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Summertime, especially up here in Michigan where we’re fortunate enough to have a lot of beautiful terrain, means one thing to a lot of people—camping season!

If you’re the outdoorsy sort, summertime is the perfect time to get out into the wilderness and enjoy a night or two under the stars. Of course, as anyone who’s been camping recently can tell you, this usually means you have a lot of stuff you need to bring with you.

Clothing, tents, safety equipment—even if you truly believe in roughing it there’s a lot of things that come with you when you go camping. And while it might be fun right in the moment, there’s always that voice in the back of your mind asking “where the heck are we gonna put all this stuff when we get home?”

You can easily silence this voice with a little preparation and planning. Here’s four of the things we take most often on our camping trips, and the easiest ways to store them:

 

Tents: Everyone who loves camping has at least one tent, and as comfortable as they are they can be a huge pain to store when you get back home. The first step with organizing a tent at your home is to make sure it dries properly just in case any moisture got on it during the trip—even dew from the ground will cause mold and start to ruin your tent if stored improperly.

Once your tent has been laid out to dry, you’ll need to find somewhere cool and dry to store it. Try to avoid keeping it in the attic or the basement, as those can both get humid and cause mold to spread. Use wire shelving, metal shelving, or another rust-resistant type of storage to keep your tent safely in the garage or an unused closet to make sure it stays dry and tear-free until you need it again.

 

Hiking boots: Even on a gentle hike, your boots go through a lot and you’ll want to take care of them when you get back home. Before you put them away for any long periods of time, you’ll want to remove and clean the insoles and brush any dirt off the soles before putting them up. Try to store your boots on shelves to avoid trapping moisture, or if you have space on your shoe racks make sure they’re one that can store them facing upwards to let air circulate through them safely.

 

Portable stove: A camping stove can be a great way to dine in the great outdoors without having to start a fire (or, worse, eat those hot dogs uncooked), but when you’re done with the s’mores you might have a hard time putting it away. With a portable stove, you’ll want to make absolutely sure the fuel source is fully disconnected before you do anything else with it like cleaning. Once all the crumbs and soot have been brushed away, keep it somewhere fairly free of moisture and temperature-neutral like a hallway closet, and keep it in a safe container on a high enough shelf to avoid any accidental falls or curious hands from getting to it.

 

Sleeping bag: Similar to a tent, your sleeping bag will need to be stored somewhere free of moisture. Don’t cram it all the way back into the packing bag it came in—leave it loosely wrapped and stored in something that can resist moisture like plastic storage bins in a safe spot to prevent mold from growing. If you feel the need to wash your sleeping bag, make sure to follow all the needed instructions and give it a good long place to lay down and air-dry out when you’re done—putting it back in the bin right away is just going to make it gross.

 

There’s a lot more that can go into camping trips other than this, but keeping a close eye on everything will make sure your stuff is easier to find and in good shape when you need it!

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