Monday, February 22, 2016

Five tips for post-hike apparel maintenance

Always take the time to maintain clothing after a hike.
After a hike – even a short one of a couple of hours – your clothing will be a little dirty and a bit beat up. Taking care of your apparel when you return home can increase its longevity, ensure you’re warm and dry on the next hike, and keep the clothes from smelling.

Once home, inspect the clothes for damage. Sometimes snags tears can happen without you even realizing it, such as when you brush up against a tree or shrub. You may then need to sew, patch or even replace some items.

Next, hang and air dry any wet jackets, snowpants, raingear, and boots. Don't dry them near a heater, as that can cause leather and other fabrics to turn brittle and crack. You can have a simple fan blowing on them, though, to help them dry faster.

Brush any dirt, mud, leaves and other debris off your clothing, especially the boots. Prolonged exposure to the moisture in the debris can damage apparel. In addition, eventually the debris will dry and falloff, creating a mess.

Wash and dry clothing, even if worn for only part of the trip. Follow instructions on the clothing tags so that you don't accidentally shrink or damage through overheating. Remember that synthetics often require different care than cotton when washing and drying.

Finally, replace any clothing articles – those lost on the trail, items that no longer fit, and those that are damaged beyond repair – so that you don’t go without on your next hike.

Learn about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.