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How to Prevent Smelly Gear

Q. I’m going to the 2017 National Jamboree. What is the best way to prevent my gear from getting smelly as I use it?
— Kyle, Madison, Wisconsin

A. The climate in West Virginia often brings afternoon showers, so it’s a great idea to be prepared for soggy gear. The best way to keep things like your sleeping bag, clothing and footwear from smelling is to keep these items dry. This can be tricky in a humid environment, but you can do it by hanging up used clothing, letting your sleeping bag air out in the sun, opening your tent door to the breeze and placing crumpled-up newspaper in your soggy shoes.

Another good idea for staying stink-free is to wear synthetic fabrics that dry quickly and do not retain odors. Brands like Icebreaker and Patagonia make T-shirts, underwear and socks using synthetics and Merino-wool blends.

You can also fight the stench by simply rinsing out your clothes with a drop of laundry detergent and a tablespoon of white vinegar. I’ve even used the handy Scrubba Wash Bag ($55, thescrubba.com) at camp. But at the end of the day, this Gear Guy thinks a little stink is a sign you’re enjoying the Jamboree to the fullest.


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