Basic Outdoor Gear Maintenance

September 1, 2014

Basic Gear Maintenance

Over time, dirt and body oils steadily permeate your sleeping bag and rain jacket, decreasing their warmth and breathability. Practicing some basic outdoor gear maintenance can extend the life of your equipment.

  • Wash them once every season or two, depending on how often you use them.
  • Apply leather conditioner to your hiking boots at least once a year to prevent the leather from cracking.
  • If you are a regular cyclist, lube your bike chain periodically (roughly every two to four weeks) to reduce noise, friction, and the effort it takes to pedal.
  • Ocean goers—particularly paddlers—should always rinse any gear exposed to the sea with fresh water. The residual salt crystals otherwise act like microscopic knives and quickly damage your gear.
  • Check the expiration date on your sunscreen and replace as needed. Most sunscreens start to break down—and become less effective—after approximately three years.

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Matt Heid

Equipped blogger Matt Heid is AMC's gear guru: He loves gear and he loves using it in the field. While researching several guidebooks, including AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, he has hiked thousands of miles across New England, California, and Alaska, among other wilderness destinations. He also cycles, climbs, and surfs.