REI Hobitat Tent
Hobitat Tent (courtesy, REI)

How should I store my sleeping bag and tent for the winter?

I have always stored my sleeping bag loose in a large plastic bin or a pillow case. But what about long-term storage of nylon tents? Should I be concerned about storing them rolled up in the original bags? Sadly, it could be a year or so before they get used again. Jay Fredericksburg, Virginia

REI Hobitat Tent

Sad to say, it’s about time to put some things away for the winter. And you want to be sure that when you get them out in the spring, they’re not covered in mildew or weakened from poor storage choices.

REI Hobitat Tent

REI Hobitat Tent Hobitat Tent

For sleeping bags, the best way to store them is as loosely as possible in a large cotton bag. Pillow cases are okay, but I tend to think larger bags purpose-made for storing bags are better. They’re around $10 at REI and other stores (these days most bags come with one).

Give tents a similar treatment. The best thing to do is set them up and then clean them off with a sponge and some lightly soapy water (use a little Dawn, for instance). Do not put them in a clothes washer. Then let them dry thoroughly. No clothes dryer—it will cause the waterproof coating to de-laminate. Then, simply store them loosely packed in a breathable bag. Don’t roll them up or stuff them tightly. Just drape them into a bag. And put them in a cool, dry place for the winter, along with your sleeping bags.

If you can, store the poles fully deployed. That will take strain off the shock cord inside the poles and help it to last longer.

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