Maybe you feel the need for a good hike. You look to the space where you keep your beloved backpack. Sweat stains and grime have reached an unacceptable level and you realize the day has arrived to give the backpack a good cleaning.
If you look online for tips, you’ll find a myriad of different solutions. Some sources say not to submerge the pack; others recommend the washing machine—once you’ve removed the frame. Some say dry it in the shade; others recommend the natural cleaning/freshening power of the sun. This seems confusing at first until you identify the type of backpack they’re cleaning. We’re happy to teach you how to wash your TETON Sports backpack and offer suggestions for any other brand you may already have on hand.
TETON makes aluminum frame backpacks, and this is nice for a number of reasons. Foremost, the aluminum is lighter than the steel framed equivalent. Also, when you want to wash your bag, you can wash the whole bag at once since aluminum won’t rust.
The best way to clean your TETON Sports backpack is to fill a bath tub with warm water and add some mild detergent—but only a little bit. Agitate by hand. Your hand agitation coupled with the soap will clean the backpack. Avoid pushing the water into the foam directly—a full soak can damage your foam. Then for drying, hang it up in an open area, preferably outside in the sun.
For the really dirty spots, a plastic mesh brush or toothbrush (for hard to reach areas) will help getting those areas clean.
Do not put your pack in the washing machine.
For steel framed backpacks: You should pull out the frame or stays to ensure that the steel doesn't rust after washing. After the frame is removed, the steps are the same as listed above. If you know your bag is made of steel and are concerned about removing (or cannot remove) the stays, then the plastic mesh brush is your best option. You want to avoid wetting the steel.
The whole process is best to put off until your bag has gotten pretty grimy, especially if your bag is coated with waterproofing—cleaning will eventually remove this layer. At TETON, we also offer a rainfly for your bag that is removable and water-resistant.