Travel Backpack Maintenance: Keeping Your Bag in Top Shape

A good and reliable backpack is every traveler’s best friend. If you keep good care of your luggage, it can last you for years, just enough so that you stop even thinking about it. You will simply grab it ahead of your trip, pack some necessities, and you’ll be ready to hit the road.

However, anything can happen to a backpack during a trip. Fabrics can get worn out, zippers might break, or they can become so dirty that you’ll want to stop using it altogether. That is unless you actually take good care of it. By doing the basic maintenance, you should always remain ready to remain on the move, and that’s the whole point of minimalism. Here’s how you can accomplish that.

Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations

Every backpack comes with a small piece of cloth sewn somewhere inside, which is a label with the tips for regular maintenance. While most people just jam their backpack in the washing machine when it gets dirty, you’d be surprised to hear that this is not always the recommended method.

The same thing can be said about a drier as well. Furthermore, most backpacks are not suited for warm water and are supposed to be washed in mild to cold water instead. In case you were wondering, it’s not to prevent your backpack from falling apart, but it’s due to the fact that warm water destroys the waterproofing film that travel luggage usually has.

Regular maintenance is the best option

Just a quick wipe-down using a damp cloth or a sponge works wonders. That is if you do it on a regular basis and do not let stains and dried dirt accumulate. It’s important to actually give some care to the inside pockets as well, as the crumbles are dirt always find their way there, causing staining over time.

If the backpack appears to be dirty even after you’ve cleaned it, try repeating the process once again, using nothing but soapy water. You might have more luck the second time around, so don’t be surprised if it goes smoothly this time. In case it doesn’t, you might need to go a different route.

Deep cleaning is still mandatory from time to time

Regular touchups could be enough for several months, but inevitably, there comes a time when you have to bring out the big guns. That can include the use of a vacuum cleaner and a big tub where you’ll be able to submerge the entire backpack underwater for an extended period of time. Naturally, be sure to take out any electronics and other essentials that you might have first.

Vacuuming is oftentimes skipped by many, but it ensures that you won’t be rubbing any sand or crumbs into your fabric when the rinsing time comes. A neat tip is also to remove as many parts as you can from your backpack. That includes the straps but also the interior pockets when possible. After draining all parts in lukewarm water, leave it there for half an hour. When taking it out, use a brush in circular moving patterns. Rinse several times until the bubbles completely stop showing and you’ll be good to go.

Avoid drying the backpack in the direct sunlight

Drying can be a slow process if your backpack is built from traditional materials, but luckily, most of the newer fabrics dry up in no time. Either way, drying in direct contact with the sunlight is not the best option. While it will get your backpack dry faster, exposure to UV light leads to damaging of the fabric which can cause tear-outs down the line.

So, place your backpack in the shade in a windy area. After just an hour or two, it should be good to go. If we’re talking about quick regular maintenance, even shorter than that. Do this once in a while and you won’t have to think about getting a new backpack for quite some time.

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