6 Great Gear Checks Before Camping Season Starts

6 Great Gear Checks Before Camping Season Starts
It’s tough enough roughing it without having gear failures to muck things up. If you have someone named MacGyver on your crew you’re fine. Otherwise, check and fix your gear before you head out.

Getting There is Half the Battle
Yes, your car or truck is considered gear. Check your tires, battery, coolant fluids and oil. A good spare tire could save your trip as you probably will not be on paved roads the whole way unless your idea of camping is a little different than ours. A spare tire is the difference between a ruined trip and a 15 minute hassle. I’ve been off-roading with a truck that blew two tires but the odds of that happening are pretty low. Of course the odds of a lot of things happening to me were pretty low and they did, so another check might be to make sure I’m not coming along.

Shelter From the Storm

Check your tent and sleeping bags as if your life depended on it. It’s not that your life does but, if it’s your tent we’re using and it leaks on me, well, you get the idea. It’s probably been quite a while since you packed this stuff up at the end of your last trip and admit it; you were in a bit of a hurry to strike camp. Are you sure there were no rips in the tent? Are you sure everything was dry? Are you sure you didn’t leave that sock you wore for 5 days laying there in the bottom of your sleeping bag? I bet you want to check now.

The Five Month Rule
Your kitchen floor may be clean enough to eat off of but can you say the same for those plates from last summer’s camping trip? Just like your tent and sleeping bag, I bet you stowed away that cooking gear, not only quickly but probably in the dark. That grease on your grill and spatula from the steak or burgers on the last night have had quite a while to fester. I’m not even going to start on the knives, forks or spoons that you forgot to wash and wipe. I know some like their coffee brewed the old fashioned way but that doesn’t mean old grounds that have been sitting for 9 months just waiting for you. If you pay any attention at all on what goes into your body, you should be more concerned about the delivery system as well.

Power Up
It doesn’t matter if you use the old triple As, Ds, and C batteries or your power needs are supplied by solar, wind or whatever power, you darn sure better make sure they work before dark. Lanterns like those from Stansport.com can use batteries or propane but you better make sure they are loaded up before you go. Running out of propane at 8 o’clock at night may not guarantee a good night’s sleep but it can guarantee a long one.

Keep Your Cool

Those coolers don’t last forever. I used the same cooler for years before even noticing the cracks. Thought they will still work, they don’t work near as well when cracked. Some brands currently coming out are so expensive you would hope they do last forever. If you need ice to last for long periods, then the new YETIs and other expensive brands will deliver longer lasting cold storage. If you are camping for a few days the old standbys are fine. Just make sure you didn’t leave anything in there all winter or you may be either scrubbing for hours, or shopping soon; just make sure it’s the day before and not of your trip.

You Are Your Gear
Believe it or not, even a casual camping trip means exerting lots of energy. It takes a lot of effort to lie around in the woods all day. I know because my first trip of last season wore me out without one single day of hiking or climbing. Of course, you’re probably not going to practice chopping wood or cooking on a fire until you get there but a little prep for the muscles wouldn’t hurt; or will it?
Michael Ryan

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