A hint of sunshine, a rise in temperature and thoughts turn to outdoor activity.

Camping trips, biking excursions and mountain picnics lurk just around the corner. While temperatures hover on the edge of warmth, preparation for upcoming family outings is timely.The National Sportsman Show, March 20-24 at the Salt Palace, features ideas and suggestions to motivate warm-weather activities.

Hosting the show will be Dian Thomas, local resident and national media personality. Thomas will appear at 3, 4, 7 and 8 p.m. daily, sharing innovative outdoor cooking and camping ideas.

Included in the presentations will be Thomas' trademarks, ice cream in a tin can, eggs baked in a paper bag, meat loaf baked in an onion or chocolate-marshmallow stuffed bananas.

Thomas suggests other tips to ensure summer camping success: "Before the season begins, take an inventory of the equipment you have. Spread it out so you can see what is available. Some of it may need to be cleaned or repaired and some of it may need to be replaced. Make a detailed list of needs so you have time to fill in the gaps before the first camping trip."

A Dutch oven is one of the most useful pieces of camping gear, according to Thomas. Simple to gourmet food items can be prepared in single containers, minimizing cleanup as well as preparation.

Campground cleanup is simplified by using a large, plastic bleach bottle as a sink during a campout, according to Thomas. "Poke a pinhole in the front near the bottom of the jug, to form a spout," she explained, "then fill the bottle with water. When you are ready to wash your hands, loosen the lid. The pressure in the top will force out a small stream of water from the spout. When the lid is airtight, the water will stay inside the jug. If the hole grows larger, plug it with a toothpick. To use a large stream of water, poke the hole with a golf tee, tie the tee to the jug handle and use the tee as a stopper. Finally, attach a rope to the handle and tie the jug onto a tree limb. Place a bar of soap in a nylon stocking or a piece of nylon net and tie it to the handle."

Get a head start on the season ahead with a visit to the National Sportsman Show at the Salt Palace through Sunday.