Chances are if your gear is anything like ours, it’s seen a lot of action. Frequent use brings exposure to dirt, water, and sun, and it’s essential to treat equipment right to keep it in peak condition. Here are some best practices for extending the lifetime of your gear and climbing clothes so they’re ready to perform during your next adventure.
Check It Out
After a long, tiring day of climbing or exploring, most of us want to quickly pack our gear and head home. The good news is that it doesn’t take long to check your gear. Start with your climbing ropes and look for frays or discolorations. Then check your carabiners and camming devices for rust, sticking, or fractures. Something as simple as dropping one of them onto a hard surface can leave a crack, and even small cracks can reduce strength.
Air It Out
Although you might not expect it, even small amounts of condensation left on any fabric when you store it can cause health issues. Those tents and jackets keep you dry and put a roof over your head, but when they’re moist they can attract spores! Shake out your gear, empty out all debris, and let it dry out before you pack it away.
Keep It Clean
Aside from eliminating the funky smell, cleaning your outerwear and equipment is vital for its preservation. Laundering your garments correctly can maximize their use by several years. Take a closer look at the garment care tags inside your clothes – some garments should never be put into the dryer, and some can be damaged with the use of fabric softener. Here are some quick tips for cleaning your GORE-TEX gear:
How to clean your GORE-TEX shoes
How to clean your GORE-TEX gloves
How to clean your GORE-TEX jacket
Now that your garments are smelling fresh, let’s talk climbing equipment!
Store It Correctly
Rust and grime will cut the lifetime of your gear dramatically, and dirt can fray fabric over time. Be sure to rinse off any dirt or gunk, dry it off, and use a dry silicone spray to lubricate springs and other moving parts. Then organize your equipment and store it in a cool, dry place, like a tightly sealed plastic container. Don’t let it fall victim to sun damage, rust, animals, or bugs!
Let It Go
We know it’s hard to say goodbye, but when it’s time, it’s time. If you have any doubt about the safety of your equipment, it’s probably best to retire it. Of course you don’t have to let it go completely (you know, in case you want to use that carabiner for a key chain)—just make sure to mark it clearly so you won’t use it for climbing. Your gear takes care of you while you’re out making amazing memories. Don’t forget to take the time to take care of your gear, too. What’s that you say? No gear to take care of in the first place? Let’s fix that.