Gear Storage Temperatures

What are the “safe” temperature ranges for storing boating & camping gear?

What items are sensitive to high temps?

I stored gear in my unheated/uncooled attached garage before I moved from north Texas to southeast Texas. Now my summer highs are in the 90’s to 100’s on a daily basis, and there is substantial humidity. Winter lows will be around the freezing mark a few times each winter. We occasionally have temps in the 20’s, but maybe only a day or two each winter. Temps don’t stay cold, and frequently our winter days are in the 40’s-50’s. Of more concern is the heat.

I have a great well-built storage building on piers that I intend to clear out and store my gear in. It is not cooled or heated. It is currently not mouse-proof, but I’ll work on that. A friend told me I shouldn’t store my gear in the out-building because some gear could deteriorate due to the heat. Do you agree? What gear should I be concerned about?

I have adequate storage for the boats, so my question only pertains to gear such as PFD’s, tents, tarps, cooking equipment, stoves, dry bags, sleeping bags, and all other necessities for day trips and camping trips.

What’s your advice?



Most stuff is better-off kept cool
Things like tents and tarps, or stoves (which have rubber or synthetic-rubber seals) are best kept cool. I have no readily available info that says what an item’s useful life might be stored at different temperatures, but I do know that one general rule says that the speed of chemical reactions roughly doubles for each 10-degree C increase in temperature, and surely there’s a relationship something like that regarding the chemical changes that go on during deterioration of various synthetics.

There’s a business in my town that provides cold storage of all sorts of things. Not only do they store food products, but even things like tires. If a tire-maker thinks it’s worth their while to pay to keep their surplus stock in an extremely cold warehouse, I’ll use that reasoning to keep all my stuff with synthetic material out of really hot places during storage.

My 2 cents worth…

– Last Updated: Feb-20-08 12:48 PM EST –

I don't think the cold is going to present as much of a problem as the heat & humidity.

Items such as pfds, tents, tarps, dry bags & sleeping bags are going to require a "little extra" care. If they get wet/damp, and they will if you use them; you're going to have to make sure they are dry before you store them. If you don't, you'll soon have problems with mold & mildew.

Don't dry those items in direct sunlight(UV/BAD).

Hang them in the shade, and don't be in a big hurry to store them, before you've allowed enough time for them to "thoroughly" dry.
Example: If my tent has gotten damp/wet;I typically hang the tent & its rainfly inside my garage, and leave them there to air dry for a minimum of 24 hours. If your shed has electricity; the breeze created by a small fan "really helps" to facilitate drying. A small, inexpensive exhaust fan might be of benefit for air circulation in the summer.
No electricity; consider installing some rodent proof air vents in the shed to create a little air circulation.

I store all stoves & cooking items in mouse proof containers.

Mice love any easy to shred items they can use for bedding material.



air mattresses, thermarests

anything with foam

floatation bags.

Dont leave stuff on the floor. For stoves etc I use sterilite containers too that snap closed firmly. Mice try to chew but have a very hard time getting in.

I have lost a couple of expensive floatation bags due to mice…cannot leave them in the boat.

Mice like a warm place as much as anyone else. All my gear is stored in an unheated barn but it is warmer than the outside. When there is a little snow year the mice really move in. When there is a lots of snow year the mice like it better under the snow (its good insulation). Our winter temps are typically below zero at night.

More like a tiny house than shed.
Thanks for the info so far.

I plan on using it as a garden house, but there is plenty of room to store my camping and paddling gear. It was built during the Depression and is constructed of solid wood siding with a wood floor and door. It has windows, but I think they are caulked shut. It has electricity and has recently been updated with new lighting, outlets and all new wiring. Although I haven’t seen any recent evidence of mice or squirrels, I know there are some possible entry points that need to be fixed.

I have giant rubbermaid storage containers that have latched lids that I keep a lot of my gear in, but I don’t know how mouse-proof they are.

As for cleaning, airing, and drying gear after a trip, I hang everything out on my screened porch for a couple of days before putting it away.

I have box fans I use in there during the summer, and could ventilate it somewhat, but I won’t leave them on when the building isn’t in use, so that doesn’t help much with the summertime temps. The building is shaded by three 100+ year old pecan trees, but I don’t know how hot it gets in there during the summer when closed up. It doesn’t have an attic, and I don’t want to spoil the outside appearance with a roof turbine, but I wonder if an electric roof vent would be of any use in lowering inside temperatures.

For all I know, it may have been just as hot in my old garage at my previous residence. I stored stuff there without any thoughts about it being a problem!

Temperature correction…
Summer temperatures are likely to be in the high 80’s and 90’s during the day. Highest temperatures are usually in August with some days in the 100’s. Humidity is nearly always high.

same questions here in south Louisiana
For now, the gear in my shed includes PVC coated dry bags, bailers, sponges, kneeling pads, plastic tarps, buckets, etc., but does not include pfds or anything with coated nylon. A few years ago the coating on the fly of a Kelty tent of mine got very sticky. I always spread gear out to dry inside before packing things away and the tent was stored in the air conditioned house, but of course it was used outside in sometimes hot and humid conditions. Searching online about the problem I found something saying that the coating could hydrolyze in high heat and humidity. Recently two pdfs that get used regularly and are stored inside have also developed a sticky feel, so at least for now I’m avoiding storing coated nylon items in the shed since that could possibly aggravate the problems with coated nylon becoming sticky.


– Last Updated: Feb-21-08 3:42 PM EST –

Nylon tents/rainflys/tarps/etcs (especially those with a coating) which are brought into an cool/indoor/air conditioned environment from a hot/humid/outside environment & then placed into some type of sealed storage container will most certainly result in some undetermined amount of moisture being trapped in that storage container, especially if is air tight.
If there is undried mud, or moisture inside your tent poles, or attached to your tent pegs, that will also introduce moisture into your air tight storage container.

The tighter those items are packed; the more likely it is that they will stick together. It's rare when you find a tent/rainfly combo that you can easily fit into the bag that is provided. What do you typically do to get the tent & fly to fit back into the tent bag? Lay them out, fold them up & roll them up "real tight"; then cram them into the little bitty bag. My solution; get a larger bag, don't roll & fold the rainfly really tight (especially a coated rainfly).......stuff it loosely into your new/ larger bag. Long term storage of items that are neatly folded & tightly packed is not good; especially if you repeatedly use the same fold lines. Think coat hanger; repeatedly bent & straightened.

Sleeping bags should also not be crammed into the tiny stuff sacks they came with, then stored for long periods of time.


Call me crazy …
… but all my stuff except the boat is stored inside in the heated/air-conditioned house. It drives my wife nuts because she has no interest in paddling and doesn’t understand why I have so much STUFF. I’m not wealthy by any means but I try to buy good gear, don’t want to have to buy it again anytime soon, and take really, really good care of what I do have. I’ve taken over a corner of a spare bedroom closet - all wearable gear/PFD is hung on hangers; everything else is stored in a couple of big Rubbermaid containers (also holds camping/backpacking gear) mostly so it all stays gathered in one place instead of getting spread out all over the floor of the closet. I never store anything outdoors - I worry too much about the heat/humidity (Virginia) and the vast colonies of squirrels - or in the attic (waaaay to much heat). Keeping gear inside keeps it drier, reduces the chances of mold and mildew, should just about eliminate rodent problems. But I had to fight to get that inside space … and it’s worth it.

Call me Crazy 2
I store all my gear, both camping & paddling inside. My wife is LESS than thrilled, and our spare bedroom resembles a stockroom for used equipment… but it is safe, not too warm, not too cold, and critter proof…thus far…