Well winter is here, although don’t tell everyone as it is still quite mild for the time of year, but does give you the opportunity to have a look at all of your outdoor clothing equipment and see what needs replacing and what needs looking after so that it lasts that little bit longer. Here at Outdoor Look we always sell the highest quality items we can and you know it is going to stand up to the rigours of the outdoors, but it still needs to be taken care of so that you get the longest life out of it.


Here are a couple of suggestions for making sure your rucksacks and boots continue to do their job properly:


Backpacks/Rucksacks. These should be stored clean and dry in an area of the house that has moderate temperature variations and low humidity. They should always be emptied of all items and when they are cleaned it should be with a mild antibacterial soap, especially on any food stains and on all straps, back pad and hip belt and openings, as this is where sweat and greasy fingers can do their worst. Let it stand with this solution on it for ten minutes and then hose off until the water runs clear of all suds. Then you should allow it to dry naturally, but do try to avoid drying in direct sunlight as UV can waken nylon.


Boots: It’s always best to get the worst of dirt and muck off your boots before it dries, so do try to clean them as you are walking, hat patch of grass or that bit of paper you wrapped your sandwiches in, or even better to carry some sort of wipes or cloths with you, or if you’ve got waterproof walking boots, a quick paddle, or dip in the nearest stream and then rinse them off when you finish your walk.


If like some people I won’t mention, the mud and dirt has baked on, then I find to get the worst of it off is to use a stiff brush, and always remember to do this outside or to put paper down, unless you want the wrath of other members of the household on you! Once the worst of it is removed then you need to take a nail brush, or equivalent, to the more stubborn stuff.


It is certainly worthwhile to remove the insoles and laces to get at all the nooks and crannies to make sure they are really cleaned. At the end of your walking season it might also give you the opportunity to re-proof the boots using a dedicated gel or wax. It might be worth considering cleaning the inside of your boots too. This will stop the membrane getting blocked with salt and grit, as well as making them smell a whole lot better! Take out the insoles, shake the dirt and pour some lukewarm water; give them a good swill round and pour out the water.


Remember that it is important to let the boots dry naturally and at their own pace. Don’t try to cut corners by using a hairdryer or putting them near a radiator or in front of the fire – the heat may crack the leather or damage the lining. I usually fill them with old newspaper and leave them somewhere dry, but not too warm, a porch or a garage are normally OK, or even outside covered with one of the plant protectors.


So follow these simple effective tips to look after your outdoor clothing equipment and they will look after you, it’s not a favorite job of mine I have to admit but it has to be done. And if you don’t, well at least you know that here at Outdoor Look we can offer the best quality replacements at the best prices around.