How to

Cleaning your Camping Gear

Keep your Gear Longer

A sure sign of a good camping trip is messy, muddy camping gear. Sleeping, eating, and adventuring in the outdoors comes with its share of dirt, bugs, soot, rain, and all sorts of messes. You put a lot of time and money into getting your camping supplies, so it is important to make sure you are thoroughly cleaning your gear when you get home to help stretch the life of expensive items like trailers, tents and sleeping bags and to be prepared for your next trip! 

Follow the steps below to ensure your camping supplies are properly packed away and ready for your next adventure.  

  • Tents and tarps
    • When you return home, set your tent up in the back yard, and allow it to dry out.   
    • Shake your tent out to remove as much debris as possible. 
    • Use a broom or vacuum to remove any other dirt and grime.  
    • Use a damp cloth to gently wipe away any dried mud from the tent and fly. 
    • Never use strong cleaning supplies on your tent or put it in the washing machine as this can damage its waterproof coating.  
    • Once completely dry, carefully fold or roll your tent, put back into its storage bag and store in a cool dry place. 
    • Spread tarps out in your yard. Use a hose to spray down until clean. Hang to dry and then carefully fold or roll up. Store in a cool dry place until ready to use again.  
  • Sleeping bags
    • If machine washable, sleeping bags can be washed on a gentle cycle, tumble dried on low or air dried, and put into storage until ready to be used again. 
    • If they cannot be machine washed, unroll sleeping bags and allow to dry or air out. At the end of the season, or if heavily soiled, take them to the dry cleaners to be professionally cleaned.  
    • Store sleeping bags hung up or loosely folded, in a dry place. Do not store in stuff sacs. 
  • Camping stoves, dishes, utensils, pots, and pans
    • Wipe your stove down with a degreasing product to remove all grease and food.  
    • Unpack dishes, utensils, pots and pans and thoroughly wash. 
    • For cast iron pots and pans, follow our cleaning and seasoning instructions found here:
  • Trailers
    • Remove all soiled clothing, muddy footwear, used towels and bedding from the trailer. 
    • Any damp or wet items should be hung to dry or washed promptly. 
    • Muddy items, once dried, can often be gently brushed to remove dry soil, then wash or spot treat as indicated by the care label or manufacturer’s instructions. 
    • Remove all food from the refrigerator and freezer when trailer is not being used. If the trailer's power supply is lost or interrupted while not being occupied, this can cause food spoilage, bad odours and mould or mildew in the refrigerator.  
    • Turn off, wash and dry inside of refrigerator and leave refrigerator and freezer doors securely propped open slightly during storage to prevent odours and mould. 
    • Canned foods can stay in the trailer during the summer but keep an eye on the best- before- dates. Keep canned or jarred foods in a cool dark part of the trailer. Do not store canned food over the winter. 
    • Store all dry foods such as cereal, crackers, pasta, and flour in sealed containers to prevent pests from entering the packages.  
    • After camping season, remove all food products before storing trailer. 
    • Remember to take stock of what you have in the trailer and restock the necessary items that get used up over each camping trip. Matches, towels, clothing, fresh food and water are some things to consider. 
    • To clean the exterior of bugs or tree sap residue, most large hardware stores carry products for cleaning RV’s and trailer exteriors. Use a soft brush, follow the product instructions and be sure to rinse after. Take care of any maintenance issues such as leaks as soon as possible. 
    • Be sure to read the trailer usage manual for detailed information on operation of all trailer equipment such as water heater, water tank and refrigerator.  
    • Proper winterization of a trailer is important; use the correct products called for in winterizing the water lines and toilet. Contact the manufacturer if you have any concerns. 
    •  For optimum safety, store fresh drinking water in bottles or water jugs and replace often. Contact RV supply companies for more information on safe storage of water in the water tank. 

Related Pages

Heading out on another camping adventure?  From packing a cooler to meal planning for camping and the road, we have some great ideas to make your next trip great!