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How to clean camping chairs (and how to store them)

Mountain Warehouse Bucket Camping Chair
Sprucing your seat up is quick and easy with our guide to how to clean camping chairs (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

The value that your best camping chair adds to your adventures can barely be overestimated. Relaxing around the campfire at night in comfort with a tasty beverage in your cup holder and your favorite camping blanket on your lap is hands down the best way to recover from a day of exploring. Once you’ve experienced it you can never go back to shivering the night away on a cold, hard rock, no matter how much you love roughing it. 

When you get home from a car camping trip, happily exhausted, it’s so easy to just chuck all your gear in the garage until next time, but when next time rolls around it’s annoying and messy to have to load up a bunch of grimey gear into your car. Your camping chair is bound to pick up mud and sand if you’re having fun outdoors, never mind the odd spillage of beer and food, and giving it a regular clean makes it nicer to sit in and helps keep ants away from your campsite. Obviously, you can’t rely on your washing machine for this one, but sprucing up your seat is quick and easy with our guide to how to clean camping chairs.

Happy campers high five at a festival

Your camping chair is bound to pick up mud and sand if you’re having fun outdoors (Image credit: PeopleImages)

How to clean camping chairs 

When you get back from your camping trip, set up your camping chair in your driveway or your garage – or even your bathtub if that’s what’s available – then go and grab the following:

  • Your vacuum cleaner (hand vacuums work great here)
  • A basin of hot water
  • Dish soap
  • A cleaning brush or old toothbrush
  • A cleaning cloth or old rag

Next up, get to work with these easy steps to get your camping chair looking as good as new: 

1. Remove any caked dirt 

First, you’ll want to remove any clumps of dried mud or sand. If it’s well caked on, scrub at it with a brush first then use your vacuum cleaner to hoover it up. Make sure you get the underside of the seat, too. 

A campsite in the evening with two blue chairs and a campfire

Sprucing up your seat up helps keep ants out of your campsite  (Image credit: YinYang)

2. Scrub the chair 

Add a good squirt of dish soap to your basin of hot water and get scrubbing. If your chair is really filthy, dip the brush in the soapy water and use it to scrub the canvas of the seat and chair back. You can use a cloth on both the seat and frame if it just needs a general wipe down. 

3. Wipe it down 

Don’t leave your chair covered in soap. When you’ve finished scrubbing it, you can hose it down, or get yourself a basin of clean water and either dump it over the chair or just use a cloth and wipe the whole thing down. Most camping chairs are waterproof so there shouldn’t be any issue with soaking it. 

Dometic Forte 180

Relaxing around the campfire at night in comfort with a tasty beverage is hands down the best way to recover from a day of exploring  (Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

4. Let it dry 

To keep your camping chair in great condition and avoid rusting, don’t fold it away soaking wet. Let it sit and air dry for a couple of hours. 

5. Store it properly 

When it’s dry, fold up your camp chair properly and place it in its storage bag if it has one. Store your camping chair somewhere cool and dry, away from direct sunlight, such as in your garage, a closet or under your bed. If it’s the end of the camping season and you’re not going to be using it for a while, it is recommended to disassemble it first if possible to help prevent rusting. 

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.