Storing your camping gear is one of the essential jobs that must be done after a glorious weekend in the wilderness. Taking care of your equipment is necessary to squeeze the life from every drop of your camping experience. Are there ways to store your camping gear in the garage that will lead to a longer life?
There are ways to store your camping gear that will improve the life and quality of your gear. Every piece of your equipment can be cleaned and stored to keep it in service for as long as you need it.
Camping gear is expensive and should get the same kind of treatment that your home and automobile get. Not taking the time to clean and properly store that camping stuff will also end up costing you precious time back out in the great outdoors. Don’t sweat it! Read on and learn all the tips and tricks to store your camping gear in the garage.
Storing your Camping Gear in the Garage
Storing your gear is not what it is made for. It is made to be opened up and enjoyed by you and your family. You take the time and effort to store it to last longer and provide more of the halcyon days that camping offers. There are times when you can protect your gear and even prolong its life with just a few simple guidelines.
Knowing that you can protect your gear’s longevity by storing it in a cool, dry place like the garage is critical. There are often corners of your garage that aren’t in service and they make a great place to install shelving or hooks for all your gear. Focusing on the gear piece by piece will show you the best ways to store each part.
The guidelines for storing your camping equipment in the garage are:
- Create Space for Gear
- Use Bins for Different Gear
- Create Cubbies for Small Items
- Hang the Sleeping Bags
- Bag the Chairs
Following those guidelines leads to a storage system in your garage that will be upgradeable, just like your camping gear. Not only will it allow for more storage as time progresses, but it will also keep the equipment free of holes and water. Please note that all camping gear should be cleaned with a mild detergent and dried very well before going into storage.
Create a Space in Your Garage for the Camping Equipment
Depending on your garage size, you should be able to find a corner that is away from the doors and has enough room for shelves. If the rafters are exposed, be sure to clean them along with the rest of the area before moving the gear inside. Scrub the area down well and choose a bit of carpet or flooring that will create a barrier between floor and equipment.
If possible, find an old shelf and some clothes hangers. Having places to store all the odds and ends that come with camping is essential. If you take the extra time and install hooks and cubbies, you won’t lose gear as frequently. Having ample light to search for what you need would be a welcome plus, but it isn’t necessary.
Create Some Shelving for Easy Sorting
Shelves are useful for just about any kind of camping equipment. If you have many different sets of shoes or boots that you use, having somewhere to get them up off the ground will keep them working for years to come. Shelves also work great for storing sheets and other bed-related items.
Clothes Hangers are a Valuable Commodity for Camping Storage
Chances are you have gear that dries best when it is hung up. Clothing and sleeping bags are easily hung with clothes hangers and could be placed anywhere around the storage area. Hangers are cheap and can be found at just about any general store.
Cubby Holes Work Great for Smaller Camping Gear
There are so many little gadgets that can be used for camping that the number would make your head spin. Having some small places to store the flashlights and headlamps makes finding the gear much easier when you are ready to roll out.
Overhead Storage is the Way to Go for Larger Gear
The number of ski poles and walking sticks acquired over the years at the campground can add up. They are hard to store and even more challenging to find a place where they aren’t in the way. Use an old board and some exposed rafters to create a shelf above the area for larger objects.
Drawers Bring the Whole Room Together
Having a set of drawers that allows you to fill them with blankets or pillows would be another excellent choice for garage storage. Drawers are muti-use, and while they can’t be taken to the campsite, they can create an area for camping gear only and not touched for any other reason.
Ensure that the area is clear of any oils or flammables that could be stored in the garage. Anything that could ruin or melt plastic should be kept a safe distance away from all the gear as well. This area is for protecting and storing your equipment; don’t choose things that could harm it just by being close to it.
Bins are a Great Way to Save Space and Organize Your Gear
The plastic bins that have become so popular at the local dollar stores are an excellent tool for storing your camping gear. They can be stacked and stored when not used to save space and could even be the full-time home of some of your equipment. They are durable and can last a lifetime if you keep from stacking heavy things on top of them.
Using clear bins are in your best interest. Having clear containers allows you to see inside them when they are stacked and stored. Allowing you a much easier chance of finding what you are looking for without emptying all the bins.
Some container bins that work great for your camping equipment storage space:
- IRIS – A six-pack of stackable bins is perfect for the garage storage area. Iris has a durable product that comes in several different sizes. The 19-quart is compact enough to store precious food and toiletries while still being strong enough to move around on the campsite.
- Rubbermaid – The largest plastic bin is the 71 quart, and Rubbermaid has a four-pack that is sure to store all your odds and ends for camping. The biggest drawback to a larger tub is that they can’t be stacked nearly as high. What they lack in stacking strength they make up for in capacity.
- mDesign – Not all plastic bins you need for the storage area will have tops and be stackable. This set of mDesign containers is great for storing camping food or tools that you could need to set up the site. The handles on this set make them great for trekking stuff into and out of the camp.
Plastic bins are worth sinking money into. They can be used for transporting and storing your camping items while protecting them from the elements. Choose something that could last a long time as having broken bins could lead to dangerous spills or food loss.
Cubby’s Make an Excellent Home for Smaller Camping Items
Cubby holes aren’t just for play school anymore. They have many uses and would make a valuable addition to your garage set up. You could purchase a set of plastic holders that would work just as well as any wooden ones, but a more extensive selection of wooden pieces exist. The oblong and odd-shaped choices work best as camping gear is eccentric in size.
The odd shape of several selections of cubby makes them more attractive. While the designers often intended for the shapes to house different shapes vases or knick-knacks for the home. They work great for campers because usually camping gear is made in odd sizes to be more compact and portable.
Some choices for cubby storage that would work great in the garage are:
- Furinno – Furinno makes a great five-holed cubicle. It is made from sturdy plywood and can be turned on its side to produce a vertical feel. The Furinno set comes in several different color options and could work well on the campsite.
- Better Homes and Gardens – A unique 8-hole set of cubbies are made by the good folks at Better Homes and Garden. It has a false back, so you can add the extra backing for color or leave it exposed to show through to the other side.
- AmazonBasics – Having a good wire set of storage cubes will be vital for your garage storage area. AmazonBasics has a good set that is easy to break down and transport while being quick and easy to assemble. That means you can take them with you or leave them as the focus of your storage area.
A cubby system is a great way to keep things separated and provides a home for your oddly-shaped items. They work best with a set of shelving but will prove useful no matter their size or shape.
A Place to Hang Sleeping Bags and Rain Flies is a Necessity
Something that most campers don’t do is allow their sleeping bags to hang when not in use. Keeping the bags outside of the shrink sack allows the foam or material inside the bag to remain fluffy. This fluff provides heat protection and padding while you are sleeping inside the bag.
Some bags have a tiny loop on the inside of the sleeping bag. When you clean your gear and are getting ready to store it, you can use a hook, and the loop makes an excellent place to hang the bag. Once it is hanging, you should let it stay that way for several hours, if not a couple of days.
Things to look for when creating a space or hanging your sleeping bags:
- Hanging Hooks – The typical hook you have in your hallway or closet to hang coats will work great for hanging the sleeping bag. It should be placed higher than average as bags will touch the ground when rolled out and unzipped.
- Dowel Rods – The dowel rods are an excellent idea for creating a rack to hang the bags over instead of using hooks. You need a bit more space to make this setup work correctly, but having a system of dowels means you can hang up many more things like hammocks and rain flies that won’t fit on a hook.
- Hat Rack – A hat rack is an excellent idea for an alternative place to hang sleeping bags. The hooks hang the bags off the ground, and you can hang six to eight bags on the rack. Choosing a hat rack opens more space for other items, like kayak paddles, that can be burdensome on the storage area.
The number of things that could need hanging will vary from trip to trip. If you plan on hanging larger objects, like rugs and tarps, keep the bags and sleeping equipment separate. Don’t use your station for these larger objects but allow them to dry on a flat surface before returning them to their bins.
Bag Up Your Chairs and Store Them in a Flat Area
The typical camping chair comes with a bag that doubles as a carrying case. Clean the chairs thoroughly, paying extra attention to the feet, before sending them back inside of the cases. Storing the chairs will require a bit of planning because they are odd-shaped and have trouble standing independently.
Choose a corner or somewhere to lay down the chairs flat on the floor and stack them like wood. Either way you choose is going to take up quite a bit of space. A brilliant hack is to lay them flat under your cubby storage and drag them out as needed. This works great but could lead to rust hinges if the chairs aren’t used evenly or often.
The things to prepare for when storing your camping chairs are:
- Loss of Space – The chairs in their bags are going to take up a lot of space. No hack will make them any smaller than they currently are. Adjust to the lack of space by going vertical with your storage. Making a pile keeps them corralled and will allow for much more storage than hanging them by the carrying handle.
- Hinge Repairs – If you aren’t going to keep your chairs in regular usage, you should expect to repair hinges once in a while. The hinge on the frame made by crossing tubes of metal can often loosen or break if they aren’t worked often enough. Tightening the bolts when you store them is a great preventative strategy.
- Broken Carrying Straps – The straps on the carrying case are an attractive way to hang the chairs and get them off the ground. You should avoid this, as the strain on the bag could cause the strap to fail. If you live in a dry environment, the air’s lack of moisture will dissolve the stitches holding the strap to the bag.
- Ripped Fabric in Seating – One of the major flaws of the folding chair is that as it ages, the section that supports the most weight, the middle, will begin to wear and fray. Once this happens, it is time to get a new chair. The mesh design is hard to keep together once it has broken.
The camping chairs often dominate the area of many camper’s garages. The chairs have so many other uses that they are usually towed to kids’ ball games and other outdoor activities. The important thing to remember is to watch the hinges and avoid frayed material. Once a rip appears, the chair is in decline and should be retired.
Way to Increase the Life of Your Camping Gear While in Storage
Leaving gear all alone in the corner of the garage isn’t a good idea. The worst thing for camping gear to have to endure is being cramped in storage all winter. You should create a routine of cleaning and maintenance for the larger pieces of your horde. By taking the largest selections of gear out and cleaning or allowing them to air out, you increase their longevity.
It should not be understated that each camping gear piece should be checked regularly to ensure that it is in working condition. A maintenance schedule on the larger items opens the doorway to check smaller items as they are often stored nearby—work from the larger pieces down to the tiny nuts and bolts in the bins and cubbies.
The steps to take when doing maintenance on your camping gear are:
- Unpack the Tent – Take your most enormous tent out of the packaging and spread it out in a large area. Go over the significant seams on the bottom tub and windows to ensure there are no frayed stitches. Once those have been checked, go around and find any holes in the top or bottom.
- Break out the ShopVac – Once the seams are all checked, and there are no significant holes in the floor and walls, you should use a vac to get dirt and grime out of the corners and folds. A severe cleaning should have been done before storage; if not, now is the time to get the dust out before it wears holes in the lining.
- Replace Tents in Bags – Take extra time and care to roll your tent up and return it to the original bag. It takes time, and the correct number of folds but placing the tent back inside the packing will ensure that the product is ready and brand new when you put it back into use in the spring.
- Repair Holes in Boats or Rafts – Check your boats for any signs of being set up for too long. Kayaks could have worn spots on the bottom where they rest on the ground. Canoes with a lacquer finish will need to be washed to check for any damage. Small holes should be filled if possible and boats discarded if not.
- Check Seating and Lounging Items – Take your camp chairs out for a once over and then bring out any other chairs or hammocks that could be in the stash of gear. Check hammock straps for fraying and chairs for faults in the fabric or hinges. If there are faults, replace the items or set them aside for repairs or discarding.
- Remove Batteries – Once the large items are squared away, you can move on to checking lights and lamps for batteries. Chances are the batteries are dead, and if you recharge, all you need do is pop them in the charger for a few and replace them before moving on. Take time to remove broken or shot lights from your gear.
- Take out the Trash – Now that you have gone through with a proper inspection of your gear, you should have a pile of stuff that isn’t up to standard. If you have a knack for repairing things, get to it; if not, hit the camping aisle at Walmart, and they will have what you need.
Cleansing and repairing gear should be a regular part of the process. Once you have found brands that last to your desire, you know who to buy from the next time. A good maintenance schedule combined with your gear knowledge will lead to many extra years spent in the glory of nature. Take care of your gear, and it will take care of you.
Ways to Keep Your Garage Safe for Your Camping Gear
The garage is usually home to all kinds of nasty chemicals and pesticides. If you are keeping things like this in your garage area, make sure to keep them far away from your camping gear. Any chemical spilled onto tent fabric, or sleeping bag liner will create a chemical burn that could render the equipment useless.
There are ways to keep the chemicals away from your gear, and you should try and follow them to the letter. In an emergency, parts of your gear that fail because of chemical burns can’t be trusted to keep you warm and dry. Prepare the garage in a way the keeps these chemicals segregated from your horde.
Ways to keep dangerous chemicals away from your camping gear in the garage are:
- Store Chemicals in a Cabinet – If you have a metal cabinet, use it to store your gas and pesticides that might be in the garage. Remember that some chemicals, when mixed, could be volatile store them away from each other and on separate shelves.
- Cover Chemicals with Plastic Sheeting – If there are many items in the garage, covering them with a sheet of plastic would work great. The plastic keeps the things covered and under wraps, which will prevent any spilling.
- Keep Bugs Out – For some reason, bugs love to munch on the window fabric of tents. Certain species of beetle emit a solvent that will allow them to munch on parts of tents that have been stored for too long. Use bug spray while cleaning to ensure that no critters are living in your home away from home.
Storing a Tent in the Garage
There is no doubt the largest part of your camping horde is going to be your tent. Depending on the number of people in your party, the tent could weigh as much as fifty pounds, and having to carry it for long distances may be out of the question. Choose a spot that is close to the door, but far enough away to stay dry.
The tent bag should not get wet and should stay free of webs and dust. Any particles that get down inside the folds of the tent could create tears when opening. Spider webs mean bugs have tried to make a home inside the tent and could have eaten holes in the fabric. Keep the tent bag clean, and you should have no problems when opening it in the spring.
The biggest trick to storing your tent is going to be folding the tent and removing the air pockets that form. Try and take time in this part of the process as the fabric continues to shift as you work. It can be frustrating and only works when you take your time and concentrate on making the seams fit together.
Use your bodyweight to kneel down on the parts as the tent is folded. That keeps the seams from moving and forces the air out of the pockets as you work. Use constant and heavy pressure as the fabric from tents is slippery and will move more than you think.
Storing your camping gear in the garage is a safe home for your beloved equipment. Choose a spot that is out of the way and not close to the door. Location is vital because dangerous chemical spills could ruin your gear in an instant. Safety for the gear is paramount in this situation, or you can expect to spend extra cash every season.
Work on having a system of hanging and storing your gear so that things are easy to find. Using clear plastic bins will ensure that items inside are easy to spot. For smaller items, buying or building a set of cubby holes is a great way to keep up with the tiny bits and pieces that always come with camping gear.