The Gear Doctor – April 2015


Spring has sprung!  Time to get out the tents, sleeping bags, stoves, lanterns and sleeping pads and check them after their seasons in storage.


Set up your tent and inspect for tears, mildew and zipper pull function.  If tent is torn, you can try stitching the tear yourself with nylon thread.  If it has a small hole, you can use “K-Tape”, readily available at the local REI store or on Amazon.  REI also has a repair service for rips and tears, but the turnaround time can be as long as 6 weeks.  Give yourself plenty of time for the repair to be finished in time for your trip.  If tent has mildew or mold, take a cup of Borax and add to a 5 gallon bucket of water.  Set up the tent and wipe it completely down with a washcloth soaked in the Borax/water solution and rinse thoroughly.  Allow to dry standing up.  Vinegar works better, but can leave a residual smell, so use what you prefer.  Check all zippers to see that they function properly.  Zipper tape can be lubed with dry graphite or Tri-Flo lube, found in bicycle shops.  Lube inside each zipper pull for easy sliding.


Take out of storage bag and lay flat overnight.  Check for tears and smells.  If you notice holes or tears, you can use K-Tape to stick over either one.  If sleeping bag smells, wash in a front loader or top loader with no agitator, using a mild detergent on LOW cycle.  Tumble dry on LOW in dryer.  For synthetic bags, one cycle should be sufficient.  For down bags, you’ll want to place 3 sets of balled up socks inside the dryer with the bag, and fluff the bag after each cycle has finished.  Place back inside the dryer for further cycles until down has lofted, and bag is completely dry.


Check O-rings on gas valves, and lube with suitable grease, such as silicone.  Attach a fuel bottle and test the flame starter.  If there is a clog in the line, you may need to replace the tube or valve.  Replace mantles on lanterns and burn them according to directions, so the lantern is ready for use upon arrival at your campsite.


Check for leaks/holes and patch any with appropriate patches and Seam-Seal.  Allow patches to cure and dry for 24 hrs before rolling up and storing in sack.  If there is evidence of mildew, follow directions with Borax as per tent cleaning.

Starting your trip with repaired/checked gear will ensure a positive, memorable experience!  There’s nothing worse than getting to your campsite with gear that doesn’t function.  And there’s nothing better than being outdoors in a clean, dry tent and getting a good night’s sleep in a clean sleeping bag.


—the Gear Doctor

We are very pleased to have Anita Hudson Easton back on our writing staff as author of our monthly Gear Doctor.  Anita is a 30 year veteran of the Outdoor Industry and is an expert in the design, manufacturing, care and maintenance of outdoor gear!

The Gear Doctor For December 2014

Cold Weather Camping Gear Tips

There is something special about winter camping. Whether it’s the hush of a snow-covered world or the glint of sunlight reflecting off icicles, winter camping shows you things you could never see in any other season. In the winter you can see farther through the woods without leaves to block out the light, you can step onto frozen waterways, and spot winter migrant birds looking for seeds on the white-packed ground. The air often feels cleaner in winter, and cold nights make for better star viewing opportunities.
The best way to enjoy these rare experiences is to go camping! Below you’ll find a few suggestions for making your all-season camping trip more pleasurable, along with safety tips and techniques. So read on, then head out into the snows for a winter day of frolicking fun.
Before you get started, be sure to check the weather report. Dramatic winter storms can be dangerous with the threat of blizzards, ice storms, freezing rain, and avalanches. Get your trip off to a good start by planning to go when the weather is calm and, ideally, clear. If you’ll be driving to your campsite, consider putting on snow tires or carrying tire chains.
Next, turn your attention to packing your clothes. If you’ll be camping in snow, it’s important that your outer-most layer be something water and wind resistant. Waterproof jackets and pants are best because they wick moisture away (and it’s moisture that will do the most harm while winter camping, keeping you from warming up). Alternatives include waterproof windbreakers for the outer layer and snow pants or baggy wool pants for the inner layers.
Below this top layer, be sure to dress in layers of wool and synthetic fibers. As your body warms up, it gives off warmth that heats the air around the skin. If you’re wearing layers, this warm air gets trapped next to your body, keeping your skin warm. More layers create more pockets in which warm air can be trapped, so you can stay nice and toasty during your walk through the woods.
Dampness, however, is the enemy in your effort to get and stay warm in winter. Once you start to sweat, the moisture cools your body down. If you’re wearing wicking layers next to the skin, like polypropelene or wool, the moisture will be carried away from your skin and will, ideally, evaporate in the air. If your upper-most layer is too waterproof, the moisture will have trouble escaping. If that’s your situation, then be sure to travel with extra dry layers, so you can change your undershirt when it gets damp. If you’re hiking, it’s best to change your under-most layer whenever you stop for a long break.
Ground cover is also important during winter camping. Damp ground and rocks (even dry ones) can sap your heat away, so carry a piece of waterproof foam pad or other layered pad for enjoying picnics outside. Tent campers will also want to store their water bottles inside the tent, and possibly even inside someone’s sleeping bag, to keep the water from freezing completely at night.
Once you’re well-dressed, with water-proof footgear on your feet, you’re ready to tackle the wintry world. Put a wool hat on your head to preserve your heat, then head for the trail! And remember to bring lip balm, sun glasses, and sun screen (yes, even in December) with you on your all-weather adventure.

The PahaQue Gear Doctor April 2014

Now that we’ve shared tips for tending to the needs of your sleeping bag and tent in previous newsletters, it’s time to turn your attention to the rest of your gear. Granted, it’s a drag to come back from a camping trip exhausted and have to immediately clean and sort through all your stuff, but well-maintained equipment will reward you with years and years of active duty. When you have a three-day weekend on the way, there’s no better feeling than having all your camping stuff in one place, clean and ready to go. Keep your stove, lanterns and other gear ready to go with these tips:

• First, make sure everything is off. Camp stove, flashlights, headlamps, GPS—anything you have with a shut-off switch should be shut off. You should also remove the fuel from your stove and batteries from electronics if your gear is going into long-term storage.

• Dry all your stuff completely, and if it doesn’t already have a protective case, store in a sealed plastic bag. Your camp stove won’t turn into a Gremlin if it gets wet, but the likelihood of corrosion or rust will be reduced if you can store it as dry as possible.

Cooking Stove
• Clean your camp stove and utensils thoroughly with warm water and soap. Make sure to get all food residue off the inside and outside of the stove, or you could have an ant party on your hands.

• Store your cooking stove fuel in a cool, dry location where it won’t be tormented by extreme heat or cold.

Sleeping Pad
• Store a self-inflating sleeping pad loose, not rolled up. This will keep it well-aired and springy.

• Give your hiking pack a thorough cleaning when you have some downtime between outings. Use a vacuum on the inside of your pack, and then wipe down the outside with a damp cloth and mild soap or chemical-free detergent. Hose it off with cold water until no soap remains, and hang-dry your pack upside down in a shady or well-ventilated spot out of the sun.

• Don’t use a washing machine on your pack unless you’re faced with a global mildew crisis and have no other options. If you absolutely insist on using modern technology, wash on delicate in cold water with a chemical-free detergent. Don’t use a dryer—hang upside down to dry for a few days with a fan nearby.

Well maintained and properly stored gear will ensure years of reliable service.  From tents to hiking boots, taking the time now will make sure future trips are not plagued by gear problems.


It’s been awhile

since I lasted posted anything, so I thought I would take a moment to share what is new at PahaQue these days.  Let me start by asking if you’ve ever had one of those days were you start work, look up at the clock, and it’s already 5pm and time to go home?  (In our case it’s usually closer to 7pm….)  That is pretty much how is has been around here since around mid-April. 

Ever since returning from our Spring Desert Guided Tour in April, its been foot on the gas and take no prisoners!  I have always said that in this business we are the same as farmers – business is seasonal, and total dependant upon the weather.  And as everyone knows, it has been a crazy, and oftentimes scary year around the country.  But despite facing hurdles just as every business does – especially these days – we have been quite busy and it has been an exciting year for us.

Working in partnership with Green Supply in Vandalia, Missouri, we have eliminated the inventory issues that plagued us over the past few years, we have expanded our product line to now include mid-price family models, and super-lightweight backpacking tents, and we have totally revamped our website to include the most current photos, specs, dealer listings and more!    

We are excited about the upcoming September issue of Camping Life Magazine which will feature a story about our Spring Guided Tour and the joys of backcountry desert camping.  We look forward to this trip each year with much anticipation, and we hope you will consider joining us next year.  This year we had folks from as far away as Michigan, Las Vegas, Tucson and Phoenix join us, and we all had a great time exploring old mines and mining roads, hiking on the desert and enjoying the awesome sunsets and desert night sky.  We will be announcing our plans for next years trip over the next few months.

We are currently preparing for the annual Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, where the entire outdoor industry comes together to buy and sell, and show off the new products that will appear on the shelves in 2012.  It should be an exciting show.  The industry overall has been down the past few years, but 2011 has been a year of improvement and growth so the mood should be positive at the show as we all look towards 2012.  We really enjoy the face time with our dealers, and the chance to meet new folks and see what new innovative products are being developed.

Here at PahaQue, we are proud that our products continue to be well-liked by our customers and dealers alike, and that through hard work and dedication we have ‘weathered the storm’ that has affected so many of us over the past few years.  We have never had to sacrifice quality or our reputation, and can say that we are as dedicated as ever to providing you with the very best camping tents and shelters, and to stand behind our products with rock-solid customer service. 

If you haven’t already checked out our YouTube page, you can do so by clicking the link on our home page.  You will find helpful set-up videos, demonstration videos, and even a few attempts at humor.  Also check out our Facebook page – if you become a “Fan” you will receive occasional sales offers, contest notices, gear giveaways and more.  Visit our home page for these and other helpful links, as well as a complete look at what is new at PahaQue this year!

So until next springs Desert Camping Tour, I will have to settle for 2 and 3 nighters in the local deserts and mountains, where even a brief trip is a welcome break from our busy in-season schedule.  And when we’re not camping, we’ll be making hay!

Hope to see you around the campfire sometime soon!

Winter Camping

There are many brave souls among us that enjoy winter camping.  As a Boy Scout I spent many cold, snowy nights in a floor-less tent, with only a plastic sheet and a pile of pine needles between me and the cold hard ground.  I remember well the stillness of those cold nights, the roaring fires, and the feeling that somehow we were sharing an experience that few would dare to try.  And that even fewer could survive if they did try.  Certainly there were some kids who didn’t make it, and who probably never camped again even in summer.  It was like learning to ski in a pair of blue jeans.  Your first time out, you’re gonna spend a lot of time on your butt, your pants are gonna get wet, and you will end up feeling cold and miserable.  Chances are you won’t be back for more.  Same with camping – the right equipment makes all the difference, especially for beginners.  One wet night in a leaky tent is usually enough to turn all but the more dedicated lifetime campers away.  And nothing tests your gear more than camping in winter.   Most gear will work well on a warm summer day, but will it perform just as well in sub-freezing temperatures?  When covered with snow or when damp?  Stoves, tents, lanterns are all susceptible to cold or moisture, some more than others.

What is your favorite piece of foul-weather camping equipment?