As the weather takes a turn from winter and into spring, it is time to plan that spring camping trip. Before you grab your gear and head out the door, be sure to check out your camping prep checklist to avoid potential problems on your first outdoor adventure of the season.

Spring is a great time to go camping. The wildflowers begin to bloom, and there are fewer pests like mosquitos with which to contend. Also, birds come back in the Spring.

Whatever your reason for checking your camping prep checklist and heading out this spring, you are sure to enjoy your connection with nature.

Camping Prep Checklist: What Do I Do?

Before you grab your gear and pack it up, you must first check over all of your equipment to ensure it is all in good repair. Faulty camp gear and equipment can quickly ruin a trip.

A tent overlooking mountains and clouds after using our spring camping checklist

1. Check for holes and worn spots

First, pull out your tent and look it over. You are checking for holes on the walls and floors. Also,  you are looking for worn spots on the floor. If you use a camp cot in the tent, you may notice the cot’s legs wear down the bottom of the tent. Repair before you leave for your trip.

It is not enough to look carefully; you must also set up your tent.

Setting up your tent allows you to ensure you have all the stakes and that the tent poles and guy lines are in good condition. Plus, it rains in the spring, so take this time to rainproof your tent and rain fly.

Since you are looking for holes, if you use tarps or pop-up shelters, make sure those are all in good condition, as well.

Lastly, ensure your air mattresses, if you use any, inflate correctly and have no slow leaks.

Recommended Read: The Advantages of Canvas Tents Plus Our Top 4 Picks

2. Check your batteries, propane, and camp stove

The last thing you need on a camping trip is to realize your batteries are dead.

Usually, it is wise to remove batteries from flashlights and other camping equipment before storing your gear for the season. However, sometimes we forget.

Open up the battery case and ensure the connections are in good repair. Look for exploded batteries and replace dead batteries in the items you need.

Next, take a look at your camp grill or stove’s propane levels if you use one. Now is a great time to ensure the ignitor for your camp stove works, too.

Recommended Read: Find the Best AA Flashlight for the Outdoors!

3. Everything else gets a once-over

Take a look at your usual equipment. Take note of missing or damaged items and replace them. Ensure your sleeping bags are clean and you have what you need.

When all your gear is out to see, it is a great time to look at your camping wish list and make upgrades.

Camping Prep Checklist: Plan Ahead

Spring is unpredictable, but you can plan for the unexpected.

A cast iron pot hanging over a campfire

4. Oh, the fickle weather

First, check the weather. Weather changes rapidly in the spring, but if you know the range of temperatures and conditions to expect, it is easier to prepare.

Along with the local temperatures, consider the microclimate of your location. For instance, if you camp in a heavily wooded area, you may lose the benefit of the warming sun. Also, if you are near a lake, any wind coming off the lake feels colder.

Since it is spring, the fickle weather means you should anticipate rain and mud. You never know what is going to happen.

Also, check the elevation of your intended camp area. Elevation usually means cooler temperatures. Also,  If you are going up to an altitude that you are not used to, you must prepare for potential problems.

Depending on how high you go, you may feel dizzy and be short of breath. Plus, you need more water at higher elevations.

5. Consider your firewood

It may seem silly to plan regarding firewood. However, there are two excellent reasons to keep firewood in mind.

First, if you go across state lines, many states do not allow firewood to come into the state. Trees used as firewood are regulated these days, and because wood is sometimes infested with invasive bugs and diseases, you cannot import firewood.

Next, firewood might be wet when you arrive at your campground. Sorting out local conditions and access to firewood is imperative.

6. I am so hungry

Meal prepping is something you do anytime you go camping, but camping in the spring has a different consideration regarding meals.

For instance, since the weather is often cooler than in the summer, you might consider planning ahead and making and freezing soups and stews to help keep you warm.

Review past favorite camp meals and add hearty warm items to your menu.

7. Local wildlife

Take the time to learn about the local wildlife you may encounter while spring camping. Wildlife activity is at a high during the spring. Animals come out of hibernation, and they are often hungry.

Educate yourself on what you can expect and learn how to deal with any surprise encounters.

Also, springtime means animals are giving birth, and it is possible you see adorable wildlife babies. However, the cuteness is not an invitation. In fact, if you see a baby animal, realize the mom is likely near, and she is not keen on letting you near. Keep your distance.

Since animals are often hungry in the spring, consider how you will store food. Raccoons and bears are notorious for unwelcome campground shenanigans.

8. Is there anything to do?

Some campers love to chill at their campground and not create a list of things to do. However, others are looking for adventure.

If you are looking into adding more adventures to your trip, plan ahead by looking at what the campground has to offer.

For instance, if your area has boating or kayaking, find out if you need your own equipment or if they are available for rent.

Also, local attractions are key to a well-rounded trip. Oftentimes the local parks and recreation departments have resources so you can look into wildlife or cave tours. Also, local groups may host accompanied day trips.

However, if you wish to take advantage of these options, you must plan ahead to see what you need to bring or if you need reservations or a local license to participate.

Camping Prep Checklist: What Do I Need?

You already know the basics of what to bring camping, but camping in the spring has some special considerations.

The view from inside a tent ooking out

9. Staying warm and dry

As we mentioned, the weather is fickle in the spring, so having the right clothing makes a huge difference. No one wants to be cold and wet while trying to relax.

Be sure to pack plenty of layers so you can add or remove those layers as the weather changes. Also, consider the fabric of the clothing. For example, a base layer that wicks moisture away from your skin is ideal.

Also, consider your rain gear. Having rainboots and other raingear can help keep you from becoming cold and wet. Plus, those rainboots are helpful in the mud.

Furthermore, consider where you sleep. You certainly need a warmer sleeping bag than you might bring in the summer. Also, if you plan to sleep on the ground, consider a pad to go under your sleeping bag. Sleeping pads help you not lose heat to the cold ground.

Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad - Yellow
Klymit Inertia X Frame Sleeping Pad at Bob Wards

Lastly, think back to what you learned about transporting firewood. If you cannot bring it with you, grab some locally.

A campfire is an ideal way to stay warm, so having a starter back of dry wood is helpful. Plus, having that first fire gives you an opportunity to dry out the other wet wood you might source near your campground.

10. Spring camping and mealtime

Warm foods help you stay warm, and you already thought about what kind of hearty and filling meals you want to have while camping.

However, your spring camping prep checklist should include a way to warm up or cook your foods.

Cooking over an open fire is easy, as is using a camp stove. However, each uses different equipment. Plan to grab the gear necessary for either cooking situation.

If you usually cook over a fire, remember camping in the spring includes the challenge of staying dry. Therefore dry firewood is sometimes hard to come by.

If you thought about adding a camp stove to your list of camp gear, now is a great time to do so. Just don’t forget the propane.

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Also, don’t forget to have a way to heat water for hot tea, hot chocolate, and coffee. Therefore, a camp kettle is useful for both a campfire and a camp stove. Or, consider a propane coffee maker to make all your morning cup of coffee dreams come true.

11. The sun feels so nice

Those first rays of spring sun are amazing, and getting a daily dose of vitamin D has all kinds of benefits.

However, even though the sun is not as strong as it is in the summer, you can still get a sunburn.

Therefore, sun protection is a must, even when the sun feels weak.

While you are at it, grab the bug protection, too. While there are fewer bugs in the spring, there are still some around.

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12. You want me to do what?

Part of your camping prep checklist is gathering what you need for your adventures.

We realize some campers just want to sit by the fire in their camp chair or read in the hammock, and that is a fantastic way to spend your downtime. We would probably join you, in fact.

However, some spring camping trips have opportunities to go on backpacking or hiking excursions away from camp. Other times there are local adventures such as wildlife tours, kayaking, or even caves to explore.

If you hope to partake in any of these adventures, you must have the proper gear.

For instance, the shoes you wear hiking are likely very different than what you wear around camp.

Also, boating, fishing, and many other activities mean you need to have or rent some of your own equipment. In some cases, you might need to purchase a license.

Time to Go

A hand holds a metal mug over a background of pine trees

Before you head out for a camping trip, there are a few things you need to do to ensure you are prepared and comfortable.

All the planning and prep work will pay off.

First, you must get your camping gear out and inspect and repair any items that need care. Items like tents, air mattresses, and tarps need special attention.

This is also a great time to ensure you have fresh batteries, enough propane, and that everything works well.

Furthermore, you should look ahead at the weather, the firewood situation, and any other details about your intended campsite.

Next, you must pack, keeping in mind all you learned about the local weather and planned activities. You might need extra gear depending on your activities.

Using this spring camping prep checklist is sure to make your camping experience stress-free.

  • Check for holes and worn spots on tents and tarps
  • Check your batteries, propane, and camp stove
  • Everything else gets a once-over
  • Check the weather
  • Plan for firewood
  • Menu plan
  • Consider local wildlife
  • Plan outings and adventures
  • Pack layers of clothing and bedding for warmth
  • Ensure you have a way to heat food
  • Pack sunscreen and bug spray
  • Pack necessary gear for your outings and adventures

How did your spring camping trip go? Answer in the comments.

A teacher by trade, Victoria splits her free time between freelance writing, her camping blog, and (frantically) guiding her teenagers into becoming functional adults.

Last update on 2021-06-14 at 20:25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API