Say goodbye to summer activities for another year. When the rain, snow, or temperature gets in the way of baseball games, biking and camping, there’s no reason to keep equipment in the house. Clean it, store it, and pick up where you left off in the spring.
Here’s how to prepare sports equipment and outdoor gear for a few months of dry, low-humidity hibernation:
How to store camping gear
If you throw camping gear into storage after your final trip of the season, metal pieces may rust, fabrics and tarps may grow mildew and become less waterproof, and there could be live bugs that you definitely don’t want to introduce to your storage locker. Plus, your gear could develop a weird smell.
Make sure your tent is clean and dry before you put it away. Wipe it down with cool water and a mild soap. Set it up and let it air dry, or pin it up on a clothesline if weather permits. If you’re storing sleeping bags, send them to be dry-cleaned before putting them in storage. And avoid keeping them in a compression sack–they should have room to breathe. You can keep sleeping bags in the big cloth bag they came in, or use a large pillowcase.
How to store sports equipment
Just like camping equipment, sporting goods like baseball bats, gloves, helmets, basketballs, cleats and protective gear should be clean and dry before you put them away.
Use a cloth soaked with soapy water to clean wood and plastic. You can use a scouring pad on most synthetic or rubber balls, and a soft cloth and leather cleaner for leather balls and gloves. Clean and disinfect any smelly shoes or clothing.
When storing sports equipment, we recommend putting clothing or pads in well-ventilated bins to keep the air flowing. Everything else can go in a closed container (but make sure everything is dry first!).
How to store bikes
If you won’t be using your bike this winter, make sure to store it inside so it isn’t exposed to the elements. You’d be surprised at how quickly your wheels and chain can rust. Keeping your bike safely inside also prevents theft.
Wipe off any dirt and debris with a damp cloth and soapy water (don’t turn it upside down). Clean the frame, pedals, seatpost and cassette, and lubricate the chain, gears and brake cables. Let it air dry. Make sure the tires are inflated before you put the bike away.
If it doesn’t have a kickstand, or you’d rather keep it off the ground, buy a freestanding or wall-leaning rack to keep things neat. You can also get a bike cover if you’ll be storing it in a place where dust, water, or prying eyes are a concern. Bicycles do best in a low-humidity environment.
A storage unit is your best bet for storing outdoor gear. With a humidity-controlled, dry and pest-free space protected by multiple security measures, you’ll be able to free up space at home and know that next spring, when you pull out your bike or tent, everything will be exactly as you left it.