You can spend thousands for the top-of-the-line, best tactical equipment in the world, but if you aren't maintaining your it properly, then you're going to find your gear wearing out and needing replacement more frequently, making your hard-earned investment null and potentially failing you just when you need it most. No matter how mil-spec your gear is, you need to take care of it. There is a reason that one of the first lessons you are taught in military training is how to care for your gear; take care of it, and it will take care of you.
When it comes to maintaining your tactical gear, here are some general quick-tips to keep your equipment performing and lasting longer.
- Burn your loose threads. When you use fabric-constructed tactical products, there'll always be a loose thread or two. The best way to solve this is to burn a thread to shorten it and create a stop from further loosening.
- Clean your Velcro. Make sure each Velcro pad on your equipment is clear and clean for proper functionality. It doesn't take much to loosen a Velcro grip, and unless you want to see your clips or cell phone flying, a little maintenance is in order. A comb and a few moments are all it'll take to clean out both the hook and loop sides.
- Remove mud, dust, dirt spots, and stains. This isn't about appearance; it's about longevity. When your gear begins to fall into disrepair, it's not going to perform as well or for as long. If your gear has dirt or dried mud on it, a soft bristle brush usually is all that's needed to remove it. For tougher grime and stains, try washing with a rag soaked in a mixture of water and technical fiber soap or soap that is recommended for that particular piece of gear.
When it's time to wash shirts, pants, jackets, gloves, socks, layers, and so on, you'll want to pay close attention to what temperature you choose. If your gear still has a tag, follow the instructions—otherwise, always wash in cold or warm water. Washing with hot water will have the colors and patterns fade out within a year or even quicker and, in some cases, can adversely affect the fabric's usefulness.Products to consider using:
- If you're washing technical fibers, it's always recommended only to use a washing detergent formulated explicitly for technical fibers. Using any harsh chemicals or household products could destroy fibers, making you lose your clothing functionality.
- Watch the cycle rate when in a washing machine. Use a lower cycle.
- Use an extra spin to get as much moisture out of your tactical clothing as possible because you should avoid the dryer and let your tactical clothing air dry. Skip the iron, too, if you can.
- If your tactical clothing had a waterproof function, remember to re-apply for that waterproof layer according to the instructions, or it will fail you just when you need it most.
- When it comes to tactical gear like bags, load carriage, pouches, or belts, skip the washing machine entirely and hand wash and remember to use specially formulated washing products made for tactical fibers.
As the saying goes, take care of your gear, and your gear will take care of you!