When getting ready for a trip, whether it’s a short day hike or a weekend stay, backpack cleaning can be the nastiest, most cumbersome, and confusing task—the stain just wont come off!—on your list. Here’s a straightforward guide on how to do it yourself.

How to Clean a Backpack

There are two ways you can approach this: the good old-fashioned method of handwashing or employ the help of a washing machine.

Handwash

It’s the safest way to clean your backpack without the risk of destroying the material. However, you’re less likely to get every stain out, depending on what caused it and how long it has been there.

 

1. Empty your backpack, and vacuum it on gentle mode. This gets rid of any dirt and other small pieces.

2. Manufacturers recommend using special cleaning solutions made for backpacks. Dip a clean cloth rag or sponge in warm water mixed with detergent. A non-harsh detergent is also a good alternative.

3. For the zippers, use a soft nylon brush. Some dirt can be vacuumed out, but a good scrub with a small and soft brush would do the trick for the more stubborn ones.

Machine Wash

Is it possible to clean a backpack with a washing machine? Yes, but there are very specific guidelines to avoid damaging your bag.

1. This applies only to backpacks made from nylon and cloth. Never machine wash one that has leather, even if it’s only detailing. For those, opt for handwashing.

2. Use only a front-load, commercial-type washing machine. Top load home-use ones can tear and twist the material. Commercial quality ones are also much bigger, giving your backpack a really good wash.

3. Turn the bag inside out. This keeps the zippers and straps from getting caught inside the machine.

4. Apply the cleaning solution on stains, and spread it out before placing it in the machine. If it folds together during the wash, stop the machine, and spread it again. Repeat as necessary.

5. Use a gentle cycle setting and cold water. Never set it on a heavy-duty mode.

The Budget

If your RV trip is running on a budget, make sure that you plan. 

Do as much research as you can on campgrounds and fees to avoid surprise expenses. 

Knowing how much gas your RV consumes (MPG or miles per gallon would also help you plan how much fuel you’ll need for the trip.

Lastly, have a meal plan. Knowing what meal to prepare and ingredients to bring can save you from having too many stops and buying additional food on the road.

Know What To Pack

Keep it light. You’ll only need the essentials:

  1. Backpack
  2. Food enough for the day, including snacks
  3. Water, around 1.5L-2L per person
  4. First aid kit
  5. A pocket knife
  6. Matches or a lighter
  7. A small portable stove, if you’re cooking
  8. Sunscreen
  9. Weather appropriate clothes and hiking boots
  10. A bivy, in case of emergencies

Hiking Sites Near Calgary

Keep it light. You’ll only need the essentials:

Bow River

Glenmore Reservoir

Grotto Canyon

Troll Falls

Inglewood Bird Sanctuary