Packing List For Camping In The Springtime

Although this is a wet time of the year around the country, springtime is one of the best times to go camping. Many of the parks are starting to bloom and blossom, and after a long winter, this is a welcomed sight.

However, while an early spring adventure is a great way to get out again, it does require a bit more planning because of the unpredictable weather. You might have to endure a few thunderstorms, but the beautiful flowers and budding trees make it worth the hassle.

Gear Checklist

If you are a regular camper, you most likely have a few standard items you always bring on your trips. Your packing list should always include a tent, a lantern or flashlight, toiletries, food, and a water bottle, regardless of the weather and time of year.

Because of the unpredictable springtime weather, there are two things to keep in mind when gathering your gear: pack to stay dry and warm. Here are a few items to consider for your early springtime expedition:


  • All-weather tent
  • Tarp – Put this on the ground or over your tent to help keep the moisture out.
  • Radio – We recommend our campers take a solar emergency survival radio when the weather might be unpredictable. A device like the NOAA radio warns you of changing weather patterns and will serve as emergency power and light source.
  • Backpack – We prefer ones that have an internal frame, and you should add a waterproof cover that easily wraps your pack and belongings to protect it from sudden showers.
  • Cold weather mummy sleeping bag – Aim for one that keeps you warm in 20-40 degree weather. While the days in the spring might be sunny, the temperature at night might dip much lower, especially if you are camping in elevation.
  • A sleeping pad that keeps you off the cold ground
  • Rope for hanging clothes to dry
  • Waterproof jacket with hood – you might also choose to add a bandana or hat to keep your hair and head dry.
  • Water-resistant, layered clothing – This way, you can add or remove clothing as you warm up during the day, and cool down at night. Look for clothing that is quick-drying and moisture-wicking. Packing a base layer of Merino wool keeps you warm and dry.
  • Wool socks – These help your feet dry quicker, which reduce the chances of uncomfortable blisters or chafing.
  • Waterproof hiking boots – Boots are useful for all seasons! To keep your feet warm and dry, pick up a high-quality pair of boots that fit you well. If you purchased new boots for the season, make sure to break them in, so you aren’t in pain the entire trip.
  • Flip flops – Wear these at night to give your feet a break from the boots, and give them a chance to dry out.

Spring Camping Hints

Make sure you are prepared for anything before setting out on your adventure. Here are a few things to do before you go camping for the first time this season.


  • Test your gear. Most people skip camping during the winter, so that means your equipment might have been gathering dust in your closet for the last couple of months. Make sure to check out your gear and look for any tears or holes that might ruin your trip. If you have to purchase a new backpack, boots, or clothes, test them out to ensure they don’t chafe you and the sizing is right. Set up your tent to make sure you remember how to do it properly if it has been awhile. By preparing beforehand, you can ensure that the camping trip goes as smoothly as possible and doesn’t have to be cut short due to gear problems.
  • Watch the weather. While the weather forecast can change quickly, you should still be keeping your eye on the weather. Knowing what to expect before you go can help you pack the proper clothing, and keep you from freezing during the nights. On the trail, consider bringing along a weather radio, so if the weather does turn dangerous, you can stay informed and make the safest decision.
  • Drink lots of water. When the weather is cooler, you might not be sweating as much, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle handy and sip water all day long, even if you don’t think you need to.
  • Prepare for colder nights. Don’t be tricked by the weather forecast highs. When the sun goes down, the weather will turn chilly. Even if you don’t think you need to, pack a sleeping pad, a sleeping bag that keeps you toasty at night, and clothing layers you can add as needed.

While you do want to pack light, don’t skimp on warm, waterproof clothing. You don’t want the first springtime expedition to be miserable because you are cold and wet the entire time. Even if it doesn’t rain on you, the ground might still be soggy, with tons of puddles and mud on the trails.

Preparing is key and can make all the difference for a successful trip. Follow our checklist and tips and have a great first camp outing!


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