Here are some tips from Mark Bingeman to get ready for the camping season:•
• Check your gear before you head out. The last thing you want is any surprises after you arrive at the campground. If you are a tenter, set it up in the backyard to check for any spots that may need repairs. Maybe put the sprinkler on it to make sure there are no leaks. Inspect the water supply line on your trailer for any leaks, make sure you have ample propane and that the stove is working properly. Go over all of your gear to make sure all stoves, flashlights, lanterns and other accessories are in good working order.
• Make a list. There are a lot of little things to remember when getting ready for a camping weekend. Make a checklist ahead of time to make sure everything you will need is packed and good to go. This list should include everything from the clothes you will be wearing to the cooking and eating utensils you’ll need.
• Pack for the weather. It is hard to predict what the weather will be like. It could be hot and sunny, or cold and wet. It could be both. Be hopeful and make sure you have the shorts, flip flops and bathing suits packed, but be prepared for cool evenings with sweaters and jackets. It is also a good idea to bring along extra blankets to ensure you are sleeping in comfort.
• Assemble your menu. The food can be one of the most enjoyable pieces of your camping experience. Grilling meat and vegetables on a portable barbecue, a sizzling breakfast from the camp stove or cooking over the open fire — from “spider dogs” to s’mores. It is a chance to be really creative and have some fun while enjoying good food.
• Bring some activities. Camping is all about sharing experiences and creating memories with family and friends. Pack some games and activities that everybody can enjoy — whether it is bringing along bicycles to enjoy a ride, tossing a football around or getting more elaborate with games such as ladder golf, bocce or croquet.
• Disconnect. We live in a technological world that demands immediacy. But it does a person good to take a break from the emails and text messages. This isn’t necessarily a call to leave your smartphone at home, but certainly leave it locked away in the trailer or car for most of the day and evening. Camping is a great way to reconnect with people face to face, and not have your head buried in a tablet all day.