The magnificent gold, red, and orange hues of autumn make it one of the best and most spellbinding times of the year to head out on a camping trip with family and friends. With the summer tourist season just ended and kids back to school, this would be the perfect time for couples as well to enjoy a romantic camping adventure together. The nice weather and less-crowded campgrounds will be ideal for a pleasant and fun camping experience.
No matter what your reason is for fall camping, whether you plan on taking an off-season backpacking trip with your buddies or wish you take your family for some foliage viewing, all you need to do for an enjoyable trip is prepare properly. This is where our useful tips to prepare for fall camping comes in handy.
1) Plan Ahead
As obvious as it may sound, the very first thing you should focus on while planning for your fall camping trip is choosing your camping destination. You will be able to find various resources online, like recreation.gov, to find a location in your neighborhood or in other states, according to your preference. If you are an avid camper, you would know that campgrounds tend to be fully booked during summer; however, during autumn, it would be easy for you to find vacant campsites anywhere in the country. Also, with less crowd occupying the campground, this would be the best chance for you to enjoy a quieter, more private, and relaxed camping experience.
2) Look for Camping Activities
Is swimming your all-time favorite activity to do while camping? Well, maybe not this time of the year. Swimming may not be the ideal activity for fall camping. Therefore, if you wish to remain engaged and physically active during your camping trip, look for other camping activities that are available in or around your campground. From something as simple and mesmerizing as fall foliage tour to hunting and fall fishing, there will be plenty of options for you to choose from.
3) Take the Right Camping Gear
Taking with you the right gear is essential for fall camping. When it comes to camping gear, the first item you would think of is a tent. It is best to invest in a three-season tent because these are designed to withstand changing weather conditions. When choosing a tent, make sure that it has a big rain fly, and always test your tent in your backyard to make sure that it serves its purpose. Having a couple tarps can also come in handy while camping in the fall.
In the case of sleeping bags, remember to buy one that can protect you from temperatures much lower than you expect. Sleeping pads are also vital to protect yourself from the cold floor. If needed, you can also use multiple sleeping pads; ultimately, what you need is a good and comfortable night’s rest.
In addition to these basic gears, also take with you some microfiber towels, flashlights or headlamps, campfire starters, and other necessities to be ready in every way possible.
4) Always Stay Dry and Warm
Staying warm is definitely a challenge when camping in cold weather conditions. Fall weather especially, can be unpredictable; therefore, it is always better to be on the safe side. Using different clothing types and layering is as important as choosing the right tent, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads for your trip.
Choose clothes that are water resistant and also breathable. For base layers, go for wool clothing, as they have the ability to keep you dry and warm by wicking away moisture from your skin. To keep your body warm, add an additional layer on top with something like a fleece vest or jacket to maintain a comfortable body temperature. Use waterproof boots or shoes and good quality wool socks and proper gloves to protect your hands and feet. Remember to pack additional sets of clothing to be on the safer side.
5) Setting Up Camp
When it comes to setting up your campsite during your fall camping trip, one most vital aspect you need to keep in mind, once again, is warmth. Pitch your tent in a covered spot, and try to make sure that the sun is likely to fall on your tent the next morning. Leave the rain fly open and also hang one or more tarps wherever you feel necessary. If you have a specific area allocated for eating or to have a picnic or even near your campfire, hang a tarp above that area so the spot remains dry at all times.
6) Fall Camping Food
Always prepare and pack one-pot or easy-to-cook dishes because this will be very much helpful during times when the weather gets worse. Take a camping stove or Dutch oven to cook some of your favorite camping meals, including fall camping favorites like chicken stew, chili, baked potatoes, and more. For a satisfying and delicious snack, pack a few packets of store bought biscuit or cookie dough to roast it in the campfire or make it on your camping stove.
7) Pack a Survival Kit
The fact that you will have no idea what you will encounter applies to fall camping as well. Therefore, be prepared to be safe by putting together the following items (and more if you find necessary) to make a survival kit:
- Pocket knife
- Fire starters (can include wood shavings, lint, etc.)
- Flashlights, lamps, or any other light source
- Toilet paper
- Waterproof matches
- Water purification tablets
- Tinned food
- Duct tape
- Safety pins
8) Be Safe
Since you will be camping in lower temperatures, the risk of hypothermia is high. To prevent this, always be conscious to remain warm. If you get wet, no matter how little, change out of that particular clothing as early as possible. As mentioned earlier, pack some additional sets of clothing for overly wet days. Always remain well-nourished and hydrated to keep yourself going. And no matter where you choose to go, inform your family or friends about the exact location and the duration of your stay.