Tin Can Cottage in storage for winter
Camp Prep,  RV Tips

Seven ways to prepare for spring camping now

If cold, wintery weather has you counting the days until spring, here are seven things you can do to help prepare for camping - and ensure you’re ready to hit the road at the first sign of spring!

Find new campgrounds

Spring camping at Rockwood Conservation AreaWe all have our tried and true favourite places to camp. For us, we’ll start the season at Rockwood Conservation Area, as usual, and we’ve already booked a site at Valens Conservation Area for Thanksgiving. But this is an excellent time of year to find new places to explore. 

As a starting point, we consider events we plan to attend, like festivals or weddings, then search around to see if there’s a place to camp nearby. 

Book campsites for next season

Sign marking the start of the Arctic watershed, where all streams flow north to the Arctic Ocean
This was a cool trip. We might do this one again in 2020. 

Once we’ve narrowed down where we like to camp, we always check to see when we can book. Hamilton Conservation Authority, for example, allows you to book sites up to 11 months in advance. Some private campgrounds will take early bookings, too, while others are closed for the season and won’t take requests until spring. 

Ontario Parks allows you to book your site up to five months in advance. That means you can prepare for spring camping now! They recently updated their online reservation system, making it even easier to reserve your site--even on a mobile device. If you’re planning a big event, you can also book group sites or picnic shelters online now, which is super convenient. 

Check out an RV show

Spending an afternoon at an RV show is a great way to get inspiration for the spring camping season. Even if you’re not in the market for a new trailer, it’s fun to tour the latest models. You can also pick up great deals on accessories and find out about different campgrounds. We’re planning to check out the Toronto Winter RV Show on from January 16-19. 

Plan trailer improvements or repairs

Fabric and paint swatchesIt was this time last year that we started planning our recent trailer renovation. We looked at photos, paint chips, fabric swatches and researched suppliers, so when the warmer weather hit, we were ready to get started. 

This year, we’re looking for a temporary indoor space we can use to tackle the exterior of the Tin Can Cottage. Rust-Oleum makes a product called Wipe New that is used to restore faded fibreglass. The application looks pretty simple. You literally put it on, then wipe it off. But we need a consistent temperature and dry conditions, so that’s why we’re looking for an indoor space. We’re eager to try out and will share the results!

Prepare your camping gear for spring

We keep a lot of our trailer gear in plastic bins. We’ve got one for toiletries, one for dry kitchen goods, one for things like ropes and pegs. You get the idea. 

Keeping these supplies in bins makes it easy for us to take them out of the trailer when we’re preparing for a rental, and pop them back in for ourselves. But throughout the camping season, they do get a bit cluttered.

This is the perfect time to open them up and take stock. We toss anything expired or empty and make notes about what we need to replenish in the spring. 

Find new camp recipes

Prepping a Dutch oven meal at campWe love cooking--especially cooking at camp! Sometimes the camping season gets a bit hectic. We’re juggling full-time jobs, volunteer work, our daughter’s school and social schedule and more, so it’s easiest to stick with tried and true meals. 

As the snow falls outside, it’s nice to cozy up to the fire and surf the web to find new meal inspiration for camping. Not only do I come up with menu ideas now, but I also make corresponding grocery/packing lists, which saves a ton of time in the spring. I can just pick a menu and use my list. 

Live vicariously through others

There’s a great community of RVers on Instagram, and we love following the adventures of online friends in warmer climates and full-time RVers who have ventured south for the winter. While you’re there, be sure to follow us @our_tin_can_cottage. 

Bonus idea: just go camping! 

Okay, I know I promised seven things, but I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest...just go camping! There are plenty of people who RV year-round, even in winter weather. 

We’ve actually only had our trailer out in the winter once, although we’ve been out on plenty of fall weekends that felt like winter! It’s definitely cozy with the furnace running and a pot of something hot and comforting on the stove. BUT, warm air inside and cold air outside makes keeping moisture out of the trailer a challenge. We recommend packing extra scrappy towels to wipe the condensation off the windows. These portable dehumidifiers are also awesome to leave in your RV. 

So there you have it. Seven ideas to satisfy your camping urge until spring arrives. Happy planning! 

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