Dirt, salt and general wear and tear can take its toll on your backpack. Regularly wiping down your rucksack will help minimise dirt build up but sometimes only a proper clean will do. By washing your backpack once or twice a year, you will help keep your bag clean and hopefully extend its lifespan. This guide will show you how to wash a backpack both in a washing machine and by hand.
If your backpack is past its best check out the Mountain Warehouse range of Backpacks and Rucksacks.
Depending on the size of the pack itself you can choose to either hand or machine wash it. Always check the care label in your backpack to ensure you are washing it in a way that won’t damage the bag.
If your pack is too large to fit in the machine then it is possible to hand wash a backpack in a bath. For smaller bags you may be able to wash in a basin or sink.
If the care label states not to fully submerge the backpack, use a wet cloth with a small amount of cleaner.
It is possible to add a degree of water repellency to your backpack with a spray on reproofer which will also help minimise dirt build up (it is important to note that you won’t be able to make a backpack fully waterproof if it wasn’t originally waterproof). Apply the reproofer after washing and allow to dry as above.
Wear and tear is inevitable but taking care of your backpack can increase its life span.
Wiping your bag down, inside and out, with a damp cloth on a regular basis will help minimise the build-up of dirt.
Mould can build up on backpacks if they get wet and are not dried properly before storing or using again. Rucksack Covers are a great way to keep the rain off your bag and keep its contents dry.
Using a rucksack liner will help reduce the risk of spillages making the bag dirty or smelly. They will also make it easier to remove anything that’s inside quickly and efficiently and keep the kit inside dry should it rain.
Pack anything that may cause damage to the bag, including tent pegs, poles, knives and even the sharp edges on boxes or pots and pans, in a way that they are not likely to pierce through the material. This can be achieved by packing these objects tightly against other objects so there is limited movement or even packing them within softer objects like clothing.
For more information check out our how to pack a rucksack guide.
Backpacks are designed to be hardy with many made from ripstop fabrics but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your bag well. Don’t drag a backpack over rough ground as this can weaken material and cause holes to develop. Be aware of brambles and thorn bushes, try to lift your backpack above your head to avoid them tearing into your pack as you walk through or past them.
If your backpack or rucksack is past its best take a look at the great selection of Mountain Warehouse backpacks and rucksacks, available in many different sizes and shapes.