Thursday, March 17, 2016

How to clean your backpack post-hike

A few minutes of cleaning your backpack after a
hike can greatly extend its lifetime.
To extend the life of your backpack, you’ll want to do a little maintenance on it after the hike. Indeed, taking just a few minutes for this will solve a whole number of problems for you – mold, stink and rips – that will make your next hike less enjoyable.

First, upon returning home, unpack everything, including the pockets. Often items you’ve carried will get wet or dirt and leaves will cling to them that if left alone. This will lead to mildew (for which there is no cure) or a mess in your backpack. If the pack is wet, hang it on a clothesline to dry.

Next, brush off the backpack’s exterior (A plastic bristle brush works well.) and shake it out to remove any debris. As doing so, inspect for any tears or rips. If you identify any, you’ll want to repair them by sewing or patching the breaks. If pine sap is stuck on the backpack, it can be cleaned off with a mild detergent. Also look at buckles, straps and zippers to ensure they are in good shape.

Once done with the cleaning, leave your backpack open (including the pockets) and empty so it can dry it out. Store it in a cool, dry place that is well-aired and out of the sun.

Don’t throw your backpack into the washer and dryer or iron it. Doing so damages any polyurethane coating that waterproofs the fabric.

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