Maybe I'll save someone else the trouble of cleaning goop off their equipment by this post. I've been going through my equipment to get ready for a summer trip. In one crate I find a slimy, gooey mess that smells a bit like vinegar has leaked out of my North Face fanny pack. Inside were four packets of mayonnaise, one lemon juice, and one relish.

Folks, watch out for these insidious lurkers! They are destroyers of gear. Clean out every bag before you put it away for the season. They may look nearly indestructible in their plastic and foil suits of armor, but I think some engineer with a green agenda made them break down after a year.

This isn't the first time I've encountered this problem. The first was noticing that some Taco Bell hot sauce packets looked a bit spotted. Then my malt vinegar packets started leaking. Finally, my prized Tabasco packets developed a terminal case of holes.

I collect condiments as I find them in the various eateries, so I really have no idea how old the failed packets were. Anyone have a better idea of the shelf life?