Spring is in sight and whilst it is not officially spring until the equinox on the 20th March, here in Somerset we have experienced some lovely sunny days with temperatures (on average) reaching around 8° C. Whilst it isn’t quite the heatwave we would like, we still think it’s pretty good for February!
With the (slightly) warmer temperatures and the (slightly) longer days, it is a good time to start thinking about getting your caravan, tent or motor home prepped ahead of the first camping trip of the year.
Caravans and Motor homes
Getting your caravan or motor home ready for spring can involve a number of steps to ensure they are in good condition and working correctly, especially if they have been in winter storage. Listed below are some tips to help you prepare your caravan or motor home for Spring:
- Check the exterior - Inspect the outside of your caravan or motor home for any damage (i.e cracks, leaks, rust) which may have occurred during the winter storage period. Checking in advance enables you to arrange the necessary repairs in prior to the first trip of the season. Take time to also check the roof, windows and doors for any signs of wear and tear, especially around the seals. Cleaning the exterior of your caravan or motor home will not only make it look more presentable but it will also be easier to detect any damage. A protective coating can also be applied to the body if required.
- Check the tyres - It is not unusual for tyres to lose air pressure if stored for an extended period of time, so it's important to check this against the manufacturer’s guide. This is usually found in the vehicle manual/handbook or online on the manufacturers’ website. Take a close look at all tyres to ensure that there are no visible signs of wear and that the treads comply with safety standards.
- Check the brakes and suspension - After a period of storage it is a good idea to get a professional to inspect the brakes and suspension for any wear and tear. Damp and humid environments can lead to corrosion and rust, which can seriously affect the workings on both the brakes and suspension.
- Check the electrical system - Ensure the electrical system in your caravan or motor home is tested, including the battery, lights and any appliances. Replace any faulty components, such as blown fuses or dead batteries.
- Check the plumbing system - As a responsible caravan or motor home owner we know this would have been drained when prepping for winter storage to avoid damage. So, when preparing for spring usage, it is important to inspect all water and plumbing systems for any leaks or damage, ensuring that all fittings and valves are properly connected and tightened to prevent leakage.
- Clean the interior - Lastly, cleaning the interior of your caravan thoroughly will remove any dust, dirt and musty odours that may have built up during storage. Vacuum the carpets, wipe down all surfaces and air out cushions and bedding.
So whilst winter storage for your tent may look and feel very different compared to caravans and motor homes, it is still a very important step to ensure that all checks are made prior to the first camp of the season. By following the below steps, you can ensure that your camping trip at Southfork Caravan Park goes as smoothly as possible.
- Clean your tent - Before using your tent for the first camp of the spring season, it is a good idea to give it a thorough clean to remove any dirt and debris that may have built up whilst in storage. Ideally the easiest way to do this is to set it up, however depending on the size of your tent and space available this may not be possible. Instead, cleaning your tent in sections is much easier and more manageable for anyone struggling with space. Use a soft-bristled brush to sweep away any dirt or debris, then using a damp cloth or sponge gently wipe down the outer shell. When cleaning your tent, it is important to avoid using soap or detergent as this can damage the waterproof coating. Specialist detergent for tents can be found online or in-store at any reputable stockists.
- Check for damage - Whilst cleaning , inspect your tent for any signs of damage, such as rips, tears, or holes in the fabric or mesh. If you find any damage, repair it promptly to prevent further damage. Small tears or holes can be patched with a tent repair kit, while larger damage may require professional repair.
- Check the zips - Check all zips on your tent to ensure that they are in good working order. If any appear to be sticking or difficult to move, you can use a specialist zip lubricant to make them smoother.
- Test the waterproofing - Testing the effectiveness of the waterproof coating on your tent before use will ensure everything and everyone stays dry! Spraying or pouring water over your tent will enable you to see whether there are any leaks in the outer shell, again if you are unable to put your tent up at home, folding into sections and spraying will be as effective (although somewhat slower).
- Air out your tent - There’s a good chance that if your tent has been in storage, despite any best efforts to clean prior to said storage, it may have a musty odour to it. This is easily fixable and only requires some airing out after setting up to get rid of any undesirable aromas. If you aren’t able to do this prior to your trip due to available space, then leaving it to air out for an hour after arriving at your destination will be just as effective.
Now that we have cleaned out the caravan, checked the brakes on the motor home and aired out the tent, the next thing to consider for a successful first camping trip of the season is kit and equipment.
Although, we have some lovely warm sunny days in Spring (particularly here at Southfork Caravan Park in Martock, Somerset), it is easy to forget that the nights can still be cold with temperatures in single figures. The daily weather can also be changeable so it is important to prepare for the varying weather conditions that come with spring. Below is a list of useful items for coping with the changing weather.
- Warm clothing - Even if the days are warm, nights in the spring can be chilly. Packing some warm clothing such as a suitable weight jacket, hat and gloves will enable you to stay warm and enjoy the cooler evenings.
- Waterproof gear - Spring weather can be incredibly unpredictable with showers one minute and sunny spells the next. Ensure that you pack some basic waterproof gear such as a waterproof jacket, trousers and boots to keep you dry and comfortable.
- Sleeping bag - Even as late as May the nights can be chilly during spring and so taking a the correct weight of sleeping bag can make a huge difference. For early spring (March / April) we would suggest a 3 season sleeping bag and for later spring (May) a 2 season sleeping bag. Although again, we would also stress that it is easier to cool down than warm up and no one likes to be shivering during the night so would recommend taking higher than you think.
- Groundsheet - A groundsheet or footprint under your tent will protect against moisture reaching it directly and will also help prevent damage to the floor of your tent. Even with an in-built groundsheet, it is still a good idea to take a footprint as it will also add an extra layer of insulation between you and the floor.
- Lighting - Adequate lighting is an important part of any camping trip, however it is worth noting that even though the days are becoming warmer during spring, they are not yet as long as summer. A headlamp or battery-powered lantern can be helpful for navigating around the campsite during the darker evenings.
- Insect repellent - Depending on when and where you camp, spring is a time when some insects begin to emerge. Packing insect repellent will help keep the midges and flies away and may prevent some bees stings.
- Sun protection - Many people become caught out during the first few hot sunny days in spring and even if the weather is cool, the sun is getting stronger each day. Take sunscreen and an appropriate hat to ensure you don’t get caught out on your first day in the sun. Sunburn can be uncomfortable at night, especially in a tent!
So with all this in mind it’s time to start planning your first trip of the season, unless you are an all-year-rounder (see our guide to camping during the winter months)!
Southfork Caravan Park is situated in a peaceful, rural area of Somerset, between the villages of Martock & South Petherton and is open all year round. We have 27 level touring pitches for Caravans, Motor Homes and Tents. For those who like a few extra home comforts, we have a luxury glamping cabin and two holiday homes. We even have The Ranch Cafe & Deli on-site offering delicious hot and cold local food.
For any queries regarding staying at Southfork Caravan Park please contact us online via www.southforkcaravans.co.uk or on 01935 825661. Booking and availability can also be viewed online.