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A Clothesline Is My Most Important Piece of Winter Gear

Drying your soaked kit is the key to make it last

Hanging your wet gear up to dry can help ward off mold, odor, and deterioration. (Sarah Jackson)
Photo: Sarah Jackson gear

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Drying your soaked kit is the key to make it last

ABD (always be drying) is one of my cardinal rules for maintaining winter gear. Dozens of friends, colleagues, and pro athletes I’ve spoken with over the years agree. Whether it comes to boot liners, jackets, goggles, or climbing skins, moisture is the enemy, causing mold, odor, and deterioration if your equipment stays damp for too long. My most important weapon in the fight against it: a $23 retractable clothesline.

If you’re like me and don’t want to clutter up your bathroom all winter with drying musky Gore-Tex, set up the Household Essentials indoor/outdoor clothesline in your garage. I got mine at a local hardware store. At 40 feet it’s long enough to span the entire back of my garage but retracts into an unassuming case in the corner when I don’t need it. The heavy-duty line is sturdy enough that my wife and I don’t have to take turns hanging our wet ski kits at the end of a backcountry tour. After skiing, my gear doesn’t even have to enter the house. When I get home, I head straight into the garage, hang up my boot liners, skins, base layers, and all and cruise straight into the shower. If something needs to warm up (like the boot liners) or get washed (like sweaty base layers), I’ll retrieve them from the line once they’re dry.

If you don’t have access to a garage—I’m well aware that mine is a true luxury—you’ll need to find another indoor drying location. You just can’t adequately dry anything outside in winter. But I promise you that an inexpensive, low-profile, retractable clothesline is a good investment for anyone, even if it’s a short line above the bathtub. ABD, people, ABD.

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Filed To: Gear / Hardware / Skiing