How to Clean a Hiking Backpack

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Your backpack is essential whenever you go on a hike or a camping trip. After all, your hiking backpack is what you use to carry all your lifesaving and survival essentials. However, many people don’t consider that a hiking backpack needs to be cleaned.

If you’re hiking backpack isn’t kept clean, and in good condition, you’re not going to be very happy when you go hiking the second or the third time. So today, we will discuss how to clean a hiking backpack and why it’s essential to do so regularly.

Why Clean a Hiking Backpack?

You might wonder why you should clean a hiking backpack. After all, it’s just something that holds your belongings. When you go hiking, dirt, debris, and even insects can get inside that hiking backpack.

Then, when you put new belongings in that hiking backpack, they will also get dirty. You obviously don’t want to take clothes out of your hiking backpack, put them on, and find them dirty and wet.

Moreover, if too much dirt and debris get caught in your hiking backpack, especially if it gets wet, it can turn into mold and fungus. Not only is that unattractive to look at, but it can also smell really bad. Therefore, regularly cleaning your hiking backpack is essential.

How to Clean A Hiking Backpack: Step by Step

Next, we’ll go through two methods to clean a hiking backpack. First, you can clean a hiking backpack in a washing machine, and then, we’ll cover how to hand wash them for hiking backpacks that are not machine washable.

How to Clean a Hiking Backpack

How to Machine Wash a Hiking Backpack

Before you start, make sure your hiking backpack is machine washable. If it is not machine washable, and you machine wash it anyway, you’ll likely destroy it. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to machine wash a hiking backpack.

  1. Empty your hiking backpack of all belongings. Check all small pockets and other areas for any items you may have left behind. Leave the pockets open before putting the pack in the washing machine. Also, if the hiking backpack has a metal frame, you need to remove this before putting it in the washing machine.
  2. Make sure that your hiking backpack can fit in your washing machine and that there is enough room to move around as needed.
  3. Use a laundry bag or pillowcase to put the hiking backpack in. This will prevent your hiking backpack from being damaged, particularly the straps, and it will also protect the washing machine.
  4. Before you start your washing machine, ensure that you have the proper type of detergent. You want detergent free of dyes and fragrances, and you don’t want anything harsh. Also, don’t use fabric software because it might damage your hiking backpack. Once you have chosen your washing detergent, run it through a gentle cycle.
  5. Once the hiking backpack has been washed, remove it from the pillowcase or laundry bag and hang it upside down to dry. Do not put your hiking backpack in the dryer.

How to Hand Wash Your Hiking Backpack

If you have a hiking backpack that is not machine washable, you will have to wash it by hand. Follow these steps as outlined to hand wash your hiking backpack.

  1. As above, empty the hiking backpack of all belongings, and check the pockets and corners for debris and small items that might have gotten stuck. Also, if you have a metal frame in your hiking backpack, now is the time to remove it.
  2. At this point, if your backpack is filled with plenty of debris, you can vacuum it out to remove all solid debris before washing it.
  3. Fill a bucket, a basin, or your bathtub with lukewarm water. Make sure that the water is not too hot, or it may shrink, damage, or change the color of the backpack.
  4. Add a moderate amount of gentle washing detergent that is dye and fragrance-free. Don’t use anything too harsh, or it may damage your backpack’s fabric. Put the hiking backpack in the water, swish it around, and then let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Use a cloth or soft brush to scrub your backpack clean. Make sure that you focus on dirty areas. If you have dirt in small spaces or even stains that will not come out, using a toothbrush may help.
  6. Once the backpack is fully clean, take it out of the water, squeeze the water out, and hang it upside down to dry naturally. Ensure the hiking backpack is dry 100% before putting it away, or else it may get moldy.

Final Thoughts

One last tip is to use a waterproof backpack liner. This goes on inside the hiking backpack and will prevent debris and spills from getting into the fabric. As you can see, cleaning a hiking backpack is not that difficult.

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