Some tips to try to keep your adventure gear in its best condition as possible.

Shoes

In quite some of your outings they will get dirty and wet. Once back at home try to remove all the dirt of the soles with water and a soft brush. The fabric requires usually less cleaning care. The main goal is not to make them shine, but to prevent the soil eroding the soles prematurely.

Remove the insoles to dry them separately, it will fasten the process. Fill up the shoes with newspaper balls: they will help to dry the inner part, which usually takes the longest time. Open them as much as the laces allow you and put them next to the dehumidifier or air con.

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Overnight they should be dry. If out in the mountains or else, be careful trying to dry them next to a fire. Shoe materials do not like extreme heat and I have even seen soles starting to melt up in the Himalayas…

If you have invested quite some bucks in canyoning shoes or other special purpose shoes, consider using them only for the stream themselves or whatever is your purpose for the material. The sole is specially grippy because the material is specifically designed to be so, but, on the negative side, it is quite soft. Therefore if you want to increase the lifespan of your shoes, take a spare pair of normal hiking/running shoes for the rest of your outing.

If you have problems with the smell, you can try different solutions. Some trail runners shower with their shoes on after every run. You can try bake, talcum or baby powder.

Hydration bladder and hose

Check before each use if the bladder has any hole and any water comes out. You don’t want to discover mid-way your adventure that water is leaking into your backpack.  Even small holes will create quite some problems and you might get short of water in a long route. So fill up the bladder and see if any droplets come out. Check that the hose connection seals completely.

The main problem with hydration systems, apart of the previous, is mold buildup. To try to avoid it you need to dry them after each use as thoroughly as possible. If the bladder allows you to, try to open it completely and dry it inside out. Blow in the hose to try to remove all the water within. For storage try to find the driest place at home, which “surprisingly” might be your icebox 😛 No kidding, it is cold and extra dry in there. It is where I store them.

You would need to clean them regularly to avoid dirt building inside, in any case. You can find special tablets and brushes for this in your outdoor shops. Picture of the ones I use for hose (long thing one) and bladder (thicker one).

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Some people do not like the taste of the water from the bladder initially. Depending on the brand it can taste “plasticky”. Rinse thoroughly after purchasing a new one. Try very diluted bleach in warm water or baking soda. Tons of different recipes on the internet.

Clothing

Before washing check labels to try to avoid the clothes losing their properties: breathability, elasticity, waterproofness… In general, you should wash technical clothing in cold water, with no softener (increase chaffing/blisters), using gentle wash machine programs and/or within laundry bags. No drying machine. No ironing.

I am not a fan of Goretex and other waterproof materials in Hong Kong. But I know that quite some people use them in shoes and clothing. Remember that they lose their effectiveness with time and usage. There are products to restore them.

Backpacks

They require similar care. If possible, remove the support structure (paddings, metal frames) before washing. Open the zippers, clip on all the buckles and put within laundry bags if wash machined. If the bag is too big you might only be able to hand wash it in the bathtub.

Zippers need special care, above all, in the very humid Hong Kong. It is quite common for them to get stuck. To avoid it try to keep your bags in the driest possible environment and move the zipper every now and then if not using the backpack for a long period of time. If the white/green mass appears and the zipper gets stuck buy and use WD-40 or similar sprays.

Activities in the sea

Sea water, due to its salt, is highly corrosive. Therefore every time you jump into it, you should, at least, rinse with fresh water all your affected gear: action cameras, drybags,  goggles/masks, etc.

Climbing gear

Nylon based products have a safe lifespan of 10 years. It is recommended that after that period you discard your harness and ropes. In the case of the latter you should check their integrity before each day you use them. Pass your hands over the sheath (nylon cover), if you feel any break pinch the rope in that area with your thumb and forefinger. You should not be able to make both sides press together.

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Above a non-damaged core rope. If you are able to press them together, the core is compromised and might break easily… If you have no better option, use an alpine butterfly knot or whatever to isolate the damaged section.