Fishing is fun, but let’s face it – cleaning afterward usually isn’t, especially if you don’t know how to do it properly. There are numerous little details that you’re probably missing on, and we’re here today to help you learn how to clean your fishing backpack most efficiently.
How to clean a fishing backpack?
In order to thoroughly and properly clean a backpack, you need to know how to approach its every part the right way.
The interior should be cleaned in a different manner in comparison to the exterior, you should pay close attention when cleaning the zippers, and you need to learn what types of cleaning solutions and accessories are useful, which are not, and which are actually even ‘harmful’ to the long-term durability of your backpack.
General Tips on Cleaning a Backpack
Before you get started, it won’t hurt to pay a bit more attention to some ‘beginner’ tips that even experienced fishermen sometimes overlook:
- Fishing backpacks should never be washed in any kind of washing machines or dryers; these machines can seriously damage the material and render your backpack utterly useless; apart from that, the machines themselves might get damaged as well
- When cleaning your backpack thoroughly, never apply too much force. Most parts of a backpack are rather delicate, and in certain cases, heavy scrubbing will ‘peel off’ protective layers
- Lukewarm water works best. Hot water can damage the material while cold water is slightly less effective, which often leads people to resort to scrubbing even when it’s not needed
- When leaving your backpack to dry, don’t expose directly to the sunlight. Ultraviolet light can easily degrade almost any kind of material
- Zippers need regular maintenance. Sand, dust, as well as small particles of dirt can easily infiltrate them
Heavy vs light cleaning
It’s important to differentiate heavy and light cleaning; better said, ‘light’ cleaning represents basic maintenance of your gear while heavy cleaning relates to deep scrubbing of the most persistent stains.
Each process is different, so let’s break them down:
Light cleaning should be performed quite often, at least once per week. The idea is that you maintain your fishing backpack in a functional condition, countering the ‘tooth of time’ while you’re at it.
You’ll do simple check-ups and only graze the surface, so the frequency of this maintenance process type is ‘compensated’ with simplicity.
Light cleaning includes:
- Emptying all the pockets. You shouldn’t only ensure that the items are pulled out from the pockets, but you should also shake it a bit to get the largest chunks of dirt out, as this will significantly reduce the amount of effort you need to put in deep cleaning.
- Clear the surface with a damp sponge. You don’t need to use any kind of cleaning solution; the only important thing is that you cover as many surface areas as you can.
- If you notice any visible stains, lightly scrub them. If the matter is dire, you’ll need to deeply clean the backpack, but if the stains are fresh and small, a small damp sponge will do the trick. In this particular case, you can apply a bit of soap or bleach-free detergent.
- Dry your backpack indoors. Again, you don’t want your backpack exposed to ultraviolet light.
Most people only perform light cleaning after every fishing trip. By that time, your backpack will be filled with so much dust and dirt that you won’t be able to ‘brush it off’ as easy.
In case your backpack has plenty of dirt embedded deep into its seams, or if the stains are too persistent, you might need to do some deep cleaning. It’s different from light cleaning in the sense that you will have to:
- Vacuum the seams and every nook and cranny inside your backpack’s pockets. There is just no way of pulling out all the dirt aside from using a vacuum cleaner.
- If any parts of your backpack are removable, detach them and clean them individually with a bit of soap and a damp sponge. Since most fishing backpacks are waterproof, you can easily rinse the parts under tap water.
- Make sure to remove any materials or pieces that are prone to rust, especially parts made of metal.
- You should prepare your backpack for a thorough cleaning by filling any container that is large enough to accommodate it with mildly warm water and some soap/detergent. A bathtub could do the trick, especially if you’ve chosen to perform the process indoors.
- Submerge the backpack and sponge every spot while paying attention not to apply too much pressure. With a bit of patience, you will see the process through.
This process is meant to clean the entire backpack rather than just clean the shell. It would be wise to repeat this process every month or so before the dirt actually builds up as much.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get rid of the smell?
Hand-washing and air-drying is the best course of action. The ‘fish’ smell is typically strong, but what makes the odor linger is the combination of fish scales and ‘fish’ water.
Deeply cleaning the backpack, submerging it, and letting it dry on its own will take out the foul odor in the shortest time possible.
Why should I not use bleach to clean my backpack?
Simply put, bleach is one of the most aggressive cleaning tools aside from undiluted alcohol, and it will burn through nylon and denier materials like a knife cuts through butter.
Certain models are built in such a way that they are resistant to bleach and similar cleaning agents; this means that you should carefully read the instructions manual provided with your backpack to figure out which types of cleaning solutions are best-suited for your particular backpack.
My backpack is getting stiff, what can I do to remedy the situation?
It is highly likely that your backpack isn’t really ‘waterproof’. There are numerous waterproof ratings (typically expressed in IP-xx), and some are water-resistant while some are completely water-proof.
The difference is that water-resistant models can’t be submerged in water for long, which would cause certain parts to become hard and stiff.