10 Backpacking Gear Maintenance Tasks for April
With spring hiking and backpacking season on the horizon, here are some important gear maintenance tasks for you to perform to prepare for your next trip. If you have other spring gear maintenance tips you’d like to share, please leave a comment below.
1. Pre-Soak Your Water Filter
If your water filter has dried out in storage over the winter, or it’s brand new, soak it in water overnight to saturate the fibers so that water can flow through it freely. It’s best to do this before your first trip, so you don’t damage the filter trying to force water through it when it’s still dry. When in doubt, read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to bring a dry water filter back to life. Bonus Tip: If you use Aquamira drops instead of a water filter, check their expiration date.
2. Replace Worn Out Hiking Socks
Sort through your sock drawer and replace the hiking socks that have holes or are very thin and don’t have any cushion and fluff left in them. The thing that wears out socks quickly is sand and grit, especially if you wear porous trail runners that let it into your shoes. If you use Darn Tough Socks, they’ll replace socks with holes and in some cases, ones where there’s no fluff left. See the Darn Tough Guarantee for details. If you don’t use Darn Tough Socks, now’s a good time to switch.
3. Update Navigation Apps and Maps
There’s nothing worse than going on a hike and finding out that your navigation app (Far Out Guides or GaiaGPS) license has expired, the app has been upgraded and you’ve been logged out until you can get network connectivity again, you don’t have the background or base maps downloaded, or the app is not loading because of some unforeseen error. Check to make sure it’s up to date and working at the beginning of the season and periodically thereafter. In addition, be sure to update the operating systems on all your devices, including satellite messenger and Smartphone operating systems. You should do this all the time, but especially in April if you’ve been out of action during the winter.
The same holds for paper maps, and you should seriously consider updating your set if a new version has been published. Yes, paper maps do go out of date, even if it’s less frequent than app updates, and it pays to update them so you have correct trail and bridge information if hazardous stream and river crossings exist, roads have been closed or opened, and fires, floods, or other natural disasters have closed off areas.
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