A fall camping trip is fun for the entire family. You get to hike through the woods during peak fall foliage, cook over a campfire, and really enjoy the crispness of the autumn air. But as with any season, you should be adequately prepared to handle what fall throws at you.
Knowing what to bring and what to expect could mean the difference between a fun fall camping experience and going home wet, cold, and sad. Here are some helpful tips for your fall camping trip.
Be mindful of the weathe
Fall, especially as you get into late October and early November, can feature some pretty dramatic weather changes. A pleasantly mild day can give way to a snowstorm at the drop of a hat. If you’re planning a fall camping trip, don’t just pack up and go! Do a thorough check of the upcoming weather forecasts. Be sure you’re not unintentionally putting yourself in the path of a dangerous weather situation.
Choose a spot during peak fall foliage
If you’re planning a fall camping trip, plan to camp around peak fall foliage time in your region. In doing so, you’ll get the most out of the seasonal changing of the leaves. This is a great map for determining the timing peak fall foliage in the US.
Bringing lots of different layers of clothing with you will help you regulate your comfort levels during a season that can see major temperature shifts. It is recommended that you bring waterproof clothing, extra shoes and dry socks, a winter cap, a fleece jacket or wool shirt, thermal underwear, and mittens. Mittens are superior to gloves when it comes to warmth, as your fingers being in contact with one another will help provide warmth.
Bringing firewood on a fall camping trip is a good idea, as rain and snow may make it difficult to scavenge dry branches and wood from the nearby forest floor. Bring enough wood to satisfy your heating and cooking needs for the duration of your trip. It’s better to have a little bit more than you need than not enough.
Invest in a waterproof tent
A waterproof tent is a good idea for camping any time of the year. Nothing puts a damper on a camping trip like a tent filled with water! But especially in the fall, you want to keep the inside of your tent as dry as possible. A wet sleeping bag plus cooler temperatures could put you in a really dangerous situation if you’re not careful. In conjunction with a waterproof tent, a tarp can help provide an extra layer of protection from wind and water.
Sleep with your clothes
The temperature inside your tent can get pretty brisk during a fall camping trip. Have you ever woken up and put on a cold pair of denim pants? Yikes! One simple fall camping tip is to place your clothing in the sleeping bag with you. Your clothes will be warm and dry when you go to get dressed in the morning, providing a great deal more comfort first thing than you’d get from cold, stiff clothing.
Hot water bottles are a lifesaver
You can bring heaters with you on a camping trip, though exercise extreme caution with them. A safer alternative to using fossil fuel-powered heaters is simply using a hot water bottle! Bring one with you into your sleeping bag when you go to bed. Just be careful that the bottle isn’t so hot that it might burn you.
Don’t breathe into your clothes or sleeping bag
Your breath is warm, and it can seem appealing to breathe into your clothes, hands, mittens, and sleeping bag in order to warm them up. But when you breathe, you’re also breathing out water. Take a few deep breaths and breathe out into your hand – how long does it take to start feeling damp? Usually just two to three breaths! This water may be warm at first but will quickly cool, which is counterproductive to the initial goal of warming up. It’s best to stay as dry as you possibly can.
Be conscious of wildlife
Wildlife in the fall sometimes behave differently than in other seasons. Deer begin entering their “rut” mating phase during the last week of October through early November. Male deer, known as bucks, can be extremely aggressive during this time. Bears and other animals may be more inclined to go after food made available at camp sites as well. Leave your food in the trunk of your car at night to prevent bears from picking up the scent.
Leave no trace
As an outdoor, eco conscious apparel brand, we want everyone to get outside and experience nature! But we also encourage everyone to pack out what they pack in. And frankly, if you’re visiting a more popular camping site, you should be prepared to clean up after someone else. Always do your best to leave your camp site better than you found it, no matter the season!