man cleaning hunting backpack

Get Your Pack Back to Clean and Fresh

man cleaning hunting backpack

Have you ever looked at your pack? I mean, really looked at it?

If you have, then you’ve probably noticed… It’s freaking filthy.

Hey, we get it. It happens. Your pack is there for you in rain, snow, mud, blood, (beer) and every other possible goo you can find in the outdoors. And that doesn’t even take into account the stuff we… well… stuff into it.

Or are we the only ones who accidentally left a bunch of Jolly Ranchers and Slim Jims in our bags for two solid years?

(Don’t knock it. It’s called a Jolly Jim and they are fantastic.) 

Just because it got dirty, doesn’t mean it has to stay dirty. Here’s a couple of easy guidelines on cleaning your packs.


OK, we admit, it’s weird starting off with a list of things not to do, but there are a few big no-nos we want to shut down right off the bat.

Do not… Ever… EVER… Put your pack in a washing machine or dryer. Just don’t. Seriously, don’t.

Make sure any soap you use in the following steps is unscented. It should go without saying, but all that scent-masking spray and ozone systems kind of go out the window when you wash your pack in Summer Lilac and Lilly detergent.


If you’ve gotten to this task soon enough, you may just need a light wipe down.

Step one, empty the pack. Totally. Check every pocket 100%, even that one you keep forgetting is there. 

Step two, get your KC and the Sunshine Band on and shake, shake, shake… shake, shake, shake… Shake that pack out.

Step three, fire up the vacuum and make sure all the lint fuzzies, sand, powder and that last Jolly Rancher are gone. 

Step four, get some warm water, unscented soap and a cloth. Dip, wring, wipe, and repeat until clean. 

Now, open that pack up and let it air dry. You may have to move it around a bit to make sure every pocket gets a chance to dry fully.


OK, so it’s been a while since you gave your pack some love. Now’s the time to make up for it with a deep clean.

Step one through three are the same as above, but from there it gets wet.

Step four, fill the tub or large sink with enough water to submerge the pack. Make it warm, not hot, and get it bubbly with some mild, unscented soap. If your pack has a removable frame, remove it.

Step five, dunk that pack and swish it all about. Use a cloth to hit the really bad spots and where the pack contacts skin (eyyyeeeewwwww). 

Step six, drain that nasty soup, refill with clean, cool water and repeat the dunk and swish. Repeat again if needed to get all the soap out.

And back to the air-drying step mentioned above.


There comes a time when drastic measures are needed. When a mild bubble bath just won’t cut it. Not alone, anyway.

Maybe you got home from that elk hunt and were so excited you forgot about the puddle of organic material that soaked in on the pack out. Maybe the cap on that bottle of doe urine wasn’t on as well as you thought. Maybe a flock of pigeons took up residence when it was stored in the garage. 

No matter how it got just dag-nasty, it needs addressed.

Step one, get a pocketful of quarters.

Step two, head for the local DIY carwash.

Step three, hang your pack, wide open, on the clips meant for car and truck mats. 

Step four, insert quarters, grab the pressure gun and blast that nastiness right out.

(NOTE: Do not use the soap at the carwash, it’s full of fragrance. Only use the high-pressure rinse setting, and always blast a few seconds worth of water away from your pack to make sure the lines are clear of any soap residue.)

Step five, wash, rinse and shake out the excess. Now you can take your pack home and give it a proper warm-water bath.

And for the love of Robert Ruark, whatever you do… Don’t take your pack through the automated car wash. Sure, those big brushes look soft, but they will smack you into next week, the soap always gets in your eyes, and the attendants are never amused.

So we’ve been told. Not that we’ve, uh, ever tried that or anything.

Finally, let’s take a moment and talk about the unsung hero of the pack: The zipper.

This little guy may be the butt of jokes in There’s Something About Mary, but this workhorse is all that separates the contents of your pack and the ground below.

Dust and dirt are a zipper’s biggest enemy, so be sure to blow out any crud with some compressed air. This is a good periodic practice, but especially vital when doing a major pack clean. Once you’re done with the wash, blast all the remaining H2O and soap right outta there.

We also advise you pick up a little unscented zipper lube, and give your zippers a dose from time to time.

And don’t forget, when cleaning up your pack, keep an eye out for any other little hiccups. If you find broken zippers, boogered-up buckles or any other problems, give us a shout. Our Unconditional Lifetime Warranty is ready to get your pack (and anything else with that red skull) back to 100% condition.

One major note before sending in your pack for any warranty work, you’re going to need to clean it. One, we don’t want to handle your bloody, furry gear after it rides cross-country in a FedEx truck. That’s nasty.

But we also can’t work on packs in that condition, as it damages our machines. Help us help you. We want to make sure you have a 100% undamaged pack ready to rock this hunting season. 

Any damage to your dignity in the automatic car wash, however, is solely on you to repair.