CLEANING AND STORING YOUR HAMMOCK
All good adventures leave your hammock with some souvenir stains and mud. You are living the outdoor life, it is not for clean-freaks and dirt-o-phobes. Despite nylon’s resistance to dirt, you will need to clean your hammock at the end of your trip. To keep your hammock in good condition for years to come, I recommend washing it after every camping trip.
REMOVE THE CARABINERS
You don’t want to have these clanging around the washing machine. Unclip your carabiners from the end of the ropes and put them somewhere safe.
PUT THE HAMMOCK IN THE WASHING MACHINE ON ITS OWN
Use a very small amount of detergent and put it on a cold-water cycle for the best results. You don’t need any fancy fabric softener, just straightforward cold water with a little detergent. A hot cycle will warp the material.
If you don’t have a washing machine, spread it out in the garden or other enclosed space and wash it down by hand with some warm water in a bucket with a little detergent. Don’t bother using any brushes or anything hard to scrub it with, it will only damage the material.
If you have been in contact with salt-water or near the coast with the salty air, you should also give the carabiners a clean. To clean the carabiners, just open the gates and rub any dirt or mud away. You can wash them with warm water as well. To keep them in the best condition, you can also use a wax-based lubricant on the carabiners.
HANG IT OUT TO DRY
No driers, just let nature take its course and hang your hammock outside to dry on a sunny day. It shouldn’t take longer than an hour if the day is warm, nylon dries very quickly. Make sure your hammock is completely dry before packing it away. If it is packed away wet and stored for a long period, mould could gather and ruin it.
PACK IT UP
Pack it up into the stuff-sack. Most hammocks have these built-in. Start with the foot end rope first, making your way up to the head end rope.
Store it somewhere dry, away from direct sunlight and out of the way of chewing animals and any chemicals – including pesticides and weed killer. Many people throw them in the garage, but I have lost sleeping bags and hammocks to mice in the garage and have learnt my lesson. You don’t want to pull your hammock out for your next camping trip only to see it riddled with little holes where mice have been feasting on it. Keep it well out of reach of these little pests and you should be fine.
What do you think? Where do you store your hammock? Join the conversation through the comments section below.