Our shake-down at Kenneth Wilson this summer


The first time you go out for the season, it’s best to have a “shake-down” session scheduled.


What’s a “shake-down”?

  • it’s a trip where you are figuring out if you’ve got everything you need
  • it’s great to do at a camp where you are familiar with the camp and location
  • it’s good to do when you aren’t too far from the nearest gear store in case you forgot something essential
  • it’s a good test of whether you got everything out of storage, whether it has weathered the winter well and whether it still works
  • it’s good to do on a short trip where you don’t have a lot scheduled and there is plenty of down-time


What might you find on a “shake-down”?

  • you might find that you didn’t manage to get all the batteries replaced when you stocked the lights, etc.
  • you might find that your fire tools need cleaning or repair
  • you might find that your marine battery can’t hold a charge
  • you might find that you are missing essential repair tools
  • you might find that you forgot to bring sunscreen
  • you might realize that you have some trashbags/firestarters/bug stuff, but not nearly enough if it was going to be a longer trip
  • you might find awesome new ways to use new gear
  • 0r a better way to organize the car
  • you might realize that your favorite camping chair is damaged
  • you might realize that you don’t have as much cold weather/hot weather gear handy as you might need
  • you might realize that the rain tent made it back into the camper, but the tent spikes didn’t
  • you might realize that some piece of gear didn’t get cleaned as well as it should
  • you might realize that the new light you got can easily replace another light that is packed
  • or you might try a new site at a tried and true campground to see if a different space is different or better


A “shake-down” let’s you take stock in a low-key way that doesn’t have as high of stakes as a trip where you are constantly on the road or not near the shops you might need to restock something.


In our shake-down this year, we learned lots. We were indeed missing those tent spikes and made do with rocks found at the site. There was a serious problem with my camping chair. I discovered that if you wear Keens with bare feet around a camp with poison ivy on the ground, you are likely to get poison ivy on the shoes and then continually back onto your feet (wear socks!). We realized after the first night that our marine battery has gotten to the end of its useful life. And since we really wanted to make sure that we had the fan for the second hot night, we made a quick stop at Camping World to pick up a new battery and some tools to install it. We got a good sense of what extra stuff we are going to need when we take a much longer trip next month. All in all, it was both a good time and a good learning adventure.