Well, we’ve made it. It’s finally spring, temperatures are rising, and if you’re like us at Earth’s Edge, you’re itching to get back out on the trails. Unfortunately for us, here in Michigan it’s still a bit too cold and rainy for a real camping trip, but we want to make sure we’re ready the moment the weather clears up! So, in case you’re in the same boat, we’re sharing our favorite spring cleaning tips. We’ve included everything from taking inventory to cleaning, so your camping and backpacking gear will be in perfect condition, and ready to go for your first spring adventure.
First things first, you’ll have to see what you’ve got and what you don’t. Pull out all your gear from the attic, basement, or garage, and roll it out. Are you missing anything? Did you run out of anything? Then do some basic checks on the important parts:
- Tent – Set it up, fully or partially in the living room or the garage. Check for any holes, tears in the mesh, and make sure all the zippers are working. Sometimes mice will get in there, so it’s important to triple check for any holes where they could have chewed through. The last thing you want on a spring trip is a leak in your rain fly.
- Flashlights and Lanterns – Do any flashlights seem dim? This is the right time to change the batteries, when you can get to the store easily, not when you’re in the middle of the forest in the pitch black. Make sure you’ve got enough fuel for your lanterns too.
- Chairs – Are your camp chairs still in good shape? Will they hold up for the season? Check ‘em out and make sure, or you’ll be sitting on the ground.
- First Aid – Run through your first aid kit to take stock of things like bandages, band-aids, triple-antibiotic ointment, hydrocortisone cream, and anything else you know you’ll need in case of an emergency, or a poison ivy encounter.
- Camp Stove – You might want to turn that bad boy on before you go out, just to make sure it’s still working as it should. This is also good time to take inventory of your propane tanks. You want to make sure you have enough for at least your first couple of trips.
- Food – If you’ve got a camper or RV, you might as well restock your non-perishables as well. Canned foods, peanut-butter, whatever you eat out on the trail, make sure you’ve got a full supply for the good weather ahead.
When you’re out on the trail, it’s hard to get dishes super clean. You don’t always have hot water, and after a while everything can start to get a little soapy tasting. This is a great time to haul everything in and give it a good scrubbing. You’ll start the new season with squeaky clean dishes, pots and pans, and you won’t have to worry about any lingering germs.
If you think back to your last trip last year, it might have been a music festival, a camping trip, or maybe a week-long hike. Whatever you did, and wherever you went, your tent is probably a little grimy. Bugs, grass, and dirt might’ve gotten rolled up in it, and when you take it out after it having sitting for the entire winter, it’s likely to have a musty smell akin to a forgotten gym bag full of dirty socks. Well, believe it or not, you can throw it in the wash. Make sure it’s on the cold cycle, throw in a little extra detergent and let it go. If it’s warm and sunny out, you can dry it on a line, or you can throw it in the dryer for 5-10 minutes. Use caution here though: if you leave it in too long it’ll melt.
Bonus tip: Depending on what material your sleeping bags are made of, you can do the same with them. Just make sure to double check the tag. Some materials, like down, don’t always handle washing machines well.
Bikes and Vehicles
If you take any sort of vehicle, ATV, dirt bike, or mountain bike out with you, it’s time to get those cleaned up as well. Break out the WD40, oil up the gears, check that the tires are full, and not flat, and make sure everything’s running smoothly. No one wants a mechanical malfunction or a broken bike chain halfway through a ride.
Once you’ve taken stock of everything, and know you’re set to go, pack it all up in an organized fashion. You’ve done all the work of getting it ready, so it’s worth it to go the extra mile and put everything neatly into plastic tubs. Not only will that keep everything clean and dry, but when you’re ready to take your next trip, it’ll be as simple as pulling out the right tubs and jumping in the car.
If you go through your gear and realize something’s missing or needs an upgrade, don’t hesitate to come on into the store, or check out our brand new website! Earth’s Edge has everything you need for your next adventure.