From world famous snow to Martian-like desert features, Utah has no shortage of adventures to be had year-round. Pace Measom and Mike Duncan have spent their lives taking full advantage of Utah’s unique and diverse landscapes from skiing to mountain biking to climbing and beyond. In their endless pursuit of local adventures, their closets and garages quickly filled with all kinds of gear.
The more gear they acquired, the better they came to understand the importance of gear maintenance. One of the early and more potent lessons they learned was that wet gear means stinky gear. More than that, gear that isn’t properly dried and cared for after use tends to deteriorate faster. GearDryer got its start when Pace and Mike were looking for a way to keep their ski gear dry and fresh. They needed a high-performance, highly versatile dryer that would work for their boots as well as their gloves and helmets. Unable to find anything that checked all of their boxes, they decided to make one of their own.
GearDryer quickly became much more than the versatile and reliable winter boot dryer Pace and Mike set out to build. GearDryer proved to be just as effective drying gear for biking, climbing, hydration bladders, and even wetsuits as it was drying ski and winter gear. In fact, in the years since GearDryer’s release, it’s been widely used by motorcycle racers, fishermen, hockey teams, surfers, and even Chick-Fil-A has implemented GearDryer in some of their cold storage facilities.
One of the myriad reasons GearDryer has been so widely successful is because Pace and Mike founded the company on the idea that if you take care of your gear, it will take care of you. Gear is essential in most of your outdoor endeavors, and how you take care of your gear can be vital to your safety as well as your overall experience. Let’s talk about five ways to keep your gear fresh and odor free so it can keep you on your favorite slopes and trails season after season.
1. Look for Breathable Materials.
A lot of research goes into buying gear, and you have a lot of factors to consider no matter what adventure you’re preparing for. Wherever possible, look for gear made from breathable materials. Sweat is the enemy of gear and a starting place for odors; the best weapon you have against sweat is ventilation. Consider breathable materials made from moisture wicking fabrics or merino wool for items such as socks, gloves, and base layers. For more specialized gear, look for items with leather or mesh features, which are far more breathable than plastics and rubbers.
2. Start Fresh.
The best way to stay fresh is to start fresh. The less glamorous side of consistent adventures is the seemingly endless cycle of packing and unpacking gear. Taking the time to clean your gear properly at the end of each outing goes a long way in keeping your gear in good condition. It’ll also help keep the bacteria that causes the dreaded “old gear smell” from forming in the first place. Do your future self a favor by taking the time to clean and dry your gear when you get home from a trip so you can start your next adventure with fresh, clean, odor-free gear.
3. Watch your Bags.
After you’ve gotten your gear unpacked, washed, and on your dryer, it’s time to turn your attention to your bags. If you’ve ever forgotten to unpack your gym bag for a few days or unpacked a sleeping bag that wasn’t quite dry when you broke camp, then you know that wet gear in a dark place creates ideal conditions for odor-causing bacteria. To eliminate any potential colonies of bacteria growing inside your bags, take the time to wipe them down with Lysol or a 1/1 solution of vinegar and water.
4. The Power of Baking Soda.
Nobody’s perfect, sometimes after a long day of play or an extended road trip back home, the last thing you want to do is unpack and clean all of your dirty, sweaty gear. If you’ve fallen behind on maintaining your gear lately, don’t worry — there’s a solution. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda in boots, shoes, tents, or gloves and let it sit for 24-72 hours while it absorbs odors. When your time is up, simply vacuum the baking soda out.
If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn odor, a hard reset may be necessary. Remember that odors are caused by bacteria and subjecting them to extremely cold temperatures can help kill it. Place your smelly gear in a Ziplock bag and put it in your freezer overnight. When you take your gear out of the freezer, it’s important to dry it right away in order to avoid running into this problem again in the future.
Take Care of Your Tools, and They’ll Take Care of You.
Whatever your sport of choice might be, your gear is an absolute necessity. You depend on it to help you perform better, to keep you safe, and to have a good time. The gear that you invest in says a lot about who you are and what you’re passionate about. Making the investment in caring for your gear won’t only save you money on replacements and repairs, but it’ll make you look and feel like a pro. Caring for your gear can help you better understand the subtle nuances and intricacies of the equipment you use and, in the end, that can make all the difference in your performance.