Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring cleaning your camping gear

Okay, so yeah, there's still snow on the ground but since it is officially spring...and spring means the dreaded spring cleaning torture, I figured why not at least reward myself with a reason  to get all the camping gear out.

If you have a trailer of some sort, now's the time to scrub off any grim that's accumulated from leaves and dust sitting on top of it.  Chris loves scrubbing the Boler down each gives him a chance to play with his power washer. CLR works really well to get rid of the mildew from leaves rotting on the roof.  Inside, scrub down all the shelves, cupboards and counters with soapy water...if there's any evidence of rodent activity, you might want to use a bleach/water mix.  You should check the tires as well, and any other spring maintenance tasks that are recommended for your type of trailer. On a nice warm day with a bit of breeze, open all the windows and spray some Febreeze on the cushions (or Lysol if there's any evidence of rodent activity)  Let it air out for the day to get rid of any musty smell.

If you store most of your camping gear in your trailer, you'll probably want to bring in any dishes and give them a quick wash.  Not only is there a chance mice made a pass through, but several months of dust should be cleaned off before you use them.  Heck, I do it just cause I like to reorganize everything and remember all the camp gadgets I've got.

Now is also a good time to do an inventory of what you have in your gear.  If you're like us, you might not have a dedicated camp can opener, or maybe you ran out of fluid in your BBQ lighter at the end of last season and need to pick up a few more.  Sometimes, something might have gotten lost, or broken and you figured you'd just get a new one in the spring...chances are, unless you made a note of it, you've forgotten by now.  Also, if you got any camp gear for Christmas or birthdays during the winter, you've probably got those items in the house still.  We bought a bunch of IKEA cutlery this winter so we didn't have to keep taking forks from the kitchen for each trip, and we got a whole bunch of bungee cords and other things like that for camping.  They've been sitting in a bin in my office since Christmas.

If the weather forecast calls for a warm sunny day, and the ground is dry enough, set up your tent(s) and any cooking shelters you might have.  Make sure all the poles are all accounted for and no mice nibbled on the tent fabric over the winter.  Sometimes, in the fall, when we are packing stuff up for the winter, we don't always think logically.  For example, last year, our 6 person tent had been a bit damp when we brought it home, so we didn't wrap it all up, just bundled it into Boler to wait for a dry day.  After we spread it out to dry a few days later, we rolled it up, but didn't realize the pole for the rain fly wasn't in the bag with the other poles.  We found it in the Boler later, and told ourselves to remember to take it next time we used it.  In the process of putting everything away for the winter, it got separated from the rest of the tent.  If I hadn't noticed it when searching for Chris's camp mug last week, we might have gone camping with it sometime this summer and not had the pole.  I guess the smart thing to do would have been to unroll the tent right when we'd realized it wasn't where it should be.  

Throw your sleeping bags onto the clothes line for the day and let them air out as well, same with backpacks.

You might find things aren't as organized as you'd like them to be.  In the fall, it's easy to just throw things in random places, but now that spring is here, and camping season is so close, you'll want to organize drawers, bins and bags.  Maybe you came up with new ideas for organizing your camping gear over the winter, or got inspired to build a chuck box or portable camp kitchen during those long cold months. (If so, I'm so jealous!  I'm still waiting for my dad to make me a reflector oven.)

Unfortunately, once you get done spring cleaning your camping gear, you still have to do the traditional spring clean in your house...but maybe the term won't cause so much dread next year, because you'll have something to look forward to. 

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