Storing gear when not in use

9:32 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Sometimes I have a hard time finding the gear I know I have when the time comes to use it.  How do you all store your gear when you aren't using it?  Keep it in the pack? Boxes?

10:14 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Big plastic storage boxes with labels. And when you feel nostalgic you can dump em on the groung roll in old smelly gear and repack everything one piece at a time while taking deep deep breaths while remembering each time this carabiner saved your hide or when that dumb stoved stopped working on the top of Katadhyn while on a "day" hike...

Anyway, Big plastic storage boxes with labels.

10:39 a.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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I have mine on a certain shelve in the closet. All my gear is side by side. I keep simular gear together like my stove, cook pot,fuel containers,etc in a stuff sack. I keep my sleeping bag hanging up by the bottom to keep the down or polarguard fluffed. My backpack hangs on the wall beside my clothes. Only problemI have always had is after a winter season when I don't camp much anymore, is knowing how much fuel is in my propane/butane canisters or how many times I had used them. I have quite a few as I like to take new unused canisters on a hike.

4:01 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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The "is it empty or full" question is why I bought an MSR XGK. One less ting to worry about. I also have a trusty hand book for my equipment, that way I know exactly what needs changing (useful for climbing gear). Also good place to keep receipts and proofs of purchase.

11:25 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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..(The) Only problemI have.. knowing how much fuel is in my propane/butane canisters or how many times I had used them. I have quite a few as I like to take new unused canisters on a hike.

Weigh your canisters, both full and empty.  The difference is the fuel volume.  The amount of fuel remaining in partially consumed canisters can be determined thusly.


11:49 p.m. on January 25, 2011 (EST)
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Since I have spent a lifetime enjoying the outdoors, I have assembled quite an menagerie of stuff.  Between bikes, skis, climbing and hiking stuff, I could fill a small bedroom with my junk. I store most of my gear in plastic tote boxes, with a casual level of organization:  Soft packs, stuff sacks and similar soft gear are stored in one tote; climbing and tech gear in another tote; cooking stuff in a third, etc.  The totes are stored in the mezzanine above my garage.  Sleeping bags are stored loose in the storage bin under my bed. Skis, boots, and external frame packs are stored in a closet.  Outdoor clothing is stored in a chest of drawers.  Our large family cabin tent is stored on the garage floor in it own wooden box (that doubles as a bench), along with associated tarps, a mallet used to set tent stakes, a wood splitting wedge, and other items used exclusively on car camping trips.

But the question beckons, do you have a hard time finding your gear because of how its stored or because you randomly store it anywhere?


10:40 a.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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I use the 'big pile in a room' method.  Someday I'll get that organized.

3:02 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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In a large old wood chest I keep in the attic. My kids know I love adventures so they call it the "Indiana Jones box". All I need is the whip. I always change or replenish items from my first kit. I replace any essentials that have wear and tear. Basically, I inventory every spring. Your gear is your life!

6:59 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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I am with Alex-Luis I use the rubber totes labled and I buy them from Wally world...I do store those in a spair bedrooms closet and hang my Sleeping bag their as well...

7:45 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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I have a spare room that's my office.  Sleeping pads under the bed, sleeping bags laid out on the bed.  Shelves with gear arranged by amount of use.  Clothing in dresser.  I do use plastic translucent totes for scent free clothing used when shooting wildlife with my Canon.

7:47 p.m. on January 26, 2011 (EST)
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I have a great long closet with 2 separate areas for hanging stuff. So on one section I hang my sleeping bags, on the other, clothes, packs, harness, etc. Then I have small plastic totes with various gear on the shelf above to keep it organized.

1:45 p.m. on January 27, 2011 (EST)
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I have a small closet dedicated to my gear, it's a must for my house hold or it falls victim to my kids (even there it does at times lol). Although I may not be super organized my main strategy is that I know everything in my closet is ready to go. No dirty clothes, GPS with dead batteries, old food etc.  Everything that needs sorting,cleaning, replaced sits in a big bin outside my closet.

Most of my day hike gear stays on shelves where it's quickly accessible while less used gear stays in the clear bins\drawers - which can be purchased pretty cheap at wallyworld.  I keep all my food in sealed bins and things like my down bag hanging so its not overly compressed when not in use.  I try to keep gear organized but its usually stored in the same category of gear at least.

I actually keep most of my hiking cloths, socks,etc  in the closet as well otherwise the wife will shrink them into oblivion in the sanatize mode of the dryer lol.

I just got back from a hike so a bunch of stuff is in the bin :) but I think you get the idea.

WP_000178.jpg WP_000177.jpg

3:58 p.m. on January 28, 2011 (EST)
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I am like Alan, I keep a "pile" of my gear.  I do however keep my sleeping pads unrolled and valve open under the bed in my spare bedroom, same with the sleeping bags.  I hang my backpacks from a heavy duty wooden hanger (like seen in picture above).  My tent is on a shelf in a closet in my office that I am planning on making dedicated for my outdoor gear.....I need a bigger closet though :)  I would like to get the nice plastic tubs and organize (like above), however I have just never gotten that far.  Heck I keep some of my cooking gear in my kitchen with my at home cooking gear (LOL).

9:28 p.m. on January 28, 2011 (EST)
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the room where our furnace is located is unfinished - cement floor.  i purchased a couple metal shelving units, assembled them, and keep a lot of the smaller gear on the shelves.  i dangle bungy cords and straps and gaiters from the corners.  climbing equipment lives in the same room, sleeping bags either in the large storage bags or laid out, along one wall, backpacks and larger gear in the same area.  jonesing for a wider set of shelves for the sleeping bags and backpacks - maybe a costco trip in my future.  

the only things i don't keep in there are boots and clothes, which are in a closet.

i keep things where i can find them - with three kids and endless activities, it's easy to misplace things if they aren't kept in a particular place.  i hate not being able to find gear that i know i have.  

7:17 p.m. on January 31, 2011 (EST)
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Re: Storing gear when not in use - North Face Boots

Beware if you have north face boots - see string of emails below.  You can't just put them in the closet.  Mine fell apart doing this.  North Face suggests they must be "aired"  !!????





Here is my experience with North Face Boots - CHILKATS. They fell apart just in storage. North Face calls that wear and tear. You decide if you want the same treatment.

From: Saimoom Ameen []
Sent: Thursday, 27 January 2011 10:30 AM
To: Stephen OBrien
Subject: RE: North Face Boots

Dear Mr. O’Brien,
Thank you for your feedback.

Unfortunately as previously stated your product is out of warranty and a warranty claim cannot be raised.

Kind regards,
Saimoom Ameen
After Sales Administrator
True Alliance
19 O'Riordan St, Alexandria
NSW 2015 Australia
F 61 2 9319 2009

From: Stephen OBrien
Sent: Thursday, 27 January 2011 10:46 AM
To: Saimoom Ameen
Subject: RE: North Face Boots

Thank you for your prompt reply.
It seems from your reply that The North Face considers it acceptable that their products have a very short life in a ‘storage environment’. The boots certainly did not experience any ‘build up in moisture over time’ whilst stored in a cupboard at home. What info do you provide about storage when you sell the product? I certainly was not aware that boots needed to have ‘access to fresh air’. Does the North Face ‘air’ the product prior to sale or keep them in a cardboard box??

I do not agree that a product that fails like this in a dry storage environment is not ‘defective in materials or workmanship’.
I request that you consider replacing them. I am sure there are forums on the internet where will readers and potential buyers will be interested in my experience.

Stephen O'Brien

From: Saimoom Ameen []
Sent: Thursday, 27 January 2011 9:34 AM
To: Stephen OBrien
Cc: After Sales
Subject: RE: North Face Boots

Good Morning Mr. O’Brien,

Thank you for your enquiry in regards to your The North Face product.

To answer your question regarding warranty, all The North Face footwear is provided with a one year warranty, as after a year it is difficult to ascertain whether damages to the product is associated with manufacturing defects or wear and tear. As your product is over 3 years old it is no longer covered under warranty.

In relation to the issues you are experiencing with the product, from the pictures and descriptions you have provided we can determine the damage has occurred due to the shoes being kept in a storage environment for a prolonged period of time. The deterioration of adhesives and the oxidisation of material is a common occurrence when products are kept in a storage environment, where the product do not have access to fresh air and it’s components begin to fail due to the build up of moisture overtime. From the pictures it is quite evident that the product is now beyond repair.

This damage is not due to any defects in material or workmanship, and is a product of wear and tear in relation to the how the product had been used. Wear and tear is also not covered under warranty.

I hope I have been able to attend to your enquiry sufficiently. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards,
Saimoom Ameen
After Sales Administrator
True Alliance
19 O'Riordan St, Alexandria
NSW 2015 Australia
F 61 2 9319 2009

From: Stephen OBrien
Sent: Thursday, 27 January 2011 10:04 AM
To: After Sales
Subject: North Face Boots


My wife bought these North Face boots in Niseko, Japan three years ago. They were worn only a few times on that trip, and have been stored in a cupboard at our house since then. In storage, they have only been subjected to a normal interior environment.
A few weeks ago we were packing in preparation for our next ski trip. We were extremely disappointed to find the boots had fallen apart and are completely unusable. The rubber lower section appears to have become brittle and has separated from the leather upper.

Attached are photos to show the deterioration. One photo shows the sole to confirm that they have had effectively no wear at all. Ironically these boots are labelled ‘outlast’.

What is the warranty on these boots? Can they be replaced, and hopefully with a product that will withstand more than three years in a benign environment?

Stephen O'Brien

3:30 p.m. on February 6, 2011 (EST)
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74 forum posts

I bought a bunch of big plastic containers from Walmart and keep everything in those. Packs/tents go in one, Jackets go in another and gloves/hats scarves go in another. Then I have some old shoe boxes which I keep my misc. stuff in like flashlights, pocket knives, watches, water bottles etc.

I leave the boots on a shoe tree and make sure I clean then up before I put them in storage in the closet.

8:03 a.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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3,901 forum posts

We also use a lot of big plastic bins (plus some medium and small ones), in conjunction with a label maker. We use the bins in combo with wire shelves in a gear room. There are also some hooks to hang items and a ski-specific holder. Most of my clothes are in my closet.

But bins are the bulk of the organization.

I know the label maker may sound unnecessary, but it's totally worth it. I label everything and put like things together.

11:03 p.m. on February 16, 2011 (EST)
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I do a combination of the things mentioned above.  My biggest issue is that some things I use for camping/backpacking are "shared use" ... meaning I also use them for ordinary around town (or non-camping weekend) activities.  It's these items that I have trouble finding (or remembering to find), and really extend the amount of time required to prepare/pack for a camping trip.  For example, "ok, where is my GPS ... in my day pack?  my backpacking pack?"... and there are lots of examples like that...

Ideally I'd have discrete sets of gear for car camping, for backpacking, and for my other activities ... and to some extent I do (e.g. different tents, sleeping bags) ... but overall it's not practical.


3:38 p.m. on February 18, 2011 (EST)
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28 forum posts

Most of my gear is in excess of 10 years old. I attribute this to proper care and feeding of the equipment. I use net sacks to hang my tent and sleeping bag in our cellar, while not as organized as some I air it all out before storing, bleach the water filter, 10% solution and flush it with water, break down my MSR Whisper lite international and clean it. I check over straps on back pack before it gets hung up, then hang stuff sacks with back pack, sleeping bag and tent. Storing on a floor or in a pile could result in damage to the equipment or lessing of it's life. Having up off floor with air circulating all around it is a good thing.

I think the real take home message to storing equipment is follow manufacturer recommendations, check it over when putting up for winter, so when the spring hiking bug hits it is all ready to rock.


June 19, 2018
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