With a new hiking season coming up, it’s likely you’re thinking about buying some new gear to start the season off right. Whether this will be your first time backpacking or your tenth, having to freshen up the gear you currently have (or don’t have) is something we all have to do. And, what better time than spring? If you’re going to be tidying up your house and car for spring cleaning, then why not your gear, too? Here’s everything you need to know when it comes to organizing your gear.
Evaluate What You Need
Whether you’re a first time backpacker or an experienced one, evaluate what gear you’re going to need to buy. This would be a good time to get out a piece of paper and write down a very important list. Off the top of your head, think about other gear you might not have and need to add onto the list. For first time backpackers, write down the first gear items that come to mind, even if it might not be everything. This might include a backpack, hiking boots, a cooking stove, appropriate clothing, a first-aid kit, etc.
Out With the Old, In With the New
This is especially important or experienced backpackers. When going through your gear collection, you might notice you have some things you haven’t used in quite a while, or are starting to get worn out. The first rule of spring cleaning gear is that if you haven’t used it in two years, it’s time to figure out what to do with it. Of course, gear is not like clothing. If you have a pair of snowshoes that are in perfect condition but you haven’t used them simply because you haven’t had time to do winter hiking, then certainly keep them around. On the other hand, if you have an old winter jacket that is falling apart, it might be time for a new one. Lay out the things you want to keep, and the things you need to get rid of and replace.
Create a Budget
Based off what gear you know you need to get, estimate how much you think it will all cost. Then, create a budget. This might mean having to leave some things out, or needing to swap some gear choices for others. Being mindful of your finances applies to all aspects of spring cleaning. Though, when it comes to hiking gear that can sometimes get expensive, you want to be precise.
Check Out Catalogs
Head to your local backpacking store or go online to see what’s in season. For first-time backpackers, you might come across gear that you didn’t even know you needed. For experienced backpackers, you might find something that catches your eye, leading you to maybe add something back home to your spring cleaning-throw away pile. Most important, you might find a few great deals from sales and discounts that will definitely liven up your gear collection!
Reach Out to Friends
Spring cleaning is a good time to get in touch with your hiking friends. Throw a spring cleaning party, where you can do all this together and perhaps exchange gear with others. Maybe you’re getting tired of your backpack which is in perfectly good condition, and your friend is in the same boat. A gear exchange is the perfect way to get your hands on “new” gear, without losing anything!
Upgrade Your Technology Gear
Which new hiking apps are out there now that you need to download? Are there new gadgets on the market you should really read up on? Perhaps you want to change your camera to a GoPro. Perhaps there’s a new sleeping bag that has better technology to keep you comfortable than the one you currently have. Keeping your budget in mind, don’t feel bad upgrading your gear.
See something you want but don’t really need? Spring cleaning is the time to get yourself those gear items that you had hoped someone would buy you as a present, but never did. Don’t wait for next Christmas to get yourself that awesome item. You deserve a treat now!
So, now you’ve finally got all your new gear in order. You’re ready to hit the trail any day now. Before you make a mess in your garage, storage closet, or a backyard shed, get yourself organized. This will make spring cleaning next year a whole lot easier (as long as you stick to everything)! Wherever you keep your gear in your house, find ways to organize it. Use labels and bins so that everything has a spot. Keep track of how long you’ve had items, like your fuel canisters, so you know when it’s time to get a new one. If you’re feeling really up to it, organize gear by season or length of hike. Even keep one backpack packed and ready to go for those spontaneous hikes you might be asked to go on.
This hiking season, implement this spring cleaning guide to make sure you stay up to date on all the gear that’s out there!