replace them.
Shoe Symbol Guide
Many of our shoe labels feature symbols to explain their materials and composition. Here's what they mean, so you know what to look out for when shopping for walking boots.
Don’t forget that as a member of the Ramblers you receive 15% discount at Cotswold Outdoor. T&Cs apply. Visit: www.cotswoldoutdoor.com