A Complete Guide to Storing Winter Gear

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Metal Dome heli drop/ski tour

For any snow bunny, the end of the winter season means saying goodbye to winter and storing winter gear. As a result, the snow is melting, ski lifts are closing and it’s time to get prepped for hiking season.

From boards and skis to clothes and equipment, there is a lot to consider when storing winter gear. This guide’s main focus is to prevent damage and increase longevity in your outdoor winter items. Consequently, the worst thing to happen to your gear would be to find a broken or damaged item next winter that was caused by improper storage.

Below is an index of the most common winter gear items. Click on the item to jump down the page to learn how to properly prep and store the item for the long months until next winter.

Skis | Snowboard | Boots | Clothes | Snowshoes |

Protective Gear | Backcountry Gear | Avalanche Gear

 

1. Skis

fc12_adultSSS_01

Prep for Storage:

  • Clean
    • If you use your skis well into spring, then your skis are most likely in need of a good wash before storing winter gear. Therefore, wash with water and avoid any detergents or harsh soaps or de-greasers. A plastic scrubber is a great way to get out stubborn grime caught in your bindings. However if grime doesn’t come off the bottom of your skis just with water, a hot wax may be necessary. A base cleaner or citrus solvent may dry out your base, but depending on what you’re using it for, it may be necessary in your situation.
  • Tune Up
    • It’s best to get a tune-up now rather than waiting when the ski shops get busy right before ski season starts. However do keep in mind that certain shops, like REI or your local outfitter, may put away ski tools in the summer. Your tune-up should consist of sharpening the edges, fixing any damage and possibly a base grind if necessary.
  • Wax
    • You will want to apply a coat of wax while your skis are stored for the summer. A “storage wax” prevents your skis from drying out and prevents rust from forming. First make sure your skis are completely dry. Then wipe off any old wax. Use a generous amount of wax because your base will absorb the wax over the summer. For more information about applying a storage wax, please view this link

Storage:  

For storing winter gear, especially skis, avoid placing your skis in a very hot, humid or even very cold place. A temperature-controlled closet in your home with little to no sunlight is best. When it comes to how they are stored, skis are fine standing up or on their side. However to avoid skis from falling, scissoring or rubbing edges together, strap them together. Strap your skis together where they naturally meet.

 

2. Snowboards

Snowboarding

Storing snowboards is similar to storing skis, so do refer back to the ski section for more detailed information. However there are some minor differences that are mentioned below.

Prep for Storage:

  • Clean
    • To clean your snowboard, remove the bindings and wipe down your entire board with a wet rag. In regards to tough grime, refer back to the cleaning portion of the ski section.
  • Tune Up
    • Before placing your bindings back on your, give them a look-over. Relieving the tension on the bolts before storing is a good idea.
  • Wax
    • To prevent your base from drying out, place a coat of wax on the base and don’t scrap it off until it’s time to ride. Prevent rusty edges by investing a snowboard-specific file. Use the file to clean up the edges and sharpen them without ruining your board.

Storage:

As it is in storing winter gear, you will want to keep your snowboard in a dark, climate-controlled environment, such as the closet in your house. If you prefer, you can keep your snowboard in a snowboard bag. However do make sure that the bag is free of moisture.

 

3. Ski and Snowboard Boots

Flexing the NTN

Prep for Storage:

  • Clean
    • Our boots take a beating. So cleaning them before storing winter gear is definitely a great way to keep them lasting throughout the seasons. For ski boots, take out the liners and wipe the shells with a moist washcloth and mild detergent. For snowboard boots, take out the insole and spot clean any muddy or dirty spots with a wet rag.
  • Dry Liners and Insoles
    • With liners and insoles, make sure they are completely dry before placing them back in the boot. Do not place your boots near a fireplace or heater. This can accidently melt the plastic in your boots.
  • Check for Wear
    • This is a great time to check for wear, such as rips, before storing winter gear. For snowboard boots, check your laces and replace if necessary. 

Storage:

For ski boots, make sure they are actually buckled and locked on the loosest setting before storing winter gear. This prevents them from losing their shape. As your snowboard and skis, place your boots also in a temperature-controlled location. To prevent damage from UV light, bugs and dust, place your boots in a bag or box.

 

4. Clothing and Accessories

Skinning to the Next Ski Decent

Prep for Storage:

Nearly all clothing garments intended for the outdoors include care instructions on the tag. Definitely follow those instructions if they differ from something stated below.

    • Base Layers
      • For base layers, such poly shirts and underwear, clean them with a mild detergent. You can clean them with a base layer wash, but that is not necessarily needed. You can dry them in the dryer if they have not been treated with bug or water repellent.
    • Waterproof Garments
      • Your waterproof garments probably don’t get washed too often. However this is the one time when you should wash them. Soap for waterproof garments is typically found at your local outfitter. However a hand wash with mild soap can do the trick too. Air dry your waterproof garments. Do not place them in the dryer. Let everything dry out longer than usual so there is no chance any moisture is on the jacket before storing.
    • Insulating Layers
      • Always wash all your insulating layers before storing. When it comes to garments stuffed with polyester, machine wash and dry will suffice. However find a down-specific wash at your local retailer for clothing with down feathers.
    • Goggles
      • If you have smudges on your goggle lenses, use a microfiber towel or glasses cloth to remove them. However if your strap is dirty, hand wash the strap with warm water and detergent. Dirt comes off easier if the strap is stretched.
    • Gloves and Mittens
      • Remove the liners in gloves and wash them separately. When it comes to waterproof ski gloves, they should typically get a hand wash and air dry. Do not use bleach or fabric softener. Only spot-treat gloves with leather; never submerge leather in water.
    • Ski and Snowboard Helmet
      • Always hand wash your helmet with warm water and mild soap. If your helmet is especially stinky, spot clean with white vinegar. To dry your helmet, air dry is necessary. Do not put your helmet in the dryer. Always make sure it is 100 percent dry before storing.
    • Snowmobile Protective Gear:
      • Protective gear while snowmobiling usually consists of body armor, shin guards and a helmet. Follow the helmet cleaning instructions as stated above. For shin guards, velcro them together, and place in a mesh bag if you have one, and wash in the washer with a mild detergent. Air dry. For your body armor, remove any pads and hand wash with mild detergent and warm water.

Storage:

Outdoor winter clothing definitely needs to be taken care of between seasons. If you don’t intend on using your winter clothing during the summer months, storing winter gear clothing in opaque boxes or bins is a good idea. Opaque bins will protect your clothing from dust, UV light, and moisture. Nearly all your clothes can be folded and placed in the bins. However your down garment should not be shoved or flattened. These garments need to be stored uncompressed.

 

5. Snowshoes

Snowshoes

Prep for Storage:

  • Clean
    • Your snowshoes probably need a good cleaning before packing them up for storage. First wipe down obviously dirty spots with a wet rag. A mild detergent can be used if necessary. Hang them to air dry.
  • Tune Up
    • After a great winter season, your snowshoes may show signs of wear. This is the best time to look them over. Definitley look for loose bolts or screws. Also check any leather or fabric for holes. Lastly, make sure the bindings are working properly. If there is a problem, your local outfitter may be up for the repair.

Storage:

As stated previously in storing winter gear, store your snowshoes in a climate-controlled environment away from direct sun. Since snowshoes do have sharp metal parts, consider keeping them away from pets and children. Hanging your snowshoes is an option to prevent bending the frames.

 

6. Backcountry Gear

Skin care

  • Electronics
    • No matter what electronics you want to store, always remove the batteries. Battery acid can leak from the batteries over time and ruin your expensive electronics. Also, starting out with a fresh pair of batteries is always best. You don’t want to be in the backcountry when your batteries die.
  • Skins
    • Ski skins should be taken care of before storing so that they last. First and foremost, dry out your skin. Make sure they are completely dry before storing. However do not dry them in the sun or by a fire; this may ruin the glue on your skins. Before storage, place the skin savers on your skins. If the skins are folded without the saves, you could ruin the glue. Store away from heat.

 

7. Avalanche Gear

Alberta funding bolsters avalanche safety 27273

Prep for Storage:

  • Update Beacon Firmware
    • Before storing your beacon, check to see if you need to update any firmware. The manufacturer of your beacon should have information about firmware updates.
  • Take Out Batteries
    • As mentioned above for GPSs and other electronics, remove the batteries out of your beacon before storage.
  • Airbag
    • You may want to deploy your airbag to ensure that nothing is wrong there. By letting your bag and cylinder sit for a bit during the summer, you are testing for leakage.
  • Shovels
    • For avalanche shovels, simply clean and check for damages.

Storage:

For your storing winter gear like avalanche gear, do not place underneath heavy gear. Store in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.


Do you have any recommendations on storing winter gear?

Give us your tips in the comments below!

 

Sources:
https://www.outsideonline.com/2159696/how-properly-store-your-winter-gear
http://blog.rei.com/snowsports/how-to-store-winter-gear-for-the-season/
http://www.evo.com/how-to-store-skis-and-snowboards-for-the-summer.aspx
https://www.burton.com/blogs/the-burton-blog/how-prep-your-board-summer-storage/
http://backcountryaccess.com/how-to-prep-your-avalanche-gear-for-summer/
http://backcountrymagazine.com/stories/summer-storage-maintain-your-beacon-shovel-probe-and-airbag-in-the-off-season/

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