Spring has sprung and summer is just around the corner. That means the time for dusting off that backpack and getting into the backcountry is not far off either. You say you're not ready? Yeah, neither are we - but here are a few ways you can get yourself (and your gear) ready to have a successful first trip once the temperatures warm and the snow melts away.
1) Spring Cleaning:
Get out your gear and get it cleaned and prepared for that first trip of the year. Check your pack's pockets and throw out those old nutrition bar wrappers and make sure your gear is in good working condition. It's essential to check buckles, fabric, zippers, and snaps for any wear so that you can repair or replace anything needed. Check that your sleeping bag insulation still lofts correctly and inflate your sleeping pad to check for leaks. Fire up your camp stove in the backyard to make sure it's in good working order. Replenish any gauze, medical tape, painkillers, or bandaids in your first aid kit so you're ready for those inevitable backcountry boo-boos. Put on your pack, test sleep in your sleeping bag, and throw on your hiking shorts to make sure everything still fits. Get all this done at home so it doesn't become an unpleasant backcountry surprise.
Find out how to wash your Zenbivy here.
2) Take a Test Run:
You may have gotten some new gear since last year (if not, our Light Bed is calling your name). Make sure you know it all fits in your pack - heck, why not just test pack your bag or take a camping "trip" in your backyard. This is a great way to make sure you won't forget anything and can pick up extra goodies you might need before you hit the trail for real.
3) A Little Fitness Goes a Long Way
We all wish we could roll out of bed on any given day and hike 10 miles, but the reality is that that leads to stiff legs, aches, and pains. Find some local trails or take a few laps around the block to build a little muscle for those long warm days on the trail that are just around the corner. For bonus points, take that pack along that you test-packed in tip #2 for a better workout!
4) Build the Grand Plan:
Planning is one of the best parts of a trip. Break out the maps, the pictures from last summer, gather all the trail beta you've heard through the grapevine and make a plan. If you're looking for a digital take, try apps like Gaia, Alltrails, or Hiking Project to find a hike or plan your route.
5) Get Those Passes and Permits!
If you buy annual passes, there's a good chance yours has expired since last season. Check the dates and renew any National Park or state park passes, and buy any permits for hikes and camp spots ahead of time. You can save a lot of money if you get them online in advance!
6) Leave No Trace Refresher
As outdoors folk, we want to take the best care of our outdoor spaces as possible. It's a good habit and ensures our pristine public lands are clean and beautiful for our next visit and gives other outdoors enthusiasts an opportunity for good, clean fun too. Visit LNT.org to make sure you're doing your part this summer.