How do you store camping gear? This is a daunting question for many campers, especially if you are new to camping? Finding an appropriate spot to store your camping gear can be a challenge.
Camping gear needs to be organized and accessible. It also needs to be stored to avoid being damaged by climate or critters. This post will discuss how to get all your camping gear safely stored away in your home and make the process less stressful.
Where to store your camping gear
Finding space in your home for your camping gear can be a hurdle for many. I have friends who want to go camping but don’t think they have the space for storing all the gear. It’s amazing how you can find storage space when you get creative.
Can you store camping gear in the garage? The first place many people look to is the garage. Camping stuff can be dirty, and a garage seems appropriate, right? But, of course, this depends on the climate you live in.
We have lived in both wet, cold climates and extremely hot and dry areas. We have had mold on tents, and we have also had tent gear practically disintegrate from the heat.
We have learned the hard way how important camping gear storage can be.
Camping gear needs to be stored where it will be cool and dry. If you live in a super wet climate, the garage may not be the best place.
Mold can grow pretty quickly in a wet, humid climate. Rust can also form on cookware, camp stoves, shovels, saws, and other tools left exposed to moisture.
Extremely hot climates also pose a threat to proper camping gear storage. Heat can damage and weaken your tent’s seams and break down the fabric. Although camping gear is expensive, it can last for years if you store it safely.
If neither of these extreme climates is a concern for you, then storing your camping gear in the garage may be just fine. If you have an attic that doesn’t get too hot, this also is a good option.
Camping gear needs to be reasonably accessible. It also depends on how often you go camping. Ideally, you want to keep your gear together and not all over the house. You may forget some items if they aren’t stored together. This is where a camping checklist is crucial.
Look for unused, forgotten space in your home, like under the bed. A spare room closet could be a great option too. Like all of us, it probably just needs to be cleaned out, and then you’d have a space for camping gear.
Camping Storage System
Now that you have carved out a space for your camping gear, you need to decide on a camping storage system that will work for that space.
My personal favorite is the use of bins, specifically big clear plastic bins. Clear bins will help you see what is inside, which is key to camping organization. Bins are a stackable and manageable size and are also easy to clean.
All the bins have labels such as ‘kitchen,’ ‘garage,’ ‘fun,’ etc. They also have a list on the outside with the contents inside to keep it easy. So in one quick look, I can know precisely what is in a bin.
We have two heavy-duty bins that aren’t clear; these are for our tools, camp shovel, camp saw, rope, etc. I have labeled these bins the ‘garage bins,’ and I have a list on the outside of the contents in the bin.
Hooks and pegboards are excellent for vertical storage. A shoe rack is also great for vertical storage. They are perfect for any small item, and you can easily see what is in each compartment. In addition, they can be hung up on a hook, ready and waiting to be rolled up and put in the car.
Certain camping items need to be hung up for proper storage, like sleeping bags. When sleeping bags are stuffed in their tiny carrying bags for extended times, they lose their integrity, and the stuffing gets all bunched up.
So you can ruin your sleeping bag by storing it the wrong way.
Sleeping bags need to be stored hanging or laying flat, never kept for weeks in their original bags. Nobody likes to wear skinny jeans, not even your sleeping bag.
Single hooks or hooks on pegboards are helpful for backpacks, camping-specific coats, rope, and other lightweight items. We even hang up our hiking boots and shoes to air them out, phew.
Storing large and odd-shaped camping gear
Finding places to store big and bulky camping gear is the most difficult. Not everything can fit into a tidy bin.
Some camping chairs collapse down small like an umbrella, others not so much. Either way, these can be hung vertically or laid on some bins.
If you don’t have portable camp chairs that collapse small, you may want to invest in some. Good camping chairs are affordable and take up much less space than traditional folding chairs.
As previously mentioned, sleeping bags should not be stored in the compression bags they come with. This will ruin the stuffing and create cold spots in your sleeping bag. Instead, sleeping bags should be stored hanging vertically or laying flat, such as under a bed.
We have a pretty small camp stove that we can keep in a large bin along with other tools and such. I just like it to be away from dust and especially bugs. So even though Bear Grylls says that bugs are loaded with protein, I am not interested in adding this protein.
Saws and shovels
We love our camp shovel (more info) and camp saw (our favorites); they are used every camping trip. Because they are designed specifically for camping, they collapse small and are lightweight but functional.
They both fit nicely in our bin of ‘garage’ type items. We won’t forget them either, because they patiently wait in the bin.
We keep our tent in the house because this is the most climate-controlled area. We once stored a tent in the attic, and the seams were trashed from a summer of heat.
So now we keep our tent in the house. Expensive items like tents and sleeping bags should be well cared for.
Clean and prepare your gear before storing it away
You definitely want to clean all your gear of dirt, food, grime, and anything else before putting it away. You wouldn’t put dirty clothes back in your dresser, right? Don’t be a teenager.’
Air out your tent
It is essential to fully dry your tent out before putting it back in storage. Even if it didn’t rain, it was exposed to morning dew and plenty of dirt. Shake it out, sweep it out and dry it out completely. Be sure to air out your rainfly, as it may have gotten wetter than anything else.
Also, when you open up your tent at home, look for any tears or weak seams that need mending. Take care of this right away, so your tent is ready for the next trip.
If you camp in wet conditions frequently, you may need to waterproof your tent every year. Also, remember to waterproof your rain fly since it is your best protection against the elements.
Roll up your tent and rain fly when putting them away, do not fold them. The fabric can weaken over time from the creases created when folded.
Washing your sleeping bags
Just like you need to wash your sheets at home, you need to wash your sleeping bag. Wash your sleeping bag about once a year. Obviously, if it gets visibly soiled, then wash it as needed.
We take ours to the laundromat because they have those badass giant washers and dryers, and it’s a great way to meet interesting people. Nope.
Clean the dang kitchen
Clean up all the dishes and cookware from your camping trip. Give your camp kitchen a good wipe down, so it stays looking nice and is ready for the next adventure. We love our camp kitchen because it is small, portable, and immensely helpful.
Even if you didn’t use all the dishes and cookware, they probably got dusty. Just give them a quick clean before tucking them into their bins or storage spaces.
Clean the camp stove and accessories
Your camp stove will indeed have grease and food stuck to it by the end of your camping trip. It will also have dust and dirt from being outdoors. Bugs will be especially happy if you never clean your stove, gross.
Also, you will want to clean all the spatulas, roasting sticks, and grates used for cooking over the fire. The stuck-on food will attract bugs and damage the material over time.
Wipe down the tools
Your camp shovel and camp saw will definitely have dirt and sawdust on them. They also get exposed to sap and other icky things. Rinse them off and let them fully air dry before storing them away.
Take out the batteries
Take out the batteries from camping-specific items that usually get stored away. Items such as lanterns, flashlights, and charging packs. Batteries can corrode and ruin a flashlight or lantern, so be sure to take them out before storing them.
Restock and update checklist
Restock any non-perishable items and add or omit items on your checklist. We always bring a copy of our checklists to add items or change them.
When you get home, you won’t remember the things you needed to restock, so write it down on your checklist when it is fresh on your mind.
Before putting all your gear and storage bins away when you get home, restock as much as you can. This way, most of what you need will be waiting and ready to go next time.
Can camping gear be stored outside?
It is not a good idea to store any camping gear outside. The climate and elements are too rough on camping gear; it will likely get moldy or damaged from heat. Critters and bugs will also make a lovely home of your camping gear.
Can you store camping gear in the garage?
Camping gear can be stored in the garage, as long as the garage doesn’t have a lot of moisture. But, again, it all depends on the climate you live in. If you live in a highly wet area, the garage may not be the best.
The same goes for extremely hot areas; tents and sleeping bags can be damaged in extreme heat. But, again, these are extreme conditions. Most garages will be just fine for storage; just keep items off the ground.
Camping can be more enjoyable and less stressful with proper organization and planning. If your camping gear is organized and ready to go, camping will be a breeze.
If properly taken care of, camping gear can last for many camping seasons. We hope this post about camping gear storage will encourage you and keep you camping for years.
So grab your newly organized camping gear, get out there and remember to camp s’more worry less.