How to tell if it’s time to replace your old gear

Spring is finally here, bringing longer days and warmer weather along with it. Normally, that means it’s time to lace up your boots, hit your favorite trail, and enjoy a nice long hike.

But hitting the trail for that first hike of the season isn’t the only spring tradition that outdoor enthusiasts look forward to each year. For many hikers, this is a time to take last year’s hiking gear out of storage, and judging whether or not it might make it through another season.

Start by assessing the tread on your hiking boots and the condition of your rain jackets, two incredibly important parts of your kit. If the tread looks worn down, years of hiking (and sore feet) says it’s always better to get a fresh pair.

The same goes for an aging rain jacket. Some regions are soggier than others during the spring months, so it’s important to be able to rely on a rain jacket to handle its namesake. Make sure to check all seams as leaking zippers and small tears compromise its ability to keep you dry.

Even backpacks should get the fine-tooth comb treatment. If any straps are fraying or the suspension system isn’t providing the correct support, it’s time for an upgrade. You never want to be several miles into a backpacking trip and realize you’re uncomfortable and should’ve sprung for a different pack.

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