Springtime Family Camping, are you ready?

Spring is a great time to checkout your tent

Backyard tent-check (BenSheldon on Flickr)

With most of the country beginning to thaw out, now is a great time to start planning for your first family camping trip, this spring. For many families, this will be the first camping trip since Labor Day. That means camping gear that has been in storage for months needs to be checked before hitting the backcountry. Also, springtime weather is unpredictable, so it makes sense to prepare for the worst, regardless of the weekend forecast.

Camping Gear Maintenance

It’s okay to admit that you haven’t looked at your tent all winter and you’re not even 100-percent sure where it is. But that’s all the more reason to dig it out and get it setup in the backyard, to make sure all the pieces are still there.

With the tent setup, it’s also a great time to renew the waterproofing with spray-on treatment and reseal all of the seams with a seam sealer product.

The laundromat is the best place to clean sleeping bags

Big frontload machines are your sleeping bags best friend (A-Wix on Flickr)

If your sleeping bags have been rolled-up all winter, you will want to fluff that insulation back up, for maximum protection during those cool spring nights. The best way to do this is to grab a couple rolls of quarters and head to the local Laundromat.

Follow the directions on the manufacturer’s tag, of course, but it likely recommends to machine wash and tumble dry the bag – unzipped, so the water only has to go through one layer of the bag.

The big commercial frontload machines at the Laundromat are best, because the sleeping bag can’t get wrapped around a center drum and damaged.

Preparing for Springtime Weather

Camping in the rain is actually kind of fun, if you are prepared with the proper gear and you can relax and appreciate the pitter-patter of raindrops on the tent, at night.

Mornings can be the hardest part about camping in the rain. The damp, cool, air really makes you crave that first hot cup of coffee, but that means crawling out into the rain and firing up the stove.

Tarps provide additional family camping shelter

Tarps provide additional shelter against the rain (faxpilot on Flickr)

Comfortably camping in the rain is all about secondary shelters, like canopies or tarps. The tent is great for sleeping, but you can’t brew a cup of coffee in there, which is why a canopy or tarp is invaluable. Who wants to stand in the rain and cook?

Another challenge about camping in the rain is keeping wet and muddy clothes and shoes outside of the tent. Condensation inside a tent, at night, is tough enough to fight without adding a family’s worth of wet clothes to the equation.

A secondary shelter, like a canopy or tarp, can provide you with a dry place to cook and a dry place to hang your clothes. You have to be able to get to the tent in your shoes, though, so if your tent does not have a dry vestibule area for gear (like shoes), your best bet is a storage tub.

Springtime is all about rejuvenation and renewal, so don’t be afraid to get the family outdoors for some quality camping time. If your gear is in good shape and you are prepared for the potential springtime weather fluctuations, you are bound to have a great time, together.

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15 thoughts on “Springtime Family Camping, are you ready?

  1. One of my favorite camping trips was actually during a rainy 4th of July weekend with a couple of good friends of mine. One of my friends, who is a board game fanatic, had packed several games and we sat in the tent and just played Scrabble for hours. The only downside was when that rain went away the mosquitoes were horrible and we got eaten alive as we were packing up to go home.

  2. I just went on my first camp of the year this past weekend. It was wonderful. I did have to pack up Sunday in the rain though. Now I just need to pack all the gear I spread out in garage to dry.

  3. Great tips Roy. Going through all your camping gear after being packed away for the winter is so important. I had to learn that lesson the hard way a few years ago. I didn’t check my tent until I was at the campground and then I found a out a mouse chewed a hole in the side of my tent. Doah!

    Cheers!

    • Ugh, that’s a bad time to find something like that, J.E.! I think it’s just as bad to find something like mold, because then you have to deal with that smell all weekend.

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  5. We’re in Florida too and Spring is definitely here. Was checking out the gear a little over the weekend for a trip next weekend. Can almost guarantee a little bit of rain this time of year, which is ok, as long as it’s doesn’t pour down all weekend.

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