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Cleaning Your Pack With Alps Mountaineering: A Step-by-Step Guide


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Flore Geddes



Welcome to the world of adventure! Whether you are a seasoned explorer or just starting to dip your toes into the realm of outdoor expeditions, one thing is for certain – a trusty backpack is your constant companion in every adventure. From rugged hikes to backpacking trips, your pack carries your essentials and provides comfort and convenience on the go. But after each adventure, your faithful companion deserves a little TLC.


In this step-by-step guide, we will explore the process of cleaning your pack with Alps Mountaineering. As experts in the field of outdoor gear, Alps Mountaineering understands the importance of proper pack maintenance. By following their recommended cleaning methods, you can prolong the lifespan of your pack and ensure it remains in peak condition for years to come.


So, let’s dive in and learn how to give your pack the attention it deserves. By following these simple steps, you’ll not only have a clean and fresh pack, but also the peace of mind that comes with knowing your gear is well taken care of.


Gather Your Supplies

Before you begin the cleaning process, it’s important to gather all the necessary supplies. Having everything prepared in advance will ensure a smooth and efficient cleaning experience. Here are the essential supplies you’ll need:

  1. Mild detergent: Look for a detergent that is specifically formulated for outdoor gear. Avoid harsh detergents or bleaches, as these can damage the fabrics and coatings of your pack.
  2. Soft-bristled brush: Use a brush with soft bristles to gently scrub away dirt and grime from the pack’s surface. Avoid using abrasive brushes that can scratch or damage the fabric.
  3. Warm water: Fill a basin or sink with warm water to create a cleaning solution for your pack. Avoid using hot water, as this can cause damage to the pack’s materials.
  4. Clean, dry towel: Keep a clean, dry towel nearby for wiping down the pack during the cleaning process.
  5. Soft sponge: A soft sponge can be used to clean delicate areas or hard-to-reach spots on your pack.
  6. Stain remover: In case your pack has stubborn stains, have a stain remover on hand to tackle those spots. Make sure to choose a stain remover that is safe for the pack’s materials.
  7. Waterproofing spray: Once your pack is clean and dry, you may want to reapply a waterproofing spray to restore its water repellency.

Now that you have gathered all your cleaning supplies, you’re ready to embark on the journey of giving your pack a thorough cleaning. The next steps will guide you through the process of emptying and disassembling your pack, inspecting and cleaning the detachable components, and caring for the main pack body. Let’s get started!


Emptying Your Pack

Before you can begin cleaning your pack, you’ll need to empty it completely. Remove all items from the main compartment, pockets, and any other storage areas. Check every nook and cranny to ensure nothing is left behind.


As you remove the contents, take a moment to assess each item. Are there any items that need to be cleaned or repaired? Separate them from the rest, as you’ll address them later.


Next, give your pack a good shake to dislodge any loose dirt or debris. You can also gently pat the outside of the pack to help loosen any stubborn particles. This step will make the cleaning process more effective and prevent dirt from spreading or staining the pack during cleaning.


Once your pack is empty, you’re ready to move on to the next step: removing any detachable components.


Properly emptying your pack sets the foundation for a successful cleaning process. By removing all items and shaking out loose dirt, you’ll ensure that your pack is ready for a thorough and effective cleaning. Now, let’s move on to the next step and prepare your pack for disassembly.


Removing Detachable Components

Now that your pack is empty, it’s time to remove any detachable components. These components may include things like hip belts, sternum straps, shoulder straps, and rain covers. Removing these parts will allow you to clean them separately and ensure a thorough cleaning of your entire pack.


Start by identifying the detachable components of your pack. Most packs will have adjustable straps and buckles that allow for easy removal. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions if available, or gently experiment to determine how each component can be detached.


As you remove each component, take note of how they are attached and stored. This will help you reassemble your pack correctly later on. It may also be helpful to take pictures or make mental notes to ensure proper reattachment.


Once all the detachable components are removed, set them aside for cleaning. You’ll address these components separately to ensure a thorough and effective cleaning process.


By removing the detachable components, you’ll be able to clean your pack more effectively and pay attention to the smaller details. Cleaning these components separately will help maintain their functionality and lifespan. With the detachable components set aside, let’s move on to inspecting and cleaning them before tackling the main pack body.


Inspecting and Cleaning the Detachable Components

Now that you have removed the detachable components from your pack, it’s time to inspect and clean them individually. This step is crucial to ensure that these components remain in good working condition and prolong their lifespan.


Start by examining each component for any signs of wear and tear. Check for frayed straps, loose threads, or damaged buckles. Any components showing significant wear or damage may need to be repaired or replaced.


If any of the detachable components are machine washable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning. Most components can be hand washed with a mild detergent and warm water. Gently scrub the components with a soft brush or sponge to remove any dirt or stains. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to air dry before reattaching them to your pack.


For components that cannot be submerged in water, such as buckles or plastic parts, wipe them down with a damp cloth. Pay extra attention to crevices or hard-to-reach areas to remove any dirt or debris.


Additionally, inspect any zippers on the detachable components. If they are sticking or not functioning smoothly, a zipper lubricant can be applied to ensure proper operation.


Once you have finished cleaning and inspecting the detachable components, ensure they are completely dry before reattaching them to your pack. This will prevent moisture and mold growth.


By inspecting and cleaning the detachable components separately, you can maintain their functionality and prolong their lifespan. With the detachable components taken care of, let’s move on to cleaning the main pack body.


Cleaning the Main Pack Body

With the detachable components set aside, it’s time to focus on cleaning the main pack body. This is where a bulk of the dirt and grime accumulates, so giving it a thorough cleaning will not only keep your pack looking fresh but also help prolong its lifespan.


Start by filling a basin or sink with warm water and add a small amount of mild detergent. Swirl the water to create a soapy solution.


Dip a soft-bristled brush or sponge into the soapy water and gently scrub the exterior of the pack. Pay close attention to areas that appear dirty or stained, such as the bottom or areas exposed to sweat or dirt buildup.


For tough stains, apply a small amount of stain remover to the affected area and gently scrub it with the brush or sponge. Be sure to use a stain remover that is safe for the pack’s materials and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


After scrubbing the pack, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue. Be careful not to submerge the pack completely, as this can saturate the foam padding or damage the pack’s internal structure.


Once rinsed, use a clean, dry towel to gently pat the pack and absorb any excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the pack, as this can cause damage.


Next, hang your pack in a well-ventilated area and allow it to air dry completely. Hanging the pack will help it maintain its shape and allow air to circulate, promoting faster drying.


While the pack is drying, take this opportunity to clean the interior compartments and pockets. Use a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove any dust or debris.


Once the pack is dry and the interior is clean, it’s time to reassemble the components and prepare your pack for proper storage.


By following these steps to clean the main pack body, you’ll ensure that your pack remains in top condition and ready for your next adventure.


Treating Stains and Odors

During your outdoor adventures, your backpack inevitably encounters stains and odors. Fortunately, there are a few effective methods for treating these unwanted marks and smells, leaving your pack looking and smelling fresh.


To start, tackle stains by applying a stain remover specifically formulated for the type of fabric used in your pack. Gently rub the stain remover into the affected area using a soft brush or sponge. Allow it to sit for the recommended amount of time, as indicated by the stain remover instructions. Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a clean towel.


If your pack has lingering odors, it’s essential to eliminate them to keep your gear fresh. Begin by lightly sprinkling baking soda inside the main compartment and pockets. Allow the baking soda to sit for several hours or overnight, as it works to absorb the odors. Once the time has passed, simply shake off or vacuum the baking soda from the pack.


If baking soda alone doesn’t eliminate the smell, consider using specialized odor-eliminating products designed for outdoor gear. These products typically come in spray or powder form and contain enzymes that neutralize odors. Follow the instructions provided on the product, applying it to the affected areas of your pack. Allow the product to work its magic before rinsing or wiping it off, as directed. Finally, ensure that your pack is completely dry before storing it.


Treating stains and odors is essential for maintaining the cleanliness and freshness of your backpack. By following these steps, your pack will be free from unwanted marks and bad smells, ready for your next adventurous journey.


Drying Your Pack

After cleaning your pack, proper drying is crucial to prevent mold, mildew, and unpleasant odors from developing. Follow these steps to ensure your pack dries effectively:

  1. First, gently squeeze any excess water from your pack with a clean, dry towel. Avoid wringing or twisting the pack, as this can damage the fabric and seams.
  2. Find a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight, to hang your pack. Hang it upside-down with the zippers and openings unobstructed to allow for maximum airflow.
  3. If possible, consider placing a fan nearby to facilitate air circulation, which will help expedite the drying process.
  4. Periodically check the pack to ensure all areas are drying evenly.
  5. It’s important to allow your pack to air dry completely before storage. This may take several hours or even overnight, depending on the fabric and environmental conditions.

Remember, never use a dryer or any direct source of heat to dry your pack, as this can damage the materials or even melt certain components. Patience is key when it comes to drying your pack.


Once your pack is fully dry, give it a final inspection to ensure there is no remaining moisture or dampness. This will help prevent any potential issues when storing your pack.


By following these steps and allowing your pack to thoroughly dry, you’ll ensure its longevity and prevent any unwelcome odors or damage caused by moisture.


Reassembling Your Pack

With your pack clean and fully dry, it’s time to reassemble all the detachable components and prepare it for your next adventure. Follow these steps to ensure proper reassembly:

  1. Refer to any notes, pictures, or mental reminders you made during the disassembly process to ensure you reattach the components correctly.
  2. Start by reattaching the hip belt, if your pack has one. Adjust it to fit comfortably around your waist.
  3. Next, reattach the sternum strap and adjust it to a comfortable height across your chest. The sternum strap helps distribute the weight of the pack and enhances stability.
  4. Attach the shoulder straps, checking that they are properly aligned and not twisted.
  5. If your pack has a rain cover, securely attach it to the designated compartment or pocket.
  6. Double-check all the buckles, connectors, and straps to ensure they are tightened and fastened securely.

As you reassemble your pack, take a moment to make any necessary adjustments to the straps for a proper fit. Properly adjusting the straps will ensure that your pack sits comfortably on your back and helps distribute the weight evenly.


Once you have reassembled your pack and adjusted the straps, put it on and walk around to ensure it feels balanced and comfortable. Make any additional adjustments as needed.


With your pack fully reassembled and properly adjusted, it is now ready for your next adventure. Remember to inspect it before each trip to ensure everything is in good condition and that all components are securely attached.


By taking the time to correctly reassemble your pack, you’ll ensure that it provides maximum comfort, stability, and functionality on your future journeys.


Proper Storage of Your Cleaned Pack

After cleaning and reassembling your pack, it’s important to store it properly to maintain its condition and extend its lifespan. Here are some tips for storing your cleaned pack:

  1. Choose a cool, dry, and well-ventilated storage area. Avoid storing your pack in areas prone to high humidity or extreme temperatures, as these conditions can promote the growth of mold and mildew.
  2. Before storing, ensure your pack is completely dry. Even a small amount of moisture left inside the pack can lead to unpleasant odors or damage to the materials over time.
  3. Consider using a storage bag or cover to protect your pack from dust and potential damage. A breathable fabric cover or pillowcase is a good option, as it allows air to circulate and prevents moisture buildup.
  4. Avoid excessive compression of your pack when in storage. Over time, prolonged compression can affect the integrity and shape of the pack. Fill empty spaces in your pack, such as pockets or compartments, with soft items like clothing or towels to help maintain its shape.
  5. Periodically check on your stored pack to ensure there are no signs of moisture, pests, or any other issues. If you notice any problems, address them promptly to prevent any damage.

It’s also important to note that if you plan on storing your pack for an extended period of time without use, it’s recommended to periodically inspect and air it out to prevent any potential issues from developing.


By following these guidelines and storing your cleaned pack properly, you’ll ensure that it remains in excellent condition and ready for your next adventure.



Keeping your pack clean and well-maintained is an essential part of owning outdoor gear. By following this step-by-step guide on cleaning your pack with Alps Mountaineering, you can ensure that your pack remains in peak condition for many adventures to come.


Remember to gather all the necessary supplies, empty your pack completely, and remove any detachable components before cleaning. Inspect and clean these components separately to maintain their functionality and longevity. Take the time to clean the main pack body, treating any stains and odors that may have accumulated over time.


Properly drying your pack is crucial to prevent mold and mildew, while reassembling it correctly ensures a comfortable and secure fit. Lastly, store your cleaned pack in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated space, taking precautions to prevent any damage or moisture buildup.


By following these steps and incorporating proper pack maintenance into your outdoor routine, you’ll not only prolong the lifespan of your pack but also ensure that it is always ready for your next adventure. Take care of your pack, and it will take care of you!