With spring right around the corner it’s that time of year again to inspect your backpacking, camping and hiking gear. A broken piece of gear in your kit can cause a huge problem if that gear is taken into the field. The old saying goes a long way in making gear inspection part of your outdoor gear protocol: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Tent – Modern tents are built tough, but like all outdoor gear, tents can be subjected to a high level of wear and tear that will slowly grind them down. Typically, the tent pole sleeves are going to be the first section of a tent to fail. Doorway zippers and stitching surrounding the doors are also high stress spots that can slowly deteriorate. Check for mirco tears in the rain fly and inspect the tent poles.
Camping Pad – Your camping pad is key to a good night’s rest. Inflate and observe for 24-hours. If you suspect there is a leak, use the bathtub to find the leak and use the repair kit provided to seal it up.
Flashlights – New batteries are always a good idea every season, but the bulbs can burn out too. Sometimes the best move is to retire the old flashlight as a backup and buy a new one.
Kitchen Kit – Lots of moving parts if you keep a complete kitchen camping kit. First is everything clean and ready to use? Is everything in there that needs to be in there? Is the propane canister low or full?
Footwear – Maintaining hiking boots or shoes that feel great is probably the most important consideration is mountain sports, if your feet are not happy, you day is not going to fun. A partially worn out shoe or boot can be retrofitted with a custom insert for a second life.
10 mountain essentials – The 10 mountain essentials is a survival kit that evolves as your adventures evolve. Always good to make sure what you think is in there is actually in the kit. If you don’t have a 10 mountain essentials kit, here is good place to start: https://www.outdoorsgeek.com/ten-essentials/
Water Bladder – How’s the water bladder looking? Better question, how old is the bladder. Water bladders are great but when they break there is usually no warning.
Sleeping Bag – Your sleeping bag is not going to one day fail; it will however lose its ability to keep you warm overtime.
Backpack – Backpack are built so tough these days that a brand name backpack will likely last your whole life. Because of the longevity, buckles will not last as your backpack. Check out all the connection points on your pack and you should be good to go.
Stove – Firing the stove up when you take it out of hibernation is a good idea. Stoves will last a lifetime if they are not subjected to extreme wear and tear. If your stoves look like it has survived a war, it might be a good idea to buy a new stove.
Tent – See the camping section above. A backpacking tent is more critical to the trip . If you backpacking tent fails while in the field, you could be in trouble. That said, any potential signs of heavy wear and tear should be reason of concern for a backpacking tent.
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