Got some fancy new gear? Here's how to keep it in top shape

TentGary DavidsonThere's no point in getting flashy new gear just to have it look beaten down after one season of use. Here are Ryan's tips for keeping your new boots and tents trail-worthy.

Tents



  1. Tents spend most of their nights pitched in the storage room rather than under the Milky Way. So the key to tent longevity is in the packing and the storage.

  2. When you get home, unpack the tent. If it's salty or dirty, give the whole thing a cleaning with a damp cloth and mild soap. Sweep out any sand or dirt-grime can ruin zippers.

  3. Let everything dry completely. Wetness encourages mildew growth, which weakens the tent.

  4. Stuff your tent into a storage bag. If you have to fold, don't fold in the same place over and over. Creases weaken waterproof coatings over time.

  5. Periodically use a silicon lubricant on zippers and poles.

  6. In the field, always use door hangers to keep zips off the ground, especially near sand. Look for shady sites, where the fly won't be weakened by UV rays all day long. And, please, don't wear your crampons in the tent.


Boots


A good pair of hiking boots should last you longer than the soles they're built on. Here's how:

  1. Condition your boots before every multi-day trip; it not only waterproofs the upper but protects the leather from cracking.

  2. Not all conditioners work the same: Waxes are the most waterproof, but can affect breathability and tend to darken roughed-out leather and suede. Silicone won't affect breathability or stain the leather, but is not as waterproof. A combination of the two often works best. Avoid oils, which tend to stretch leather, compromising performance.

  3. After each trip, clean dirt and mud off the uppers and dry them, out of the sun, before putting them away.

  4. If the sole begins to separate from the upper prematurely, fill the gap ASAP with a heavy-duty, waterproof glue or sealer.

Plan your next great adventure with explore!
Off the beaten path locations, tips and tricks, interviews with intrepid explorers and more.