Camping Tips for Care and Storage of Camping Equipment
Camping Tips for Proper Care and Storage of Camping Equipment
Taking pride in caring for your camping equipment not only ensures its longevity but also enhances the overall enjoyment of your outdoor experiences. Proper maintenance and storage during and after each season allow you to stay connected to the joys of camping throughout the year. As you inspect each item meticulously, memories of past adventures come flooding back, making the process even more fulfilling.
Tents are particularly susceptible to wear and tear, which can significantly shorten their lifespan. Cotton duck tents are prone to mold and rot if stored while still damp. To prevent this, it's crucial to ensure the tent is completely dry before storing it. Silk and silk-composition tents, being highly waterproof, remain dry even after exposure to rain or dew, making them suitable for packing at any time. However, it's advisable to wash and thoroughly dry all tents and tarpaulins after each season's use.
Blankets tend to absorb moisture, so it's beneficial to shake them out and spread them over bushes to dry in the sun at least once a week. As the nights get colder in late summer, the warmth of dried blankets becomes considerably more comforting.
Pack straps and ropes should not be left exposed to the elements as they can quickly become stiff or brittle. Squirrels are attracted to the salt found in leather and may chew on exposed straps. Additionally, if left on the ground in an area inhabited by rabbits, the straps may be damaged. Hanging leather goods in the peak of the tent, keeping them away from fire, and periodically oiling them helps maintain their quality and durability.
A canoe should never be left in the water overnight or when not in use. Just as a dirty gun or a dull ax is not left unattended, a canoe should not be left wet unnecessarily. When on a cruise with a heavy load, it's advisable to pile the belongings onshore at the campsite and turn the canoe upside down over them. If a canoe remains in the water or is exposed to rain for extended periods, it becomes waterlogged, making portage more challenging and increasing the risk of developing leaks.
Small punctures in the bottom of a canoe can be repaired by melting spruce, tamarack, or pine gum into place using a glowing firebrand, while blowing at the spot to be mended. Torn rags of canvas-covered bottoms can be glued using the softer gum obtained from new "blazes" and applied with a knife or flat stick.
When navigating shallow streams, the bottom of a board canoe tends to develop shreds that rub up against it. It's advisable to cut these shreds short each night with a sharp-pointed knife to prevent them from pulling out and turning into large splinters. Paddles and setting poles, unless iron-shod, may become burred at the ends and require trimming down to solid wood. The track line, if in use, remains wet most of the time and should be dried regularly to prevent rotting, as a rotten line poses significant danger in rapids.
During the winter months, the canoe should be scraped and sanded, any bulges nailed down, permanent repairs made to the covering, and the exterior painted while the interior is varnished.
Just as the enthusiastic fisherman takes great care of their gear, the user of firearms should follow suit. Even if a gun hasn't been fired throughout the day, moisture from hands or the dampness of the woods or marshes can cause rust spots or corrode the bore. It's advisable to run an oily rag through the bore and over the outside of the gun every evening before storing it.
Cleaning rods are safer and more effective for cleaning the bore than the common mouse string, which may break while pulling a heavy cloth through, causing significant difficulties. A wooden rod, preferably made of hickory, is ideal, although a metal rod is stronger for small bores, with careful attention needed to prevent excessive wear on the muzzle. Hunting weapons should be meticulously inspected and given a coat of oil to protect the metal parts from rust before being stored.