Last Updated on March 30, 2021 by Jody
Camping season is just around the corner, and many of us campers are starting to come out of hibernation. If you followed my tips for storing your camping gear over the winter, then all of your gear is safely stowed away, and it’s time to start getting your camping gear ready for spring.
Today, I’m sharing tips for how to prep camping gear for spring. (If you didn’t follow those tips, then bookmark this article for the fall when it’s time to store your gear again!)
Getting Your Tent Ready for Spring Camping
Your tent is arguably one of the most important pieces of gear when camping. It separates you from the outside world, which includes critters and weather. It’s also one of the most expensive pieces of your camping quiver, so you want to make sure it is stored safely and properly readied for camping season.
Before you start planning your first camping trip, get your tent out of storage and set it up somewhere dry, like your garage or basement. Make sure the poles and zippers are in good working order and check the screens for any tears or snags.
Do you still have all the tent stakes you will need, plus a few extras? If not, order a replacement set. If you didn’t wash your tent before putting it away, give it a once-over with warm water and mild dish soap. Finally, re-seal your tent seams to ensure everything is still water resistant so you can enjoy spring showers from the shelter of a dry tent!
Testing Your Sleeping Pad Before Spring Camping
Your sleeping pad (or pads, in my case) is another important piece of gear to ready for camping season. I use two different kinds of sleeping pads when camping; one foam pad and one inflatable pad. For car camping, many campers also use a traditional air mattress.
The foam pads can and do deteriorate over time. Although most of them will last for several years, it’s a good idea to give them a once-over and make sure they can still provide padding and insulation. I’ve repurposed a few foam pads into dog beds or seat cushions for day hikes.
Inflatable sleeping pads require a bit more maintenance. These can develop leaks if not stored properly. Before your first camping trip of the year, inflate your sleeping pad and leave it somewhere for a few days to see if any air is leaking out. This is also a good time to make sure you still have the repair kit for your sleeping pad or a good time to order a new one. If you have a leak that you can’t seem to locate, then you can apply soapy water to the mattress, and look for bubbles to indicate where the air is escaping.
Preparing Your Sleeping Bags for Spring Camping
If you didn’t wash and dry your sleeping bag before storing it for the winter, now is a good time to do so. Be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use a special soap like Nikwax Down Wash that is made for camping gear.
Once your bag is washed, dried, and fluffed, check the shell for any tears or snags in the fabric, as well as any spots where down feathers are escaping the sleeping bag. Test the zipper to make sure it’s still running smoothly and feel around for any clumps of stuffing that can be fluffed back into place. Do you still have your stuff sacks for properly storing your bag or will you need to replace it?
Readying Your Camp Kitchen For the Season
Once you’ve got the 3 main pieces of camping gear ready for spring camping, it’s time to get your camp kitchen ready. Hopefully, you sorted through everything last fall and can just restock everything in the spring! My camp kitchen is self-contained in a Rubbermaid container, so this process is fairly easy.
- Cooking System: unpack your camp stove, and test it out. Does it still light? Do you have any leftover propane canisters that need to be recycled? Test them all! (and always carry a backup!)
- Fire System: whether you use lighters or matches, test them out to make sure they still work. Matches can get damp over the winter and may need to be replaced.
- Plates, cups, and utensils: Did everything survive last season? Make sure you have enough utensils and dishes for everyone in the family plus a few extras for visitors.
- Camping Food: go through your camping food and spices to see if anything needs to be replaced.
Now is a great time to stock up on camp kitchen essentials, like dish soap, paper towels, spices, and fuel canisters for the season!
Checking Your Camping Accessories for Spring
Next, we’ll tackle all the little odds and ends you need for camping. This is an easy task if you’ve stored everything together at the end of last season.
- Check your flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps to see if you need to replace any batteries or bulbs. Make sure you have backup batteries and test those, too!
- Lay out your first aid kit to see what needs to be restocked. Some items, like medicine, bug spray, or hand warmers, may have an expiration date and need to be replaced. I like to personalize my First Aid kit with things I’m more likely to use (lots of Benadryl!) and it’s a good time to ensure I have enough Band-Aids and things to last through the season.
- Check your camp chairs to see if they’re still in good condition and usable; patch any holes in the stuff sacks as these usually take the brunt of the damage.
What else do you bring camping?
Special “camp shoes,” board games, books?
Go through all your camping essentials to make sure they are intact and ready for your first camping trip of the year!
As you can see, if you properly store your camping gear at the end of the season, then preparing your camping gear for spring camping trips is a piece of cake!