You should try to take good care of all of your things so that they last longer and keep functioning as they should.
This is doubly true when it comes to your camping equipment. Camping gear is not only expensive, but when you’ll be using something miles from civilization, having it work is not only a comfort issue, but a safety concern.
There are a couple of things you should be doing with your gear that will help ensure that when you pull it out on your next adventure, it’s ready to operate optimally.
Both are things you should do right after you finish your previous camping trip:
Lay everything out to dry. Once you get home from a camping trip, pull your sleeping bag, tent, sleeping pad, and inflatable pillow out of their cases/bags/sacks, open them up, spread them out, and lay them in a well-ventilated place to dry.
Even if you didn’t camp out in rainy conditions, there will be plenty of condensation on your equipment and perspiration in your sleeping bag. Moisture degrades the material on gear, leading to premature breakdown. Putting your stuff away while it still contains moisture can corrode its waterproof coatings and create a mildewy smell.
Don’t put your camping gear back into storage until it’s 100% dry.
Store your sleeping bag loosely. Many sleeping bags come with two bags: a small stuff sack and a larger, more breathable storage sack. The stuff sack is for when you’re packing your sleeping bag in a backpack and want to compress it into the smallest possible capsule. The storage sack is for longer-term storage.
You should never store your sleeping bag in its stuff sack. The tight compression will compromise the structural integrity and loft of its insulation so that it won’t perform as well in keeping you warm.
So always store a sleeping bag loosely packed in its roomier storage sack. If your sleeping bag didn’t come with a storage sack, use a mesh or cotton laundry bag. Store your sleeping bag in a cool, dry area.
When you come home from a camping or backpacking trip, you’ve already packed, unpacked, and packed your gear at least once, and possibly multiple times. The last thing you want to do is unpack and pack it again. But doing so will keep your gear in tip-top condition, saving money, frustration, and maybe even your hide.