I’ve had this idea for two years or so, but this spring finally implemented it.
Longtime readers will know that with his Cushings diagnosis some years ago, Tristan went from a horse who owned a mud sheet and cooler and that was it, to a horse that needed a full array of complicated heavy winter blankets. After a few years of fine-tuning, he now has a wardrobe that keeps him comfortable and happy all season.
That means, of course, that I’ve had a learning curve of how to care for and store expensive winter blankets. Each year I’ve tweaked things a little bit, and this year I’m really happy with the process, with the addition of some relatively inexpensive vacuum bags.
First, before I got to the storage piece, I needed to do a thorough cleaning and re-waterproofing. In the past, I’ve used NeverWet, and I still like it quite a lot, but this year I wanted badly to purchase something local rather than ordering online, so I ended up with Kiwi CampDry Heavy Duty Water Repellent. One can was enough to do one good layer on one blanket.
Left is his rain sheet, right is his medium. I sprayed them thoroughly, outside, wearing a mask, and then left them to dry for 24 hours – also outside, since we weren’t forecast for any chance of rain. After about 12 hours most of the smell of the waterproofing had dissipated.
Then came this year’s innovation, which I am delighted with: storing them in vacuum bags. I keep my excess horse equipment in my basement, which is fairly clean and dry as far as basement goes, but still gets dirty. Winter blankets especially are so bulky I hadn’t yet found a good way to store them neatly.
I bought these vacuum bags from Amazon: eight of them in the large size, after doing some rough measurements of one of my blankets folded up neatly. That size proved to be just fine for all of them, though the heavy was getting close to the max. Tristan’s blankets are all 72 or 75, so if you have anything larger than that, you might consider the jumbo size.
It really was a simple and fast process. Doing the four I wanted to store took maybe 30 minutes. They’re now stored neatly and cleanly with my other horse stuff in the basement, waiting for fall.
This is his medium weight stable blanket, and you can see it folded up next to one of the large bags.
Here it is inside the bag, not yet suctioned. I would say my only challenge came with making absolutely sure the seal on the zipper was good. I went over each of them 2-3 times, per the instructions. On one, I still didn’t quite get it perfect and had to go back, but that added only about 30 seconds to the process.
The kit came with a sort of reverse bicycle pump to suck air out. I used that instead of dragging out and hooking up my vacuum, and it was still pretty fast.
This is his medium, to give you a sense of one of the larger blankets I stored.
And here’s how it looked after compression! A significant reduction in size.
So in the end my tangled pile of blankets was transformed…
…into this neat pile of bagged and stored blankets!
All blankets cleaned, waterproofed, and stored before June 15; that’s got to be some kind of record.