Are you an outdoor enthusiast? You know the level of demand called for by the frequent expeditions to the backcountry. The trips can be hectic not only on your body buts also on your gear. One crucial gear for any hiker is the backpack.
A top quality backpack is a worthy investment featuring a sturdy construction and better materials. It’s an essential outdoor product created to resist more than normal wear and tear. How long your backpack lasts depends on how well you treat it. Even the best tactical backpack will not last long if not well maintained. This is because they are susceptible to dirt, harsh weather, and other unavoidable accidents.
But how do you keep your backpack looking new? Making your backpack to last long is a process that begins right from the conceptualization of the idea to buy up to how you use the bag. I have compiled the top ten tips to help you maintain your backpack. If you love your backpack, here are the tips you should never miss.
1. Pick the Right Backpack
This is a very important point, pick the wrong backpack and ruin your ability to optimize the other tips. First things first: before buying your ideal backpack, you have a number of considerations to make. Pick a backpack that is perfectly suited for your physical attributes and the kind of outdoor activity you plan to use it for. The size of the bag is important, if you select an oversize backpack, it will often fall off the shoulders and could damage quickly.
How big, is big enough? This will depend on the accessories and things you intend to carry with you during the trip. If you journey involves air travel, consider the size limitations for most airlines. How do you want the bag to open? Do you like the front or top loading? This is a personal preference, but your choice has a hand in usability and lifespan of the bag.
2. Pack It Right
Once you select your bag, you should adopt skills that will help you to maximize the space without overloading. This will keep your bag organized and prevent your accessories from straining the seams, straps, and the zippers. In addition, a well-organized backpack reduces the chance for messes and spills thereby eliminating the likelihood for stain.
Backpacks come with packing cubes/packets and should be easy to find one with enough space. Always pack your clothes in groups like tops, pants, and bottoms. Also, don’t fold the cloth, roll them when packing if you want to carry more. Also, the packing cubes are color coded which makes it easier to find the clothes while on the go.
In addition, remember to carry plastic bags (Ziploc type). They help you to separate wet and dirty clothes like swimming costumes and towels. This prevents your backpack from getting wet when you leave in a hurry.
3. Treat the Backpack Well
Another superb way of maintaining your backpack is treating its well. Taking care of the backpack can prolong its life, remember, your backpack is an investment that requires your tender care. Even though some backpacks are made with rainproof fabrics, some do not. For this reason, it is wise to invest in a rain cover. It will help to prevent your backpack from getting soggy in the not so ideal weather conditions.
Alternatively, you should spray your backpack with a waterproofing spray pretty often. However, you should know that the spray will only keep your backpack safe from light drizzles. Anything else like monsoons will not be prevented from wetting the bag.
4. Clean the Backpack Regularly
This is one of the most effective ways of maintaining your backpack. However, you should avoid harsh soaps and stain removers when washing your backpack. They can erode the waterproof coating or even damage the fabric of your backpack.
When washing the backpack remove all the food particles and stains using a soft plastic brush, dish soap, and warm water. It’s advisable you clean your bag at least once in a season or when needed. This reduces the risk of mice, ants, and other creatures from gnawing the fabrics. In case, odor becomes an issue, spray or rinse the backpack with an odor eliminator.
5. Leave the Packet of the Backpack Open
Sound awkward? In case you are away from your backpack in a park inhabited by animals, it’s advisable to leave its packets open. This allows the animals to investigate your backpack without chewing through its fabrics. Alternatively, leave your foodstuffs away from the backpack. Losing a packet of almonds won’t hurt like finding a hole in the pockets of your backpack.
6. Handling the Backpack
Handling your backpack with care can also help to prolong its life. Your backpack comes with well-crafted straps which fit around the shoulders. These straps are not designed for lifting the backpack from the rest. You should always pick up your backpack by the center loop to reduce the stress on the strap stitching. If you cannot get the backpack on by yourself, ask a colleague to help.
7. Close the Buckles
The plastic fasteners of your backpack are prone to breaking if they slam in the vehicle’s door or are trapped in the baggage claim conveyor belt. For this reason, it’s advisable to close the buckles of the backpack during transport.
8. Do Not Force the Zippers
Never use the zippers to exert force. Even when a cloth or any other material is caught in the zipper, never force it. Forcing the zipper past the snag will only worsen the problem.
9. Clean the Zipper Regularly
If grit and dirt are not removed from the zipper teeth, they reduce the lifespan of the zipper. Since you will be traversing the dusty environment, cleaning the zipper is paramount. Cleaning it is an easy task that requires minimal effort but contributes immensely to the lifespan of the zipper and the backpack.
10. Lubricate the Zippers
This is a preventive measure that allows the zipper to run smoothly. You should only lubricate the zipper after cleaning the zippers.
Maintaining your backpack is important because it’s an expensive investment and one that should not be bought every season. Implement the tips I have outlined, and you will easily prolong the lifespan of the backpack.
In summary, be considerate of the usage, smart when packing, and careful when storing your backpack. The others tips will most likely fit in automatically, and your backpack will have reasons to last longer.