Get your camping gear ready for the new season
Before you head off on your first camping trip of the season, you need to make sure all your gear is in good condition. It’s a big job but don’t put it off. You’ll need time to check what needs to be cleaned, repaired or reproofed and then get the jobs done.
Those repair kits that came with tent and airbeds now come into their own. Even better, it is a slack time at camping shops so take a look at what bargains await. In the meantime, dust off the plastic bags and boxes. Hang out that tent and air off the sleeping bags. Spring is just around the corner and all sites will soon be open.
1 Check your tent for any holes, tears, mould, mildew, seam strains or any other signs of wear you might have missed when you packed it away for the winter. Pitch it in the garden, if you can, then take it inside to do any repairs or cleaning that need done.
2 Repair or replace bent pegs, frayed guylines, split poles, or damaged buckles and elastics on your tent.
3 Air off sleeping bags for a couple of days. Open them out in a warm dry room and let the air get around them before storing in their loose bags again. Take a close look at drawcords, zips and seams, repairing damage where you can.
4 Check your airbeds and self-inflating mats for leaks and make any necessary repairs.
5 Unpack your stove, check the burners are undamaged and ensure all the fittings are tight. Tighten the jubilee clips on the gas hose and regulator and give everything another good clean for luck.
6 Check gas bottle levels now rather than at the last minute before the first trip of the season. Make sure you have enough cannisters to get you through your planned trips.
7 Give pots, crockery and cutlery a good scrub. You should have cleaned them before packing away for winter, but it’s worth giving them another wash before use.
8 Check the batteries in your torches and lanterns are working and replace any that have run out.
9 Clean your tent furniture like wardrobes, kitchen, pantry, table and chairs. These should all be dusted off, wiped down with disinfectant and checked for any damage before being packed away in their carry bags.
10 Check, bin and replace kitchen consumables like scourers, washing-up liquid, coffee, tea and sugar.
11 Fully stock up your first aid kit and make sure everything inside is up-to-date.
12 Do a trial car packing run. Don’t leave it until the last minute to find out if everything will squash into your boot. Consider a roof box or trailer to spread the car’s load. Sort out a proper bike rack and, if necessary, get a lighting board.
13 If you use a trailer, make sure it is road safe. Get it serviced by a specialist if you can, and pay particular attention to tyres. Don’t forget you’ll need a spare.
14 Replace any used items from your repair kit such as tape, glue, sealant, pegs and spare guylines.