Summer camping checklist: 6 things to do before your first trip of the year

·5 min read

Camping and roadtrips are a Canadian rite of passage — and being prepared will help make it the most enjoyable experience possible. When it comes to tackling your summer plans with confidence, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire. From roadtrip checklists to out-of-the-box camping meal ideas, we’ve got you covered as you count down to the weekends.

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

There are so many reasons to go camping this summer. Amongst them is a much needed disconnect from technology, the opportunity to bond with your camping partners and of course, connecting with nature.

As with many things, a successful camping trip requires preparation so don’t wind up sleeping in a leaky tent or eating only granola bars. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a first-timer, there are some essential things you should check off your list before heading out with your family this summer.

For more information and must-haves, check out Canadian Tire's first timer camping checklist here.

Step 1: Inspect your tent and sleeping gear

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Your tent and sleeping gear are integral to a successful camping trip, so you always want to make sure it's in tip-top condition. Along with the canopy, remember to inspect your rainfly, tent poles, stakes and even your stuff sack to ensure they weren’t damaged over the winter.

If you do find you need to purchase a new tent, take the time to select one that meets all your needs. The Outbound Dome Tent with Screen Porch is an excellent choice for a larger family while the Outbound Dome Tent, 3-Person is ideal for couples.

If you find your sleeping bag has incurred some damage or it’s simply ready to retire, it’s time to find a new one that meets your comfort needs and suits your camping style. While down filled sleeping bags have some major benefits, synthetic options like the Outbound Comfort Sleeping Bag can be better at retaining heat when wet and are extremely durable.

Step 2: Make sure your cooking gear and utensils are in working order

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Cooking is a major part of the camping experience, so you’ll want to make sure all your equipment and utensils are in good working order. Are your pots and pans, utensils, knives, cutting board and pot holders still in good condition? Do you have enough camping fuel, matches, firestarter and a lighter in your camping kit?

Your camping stove is a very important element so you want to replace it if you find it’s being finicky. The Woods™ Double Burner Quick Fire Camping Stove is an excellent slim option that’s durable and features an electric start so you don’t need matches or a lighter.

Step 3: Spring clean and maintenance

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

After being in storage for four the past few months, your camping gear (especially your tent), could definitely use a bit of a refresh.

It’s best to follow cleaning instructions on manufacturer tags, but if it’s come off, it’s fairly safe to give your sleeping bag and tent a once over with a gentle detergent that won’t take off the weather proofing.

Once you’re satisfied, clean the soap off with fresh water and a wash cloth and hang to dry. Follow that up by reapplying the waterproofing solution. The Woods™ Camping Nano Protector Waterproofing & Stain Repellent Spray should do just the trick.

Step 4: Make a list and check it twice

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

There are a lot of smaller items that are easy to forget, but could make your camping trip less than pleasant.

Before you head into the backcountry, it’s important to go through your checklist of must-have items. A First-Aid kit could easily be forgotten, but always a good item to have on hand. For tent repairs, you should always have a kit on hand that includes sealant, a sewing kit and repair tape.

Repair tools, cleaning and cooking supplies are all essentials and shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s advisable to start with your larger essential items and move down your list to smaller things like batteries and matches.

As well, you'll want to make sure that you pack everything to ensure your camping experience is as comfortable as possible. Adequate lighting is a must, so you make sure you have enough lanterns and flashlights (or headlamps) to light your tents and campground, as well as illuminate any late-night, half-asleep bathroom trips. Even on the hottest summer days, mornings and evenings can still be chilly, so you may want to also pack a camp heater to warm things up — especially before you get a fire going.

And of course, bug bites are never fun, so make sure you pack insect repellent.

Step 5: Store it

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

One fo the best parts of camping is you're exposed to the great outdoors — but that can also mean unwanted pests and critters can get into your food and supplies.

A high-quality cooler is a must to prevent unwanted guests from entering your campsite looking for leftovers. One of the top picks is the Woods™ ARCTIC Roto-Moulded Cooler, which features a lockable li with padlock ports (padlock not included), so you can lock up any leftovers or supplies at the end of the day. It's also certified bear resistant so you can rest easy.

Another neat storage option is the Mobicool Power Cooler/Warmer, 45-L. In addition to keeping your food secure, this power cooler can also cool to 20° C below ambient temperature or warms to 65° C

Step 6: Give everything a dry run

Photo via Canadian Tire
Photo via Canadian Tire

Finally, it doesn’t hurt to have a mock camping adventure in your backyard. Set up your tent and fire up your camping stove. Cozy up in your sleeping bag and make sure you’re feeling confident before you head out into the wilderness — and if you forget anything, it’s only a few steps away.

Summer is finally here — and Canadian Tire and Yahoo are helping you take advantage of every single moment. From weekend camping and roadtrip must-haves to tips on how to make your backyard the ultimate oasis, Everything Awaits you at Canadian Tire.