Get Ready for Spring Camping!Posted by Whole Earth | 03.08.2021
Get Ready for Spring Camping!
Some mornings it’s difficult to choose a jacket for the day. It may be cold and rainy at the moment but the forecast calls for unseasonably warm temperatures by midafternoon. So what do we pick? Thankfully, we’ve got a good selection of outerwear in our closet, so we opt for a waterproof shell and a lightweight fleece jacket, and we’re set for the day. The combination of the two will keep us warm and dry in the morning, and when the weather warms up, the fleece will be the perfect jacket for the afternoon. Learning to layer outerwear pieces can multiple our options when we’re preparing for all sorts of weather.
First up clothing. Camping in springtime can be a weather rollercoaster – balmy days, cold nights, accompanied by March winds and April showers. All those rapid changes can make staying warm, comfortable and dry a challenge. Layering is key.
To beat the cold, combine a baselayer next to your skin, with a warm shirt and then add a fleece or insulated jacket on top. If the weather is milder, wearing a vest can keep the core warm and give your arms extra freedom of movement. If there’s rain or wind in the forecast, carry a shell for extra protection. Waterproof shells can keep you dry in wet weather and warm by blocking wind that might otherwise penetrate a fleece or sweater. Shells like the Marmot PreCip Eco Jacket are easy to carry as they can be packed into their own pocket for easy transport in a pack, duffel or car ready for those unexpected showers.
If you’re planning to be out on the water or spending the day in the sun, try technical clothing that includes UPF sun protection, vents for cooling, and is made of materials that wick moisture and are quick drying. And some even include an insect shield that can keep bugs at bay.
And what about pants? Look for fabric that has some give for comfort but also is easily adjustable. Our customers love KUHL’s Women's Splash Roll Up Pants. As the day warms up, the pants can be securely rolled up and snapped in place to help you stay cool or keep pants dry when wading, stream crossing or walking on the beach with the surf tickling your toes.
Next, how are your shoes? Are you planning to hike, trail run or explore? What you’re looking for in outdoor shoes is grip, stability and comfort. And if you’re heading into a watery environment, waterproofing may also be necessary.
Grip is what keeps you firmly connected to a surface whether it’s slick rocks, a mossy log or slippery gravel. The composition of the outsole and the types of tread on the bottom of the shoe are primary factors in grip. Stability is a function of grip and the design of the insole and the upper that hold your foot in in place within the shoe. These also determine how comfortable a shoe is. Does the toe box cramp your toes? Does the heel tab rub? What about your ankles? Does the shoe fit like a glove or are there places where your foot and the insole are not in sync?
There are so many options for hiking shoes and boots these days. The main divide is between low hiking shoes and mid hiking boots. Mids cover the ankle and the lows do not. Both hiking options offer grippy tread and built-in stability. Weight, materials and waterproofing vary widely. A favorite with hikers at Whole Earth is Merrell’s Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots. Some Moab (Mother of All Boots) hiking boots and shoes are waterproof and come in regular or wide widths. All come with vents for breathability, a contoured footbed, an EVA midsole and Vibram soles which offer support, comfort, stability and grip. The Moab is available for men, women and kids as mid boots or low hiking shoes.
Trail running shoes need to be lightweight, agile, have a good grip, a secure fit and offer some protection for your feet from sharp rocks and other potential challenges. Trail running shoes often utilize the newest high tech performance materials that offer lightweight support and breathability. Look for a balance between soles that grip and soles that are durable. These shoes take a beating so you want them to perform well for as long as possible.
If your camping trip will be more about exploring than hiking or trail running, comfort may be the top priority. If you’re planning to be on your feet all day visiting the sights at nearby towns, historical sites or museums, think about a cushy shoe for walking. These shoes often have extra thick, lightweight outsoles and midsoles. The outsoles will still have a good grip but you may feel like you’re walking on a cloud. And once again be sure that the shoe fits like a glove and that your foot and the insole are in sync.
Time for a look in your gear closet! Do you have everything you need for a safe and comfortable camping experience? Check to see which pieces are nearing their last trips and may soon need to be replaced or upgraded. If you’re going to stick with them for this trip, take some time to think through how to respond should something fail. Take precautions and then head out with confidence.
Does your tent need to be aired out? Pitch it in the yard or even the living room and check the poles, fasteners, zippers and fly for any potential problems. Same goes for sleeping bags. They’ll appreciate some fresh air after their long winter’s nap, unless of course you, like so many of us, were using them during the Texas power grid failure. Your sleeping pads would appreciate an airing too.
What are your lighting options? You probably have multiple flashlights, a lantern for camp and for the tent and perhaps even some decorative lighting to add to the festive atmosphere. Do you need to replace batteries and have a stash of extras to take for backup? And you may want some battery backups for your devices, for weather updates at a minimum, calling home, or for posting photos on social media of all the fun you’re having.
What are you planning to eat? Is your cook stove in order? What about the fuel supply? It’s worth taking the time to plan your menus in advance so you’ll have all the ingredients and cooking gear as well as the plates, utensils and cleanup items you’ll need. Don’t forget to bring the recipes. Good food adds real pleasure to the camping experience. Pack your food cooler in reverse with the food you’ll need on the last day at the bottom, working up to day one. And don’t forget to take water. You can store it in GSI Outdoors refillable water cubes with easy use taps.
And last but not least, don’t forget to take a camping hammock or two. Kick back, put your feet up and relax. It’s Spring Break! You’ve earned it.