As you take stock of your camping supplies, it's a good idea—especially for your first outing of the season—to create a miniature campsite right in your own backyard or even, say, the living room of your studio apartment. The idea is to make sure everything you need is in good working order before you head out into the wilderness. Some things to consider:
- As you take inventory of your camping supplies, give items a once-over cleaning as needed and double-check you didn't leave oatmeal caked to your camping pot when you last used it in September.
- Put up and take down your tent, more than once if possible. Not only will this help your campsite efficiency, it'll identify any issues that need remedied—like a missing tent pole or a giant hole that opened in the roof over winter.
- Hang up your sleeping bag (outside if possible) to air out and chase some of that musty camping scent away.
- Check the batteries. Whether it's a flashlight, portable power station, or GPS device, if it takes batteries or an electric charge, odds are it needs some fresh juice.
- Pack and stack. Aside from backpacks and duffels, some supplies can be organized into sealable storage containers for ease of use. Pack up your gear and assemble your bags and/or bins in a convenient spot for loading up the car as soon as you're ready to go.
- Get out there and have fun. Don't worry about going too wild. Remember, what happens at camp stays at camp. You should also check out our list of clever DIY camping hacks to take your camping game up a notch.