As the weather gets warmer, the itch to take to the hills gets stronger; but springtime camping comes with its own challenges and unique experiences, so its important to be prepared. We’ve compiled a list of the most important tips to keep in mind when heading out to camp this spring.

1. There Will Be Mud


Between snowmelt and April showers, there will most likely be wet and muddy patches you’ll need to contend with. Waterproof footwear, canvas tent footprints, rain tarps, rain jackets, and heavy-duty tent pegs that won’t pull out of the wet ground are a must for keeping yourself dry and comfortable.

2. Layer Up


While it’s nice and toasty down here during the day, up in the mountains (especially at night) it’s still dropping below freezing at night. Make sure you have a sleeping bag rated down to expected temperatures and bring thermals to wear under your clothing. Blankets and warm socks are also a must! Even during the day it’s going to be colder than you expect.

3. Bring Extra


Nothing is worse than getting wet and being unable to get dry. Bring extra shoes, socks, and clothing to ensure that if something does get soaked through or muddy and damp, you can change out of those clothes and into something warm and dry.

4. Check Ahead


Trail work doesn’t begin until summer, so if you’re planning a long trek into the back country along trails (even if you know them well), you will want to factor in extra time for possible problems. Downed trees from the insane wind storm we had a few weeks ago, streams that have been diverted, or knee-deep mud are all possibilities you may come across, so if you can find information about trail conditions, it will save you a headache later. Check the weather too! This is a changeable time of year, and you don’t want to pack for light spring showers and get caught in a blizzard because you didn’t check the weather.

5. Watch out for Wildlife


Spring is a big deal in the animal kingdom. Bugs will be coming out, so prep yourself with bug repellent and soothing cream if you’re allergic to their bites. Bears are hungry after hibernation, moose are grumpy from a long winter, and some animals are having babies. If you find baby animals, don’t touch them—their mothers are probably nearby and won’t take kindly to you messing with their babies. Put your food in bear bags and hoist it into a tree to keep yourself safe. Animals won’t bother you if you don’t bother them!

6. Double Check your Gear


Odds are, you haven’t used your gear in a few months, so make sure to check everything over before tossing it in your car. You may be missing things, something may need to be repaired, what have you: but it’s always better to find out before you leave!

7. HAVE FUN! Happy camping!