Storage and Maintenance GuidelinesDisclaimer: Yeah you’ve heard this twenty times but that’s because it is so important! Always refer to the manufacturer instructions for your product. The product manufacturer is the definitive resource for the proper storage and maintenance of your equipment. We only attempt to outline common recommendations. For additional disclaimer information visit our full disclaimer page.
Proper storage and maintenance of your equipment helps to ensure its longevity and function. You do not have to be an expert to take these simple steps. Incorporate the guidelines below into the management of equipment at your adventure site.
StorageProper equipment storage should:
- Prevent unwanted access, theft, and tampering
Be climate controlled or avoid extreme temperatures
Be well ventilated
Protect from UV damage
Keep items off the floor where they can be stepped on
Prevent pests, like mice, from damaging equipment.
Keep products away from aggressive or corrosive substances (e.g. gasoline or harsh cleaners)Include rinsing of products in harsh environments (e.g. coastal salt spray or silty soil) before storage
Criteria for specific equipment types follow:
- Place helmets shell side up to maintain their strength should they be stepped on
- Do not compress helmets
- Hang or store loosely
- Dry thoroughly after use in wet weather
- Loosen adjustment buckles to prevent memory on webbing
- Loosen girth hitched items before storage
- Untie and retie knots regularly
Regular cleaning is the best, and most often overlooked, form of maintenance. Cleaning of equipment should occur at regular, specified intervals - usually lining up with periodic, thorough inspection intervals. Generally, when cleaning items:
- Wash in cold or warm water but never hot water.
- Use non-detergent soap without harsh cleaners. Soap flakes, baby soap, castile soap, or rope/harness specific wash are great choices.
- Hang to dry loosely in a well ventilated area away from direct sunlight.
- No not dry with direct heat.
Cleaning criteria for specific equipment types follow:
- Small amounts of methylated spirits (rubbing alcohol) can be used to clean sticky residues off of ABS plastic shells
- Do not disinfect with aerosol spray disinfectants. This will accelerate break down of helmet components. Instead wipe a mild cleaning solution on the cradle of the helmet.
- Wash by hand or in a front loading washing machine. Top loading machines can be used with the agitator removed.
- Place harnesses and ropes in mesh bags to keep them from kinking and tangling in the machine.
- Do not pressure wash as this grinds particles deeper into the fabric.
- Use compressed air to clean out hinges and moving parts.
- Surface rust, oxidation, or corrosion can be removed with fine grit sandpaper.
- Simple, sealed (e.g. carabiners, pulleys with sealed bearings) metallic items can be washed in a parts washer.
Most other maintenance tasks will be performed by the manufacturer or service technician. Some smaller maintenance items can be performed by the end user. Guidance on the most common tasks follow below:
Lubricate the mechanism (e.g. hinge, spring, pin) by applying a small amount of graphite lubricant or mineral oil. Wipe off any excess and hang to dry away from attached textiles.
Removal of Sharp Edges
File down burrs, sharp edges, or mushroomed edges using a metallic file. Polish using fine grit sandpaper.
Many replacement parts can be purchase and installed by the end user. Seek instruction from the manufacturer as to what components can be replaced and how to achieve this.