Tips to Prepare Your Outdoor Clothing and Camping Gear for Spring
Spring is on our doorstep, finally! The last two months of winter for any outdoors person have been brutal unless you are a winter sports enthusiast. Each day behind us is one day closer to springtime weather and the ability to change up our winter outdoor clothing in exchange for our spring wardrobe and head out into nature.
One activity that almost all of us have had to postpone until now is camping. Snow is melting and spring temperatures are giving way to one of the best times of the year to be outdoors camping. Spring, however, is a season in flux where some days camping can be awesome and others have you wishing you packed additional outdoor clothing. Preparation is the key, from having the right spring outdoor clothing to making sure all your camping gear is functional and ready to go.
The “Awesomeness” That is Spring Camping
Of course, we are going to be camping in the summer months. The weather is nice, kids are off school and proper camping attire is simply shorts and camo t-shirt. If you enjoy camping in the summer, however, you will love it, even more, in the spring. Here are five reasons why camping in the spring is simply awesome.
- More animals and fewer Spring is a rebirth for most animals. Some are creeping out of hibernation and others are taking advantage of the abundance of food after struggling to find a meal the last few months. Increased animal activity provides ideal nature viewing opportunities while out camping. On the other hand, insects have yet to show themselves in most places and even on unseasonably warm days will be certainly less bothersome than in the heart of summer.
- Fewer The offseason, which usually means camping before Memorial Day, has fewer crowds than other times of the year. Particularly if you are camping at a state park or popular campground, people will be less numerous in the spring months, which means better rates and solitude in nature. For those trekking off the trail, stylish camping clothes are less of a worry than having all your backpacking equipment, but you will still enjoy fewer people to navigate around on trails and when pitching your tent
- Nice weather, most of the time. The weather in the spring not only keeps the insects at bay but also makes for a comfortable camping experience. Temperatures usually do not get above the 70s, which is perfect for sleeping in a tent or spending time around the fire ring. However, some spring nights (and even days) can dip below freezing, but knowing what to wear camping in cold weather will help you be prepared and remain comfortable.
Resurrecting Your Camping Gear
Spring may be an awesome time to go camping, but it is not a great time for camping gear and outdoor clothing. Gear and spring outdoor clothing have been stored away since fall or even since last spring and who knows what condition it may be in. Proper camping attire for this time of year is more layers and less bulky coats and jackets, which is challenging since winter coats and jackets are still front and center in the closet. It may seem overwhelming but start by locating all your camping gear and organizing your outdoor clothing.
First, resurrect large items like tents for camping, sleeping bags, coolers and other camping equipment. Thoroughly inspect everything and determine if any items need repair or replacement. Starting with these larger items first affords you time to replace them if say your tent is damaged or you have holes in your sleeping bag. Next, clean up the tent, and other gear that cannot be washed, with a damp cloth, inside and out. Give you sleeping bag a wash and air dry it so it is ready for a new year of camping. Finally, move on to organizing smaller camping equipment like flashlights, first aid kits and cooking instruments. Make sure it is functional and up to date so there are no surprises when you go to make camp.
Spring Outdoor Clothing Options for Camping
After your camping gear is ready, move on to your outdoor clothing. What to wear to go camping varies each time you plan a trip. Weather conditions can change over the course of several hours from sunny and comfortable to windy and wet and you have to be prepared with the right clothing.
Spring outdoor clothing for camping is all about layers. You want layers that can be added and removed as temperatures change as well as a light shell layer to protect yourself from the wind and rain. Camo hoodies are a great layer option as they provide warmth and moderate protection from the elements without adding bulk. Choose base layers that are made from moisture-wicking (non-cotton) fabric to keep you warm and dry. As for outer layers, you want a breathable rain jacket vs. a windbreaker because it will add warmth as well as provide weather protection and eliminate the need for taking multiple jackets camping.
Not only does the right spring outdoor clothing matter, but also having enough of it is important. If you are camping in the backcountry, there is always the potential to slip into a spring thawed creek or injury yourself. Either of these scenarios and a hundred others should make you think twice when packing your backcountry gear and clothing. In addition to dressing in layers and having a good outer layer, make sure you pack extra outdoor clothing in case the unexpected happens and you need to stay an extra night or fight for survival in the worst case scenario.
To summarize, there are three important tips when it comes to spring outdoor clothing for camping.
Always dress in layers
Layers provide the ability to adapt to changing spring weather conditions. Add more at night as temperatures fall, take some off as you are hiking or sitting by the campfire during the day.
Have a good outer layer
Even if the weather is forecasted to be stable while you are camping, spring winds and evening temps can be downright cold. A good outer layer that breathes and protects goes a long way when camping in the spring.
Always bring extra clothes to the extent you can
Backpacking into the mountains may not lend itself to bringing a few extra outfits, but it is still wise to pack even a small amount of extra clothing whether it be socks, an extra base layer set or another hoodie.
7 Tips for Successful Spring Camping
With winter ending in the next few weeks, it is time now to start planning your spring camping excursions. In order for those trips to be successful, here are seven camping tips to think about before you pitch your tent this spring.
Prepare everything before you leave the house
After you have resurrected your camping stuff and collected all your outdoor clothing, make sure it is organized before you leave the house. This will ensure first that you have everything and second, that you know where it is once you arrive at your camping destination.
Become a weather guru
Spring weather is some of the most unpredictable weather of the year. Temperature variations and freak storms can quickly make for an unpleasant camping experience, whether with the kids or by yourself in the wilds. Know what the weather patterns have been and will be, even days after you plan to return so that you know what type of conditions you could be camping in.
T is for tarps
. There are a hundred uses for a tarp, all of which matter to you while camping. A tarp can provide shelter for your campsite, keep firewood dry and be used to collect water if needed. Bottom line, have a small, lightweight tarp in you camping equipment.
Bring an extra day’s worth of firewood
This tip is more for those going to a park or campground in the spring, perhaps with family. Colder nights will have you burning through more firewood than you might expect. Also if the weather is more moderate, you may find yourself out around the campfire well into the evening, which means going through more wood.
Remember to hydrate
Nice weather can keep you complacent when it comes to food and water. Moderate temps in the spring, as opposed to scorching summer heat, may make you think less about hydrating. On the contrary, it is just as important to hydrate regularly in the spring as other times of the year. Take breaks periodically to down a sports drink or fill your water bottle so dehydration does not sneak up on you.
Plan your trip from start to finish
Whether it is a family camping trip to a local campground or a backcountry trek, make sure you plan the entire trip precisely. For a family trip, you want to plan activities and meals ensure an enjoyable and comfortable stay. When camping remotely, you want to plan your route, camp locations and prepare a trip itinerary so others know when and where to expect you.
Spend time away from camp
Do not forget why you are camping in the first place; it is to spend time enjoying nature. Spend time away from camp exploring your surroundings by hiking, fishing or wildlife observing to get the most out of each camping experience.
Dust off the winter chill and more importantly your camping gear to take advantage of the best time of the year to pitch a tent. Since it has been more than a few months since the last time you have camped, your camping equipment will need to be resurrected. Pull it out, take an assessment of it and gather your outdoor clothing in anticipation of some awesome spring days outdoors.