|Always take the time to maintain clothing after a hike.|
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.