stinky backpack straps

3:47 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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the large-sized day pack i routinely use began to smell bad early this summer.  i think the webbing strap along the front of the shoulder strap pads absorbed some BO.  nice.

has enyone encountered this, and how do you address it? i soaked the shoulder pads in warm water reinforced by some vinegar for a few hours.  i'm hoping, once it dries, that it will eliminate the smell without having to go purchase something more expensive from McNett's.  we'll see. 

3:54 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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A couple of my pack are in need of some deodorizing and washing, too. 

I just planned on letting them soak in a mild sport wash solution in the bathtub, followed by some scrubbing and thorough rinsing. I hadn't thought of using vinegar, but that's not a bad idea. 

4:55 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I would use baking soda and water before vinegar. Bakig soda is renowned for being able to get rid of odors. I have never had to do this to my packs though.

5:47 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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I usually just toss the whole pack in the bathtub to soak for a few hours, with tech wash, turning it over every so often. 

7:59 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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what if you don't have a bathtub? :P I use a horsetrough.

9:23 p.m. on July 8, 2013 (EDT)
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If the pads are removable, place them in the freezer for a day, it will remove the smell. 

8:51 a.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Vinegar and sunlight have worked well for me.  For serious stink, I'll use a thymol-based disinfectant.

11:17 a.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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thanks for all the suggestions!

I went to the source.  they suggest taking it to a car wash and blasting it with a high pressure hose.  wouldn't have thought of it. 

11:48 p.m. on July 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Freezing is cheaper. It works. Will take away any smells/odors I do it all the time for sour smelling drink bottles when I leave drinks in them and it ferments. 

7:48 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Freezing did not work. I feel like I'm in a Seinfeld episode. Blasted it with a high pressure nozzle this morning.

9:30 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Andrew,

 

you must be talking about a Mystery Ranch pack. that's what they told me to do also (i've done it twice now). their website advices to remove the yoke but that's a major part that needs cleaning so I did not.

11:30 a.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Patman wins a prize! Yes, it's a snapdragon, and no, i didn't remove the shoulder assembly either.  It is now hanging from a shower head and drip-drying in a tub.  i hope the smell is gone.  Just in time for some day-hiking in Maine...

5:53 p.m. on July 10, 2013 (EDT)
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I would be worried that the high pressure hose would loosen up the fabric and stitching and possibly tear it.  Sounds like an odd suggestions to me but if it works.... all good.  I typically do the bathtub soak like Peter suggested.  

8:55 a.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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The only catch with the bathtub soak is that you don't want to use scented detergents, so be careful to rinse thoroughly. When the smell starts seeping out on a hot or damp day, it can get a bit overwhelming. And it can attract raccoons and other animals. 

1:21 p.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Try soaking in dilute chlorox. If that doesn't work replace the straps.

10:49 p.m. on July 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Andrew

Did taking it to the carwash work?

12:55 a.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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blasting it at the carwash? that sounds like an extreme solution.

 

6:50 a.m. on July 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Didn't do a car wash. I have a high pressure nozzle at home. It was 90 percent effective. Only a very faint odor left. When I'm back home, I'm going to soak the straps in a small bucket of water and enzyme-based cleaner designed for wetsuits. Just need to find a dive shop.

7:36 p.m. on July 15, 2013 (EDT)
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the wetsuit cleaner might work. it's designed for neoprene but should work on all porous rubbers.

5:28 p.m. on July 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Okay, Andrew, it's been more than a week. What's the verdict?

2:03 p.m. on August 5, 2013 (EDT)
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haven't yet gotten the wetsuit cleaner, but i think that is what it's going to take.  or soaking the straps in a bucket of detergent for a while. 

2:10 p.m. on August 5, 2013 (EDT)
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Barb and I were taking to Dana Gleason (of Dana Designs and Mystery Ranch fame) at the OR Show last week and asked about cleaning packs. He said he uses a power washer. Of course, Dana packs (the real ones, not the ones made by the company he sold Dana Designs to a few years back) are really rugged and well made. I'm not sure I would do that with a lot of the brands out there.

2:26 p.m. on August 6, 2013 (EDT)
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the postscript is that my shoulder pads not only smell bad but also have a handful of places where the nylon has parted - through heavy use and due to proximity with the hard plastic frame piece.  they aren't in load-bearing areas, but I sent the yoke back to the company for repair/replacement, as it is warranteed for life.  either i'll pay to patch it, or they will replace it. 

i had used a high-pressure nozzle on a garden hose to try to clean this; perhaps they will hit it with a power washer when they receive it and truly get it clean, if the decision is to patch rather than replace. 

i agree, Bill, that while some of my heavier-weight backpacks could handle a power washer (this one and a small bag from cold cold world), some of the lighter backpacks out there might get shredded. 

December 18, 2014
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