By Bill Deaton
If you are a hunter, well, November is probably your prime-time. Small game, bear, and rifle season for deer dominate the calendar. While there are plenty of trails to bike or hike, it’s sort of bland in the woods, and if you paddle or ski, there’s not much to do. I like to take advantage of the down time and go through my gear to see what needs attention.
I always start by going through my summer gear. Currently I know I have one pair of shorts that I need to re-thread the built-in belt back into the waistband. I’ll tape the end to a wire hanger, shove it back through, and it’ll be good to go in five minutes. I just replaced the laces on the hiking boots that I use the most, so I’m good there. Sadly, my bivy sack is a goner. The waterproof-breathable laminate, after 15 years, has finally turned to powder. Similarly, I’m noticing that in a rain jacket I’ve had about ten years.
Some stuff just needs a good cleaning. My kayak and a lot of my paddling gear is fairly dirty. Clean it, condition it, store it. The boat will reside in its sling in my garage, and the gear gets stored in a large plastic tote. On a nice day I’ll remove the kayak rack and put the ski box on the roof of my vehicle. Don’t wait until it’s freezing to swap out that kind of stuff.
I stored my winter stuff and made those repairs back in the spring, so all it takes is a few minutes to sort through my skiing and snowshoeing gear. Anything you use year-round, like flashlights, trekking poles, water filters, etc., should be given a good check and serviced as needed too.
Fall Gear Check
Clean and store stuff you won’t use until spring in a locking plastic tote.
Make minor repairs to your stuff before storing.
Send out items for warranty or for major repairs now
so they are ready in the spring.
Service gear you use year-round.
Unpack your winter gear and double check to make sure it’s ready for use.
Throw out or recycle gear that needs to be replaced.
(Do all of this with your winter gear in the spring!)
Sometimes all you need is to make a quick fix with some thread or tape. Sometimes you discover it’s time to send your stuff to the rubbish pile and replace it…or better yet, have your loved ones replace it for you by means of a gift card to your favorite outdoor retailer. After all, the holidays will be here soon. It’s the perfect time to upgrade your locker.
Large photo: This shoe sole is easily fixed at home with some rubber cement. Top small photo: This bivy sack has delaminated and should be discarded. Bottom small photo: These sandals need a resole and can be sent back to the manufacturer for a retrofit.