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Post hike rituals- gear maintenance
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Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 08:36:24 MDT Print View

This was a fun discussion of Post Hike Rituals

I have another post hike confession. I can't relax after a trip until all my gear is taken care of. Generally, as soon as I get home, I go down to my basement office and hang up my tarp, quilt, puffy, and pack to dry. Pot and spoon get hand washed, and clothes go in the washing machine. Only after that do I take care of myself.

My personal ritual involves the poorman's hot tub (ie bath) as hot as I can stand it with a pint of Guinness and Miles Davis (Kind of Blue) playing in the background. These little rituals ease the transition from wilderness solitude to acceptance of screaming kids, work deadlines, and other mundane stressors. Back in college, the buddy who most inspired my backcountry adventures had once told me that after every near-death experience he would always drink a Guinness. This has stuck with me to this day, a little more liberally interpreted.

I'm guessing that even the best amongst us still have a high degree of gear awareness, and many, like me, are INTJs, so I'd hypothesize that gear maintenance is a priority for many here upon return home. What do you do, and are there other rituals that are important to you when you get home?

Disclaimer: I'm having a low motivation day at work today

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Deep Frreze
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 08:55:08 MDT Print View

Hi Ike,

I am the same also, my kit gets sorted first before I get scrubbed.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 09:14:06 MDT Print View

I'm not quite as OCD about it. It might take a day or two to get all of my gear cleaned up and ready to go for next trip. I do hang everything up to dry out before taking a shower.

My wife doesn't understand why I want to wash all my backpacking clothes in one load, without including anything else.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 09:15:34 MDT Print View

Gear is just Stuff.
the real reason to be out " there " is for me to be out there, not my stuff.
upon return, its me first and gear whenever ... sometimes days :-)

how I deal with me, is a function of the length and intensity of the trip.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
re: gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 09:30:40 MDT Print View

"Gear is just stuff"- agreed. This is more about state of mind. I prefer a spartan aesthetic and can't relax until stuff is put away. Along the same lines, you can usually tell when I have a big deadline because I feel compelled to organize first. I suspect that this will be a common trait amongst ULers and minimalists.

Ian B.

Locale: PNW
Kids, gear, then me on 04/03/2013 09:43:54 MDT Print View

This comes from a decade in the infantry. The only exception are my feet which are my first priority of work throughout the trip. I'll usually hang my shelter and sleeping bag in the garage first to dry them out. I'll let them hang for a day or two. I wash all of my backpacking clothes with a fragrance free/hypoallergenic detergent (inside out) and then air dry them. Wash shoes in a bucket outside. Cook kit and water bottles are hand washed. I'll then jump in the shower followed by a quality Irish or Scotch whiskey on the rocks and the most recent episode of Walking Dead/Breaking Bad/etc.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 09:57:29 MDT Print View

First thing upon returning home is getting some good puppy love. Then I unpack everything, hang whatever needs hanging. I then draw a Nikwax bath, and bring my gear that needs washing into the tub with me. I talk to it while I wash it with a specially made cuben and fleece washcloth (Zimmerbuilt, of course), I use some of the gear to wash myself. It keeps me closer to the trip that way. I no longer use my spork to wash myself with, though, after an unfortunate incident that I don't like to talk about.....

Sometimes I dry myself with Bounce. Springtime Fresh scent. That way my boxers don't stick to me.....

Nico .
(NickB) - MLife

Locale: Los Padres National Forest
Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 10:00:25 MDT Print View

I like to get my gear hung up, washed and put away right after getting home from a trip but it doesn't often happen that way. Most of the time, if I get home on a Sunday evening from a trip, all the demands, to-do lists, etc. that I left behind on Friday are waiting for me as soon as I walk in the front door.

Often, it's all I can do to at least sort out some of the gear and get the key pieces (shelter and quilt) hung up to dry or air out, and get any trash and remaining food out of my pack.

The rest of it will have to sit for a day or two in varied states of unpacking until I can get back around to emptying the pack, putting things away, washing out the cook kit and water bottles, doing the laundry, etc.

I don't feel at ease though until all this stuff is done. It bothers me to leave stuff just sitting around, not put away in its proper place, but sometimes other duties are more pressing.

Steven Paris
(saparisor) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 10:16:12 MDT Print View

"Sometimes I dry myself with Bounce. Springtime Fresh scent. That way my boxers don't stick to me....."

Great, Doug. Now THAT image is going to be with me all day.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
post hike ritual on 04/03/2013 10:55:41 MDT Print View

I'm definitely an organizer, but lately my compulsive lifestyle has made it impossible to dial things in regularly. I've managed to pack so much into my weekends that any post-hike ritual got squashed long ago. After my last three day hike, I convinced my family that I could be home, showered and ready within 30 minutes, to get them downtown for a little concert. My ritual that day was to rip my down bag out of my pack, fling it over my bike and take a 5 minute bird bath before heading out. The concert was awesome and my gear sorted itself out slowly over the next couple weeks. Some of my clothes get washed only once every few trips, pants, wool, etc. A couple times I've been on hikes and found trash in my pack from the last hike. I try to at least get a hefty mug of quality beer, a tasty plate, and time with my three girls. Too many times this turns out more like a coke, some slop wrapped in a flour tortilla wrapped in paper, and a kiss on my girls' foreheads as they sleep. Keeps my OCD in check and we've been doing some pretty cool family trips non-stop lately, so I'm good with it!! Screw planning, organizing, weighing..bring on the chaos!!

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Post Hike Rituals on 04/03/2013 10:57:18 MDT Print View

I walk in the door, dump my pack and hiking clothing in the garage, and take a quick shower. I then ask my wife what I can do to help her and I profusely thank her for giving me the "time off" to go run around the woods without her and the twins (girls, now six years old).

After dinner and helping the girls get to bed, I go back out to the garage and take care of my gear. Everything had been in the pack the entire trip so a few more hours won't hurt it.

My priority is to ensure that I can have another trip (without a lot of grief) in the near future. My gear hasn't ever said "no" to me or said that it wasn't a good time...I can imagine Doug's gear being quite scared of upcoming trips given what he's described as his post-hike ritual.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: post hike on 04/03/2013 11:11:06 MDT Print View

Usually I'm with you Ike, nice to deal with dirty gear while I'm still dirty. The Guiness is a very good idea.

Sometimes if I'm truly knackered I dump my pack out on the mud room floor and deal with it the next day. I try to get everything cleaned and back in the designated corner ASAP, as the ease of packing that lends the next trip is key for getting out as often as possible.

Edited by DaveC on 04/03/2013 11:12:02 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Post Hike Rituals on 04/03/2013 11:29:38 MDT Print View

Yea, I usually like to get my tent and sleeping bag/quilt hung up so that they can dry.

The rest can wait but I like to get the other stuff done before i forget about it.

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 11:34:26 MDT Print View

When I get home, I like to have all of my gear cleaned and repacked within 48 hours of returning.

After kissing the wife and child, off to the shower for a nice, hot scrubbing.

(Only then will my wife and child let me hug them).

If myself and my clothing are really bad, I have been known to shower with my clothing on to "pre-wash" my clothing before tossing it into the washing machine.

Upon getting home, I will lay my quilt, tarp, and foam sleeping pad out in the sun to air out and to evaporate any moisture. (30-40 minutes...flipping gear over as needed to dry out evenly).

Air out quilt and shelter for 2 days and then repack shelter and quilt goes into storage bag, uncompressed.

Wash stakes to make sure they are not caked with mud.

Clothing, hat, gloves, etc..gets washed and gets repacked into my backpack.

MSR Titan Kettle exterior gets sprayed with oven cleaner to remove any esbit residue.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes and then rinse off...wash with soap and water, dry overnight and repack into backpack. Wash spork too.

Washing out my bear vault with soap and water to help eliminate food odors on the exterior and to simply keep it clean for the next time.

Optionally, toss the backpack into washing machine, depending on how long the trip was/how dirty my pack is....same thing for the quilt. Try not to wash the quilt a lot out of concern for damaging the internal baffles.

Reload consumables/bottles....soap, pills, baking soda and salt mixture for tooth paste, TP, hand sanitizer, fire starting materials like cotton balls and petroleum jelly/tinder tabs, replace any used medi kit supplies used. Check to see if mini bic lighter needs to be replaced if low on fuel.

Soak tooth brush in hydrogen peroxide overnight...dry and repack.

Check headlight batteries to see if they need to be replaced.

Back flush Sawyer inline filter with clean water, run 1 to 1.5 liters of water with 10-15 drops of bleach through filter, run 1 to 1.5 liters of clean water through filter to wash away any bleach residue, suck out any excess water in filter and dis-assemble filter to air dry for 2 days, repack into backpack. (I have a 1st gen/older version of the Sawyer filter that can be dis-assembled/opened up, which allows for faster air drying).

Playtpus bottles & water tank washed with warm, soapy water, rinsed....tossed into my car on a warm day (not a baking hot day) to quickly dry them and repack into my pack.

Anyway, stuff I do with gear because I am anal about my gear.

Plus, if I don't do these things, I would likely forget to pack something that I need for my next trip.

Better for me to do it this way so that I am ready to go for the next trip.


Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 11:43:16 MDT Print View

Doug, you just cut the value of your gear on gear swap in half!

Mike V
(deadbox) - F - M

Locale: Midwest
"Post hike rituals- gear maintenance" on 04/03/2013 11:47:05 MDT Print View

I do more or less what Ike described, except after gear is cleaned and sorted it is a hot shower and I have my beer while sorting the gear.

Adam Rothermich
(aroth87) - F

Locale: Missouri Ozarks
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 11:55:03 MDT Print View

ISTP here. Looks like I'm the opposite of the majority. My first priority when I get home is a shower. After that I will normally hang my shelter and quilt to air dry. My shoes often get relegated outside until the stink is more bearable. Then all the clothes go in the washing machine. I just throw my cooking gear in the dishwasher and let the water bottles stand open on the counter to air dry. After that it could be a few days before everything gets packed back away to where it should be. My wife is not such a big fan of that part. For me, ingesting the photos to my computer and posting the good ones online are more of a priority than getting stuff put away. I'm guessing a lot of you would be uncomfortable with the clutter in my apartment :)


Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 11:57:31 MDT Print View

"I just throw my cooking gear in the dishwasher and let the water bottles stand open on the counter to air dry."

When I used to do this it took forever for the bottles to dry. Then someone mentioned somewhere on these forums about getting an air pump for an aquarium, and just using that (with the tube inside the bottle) to dry out the bottle. Works like a charm, and dries the bottle out within an hour or so.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Post hike rituals- gear maintenance on 04/03/2013 12:31:08 MDT Print View

I prefer to stay out a few days minimum when possible, so the gear remains in the pack all little while longer. After a few days, some more hours won't hurt it. Clothing, I'll usually pull off into a stream for a pre-rinse of my clothing and myself (no soap). My skin is extra oily and it gets pretty funky. Bonus: it gives a little extra seasoning for those anglers catching fish downstream (kind of a oily briny sensation...). If it's a hot spring, I'm usually going to be too sleepy to drive all the way home and crash at a motel; not about to open up my pack and possibly leave something at an away location, except my trash bag. At home, the sleeping bag is unpacked, the tent opened up to fully dry, etc.. before going to bed. Another shower with the hiking clothes, hang them, inspect for holes/tears/abrasion, and then probably lightly wash them the next day using "Sports Sudz" for baselayers, etc ... Prefer to let water do most of the work since part of the "wickiness" is a chemical treatment. Food and any trash I deal with the next day. I'm real bad about neglecting water containers, however.

Edited by hknewman on 04/03/2013 12:38:33 MDT.

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
ritual on 04/03/2013 15:40:56 MDT Print View

I like having everything but my bag and food packed for the next trip so when I get home I pull out everything that needs drying or washing and get that started. Then go have a shower. When done shower everything gets packed up again for use on the next trip.

To leave for a trip I only need to grab sleeping bag, food, rain coat, down puffy. The rest is all packed and ready to go. It is much easier to get it all back together quickly when I get home then to try to do it after life catches back up. When trying to do 1 night trips limiting packing and storage to 1/2 an hour on each end really makes it more efficient.