Salt, sand, dirt, algae and sweat. Dive gear, paddling gear and accessories are exposed to it all, with results ranging from super smelly neoprene, to broken-down o-rings and stuck zippers.

Without proper care and storage, you could be left with a pile of expensive gear that doesn’t perform as it should or is just unpleasant to use.

But tossing your gear is not the answer. Proper paddling gear and dive gear storage takes just a few simple steps, using M EssentialsTM care and maintenance products.

Tip #1: How to Clean a Wetsuit

Each time you dive or paddle, your wetsuit, drysuit or paddle jacket picks up all kinds of substances that can harm the neoprene fabric. If you don’t clean a wetsuit and store it properly, it can become a stinky mess.

But you’re in luck with M Essentials Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo. It’s super-concentrated, so a small amount in a bin of cold or warm water is all it takes to clean and condition your wetsuit or drysuit. You paddlers out there can also use it on your PFD, paddle jacket, booties, gloves and spray skirt.

Wetsuit and Drysuit Shampoo removes salt, chlorine, silt and algae, and contains neoprene conditioners, so your gear stays soft, flexible and looking like new.

Tip #2: Avoid Wetsuit Odors

If your neoprene items have been neglected, you’ll know it by their funky smell. So before you put them in storage, give neoprene wetsuits, drysuits, paddle tops and accessories a quick dunk in M Essentials MirazymeTM. This natural, biodegradable odor eliminator was designed to keep neoprene fresh and help it last longer. Its powerful enzymes and microbes remove plankton, bacteria, algae and other odor-causing biological residues.

Just a small amount will get the odor out for good! Mirazyme works as your wetsuit dries, so it’s fresh and ready for your next adventure.

Tip #3: BCD Care and Storage

Buoyancy compensators help keep you safe, so keep yours in optimum condition by cleaning with M Essentials BC LifeTM before storing. Just fill with fresh water, add BC Life, swish it around and drain it. Store your BCD with some air inside, to keep it from sticking to itself.

Tip #4: Protect Paddling and Dive Gear From UV Rays

M Essentials UV TechTM prolongs the life of gear by penetrating into dive fins, PFDs, kayaks, wetsuits, drysuit seals and latex gaskets. It restores gear to original condition and prevents new sun damage. Before you store it, spray it with UV Tech.

Tip #5: Refill Your First Aid and Repair Kits

Before storing them, refill your repair and first aid kits. Check bandages, antibiotic cream and jellyfish sting lotion, and stock your repair kit with Zip Tech zipper cleaner, Seal Cement and Aquaseal. You’ll also want basic tools like scissors, tweezers or a multi-purpose knife, small pliers, a wrench and screwdrivers. Add a few extra o-rings, hoses, and straps, plus safety items like position markers and a whistle or air horn, and you’ll be ready for your next dive or paddle.


10 Dos and Don’ts for Watersports Gear Storage

Once you’ve cleaned and deodorized your dive gear and paddling gear, it’s important to store it properly.

  1. Do thoroughly dry your gear before storing.
  2. Don’t dry it in direct sunlight. UV rays are harmful to neoprene and other high-performance fabrics.
  3. Do check for any needed wetsuit repairs, and fix with M Essentials Aqua Seal, the industry standard for permanent, flexible neoprene repairs.
  4. Don’t fold or roll wetsuits, and don’t store in a gear bag or bin. Creases affect fit and thermal properties.
  5. Hanging is best. But don’t use a traditional plastic or metal hanger. Hard edges leave ridges and creases.
  6. Do use the M Essentials Flex FashionTM Hanger. It’s flexible, with memory foam to cushion and grip your wetsuit so it stays put, with less stress to retain shape.
  7. Do condition o-rings on all diving and paddling gear with M Essentials Silicone Grease.
  8. Don’t store dive knives and metal clips without coating them with M Essentials Silicone SpayTM.
  9. Do clean and lubricate zippers on wetsuits, drysuits, and paddle jackets. M Essentials Zip TechTM repels dirt, salt and debris to keep zippers functioning properly.
  10. Don’t neglect the zippers on your gear bags! Use M Essentials Zip CareTM for protection that prolongs zipper life.

Properly caring for and storing dive gear and paddling gear is worth your time, because it makes it last longer and perform better. Gear that stays out of the landfill saves you money—and it’s better for the environment, too.

Originally Published: Oct 31, 2012