Outdoor Gear Storage in Winter?

11:47 a.m. on March 5, 2010 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Is it safe to store all of my camping gear in a storage unit in my garage over winter? The unit itself is metal, 2 front doors, enclosed (though not waterproof), but has a really great top shelf, hanger bar, and little lower cubby for boots/etc and, as stated, will be placed in my garage. I am concerned with winter temps affecting the loft of my bag or weatherproofing on my tent or mold issues with condensation etc. Are my worries justified or am I being an overprotective gear junkie?

2:34 p.m. on March 5, 2010 (EST)
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200 forum posts

Protection from moisture and UV light should be your primary concerns. Just don't leave anything on the floor.

You will of course want to pack the gear properly for storage as well. For instance, items with lofted insulation (sleeping bags, jackets, etc.) should be unpacked and hung up rather than stored in their stuff sacks. This might increase the amount of space you need depending on how much gear you have. Drain and clean fuel from any stoves and/or don't store fuel canisters. Impurities in the fuel could damage or dirty parts of the stove. Pressurized fuel canisters are sensitive to temperature and should be kept in a climate-controlled space (such as your air conditioning). I know you're talking about Winter, but just keep in mind that some locales have unseasonable hot days early and late in the season and a giant metal box is going to heat up like an oven.

And don't forget insurance! You've spent good money on your gear and your homeowner or tenant insurance policy may not cover items stored off-premises. Have a conversation with your agent if you're unsure. The storage places around me are typically on cheap land, which often means flood-prone areas or just bad neighborhoods. A rider on your existing property policy is often cheap and will save you hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars in case of a loss.

4:10 p.m. on March 5, 2010 (EST)
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5,434 forum posts

And mothballs help keep bugs out of your gear. besure everything is dry and clean. Tents and sleeping bags should be unrolled and unstiffed to allow air to stay in them. I once left my tent which had a lil moisture in it in storage all winter once and when I tried to unroll it in the spring it had syuck together.

Water bottles should be clean and left open to not become sour.

8:43 p.m. on March 5, 2010 (EST)
22 reviewer rep
28 forum posts

You might even put up one or two of these to keep the moisture down:


11:01 a.m. on March 6, 2010 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Thanks for all of the responses. So it sounds like it would be pretty safe to leave the gear out there, I wasn't so worried about the UV as I was about things like bugs, moisture, and temperatures but I feel better now about it. I will look into insurance and the dehumidifier units as well. Those are the things that I would not have thought of and why I asked on here. Thanks again.

8:53 p.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
D&G in the Smokys
75 reviewer rep
306 forum posts

In regards to gear storage, how do you [anyone] store your pack? Hang it or put in a tub or just set it on the floor?


9:30 p.m. on March 12, 2010 (EST)
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3,956 forum posts

I hang them up, I also hang my bags, and keep my tents in a large mesh laundry bag.

9:15 a.m. on March 15, 2010 (EDT)
Alicia MacLeay @Alicia
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4,539 forum posts

My packs are mostly hung up, though sometimes they end up in bins for sorting (like if I have a ski bin to get me out the door more quickly) or leaning against a wall. The kid carrier has a kickstand and is standing up on its own.

1:59 p.m. on March 15, 2010 (EDT)
Bill S
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6,037 forum posts

Our packs are stacked on shelves. If we were to hang all hunnert packs, we would have no wall space in the house at all. Well, that's a bit of an exageration. But most daypacks and internal frame packs will lie flat, while many externals can be folded flat for storage. The one exception is packs with molded hip belts - these are rigid enough that they occupy a lot of shelf space, plus if you hang them, they can occupy the space of 3 or 4 other packs.

June 3, 2020
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