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Idle time? Inventory and refresh your outdoors gear

Last updated on April 28th, 2020 at 06:44 pm

“Oh yea, I need to replace that.”

Now’s a good time to inventory your outdoors gear to see what needs to be repaired or replaced. 

Replace broken or aging gear. Seal those tent seams. Restock basic RV supplies. Add new gear you’ve long wanted to buy.

Take inventory and build your shopping list.

Support your local outfitter, bike shop, bait and tackle, kayak and canoe dealer, but that may not be possible with local businesses shut down.

Bike shops are considered “essential services” by order of Florida’s governor, so your local shop is likely open and anxious for your business.

Have you brought your bicycle into your local shop for its annual maintenance check? Now’s the time.

Make a phone call to see if you can pick up the parts or gear you need. In the alternative, we provide links below for selected online retailers.

Whether shopping locally or online, we hope you find this checklist helpful. 

Publisher’s Note: We, too, are a small, Florida-based business. If you make a purchase through links on this page, we may receive a modest commission. Thank you! 🙂

Here are some ideas, divided into activity categories:

Also see: Outdoor Escapes: Stay Socially Distant

Tent Camping

Remember that last camping trip when you told yourself you should seal the seams on your tent? Now’s the time to buy inexpensive seam sealer.

Thermacell Camping Lantern

Thermacell Camping Lantern & Mosquito Repeller

Check your tent poles and stakes for wear and tear, test your lanterns to see if you need the latest generation of Coleman premium lantern fuel, batteries and mantles. While you’re at it, wire-brush the rust and touch up with paint.

Did you wish you had sand stakes on your last camping trip? Or perhaps you just need extra stakes in your gear box.

With summer coming in Florida, you should stock up mosquito repellent, such as a Thermacell camping lantern, which creates a mosquito-free zone for a 15-foot radius. This lantern really works, and it doesn’t contain DEET. I have three Thermacell lanterns for camping and for my home patio.

Friends also suggest permethrin spray for your clothing, and I’ve also found that DEET-free Natrapel Insect Repellent Wipes to be convenient, safe and effective. 

Best online stores for tent camping: Gander Outdoors, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Amazon.

RV Camping 

Most RVers have a checklist of supplies that need to be replenished: Rapid dissolving toilet tissue, disposable sanitation gloves, holding tank treatments and deodorizers and in-line water filters, which should be replaced annually.

You may also need restock WD-40, aluminum window lubricant, disinfectant spray, spray cleaners.

This may also a good time to replace your drinking-water hoses and the water pressure regulator that you left at the campground.

How about those sewer hoses and couplings? Did you ever buy that reverse-flow back-flush attachment? How about a sidewinder hose support? I’m constantly losing my bumper end caps, but this time I went for a magnetic bumper end cap.

Is your RV protected against campground power surges? When I hook up, I plug a 30-amp circuit analyzer with surge protector into the electric supply box before connecting my power cord. For testing outlets, I purchased inexpensive GFCI outlet tester. It tests GFI Outlets and standard outlets that are wired in series with GFCI outlets (multiple outlets in kitchen or bath).

Best online stores for RVers: Amazon,, Camping World


Columbia Bora Bora II Sun Hat

Key pieces of gear are your trekking poles. water bottles, day packs and sun hats, and don’t forget mosquito repellent for hiking in Florida.

For trekking poles, you can spend a little or a lot. For casual hikers, we recommend the reasonably priced Cascade Mountain Tech aluminum and adjustable Trekking Poles, only $25 on Amazon. I got mine for the same price at Dick’s Sporting Goods, where you can order online and pick up at the store.

Water bottles are essential for hiking, and Wirecutter, the New York Times’ consumer test site, rates the Takeya Actives Insulated Water Bottle as No. 1 pick. You can buy the 22 oz. size with an easy-access spout lid in 24 colors at Amazon for $32

Our pick for a not-so-dorky sun hat is the Columbia Unisex Bora Bora II Booney Hat made of moisture-wicking fabric with 50 UPF sun protection. 

Ex-Officio Bugs Away Hoody

Ex-Officio Women’s Bugs Away Hoody

For socks, I personally recommend (and wear) Darn Tough Light Hiker Light Cushion Socks for Men  and for Women, made of breathable merino wool (43%) at a family-owned factory in Vermont. 

We are real fans of apparel treated with permethrin, a mosquito repellent that is not absorbed into the body. You can also buy clothing that is pre-treated, such as this Ex-Officio Bugs Away Tarka Long-sleeve Shirt for Men or the Ex-Officio Women’s Bugs Away Lumen Hoody.

Other online options for hikers: Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander Outdoors. and – ACK


Bicycle shops are considered an essential service under state coronavirus guidelines!

Your local bike shop is your best resource for maintenance. I take my trusty Raleigh into my neighborhood shop once a year. (I bought it there, as well.) I wouldn’t even consider touching it myself. Those guys are the pros, and they are open!

Check your garage for chain lubricant. I recommend Finish Line Dry Teflon Chain Lube, available on Amazon for $9. Most bike shops also carry it.  

A biodegradable cleaner, such as Finish Line Bike Wash, is a simple and inexpensive spray on, wipe off or hose off.

Co-publisher Bonnie Gross recommends tube repair sealant ($7.99) especially after an experience on the Florida Keys Heritage Trail. Bonnie and her husband experienced two flat tires! Don’t get caught without it. 

For a wide selection bicycle accessories online, visit Dick’s Sporting Goods. or Amazon’s Cycling Shop

Kayaking and Canoeing

KreekCooler Floating Cooler

We own two kayaks, a 12-foot Hobie sit-on-top and a 9.5-foot Perception sit-inside. We use them enough to know when we have to replace worn gear, but it still doesn’t hurt to take a closer look at what you’ve got and what you need.

Don’t forget what you want! For example, I want an interchangeable deck mount for camera or fishing rod, so I’ve got my eyes on the Scotty Rod Holder Side or Deck Mount ($9), which will accept the Scotty Camera Mount ($20) and the Scotty Power Lock Rod Holder ($18)

I’m a bit particular about dry bags. Sea To Summit are the best, and they range in price from $24 to $55, depending on size. 

Probably the most useful kayak accessory I own is the Seattle Sports Sherpak Load Assistant ($40), which I stick on the windshield of my pickup truck with suction cups to load my Hobie kayak onto the roof rack.

And there are always things that you never thought you needed — until now! How about this CreekKooler Floating Cooler from Austin Canoe and Kayak.

In fact, the best selection of kayak and canoe toys found anywhere is – ACK

Diving and Snorkeling

Scuba divers are meticulous about their gear, so I won’t pretend to give them advice. And really, there’s no better place to shop for replacement gear than your local dive shop. If you’re looking for an online store, try Divers Direct. You may also find that your local dive shop will provide a pick-up service. Give them a call.

Snorkeling is more in our wheelhouse.

Examine your entire family’s masks, fins, snorkels and apparel for wear and tear. A good place to look for replacements, or at least start looking, is the snorkeling gear store at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

For diving and snorkeling apparel, shop the O’Neill Store on Amazon.


Fishing line should be replaced once a year, depending on usage. But even with light usage, line dries out and cracks. Buy a spool of Ande monofilament, my personal favorite for saltwater and fresh.

Broken reel? If you’re like me, you have a drawer full. Pull out your best reels, do a little research online on repairing them and buy the parts you need online. Most manufacturers will have a parts list for your reel. Here is the link for Penn Reels.

Maybe now’s the time to treat yourself to a new rod, or replace the bass rod that’s showing its age. Check out the excellent selection of fishing gear at Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Refresh your artificial lure selection with new flies from Orvis.

Other options for fishing gear: Gander Outdoors. 

One more thing

Apple Watch Running Mode

Activity Mode

I never wore a watch before I was gifted my Apple Watch, and now I can’t take it off.

The $199 entry-level Series 3 watch has GPS, which tracks outdoor and indoor activity, from hiking and paddling, bicycling, jogging and golf, to indoor walks, stationary cycling and the treadmill, counting calorie burn, heart rate, distance, all the while pumping music through your wireless earbuds.

An ideal gift for Mothers Day (May 10) or Fathers Day (June 21)

If you sit too long, the watch alerts you to get up and walk around for a few minutes. A couple of times a day it reminds you to take a deep breath to relieve stress.

Time and weather

Time and weather

An added benefit, the Apple Watch tells time! Alerts you to e-mail, breaking news and weather, text messages. 🙂

Now some might say that’s too much activity on your wrist, but trust me, you will become addicted.

The price has never been better for the entry-level Series 3 model, which has no shortage of cool features for under $200. Check it out on Amazon for $189

My nephew the kite-boarder has the cellular model, which enables him to answer his phone while flying around off-shore, his phone being back on the beach. Does that sound like overkill? Kite-boarding is his business; his cellular watch is his lifeline to customers. Buy the GPS and cellular model for $299.


A note from the editor:

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm details when planning your trip by following the links in this article.

This article is the property of and is protected by U.S. Copyright Law. Re-publication without written permission is against the law.

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David K.

Wednesday 8th of April 2020

Great, informative post! Stay safe.

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