Spring RV checklist for boondockers



By Bob Difley

In Alaska, when spring comes and the ice starts to melt, the daytime temperatures become tolerable, and those who have survived cabin fever venture out once again.

For the rest of us southerners, we probably made a few winter camping trips when Mr. Sun smiled on us for a few days, but are now starting to anticipate bright sun, warmer air, and getting out on the open road. But don’t forget, spring can be capricious, and the weather can change in an instant, bringing rain or cold winds.

Here is a quick checklist of lifestyle items (not including techie stuff like checking your tire pressures, oil level, hoses, etc.) that you may miss when preparing for your spring camping trips.

  • Mosquito repellent (both large spray can and a small one to stick in your fanny pack)
  • Anti-itch cream (for when the little buggers catch you anyway)
  • Adolph’s meat tenderizer (for drawing poison out of wasp and yellow jacket stings)
  • Tekton poison oak rinse (rub into skin after contact and rinse off)
  • Sun block (don’t want skin cancer)
  • A bundle of dry kindling (most of the campfire wood you find will be sodden)
  • Set mouse traps in your rig long before your planned trip and check daily. Peanut butter is a good bait.
  • Roll your awning out and check for tears and nesting birds.  
  • Comet or similar cleanser for sprinkling around all parts of your rig that touch the ground (tires, step) to repel ants. [Editor’s note: Some feel sprinkling this stuff on the ground is not earth-friendly]
  • Fill propane before you get to your campground
  • Ear plugs to cancel out the noise from the partying crowd welcoming spring long into the night.
  • Verify your stores that you are sure you have plenty of, like dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, mustard, peanut butter, condiments, etc.
  • Check all your bedding to make sure some errant leak hasn’t found its way in and mildewed your sheets or pillows.
  • Heavy outer wear – it can still get plenty cold at higher elevations.
  • Fresh batteries for all your reading lights, flashlights, game toys, etc.
  • Re-stock you first aid kit, especially with the stuff you use often like Band-aids and first aid creams.
  • Make sure all your wildlife, bird and flower field guides didn’t migrate off during the winter. And binoculars, too.
  • Plenty of spare socks. In the spring everything is wet, and your feet will be too.
  • Rain gear. ‘Nuff said.
  • Games, cards, books for when you get rained in.
  • Tarp to throw over your barbecue and other stuff you leave out. Spring showers can pop up in an instant.
  • Before you start down a dirt Forest Service road, check with rangers for washouts, fallen trees, flooded out sections, and landslides.
  • Check also that dispersed camping areas are not blocked, and when you arrive, check overhead for broken branches about to fall. Don’t camp underneath one.

Add your own “must remember” items in the comments section. But mostly, remember to have fun, even in the rain.

You can find Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.


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Remember to check with locals about region-specific hazards that even they might not know about:

Last year I set off on a perfectly good forest road just north of Flagstaff, AZ, in my previous Roadtrek 190P (I now have a 4WD RV,). The spring runoff from the San Francisco Peaks was feeding little seeps in the forest. Just as I entered a lava field, my rig fell whump into quicksand. The road had turned into quicksand due to supersaturation from snow melt!

I managed to get out, at the expense of all my “ground effects.” I ordered my next rig with 4 wheel drive and without ground effects!


I find cinnamon to be a “friendlier” powder that works to keep ants away! Smells good & and is non-toxic for the pets, as well!