Essential preparations for camping season

Invest some time going through your camping equipment to ensure it’s in top condition and ready to go when the sunny weather sets in.

Winter is on the wane, so a spring camping trip could be just around the corner. Make sure you’re ready for adventure by completing this essential gear checklist. With everything in order, you’ll be able to pack up and go at a moment’s notice.

  1. Air your sleeping bag so it’s not musty or smelly on the first night. Turn it inside out to ensure it’s not full of dirt, leaves and other undesirables. It may need to be washed, or at least hung on a clothesline in a breeze.
  2. Set up your tent in the backyard, checking for mould, mildew, tears and holes. Mould can be cleaned with a solution of water, bleach and laundry detergent. Camping stores sell patches for holes in tent fabric and fly screens.
  3. Check the seams on the tent, patching any gaps with seam glue or tape.
  4. Open and shut all tent zippers a couple of times to ensure they’re running smoothly. Apply a little sewing machine oil or WD40 if the zipper sticks or grips.
  5. Check the tent pegs and replace any that are bent badly out of shape.
  6. Spray water on the tent fly and other waterproof items like raincoats to ensure the waterproofing hasn’t worn off. They may need to be recoated with a waterproofing solution, available at most camping stores.
  7. Unfold or unroll your tarps and wipe them over, as they’re notorious for collecting mould and mildew when stored. Check the eyelets and replace any that have gone missing to avoid tears and rips.
  8. Check all ropes for fraying and deterioration. If you use springs on your guide ropes, give these a wipe down to to prevent them from rusting. Check any plastic guide rope fittings, as these can be broken when packing up or storing equipment.
  9. Refill all large gas bottles. You can do this at most large camping stores and at some petrol stations.
  10. Check all gas bottle hoses for leaks.
  11. Replace all small cooking gas bottles, or stock up on spares.
  12. Fire up your camp stove to ensure it’s working properly. Bits of food and grease can fall into the burner, causing blockages if left for too long. Coleman recommends cleaning with a high pressure hose, taking care to dry carefully to avoid rust.
  13. Check the mantle in any gas lanterns, as they often break during transportation. Ensure you have a supply of spares.
  14. Change the batteries in your torches, so you won’t be caught out in the dark.
  15. Check the first aid kit and replenish any essential items.
  16. Open coolers and eskies to air them. Wipe the insides with a paste made from baking soda and water to remove stains, then rinse with bleach and water to remove any odours.
  17. If you use a hiking pack, check all the buckles and clasps, as these can deteriorate, become brittle and snap. Replacements are available at camping stores.
  18. If you’re a hiker, clean your boots and treat them with a silicon-based waterproofer for synthetic fabrics. Leather goods should be treated with mink oil or saddle soap.

While you’re getting ready for your next big camping adventure, take a look at these common camping mistakes.