Hunting Clothes Storage – How To Wash And Store Your Gear

Written By John VanDerLaan 

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When it comes to hunting clothing, there is no better way to ensure your gear is ready for the next hunt than to store it properly, but before we do that, we must devise our plan to remove odors. This article will discuss ways to store hunting clothes without damage. There are many different types of hunting clothes storage, and it is essential that you choose the right one for you and your needs.

Proper Way To Wash And Store Hunting Clothes

scent control

It's a myth that dogs have more olfactory receptors than deer. A deer's nose has 297 million olfactory receptors, whereas a dog has 220 million. Deer use their noses to scent danger, and they're not easy prey.

A deer has an olfactory epithelium that's about 14 square inches in size. Whitetails have the ability to pick up six distinct smells that they can recognize at once.  A deer's olfactory cortex is much larger than a human's, which makes it capable of detecting scents far better than we can smell ourselves.

These facts are why we invest time and research into eliminating odors from our clothes, footwear, and gear.


Using a scent-free sportsman's detergent will allow you to get the most out of your hunting clothes. It won't leave you smelling like a hunter, and you will also be able to wear your clothes without having to worry about the scent alerting game. You may not have noticed it, but there's a particular smell that is linked to each of us.

If you don't have the budget or access to these specialized odor eliminating detergents, you can use baking soda to wash your hunting apparel. Baking soda is an all-natural product and cleans and deodorizes well. 

Remove the residual scent from your machine before you wash your attire with baking soda. Pour a small amount of baking soda into the machine, then run your machine through the cycle without clothing. It may be necessary to repeat this cycle.

Adding in jackets, shirts, gloves, pantshunting bibs, rain gear, orange vests or markers, face masks, and even hunting socks and undergarments is a must when laundering out scents. You can sabotage the whole operation if you forget to wash your face mask and gloves. Those items absorb sweat. Sweat odor will reveal your position whether you are wearing camouflage or not.


Hanging Hunting Clothes To Dry

Most sportsmen use a clothesline to dry their attire. It works very well and doesn’t add a lot of toxic chemicals. It is also better to use line drying than a dryer to dry your things because it's not going to damage or shrink the material. If you wish, you can use the dryer at a lower temperature and do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets. You can purchase dryer sheets that are scent removing as well as dirt scented.


Hunting Clothes Storage

After properly cleaning and drying your items, you can store them in a scent free storage bag, a vacuum bag, or an airtight container. It helps if items are sorted by early and late season pieces. It saves time if you organize your gear in order of what it takes to get through each stage of the game (pun intended). This cuts down on exposure when opening and closing containers or odor-free bags.

Mold is the perfect example of a "hidden" enemy. Mold is found everywhere, and often times it's not noticeable, but if you look closely, you'll see it, and a deer can smell it. Make sure your storage area is climate controlled,dark and dry. Moisture absorbing products or baking soda placed near will add extra protection.

RELATED: What Is The Hunter's Most Important Item Of Clothing?

Proper Way To Wash And Store Hunting Boots

Washing Hunting Boots


Proper cleaning and storage of all hunting footwear, including boots and waders, are also a necessity. Check for damage and remove any inserts that need to be replaced. Carefully ensure your footwear is thoroughly cleaned and remove any mud, sand, or dirt. 

Many hunters overlook footwear when cleaning and storing away their gear. A well cared for pair of boots will last for years and will look good for a long time.  Remember when cleaning them not to use harsh chemicals or fragrances. When it comes to hunting boots and waders, we prefer using not just an unscented soap but a scent-eliminating soap like with hunting attire.

The best way to clean your boots is to simply put them in a bucket of warm water with a few drops of scent removing detergent and a bit of rubbing alcohol. This will help loosen the mud embedded into the leather of the boot. Then, simply wipe it off with a soft brush and let it dry out completely. This will keep the leather looking great for years to come.

Pro tip - To help avoid leaving a scent trail while traveling to and from your stand or blind, wear calf height rubber boots. This can make a colossal difference, especially when bow hunting. The air spaces in rubber boots are minute compared to leather, which causes it to be very challenging for scent molecules to permeate through them. 

RELATED: Best Barometric Pressure For Deer Hunting

Drying and Storage

Dry them thoroughly before packing them away. Some recommend sprinkling baking soda into the sole of the footwear to keep odors and moisture out. Then they are ready to store in a plastic tote, rucksack, or a scent eliminating storage bag, similar to the one that holds your apparel. Store them in a climate-controlled dry location to avoid mold, and prevent bacteria from forming.

RELATED: Best Muck Boots For Hunting

Scent Free Hunting Clothes Storage

Hunting Clothes Storage Bag

ScentCrusher Roller Bag

Carbon alloy, zeolite, Ozonics, activated charcoal, and silver lining are all examples of the different technologies available to stop odors while storing your hunting apparel. Hunters Specialties, Scent Crusher, Smelly Proof, ScentOut, ScentLoc, and Ozonics are examples of the many companies that make these miracle bags to store gear. You can find them available in about any size and for just about all budgets.

We know that hunting apparel should be stored to prevent absorbing odor, so here are some other choices. Vacuum-sealed bags come in many sizes and are an option, but some complain that these can sometimes introduce scents of their own if they use cheap plastic. If you decide to go this route, do your research as some of these are not as well made as others.

Extra-large plastic zipper bags, ruck bags, duffle bags, or similar air-tight alternatives are also available to keep your clothes ready to hunt. Bags made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET or PETE) are also odor proof. PET is a tough material constructed of transparent polymer with remarkable moisture and gas barrier attributes. Our best advice is trial and error. Experience brings knowledge. What works in your budget and climate may be different than what works in ours.

Hunting Clothes Storage Container

The Trunk from Scent Crusher

Since the introduction of plastic bins, people have been buying them to organize and store all sorts of things. Seasonal, sentimental, cleaning, maintenance, and even hobby items are packed away in them. They are reasonably cheap and conveniently available at most discount and hardware stores.

Open any garage, and nine times out of 10, there will be at least one plastic bin with a lid labeled in the corner. Most of the time, it will say Christmas on top or across the side.

Hunters are no different. We have bins for survival gear, footwear, and maybe even one for our favorite calls, flashlights, gadgets, and homemade advantages. Hunters also use them to organize their hunting clothes.

If you are really organized, they might be labeled by season or by game. Using plastic bins is an acceptable storage choice if you rinse them with warm water first. It is important to place containers in a climate controlled, cool, dry location. Also, inspect and eliminate any bins that are damaged or if the lid does not fit properly.

DIY Hunting Clothes Storage

DIY Hunting Clothes Storage

Any closet can be made into a DIY hunting clothes storage unit by simply adding an ozone unit to the closet.

Other DIY ideas include using a RubberMade Storage Shed, or an old armoire. You can dd an ozone generator, or cedar to the inside.

There are some DIY tricks when packing away your items for the season. These include adding local elements such as walnuts and pine branches. Be careful as these elements tend to die and rot.

We have also heard of those who spray their items down with their favorite scent remover before packing them away. Others use a scent removing spray only before storing them and refuse to wash their apparel properly. We do not recommend this approach. We encourage you to inspect and clean your items before packing them for the season. 

Additionally, be sure to store your hunting apparel in a cool, dry, and dark place. The last thing you want to do is pack away your hunting clothes in a damp, hot, and humid area like a garage. This can cause mildew, mold, and bacteria to grow on your clothing. This can not only increase odors but damage your clothing beyond repair, causing the need for new purchases.

For more DIY hunting clothes storage ideas visit

Final Thoughts

Cleaning hunting clothes and their storage is important for a number of reasons. It doesn't matter if your hunting clothes are Kuiu vs Sitka, or just some budget brand, proper care and storage keeps your hunting clothes in pristine condition, and it gives you an opportunity to get a jump on the new season. You can store your hunting clothes in a number of different ways, a scent free bag, plastic zipper bag, duffle bag, vacuum bag, or plastic container. All those techniques are used to reach the same end. The end goal is scent control and to be odor free.

RELATED: How To Stay Warm While Hunting

No matter how you pack away your items, it is best to keep them in a cool, dry place. You can use an expensive scent free detergent or baking soda. You can use a dryer, or you can hang your hunting clothes on a clothesline. You can organize by hunting season or by weather season. All of that is up to you. The methods may differ for all of us, but the goal is the same. To become invisible to game we must be as odor free as possible.

If you want to have the most consistent, most productive deer hunting season ever, you have to master the techniques of wind and scent control. Scent control doesn't start the morning of the hunt or the night before. It begins the season before.

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John VanDerLaan

John VanDerLaan is the managing editor here at He oversees a team of editors, writers and pro staff that are subject matter experts in hunting and hunting gear. John's expertise includes thoroughly testing all types of hunting gear, as well as hunting all over the U.S. and Canada. While his hunting expertise includes game birds, small game and large game, his favorite game animal is the whitetail deer and he loves to share the knowledge that he has gained over 40 years of chasing the wily whitetail with both archery gear and firearms. John is an active member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

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