DISCLOSURE: This post is sponsored by Clorox®.
The great outdoors. Crystal clear lakes, night skies filled with shimmering stars, the crackling of a roaring fire and a slight mildew smell coming from your tent.
Wait, something seems out of place.
If you are like me, you are gearing up for a summer of outdoor adventures like camping. However, your actual camping gear may not be so ready having spent the off-season growing funky in your basement or closet. And nothing, other than pouring rain, can take the fun out of camping like gross gear.
Like most years, my family will be heading to a campground in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. Sure, there’s a pool at the campgrounds and bouncy house, and – yes – that is a local brewery nearby that will help you match a beer to whatever you are planning on cooking, but I swear: IT’S STILL CAMPING! We still will be setting up our own tent, sleeping in sleeping bags, and roasting marshmallows over an open fire that most would describe as way too big. All that fosters a love of the outdoors in my kids like the one I have. It’s totally worth it.
A few days ago, I took out my camping gear from the basement to give it a quick check and I found out that last year I was not following the 11th point of the Scout Law – A Scout Is Clean. Yikes. My old Scoutmaster is slowly shaking his head in disapproval somewhere.
Not only was my tent, which I never aired out before packing it up last summer, rather funky smelling, but my portable stove was even more of a disaster. It was stained with a combination of burnt coffee residue and grounds from my first attempts at making so-called “Cowboy Coffee.” (Pro-tip: Don’t dump your coffee grounds quickly into the boiling water. It will fizz over like a science fair volcano.) I know how finicky my 7- and 10-year-olds can be when it comes to eating, so cleaning up this piece of camping gear would be Job One.
I used Clorox® Clean-Up® Cleaner + Bleach kind of in the same way that you would clean up your bathroom or countertop, like in this video:
The tent, on the other hand, needed more delicate care. It had seen many nights under the stars, having been places as diverse as the camp where the original “Friday the Thirteenth” movie was filmed and dead center field of a minor league baseball park, so it could have been on its last trip if I wasn’t careful. I found bunches of brown spots, indicating mold. Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as I feared. If it was black mold or if it had half-eaten through the tent’s nylon-like material, it would have been time to get a new one. But this was mild and it could be salvaged, thanks to Clorox power.
Following a solution one of my old Scoutmasters swore by, the process was simple and similar to a manual version of cleaning a shower curtain, like in this video:
With all of our camping gear ready now, we can go make some more awesome family memories this summer. I am also going to teach the kids how to safely start and care for a campfire. Fingers crossed.