A backpack plays a major role in making a hiking trip successful and enjoyable. You do need to invest a good amount of money behind buying a backpack as it is the main thing that will be providing you support for accomplishing your hiking journey. Hence, you need to know some essentials ways to take care of such a valuable thing. That is why we came up with this important guide that will enlighten you about how to clean a hiking backpack.
Oil from your skin, sweat, and salts of your body to get soaked up by the fabric of the backpack. And this is causing many dirt and germs to stick to the fabric of the backpack. This results in the quality of the backpack to deteriorate and also creates an unpleasant odor.
Washing a backpack is not as simple as washing socks and hiking clothes. There are some important ways that you need to learn about how to wash a backpack and also about how to take care of them. So let us not blabber anymore and have a look at all the essential ways and tips.
Tips on how to clean a hiking backpack:
1. Basic cleaning technique:
While hiking, if you notice there is any kind of dirt or mud on the surface if your backpack, it is essential that you clean it off right at that moment. This is the first part of basic cleaning.
Now, for immediate cleaning you need to carry a bristle brush with you for removing dirt. A bristle brush is small in dimensions and will not at all add weight to your backpack. You can use that brush for cleaning dirt from your boots and hiking poles as well.
Secondly, when you reach home after accomplishing your hiking trip make sure that you have completely emptied your entire backpack. Check out for all the side pockets and any other hidden zipped pockets and empty all of it.
It is a better option if your backpack is flexible enough so you can turn the inside part out. The next thing to do is vacuum the inside and out of the backpack to ensure all of the dirt is taken in. No spot should be missed. Vacuum the entire backpack as these little hidden dirt particles are what that deteriorates the quality of the backpack.
2. Following instructions:
Different material has different cleaning system and if you try to do something in a different way your entire backpack can get ruined. Hence, make sure that you read all the instructions for cleaning the backpack properly. Check the washing instructions attached with the backpack and read the details of the materials and everything so you can safely wash it.
You might think that a cleaning technique worked for the other backpack so it will work for the next one. The idea can turn up wrong as both of the backpacks might be made up of different materials even if they look the same.
3. Handwashing backpack:
If the label of your backpack instructs you not to put it inside a washing machine, then just don’t do it. You will need to hand wash the backpack no matter how tiring it might feel. Also, make sure that you have emptied the entire backpack before you start washing. Nothing should remain as things may leak out and ruin the fabric of the backpack.
Make sure that you don’t use hot water for washing. Hot water can result in dyes to come off the surface of the backpack. Now fill up a sink with slightly warm water. Warm water will help with the efficient cleaning and killing off germs. Now using some soap form bubbles in the sink. And then dunk in the backpack inside the solution you prepared.
Do not make the froth of bubbles using detergent or any other harsh chemicals. These can damage the material of your backpack for good. Now, with the help of a brush that consists of soft bristles scrub away stains and stubborn dirt. But make sure that you don’t go overboard with the scrubbing and damage the fabric.
After being done with the scrubbing rinse it thoroughly with clean water to ensure all the soap goes away. Then finally hang up the backpack where sunlight falls and let the water drip from it. Don’t shove the backpack into a dryer.
4. Machine washing backpack:
After checking the label if you see you own a machine washable backpack then clean it using a washing machine but by following certain instructions.
Check if the label of the backpack has mentioned a certain temperature for you to maintain. If you choose a temperature beneath what is mentioned, you will not be able to clean the backpack properly. And if you go for a higher temperature than what is specified be ready to see your backpack getting discolored. Follow whatever the instructions say and you will not face all of these.
For keeping your machine safe from damage, you can use an old pillowcase and place the backpack inside it. And then using a string tie the pillowcase closed. This will prevent any disturbing noise happening inside the machine as the straps and buckles can no longer hit the inner walls of the machine while spinning around.
Ways to take care of your hiking backpack:
1. Keeping the interior clean:
The most common reason that requires you to clean a backpack is because of liquids coming into contact with its fabric. The liquids can come into contact from the inside of the backpack because of what you carry and from the outside as well if it rains or you go near a water source.
Liquid spilling inside the backpack is something that commonly happens. Mostly because of water bottles leaking as hikers forget to tighten the lids or tops before putting them back inside. The forgetfulness comes from the excitement and pressure of completing the hiking trip.
So for avoiding such issues, the best thing to do is to use a plastic bag for sealing up any liquid bottle. Even if the bottle leaks, the liquid will stay inside that plastic bag rather than spilling all over and creating a mess.
The second way of preventing leakage of liquid bottles or containers is to organize things in your backpack with proper care. Do not place any kind of sharp or heavy objects near the bottle or liquid container. This can result in the container to burst open or pierce to create a hole and make the liquid inside to spill. To organize things and keep liquid stuff away from the dry ones you can get backpack liners.
2. Keeping the exterior clean:
If the exterior of the backpack gets wet, it is an issue as it will result in mold forming. The moisture and the spilling from the exterior have to be cleaned and treated properly so no microorganisms get the chance of growing.
So whenever, the exterior of the backpack gets wet make sure that you dry it up by leaving it under the sun. Do not try drying the backpack using a dryer as it is going to damage the fabric and could cause the dryer to get destroyed as well. To avoid your backpack from getting wet don’t let it rest on wet grass or any surface that has moisture for a very long time.
To next thing you can do to avoid your backpack from soaking in moisture is to use a waterproof spray. Spray it all over and it should work to prevent the fabric from soaking in moisture and getting damp easily as it gives water repulsion capability.
Like how we suggested you use backpack liners for protecting the interior from liquid, the exterior has a solution too. Use backpack covers for protecting the exterior from getting damp or wet. Invest in a good quality backpack cover as it will come very handy if you are hiking somewhere where rainfalls occur suddenly.
To sum up, we hope that your backpack will last you for a very long time after learning how to clean a hiking backpack properly. You have surely understood that no matter how high quality and expensive backpack you get if you don’t clean and take care of it, the lifetime will shorten. And this is surely cost-ineffective as you cannot keep on buying thousands of backpacks again and again.
Try to avoid a situation where you have to be giving the backpack a rough and tough cleaning session. Taking care of the backpack properly will help you avoid getting into a tough cleaning section. Furthermore, remember to follow the cleaning instructions properly in both hand and machine washing cases.
Not paying heed and misunderstanding the information will result in damaging the fabric and making your backpack completely useless. Have a proper look at the label of your backpack as the instructions listed there, are what that is going to help you with understanding what you have to do for cleaning backpack properly.
Pavel is a true outdoor enthusiast with a passion for nature and a love for the great outdoors. He started Outdoor Fun Mag to introduce people from all walks of life to everything the outdoors has to offer and hopes that you’ll find something that excites you every time you stop by.
When not exploring nature Pavel works as an Electronics Engineer — a job that gets him thinking and makes sure he pays attention to all those fine details. This means that when he leaves work for the week, there’s no better contrast than the calmness and serenity of the natural world. By giving Pavel the chance to switch off and relax, his time spent camping and hiking allows him to feel refreshed.
In the future, Pavel plans to explore new areas and corners of the world with nothing more than a backpack and a tent. It’s an authentic way of seeing new places that allow him to de-stress and enjoy life, and he wants you to make the most of your life too.