The fall is a wonderful time of year to go camping. Not only are temperatures starting to cool down after the heat of summer, but the leaves are changing and the world is full of beauty. To make sure your fall camping trip is as enjoyable as possible, keep these ten things in mind during the planning process:
1. Check the weather before you head out. Weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, so always take the time to check the forecast before you go – then check it again. Depending where you’re headed, you should be prepared for the weather to change as well while you’re there.
2. Pack plenty of layers. Temperatures can fluctuate in the fall, so you’ll want to pack plenty of layers so you can dress warmly in the morning chill and shed layers as it warms up. Don’t forget about packing layers for your tent too – you may need a tarp for rain protection and a removable fly if things cool down.
3. Test your tent and your gear before you go. If you’ve been hiking in the summer, it may have been a while since you last used the fly on your tent. Make sure it still holds tight against water and check your pack as well.
4. Get there early and give yourself extra time. Remember that the days are shorter in the fall, so you’ll need to set up camp earlier than your used to if you want to get it done before nightfall. You’ll also need to give yourself a little extra time for cooking in cooler temperatures.
5. Bring plenty of insect repellant. When the temperature becomes more comfortable for you, it’s also better for bugs so bring plenty of insect repellant. You’ll want spray for your clothes and gear as well as candles or torches to keep your campsite bug-free.
6. Set up camp in the sun rather than the shade. During the summer, you want to choose a campsite that is in the shade to keep things cool. In the fall, however, setting up in the sun will help you stay warm and it’ll dry things out faster if it rains.
7. Plan your meals according to the weather. Even if it hasn’t gotten too cold yet, a full day of hiking in the wet and chill can leave you craving comfort food. Bring hearty food like stew and chili that is easy to reheat and will warm you right up.
8. Pack plenty of cold-weather sleeping gear. Temperatures will start to drop after the sun goes down, so bring along a cold-weather sleeping bag. You’ll also want to bring sleeping pads to put between your body and the cold ground.
9. Bring along your own firewood. When the autumn comes around, dry firewood may be scarce so you should think about packing your own just in case. You can still look for kindling and dry wood if it’s available, but you won’t be out of luck if there’s not much to be found.
10. Have a contingency plan. Even if you feel like you’re fully prepared for the trip ahead, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Look for hotels nearby and be prepared in case you need to eat out instead of cooking.
Planning is an important part of any camping trip, but the tips above will help you specifically plan for a fall camping trip. Keep them in mind as you start thinking about where you’re going to go and what to bring with you. Enjoy!