50 Ways to Get Your Outdoor Gear in Shape

As you plot your next adventure, consider tackling repair and maintenance projects that you’ve put off since last season. Keeping your gear in good working condition not only helps you perform your best but makes your gear—and money—last. Extending the useful life of your gear also means less in landfills.  

We’ve got 50 ideas and tips to get you started, like conditioning your leather hiking boots, patching rips in your tent or jacket, and washing your bike. Read on for our list as well as advice on how to prep your gear.

  1. Organize your gear storage.
  2. Restock your first-aid kit.
  3. Clean your cooler with soap and water. For tougher stains, try baking soda and water or a mixture of water and bleach solution.
  4. Renew the waterproofing on your rain jacket.
  5. Trade in pre-loved clothing or gear. REI Co-op Members can trade in and shop used gear through REI Re/Supply.
  6. Clean your running shoes.
  7. Are your running shoes still looking rough? See if it’s time to replace them.
  8. Prep your hiking boots for their next adventure.
  9. Check and replace the batteries on your headlamps, lanterns, radios and other electronics.
  10. Grab the glue and learn to patch a bike tube.
  11. Clean your bike (hold the pressure wash).
  12. Condition your leather boots.
  13. Keep the fluff in your down jacket: Patch any holes or tears.
  14. Wash your sleeping bag.
  15. Break in your new boots.
  16. Waterproof your tent.
  17. De-mold your hydration bladder.
  18. Wax your snowboard or skis before storing them.
  19. Give your e-bike a routine checkup.
  20. Get the stink out of your workout clothes.
  21. De-fuzz your favorite socks or sweater.
  22. Fix your bike’s creaks, squeaks and squeals.
  23. Give your backpack a sponge bath (or maybe even a real bath).
  24. Fix that zipper that always sticks (you know the one).
  25. Repair that broken tent pole.
  26. Assemble your bike repair kit (before you need it).
  27. Find and fix that slow leak in your sleeping pad.
  28. Give your climbing rope a well-earned wash.
  29. While you’re at it, rinse and clean your climbing harness.
  30. Patch the rip in your tent.
  31. Figure out how much fuel is left in those half-used canisters cluttering your garage.
  32. Water tasting funky? Time to clean those water bottles.
  33. Change or repair your bike chain.
  34. If you don’t plan on using your avalanche transceiver, remove the batteries until the next time you go out.
  35. Clean your yoga mat with a DIY cleaner.
  36. Make sure your crampons are the sharpest tools in your shed.
  37. Give your tent a good cleaning.
  38. Show your climbing shoes some TLC.
  39. Inspect your bike’s ABCs (air, brakes, chain) before your next ride.
  40. Fix a flat bike tire (or practice so you’ve got it dialed down).
  41. Inspect your bike’s crankset.
  42. Get a new bike helmet if you’ve had it longer than five years. While you’re at it, make sure your kids’ helmets still fit.
  43. Tune your skis to rip next season.
  44. Make sure you’re storing your tent properly
  45. …and make sure you’re storing your sleeping bag properly
  46. …and are you storing your kayak properly?
  47. Wash your wetsuit.
  48. Inspect your personal flotation devices (PFDs) to make sure they’re in good working order without rips or tears. Have your kids outgrown theirs? Get them new ones.
  49. Wash your dusty hammock (according to the manufacturer’s recommendations).
  50. Replace worn laces on your running shoes, then tie them up and hit the road.

Read more tips on how to maintain and repair your gear in our Expert Advice online learning library.

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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated; it was originally published on April 8, 2020.

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