How Do You Clean a Smelly Backpacking Pack?

By Alice Nichols

Backpacks are an essential piece of gear for any avid hiker or backpacker, but they can quickly become smelly over time. Whether it’s the smell of sweat, dirt, or bacteria, a foul-smelling backpack can quickly ruin your outdoor experience. Fortunately, there are several simple steps that you can take to clean a smelly backpacking pack and restore it to its original condition.

Step One: Remove all items from the backpack and shake out any excess dirt or debris. This will help loosen up any caked-on dirt so it can be more easily removed later.

Step Two: Use a damp cloth and some mild detergent to wipe down the exterior of the backpack. If you have stubborn stains or smells that won’t come out with a cloth, you may need to use a brush with some soap on it. Be sure to rinse off the detergent afterward.

Step Three: Clean the interior of your pack too by using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. This will help remove any debris that may have made its way inside and help freshen up the smell.

Step Four: Hang your pack in direct sunlight for at least one day. The sun will help kill off any remaining bacteria and neutralize bad odors.

Cleaning a smelly backpacking pack is easy if you follow these steps. By removing all items from the bag, wiping down both the exterior and interior with mild detergent and water, vacuuming out debris from the inside, and then hanging it in direct sunlight for at least one day, you should be able to get rid of any bad odors and restore your pack to its original condition.