Now that the weather is finally beginning to warm up it’s time to start planning that first camping trip of the year. After all, what better time to be fully immersed in nature than when the leaves are budding, the flowers are blooming, and the wildlife is becoming more active too? But spring can also bring some unexpected challenges, which is why you should plan your outing carefully and be as prepared as possible when you set out for the backcountry. Here are a few tips to help make that process a little easier.
Check Your Gear Before You Go
Chances are your tent, backpack, sleeping bag, and other assorted camping gear have been in storage for most of the winter. That means that you may have forgotten the condition it was in when you last used it. Before leaving home, give all of your essential items a thorough examination to make sure they’re in working order. Repair or replace anything that isn’t in tip-top condition. Nothing ruins a camping trip faster than being unpleasantly surprised by gear that doesn’t perform up to your expectations. You can avoid that by inspecting all of your equipment ahead of time.
Watch the Weather Closely
Spring weather is notoriously fickle—wonderful one moment and incredibly bad the next. During the spring, temperatures can fluctuate wildly, and high winds, heavy rains, and other dangerous conditions can arrive at unexpected times. Before you leave on your camping trip, be sure to review the forecast so you know what you’re getting yourself into. If conditions look particularly bad, perhaps it is best to delay the outing for a few days while you wait for things to improve. If you do go, use a smartphone or other connected device to keep an eye on the forecast. That way you can avoid any unexpected surprises.
Dress in Layers
Because spring weather is so unpredictable, it is best to dress in layers. That way you can remove or add articles of clothing as needed. When the winds start howling, and the rain begins to fall, a wind and a waterproof jacket will prove very helpful as well. The bottom line is that during the spring, you’ll probably need to carry more clothing with you since it’ll be much harder to predict what you’ll need.
Don’t Forget Your Rainfly
Spring showers can be a common occurrence, but they don’t have to ruin your camping trip. Just remember to pack the rainfly for your tent; it could save you from some long, wet, uncomfortable nights. Pack a tarp to throw on the ground too; it’s is a cheap and easy way to prevent moisture from seeping through the floor of your tent.
Just because spring weather can be cooler and wetter than other times of the year doesn’t mean that you don’t need to stay hydrated. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water or have some method for treating water that you find in the backcountry (e.g., water filtration systems, iodine tablets, or something similar).
Be Prepared for Insects
Early spring typically means that insects aren’t a major concern, but as the season goes on they’ll begin to become more of a concern. Pack insect repellent to help keep the biting bugs at bay. They may not be out in large numbers just yet, but they can still be very annoying all the same.
Follow these handy tips to get your camping season off to a great start. With a bit of planning and preparation, it can be one of the best times of the year to be outdoors.