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How to Clean Your Hiking Backpack

*Important to note: ALWAYS follow the specific product wash care instructions on the manufacturer’s tag on the inside of the product.

Keep your beloved hiking pack or backpack in mint condition by giving it the care it deserves to serve you on many more hiking and outdoor adventures. Bear in mind that while regular wear & tear is to be expected, especially after some years of use, the way in which you pack your backpack or hiking pack has a great impact on how long your pack will last. Follow our below steps to ensure your pack is ready for your first outdoor expedition of the season.

What you’ll need:

  1. A clean fabric cloth or sponge
  2. A soft-bristle toothbrush
  3. Tech wash such as
  4. Nikwax
  5. Bathtub/large basin

Step 1: Empty all pockets and open all zips. Shake your bag upside down to ensure you get excess dirt and debris out. If your bag is extremely dirty, gently vacuum seams and crevices of your pack to get out all dust, fine sand and crumbs. Using a clean damp sponge (no soap, just lukewarm water), wipe the interior of the bag thoroughly. For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristle toothbrush in gentle circular motions

Step 2: Fill the tub or sink with lukewarm water (enough to submerge the bag). Carefully read the instructions on your Nikwax tech wash to ensure you add the correct quantity of detergent to the tub. Submerge and swish your bag thoroughly. Take care to sponge off the interiors of the bag, as well as lightly brushing the exterior of the bag. Use gentle movements with mesh pockets.

Step 3: Drain the soapy water and refill the tub with clean water. Repeat until the water is clear and all excess soap has been removed. Lay the bag on a flat surface and ensure all zips and pockets are open. Dry your bag in a shaded area away from direct sunlight. Flip the bag over every couple of hours to ensure that all sides are completely dry, including straps and inner pockets. For longer term storage, fill your bag with stuffing such as newspapers or bubble wrap to maintain the bag's form. Remember to store your bag upright at a 90' angle to keep it structurally in check for your next trip.

Not sure which bag to get for you next adventure? We've got you covered. Read more here.

Have any valuable tips or hacks you’d like to share with us? Tag us on social @firstascentsa or write a review on our site to tell us what’s worked for you. Got any cleaning related questions? Refer to our informative product care guide here. Browse our full range of daypacks, as well as our hiking packs.