Storing camping gear

AHHHHHH!!!!!!! Is the best way to describe both my frustration to the most beautiful problem to have:  where the funk do I store my gear between trips and ugh, do I  actually have to put my gear away because the season's over?!?


I have, for the longest time, just stored things in a large plastic tote, for the sole reason to contain the campfire smell coating everything (I know- why contain a great smell??).  The plastic tote was an upgrade from just keeping my gear in my canoe pack (now termed a “go” bag) ready for the next trip.


The problem really started when I would do overnight mountain biking trips and needed a “car-camping” setup- the larger tent, the briefcase camp stove, a damn camp shower, etc. Then came the idea to hike and the need for a good back pack. Hello second tote. Wait- whitewater canoeing? Waterproof everything, more stuff sacks, waterproof pack, helmet, new lifejacket… and rope, so much rope…Ultralight stoves, fuel- a stick stove now? Paddles, fishing rods, life vests oh my, axes, hatchets, candle lanterns, canoes, kayaks - and don't get me started on camera stuff!


Ideally I would have a huge basement to hide it all in (and those that do- embrace your storage game- you have the space) but being an apartment dweller in Toronto a closet will have to do. Here’s 10 tips I’ve picked up along the way:


Clean and dry: after a trip the first thing I do is hang my tent (hammock in my case) and ropes so they can fully dry. There's nothing worse than prolonged moisture for camping gear, it shortens lifespans. My sleeping bag gets to go into the dryer for a bit too.

Take the batteries out of flashlights and electronics for extended storage. If the batteries are still good, I always wrap a small rubber band or piece of tape around them so I know they’ve still got juice.

Clear totes are great for stacking gear, organize like stuff with like stuff - kitchen kit with fire kit etc

Hang sleeping bags if you have the option. Also hang packs so they don't occupy space a tote can.

Consider the investment of shelving, Ikea kitchen cupboards make excellent gear storage and look great too.

Canoes and Kayaks don't like the sun, uv ray can shorten the life of your boat, hang it from the ceiling in your garage, or build a canoe rack in a shaded area

Display your paddles, they make great wall art when you’re not paddling (and if they’re not hanging on the wall, your spouse knows where you are.)

Organize shelves by activity, backcountry gear with backcountry gear, cycling gear with cycling etc or if you have a few of each item, organize by gear, ie: sleeping system shelf, kitchen shelf, shelter shelf- really handy when you waited to the last minute to pack.

Have a  “must have” gear checklist in your storage area, it helps with packing.

Donate the stuff you don't use anymore- it goes to a good cause and makes room for more gear!

Have a cool tip that works for you? Sharing is Caring!!!!!!