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How to Stay Clean in a Dirty Camp

When you find yourself in a camp that’s turned into a mucky mess, one chief concern is keeping the interior of your tent and vehicle from getting filthy. These five tips will help protect your gear and your car from gunk and will help save valuable setup and breakdown time.

Take Advantage of Roof Space


When you’re out in nature, you have a bevy of activities at your disposal, and your ride of choice—whether it’s a bike, board, or boat—is bound to pick up some of nature’s elements. Taking advantage of your roof space and utilizing a rack system will save time and hassle while creating more passenger space inside the vehicle. If you want to prevent the interior from acquiring tire marks, edge gashes, river water, and whatever else may come along for the ride after your adventure, then a roof rack is an essential piece of gear. Not only will you be preventing damage to your four-wheeled ride, your ride of choice will be stored safely above your roofline, and your passengers will appreciate not having to cuddle with your bike frame or snowboard.

Bring Dry Bags & Rain Gear

Stoic Fusion Dry Compression SackWeather happens, and when you’re outside during an unplanned rainstorm, a stashed-away set of rain gear can save the day. Rain ponchos are a nice inexpensive option, while packable rain pants and jackets are lower profile and will perform without the added bulk. Having a set of rainwear stashed in your pack will keep your other layers dry and warm in a surprise downpour.

Dry bags can keep soggy, muddy items separate from your other gear and your car’s upholstery. You can also stash a set of clean clothes in a dry bag so you always have a spare set. By planning ahead for inclement weather, you’re practicing smart outdoor principles and ensuring that clammy, wet clothes are never a problem.

Duffel Up

Backcountry.com Welded Goat Duffel BagAt the end of your trip, a little rain can be a big problem if you aren’t prepared. Keeping your gear in waterproof duffel bags will keep moisture and muck out of the equation. Wet, dirty shoes, tires, cooking gear, camp chairs, and clothes can all cramp your car’s interior style or ruin your tent situation if you don’t quarantine them, and adequately sized waterproof duffel bags can help keep your wet or dirty gear from trashing your space. There’s a variety of brands, sizes, and colors to choose from, and having things color-categorized and well organized can save time and hassle when setting up or breaking down camp. Time is everything when you’re camping, and although you may spend some days napping or kicking it by the campfire, a timely setup and breakdown will ensure you spend less time setting up and more time having fun.

Sandals Save the Day


When you’re camping, whether you’re sporting boots, shoes, or sandals, you’re bound to get them dirty. Boots and shoes especially are good at picking up mud and dirt, and having a pair of sandals to slip your feet into after a trip will reduce the risk of pressing dirt and mud into the floor of your tent or vehicle. Waterproof sandals made out of synthetic materials will clean quickly and easily, and won’t incur damage if rinse them off and toss them aside to dry in the sun, whereas a leather sandal will need to be more carefully maintained. Adversely, leather is much more resistant to odor, saving your nose on the ride home.

Ground Cloths & Rain Tarps

Kelty Upslope TarpWhen rain is a factor, you want to keep your gear free of dirt and mud, and a rain tarp can help. Typically used for hammock camping, a rain tarp creates a sheltered dry spot for gear, and placing a ground cloth under the rain tarp lets you change boots and shoes or perform other tasks without standing in the mud. Once you’re finished with your trip, you can even use a clean, dry ground cloth to line the seats in your car if you find that your passengers or your gear bags are especially wet or dirty.

Your vehicle and your gear are both big investments, and by planning ahead and using proper storage techniques you can help protect the value and cleanliness of your upholstery while also safely stashing and protecting your gear. Being proactive in the outdoors will ensure that you’re sufficiently prepared for anything Mother Nature can throw at you.


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