It just makes sense, if you want your gear to be dependable and last as long as possible, take care of it. Your equipment is far too important to neglect and costly at that. All equipment from your bikes, to your canoes and kayaks, to your tents and hammocks, even your cookware, must be cleaned and maintained regularly. It's far too easy to go out and enjoy that planned weekend, then come home afterwards and disregard the work of cleaning and properly storing your gear. But this type of laziness bites you in the rear, because the next time you go to use it, the gear is dirty, damaged and in disarray.
Part of the experience of outdoor adventure is self-reliance. It's being able to take care of yourself and your gear so that you can be safe and prepared, but also so you can enjoy the experience without worrying about something failing or left at home. It's responsability! You do not want to go out in the woods without being responsible. That's asking for trouble.
Make it a priority to maintain your gear and to check it regularly for defects. It's a good idea to start when you buy it. Take it out of the box and test it. Then clean and properly store it so that it's ready to go when you want it. Then check it again before your trip departure. After you return, clean and check it again, before storing it properly. Repetition is key here. It prevents you from forgetting an important part of your gear and helps you to take notice of a possible defect or damaged part you might have missed the last time around.
Take the time to take care of your gear. It's a small sacrifice to make so that you can spend your time living it up and having the time of your life without worry! Peace of mind comes from proper planning and maintaining of the necessities needed to go on that adventure. Do it right and have fun!