Over the years I have had many backpacks. At current, I have 9. The one thing that remains true of all backpacks is that they get dirty, quickly. And today's brighter coloured backpacks show the grunge more than ever. So with that, let's take a look at the best way to clean your backpacks.
A pack can be a major investment, and it’s one that needs care. Whether you’re wearing a daypack or large backpack, salts from your sweat and oil from your skin will likely seep into the shoulder straps and hipbelt. Grease spots may form from cooking splatters. All these can attract dirt over time, degrading the fabric. Zippers can get gunked up, making them difficult to use. Food bits in the pockets can draw unwanted attention from critters. So, there are plenty of reasons to keep your pack clean.
Whether you’re doing a light cleaning or a deep cleaning, here’s what you’ll need:
A mild soap—one that has no fragrances or other additives. A product like castile soap would work; so would a wash product made especially for technical packs and clothing.
Clean sponge or washcloth
Soft (not stiff) nylon-bristled brush or used toothbrush
Video: How to Clean a Backpack
Techniques for Cleaning Your Backpack
First of all, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations for your pack. Some suggest you submerge a pack in a bathtub, others say do not submerge.
In general, follow these guidelines:
Never wash a pack in a washing machine or dry it in a dryer.
Use lukewarm (not hot) water, and use your soft sponge or brush sparingly, so you don’t harm any protective coatings on the pack.
Hang the pack to dry in the shade or indoors, not in the direct sun (UV light can degrade the fabric).
Zippers need occasional cleaning to remove fine sand, dust and other particles. Be careful not to scrub, as many zippers have water-resistant coatings. Help stuck zippers slide with a lubricant made for zippers.
After any hike or overnight trip, it’s a good idea to do a quick once-over of your pack. Here’s how:
Empty all pockets. Shake it upside down to get out sand and dirt.
Use your clean sponge (no soap needed) to wipe out interiors.
Lightly scrub any stains or spots on the exterior with your sponge and a little soap.
Use clean, cool water with your sponge or cloth to rinse off the soap.
When the pack’s dry, put your Ten Essentials back in so you’re ready to go on your next outing.
You may go years without really cleaning your pack, but sooner or later you’ll want to get the funk and camp smoke out of it. Here’s how:
After emptying your pack, gently vacuum seams and crevices in the pockets and way down inside the main body of the pack to remove any crumbs, sand or loose dirt.
Remove the hipbelt and shoulder straps, if your pack allows. Wash those separately with a sponge and a little soap. Rinse well under running water.
If your pack has a removable metal frame, take that out and set aside.
Fill a bathtub or large sink with about 6 inches of lukewarm water. Use your mild soap. Submerge and swish your pack vigorously, sponging off the interiors and brushing exterior spots. Pay attention to any places that come in contact with skin. Be gentle with mesh pockets.
Drain. Fill with 6 inches of clean cool water, rinse well. Rinse twice if necessary to remove all soap residue.
Featured on REI Expert Advice
(Sunday, August 15, 2021)
I'm sorry that today's Newsletter is getting to you a little later than usual, I had to finish it up this morning after a long shift at the casino. The final preparations for the Georgian Bay Kayak Adventure are underway. All that is left to plan are meal plans and a packing list. We will head off to Parry Sound on August 29th, and be staying at the Harmony Outdoor Inn. A beautiful area with 6 large canvas Glamping Tents settled deep in nature, outdoorsy shower shack with propane heated showers and a large kitchen area for feeding the masses. On day two we will spend all day in the water getting our Basic Sea Kayak Certifications. Day 3 we will head over to Snug Harbour where we will paddle out into the Georgian Bay, head to the West side of Franklin Island to paddle along the shore for a few kilometers before heading ashore and setting up camp for the night. Dinner swimming and chatting around the camp fire will ensue. Waking bright and early the next morning for a camp breakfast, a quick dunk in the bay, pack up camp and head out on the Kayaks back to Snug Harbour to finish our adventure on September 1st. All in all it will be a fun and amazing week. Casino life is still very busy, and I am still on a weekend schedule. I miss everyone and can't wait to get back to our hikes. I have a few ideas for some winter events as well, but it will all depend on my work schedule. The faster everyone gets vaccinated the faster we can return to normal and get back to the adventures. So please do your part and get your vaccinations!
That's all the news for this week. As always, stay safe, and happy hiking! Lenny Burch Niagara Adventure Club