It was one of those strange weather weekends – we spotted a caterpillar on our walk at Nose Hill and then it snowed and rained. This weekend is a rest weekend for us – no grand adventures – so it was the perfect chance to do some planning and preparing for the summer. Our calendar is filling up – lots of lawn bowling, 10 days in Ontario, a week long outdoor adventure and two backcountry weekends are already booked. With all those adventures already planned I’ve slowly been getting our outdoor gear ready for another season – gear maintenance is one of my responsibilities around the house and something I like to do. It hasn’t been the fastest process but here’s what I’ve been up to.
Step 1 was simply organizing all our stuff. We’re lucky that Bungalow 2.0 has a ton of storage, but it is a mixed blessing. Lots of places to put stuff = the potential for lots of stuff. The other weekend as part of our house-wide de-junking I pulled all our gear out of the basement storage and re-organised. We have stuff all over the place depending on season – right now I’ve got ski stuff upstairs plus day hiking gear in the office closet – but the majority of it is stored in our basement cupboards with big items out in the garages. I only got rid of a few items but everything is much tidier and easier to access now.
Step 2 was repairing damaged gear. We’ve had some stuff for years and some wear and tear is expected. I noticed on our backpacking trip last summer that there were a lot of feathers in our tent and traced the source to a tear in Jon’s sleeping bag. Plus I tore my favourite hiking pants. A little bit of sewing and both pieces are back in rotation. I should probably think about some new pants but it seemed like a shame to get rid of a pair I love just because of a rip. And Jon’s sleeping bag is as good as new.
Step 3 was replacing and acquiring some new stuff. We don’t need a ton of stuff because we’re pretty good at buying a few new things each year but I noticed that our merino shirts have started to wear out. Icebreaker was having a sale and we picked up some new shirts at 50% off. I’m still wearing Icebreaker items that I bought for our trip to Argentina in 2007 so I know I’m going to get lots of wear out of my new pieces.
Step 4, which I did this weekend, was washing everything. I went to put on my light-weight down jacket the other day and found out that a cat had puked on it. Definitely in need of a wash. I figured I might as well wash all of jackets while I was at it and our sleeping bags as well. I’m not sure if it makes a difference but I always use a special down wash and throw a few tennis balls into the dryer to make everything fluffy. My down jackets are lovely and clean and fluffy, and even my old winter jacket is looking good.
The other thing I did this weekend, probably an optional step, was to make a few pieces of gear. I usually sew one or two pieces of gear every year – usually bags, but I have made skirts and bike items. I got a new camping lantern from my sister for Christmas and it needed a storage/carry sack. This one was pretty simple – a draw string bag with a pocket for the instruction manual and a handle to make it easier to carry.
I’ve got some bicycle maintenance to do, and we need to tidy up our garage to actually get to my canoe but I think our gear is ready for the next season and a whole spring/summer of adventures.