A backpack is an all-time friend of a hiker, backpacker or camper. But over time it can wear out, become smelly and filthy. But if it became smelly and filthy you can’t just throw it out, can you? While you can wash it and transfer into a brand new one.
Backpacks are very easy to clean and can be hand washed or cleaned using a regular washing machine.
Check the care label:
Every backpack comes with a care label that has instructions on how can your bag be washed! Check inside your bag along the side seam for the care labels and see the information on washing and drying.
It is a best practice to read carefully the instruction manuals that came along with your bag. Check the manuals for the cleaning chemicals and procedures.
To dos before washing:
- Turn your backpack upside down and empty it.
- Keep the pockets unzipped
- If your backpack has any removable frame, pockets or straps, then remove it.
- Using your hands, brush off the loose exterior dust and dirt.
- Wipe the outside of the bag with a damp towel to get rid of surface filth
- Using any soft brush, scrub the dirty spots of the bag.
Hand washing your backpack:
- Fill a large sink or bathtub with lukewarm or cold water as mentioned in your bag’s manual.
- Add detergent to the water and mix it well.
- Submerge the pack in the water
- You can also use a brush to scrub and clean dirty areas.
- Rinse the pack thoroughly and carefully until all the soap or detergent comes out.
- You can also wrap the bag in a large towel to help absorb water.
Machine washing the pack:
If your backpack manuals allow machine washing, only then you can machine wash it.
- Put the pack inside a laundry sack and place the sack in the washing machine. The laundry sack will stop the bag from being damaged.
- Add a small amount, like 1 to 2 tbsp. of detergent as the washer fills with the water.
- Wash the pack in cold or lukewarm water using a delicate cycle.
- After the cycle is finished, take out the pack and wipe it’s outside and inside compartments.
- Dry the backpack naturally rather than drying in a drying machine.
- You can hang the backpack upside down and let it dry outside in the sun
- At most, your pack will need 2 days to dry, otherwise, most pack dries within 12 to 24 hours.
Is it possible to dry a backpack in a dryer?
A dryer can overheat the synthetic parts of your backpack and destroy or weaken any glue joints. Again the buckles zips, and metallic parts can become damaged. So, it is best to air dry the backpack in the sun.
But if you still want to use a dryer, you can put the backpack in a pillowcase or laundry sack to protect it and use the lowest dryer setting available.
- Never wash your backpack with other items, as it colors might fade.
- In the case of the colorful and bright colored backpack, you should avoid drying in direct sunlight.
- Avoid using a tumble dryer, it might shrink your backpack.
- If your backpack is very expensive or fancy or you are afraid of damaging it, you might get it cleaned professionally.
But if your backpack’s smell and filthiness still does not go away after washing, then it’s time to get a new one. You can check Camelbak Fourteener 20 backpack, it is versatile, well ventilated and made of high-quality materials. But it’s only con is that it lacks rain cover. If you want a backpack with rain cover attached, you can go for Osprey Manta 24, it is also comfortable, adjustable and easy to use.
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