So you didn’t get out as much as you would have wanted to this season. And now autumn is peaking around the corner. Days are shortening. Your breath lingers in the brisk morning air momentarily before dispersing. So do you pack up your camping gear and call it for the year? Well we don’t think you should. Fall camping offers a unique and scenic experience for many that can’t be achieved in the peak summer months. With the foliage changing colours, and campgrounds quieting down, the bridge between blistering heat and freezing blizzards can be a haven to many peaceful getaways.  

So what are the differences between fall camping and your normal summer experience?  What should you wear? What do you bring?

There is of course the understandable drop in temperature. However, there may be some changes you didn’t think about. And that is why we have put together the ultimate guide for fall camping. To have all the tips and tricks for extending your vacation season in one spot.

Layers

In the great words of Eddie Murphy from Shrek “Onions have layers.” And so should you when it comes to falling temperatures of the outdoors. Having extra pairs of underwear, socks and sweaters will keep you sane when the unpredictable weather of autumn acts up.

Wool, fleece and synthetic materials are preferred over cotton. As these will keep you the warmest and driest during the cooler months. Hats and mittens are also advisable if you’re planning on camping closer to winter.

We also recommend some extras if you like to stay active during these cozier months. Apparel such as wicking base-layers, light-weight windbreakers, gaiters and boots with insulation are all great accoutrements to keep you going during hikes, canoeing, etc.

Fuel

As fall camping brings us shorter days, it inversely gives campers longer cooking times. Setting aside the cold fingers during prep, lower temperatures mean that cooking outside will inevitably take longer. Boiling and grilling both will require extra heat, and in doing so, campers will find they consume more fuel. So plan ahead and ensure that you have the propane to cover this extra expenditure. You can always save leftover fuel for next year’s adventures.

Easy Meals

Cooler temperatures can have you craving hearty comfort food. However, these big dishes usually call for longer prep times. And with weather quickly changing during the autumn season, you will be happy to have some easy or pre-prepped meals on hand in case weather doesn’t want to cooperate. 

As well, warm drinks and soups are a perfect way to keep warm and feel right at home. So make sure to bring insulated mugs, some coffee and cocoa for everyone looking to join!

Wood

If you’re using your fire to cook or just trying to keep warm for the evening, having extra wood is an important step in making sure your fall camping experience is enjoyable. Cooler mornings mean that leftover coals and logs will be collecting moisture. So finding dry burning materials during this time can become increasingly difficult. Housing your wood in your vehicle can be a great decision to avoid this, as well as collecting tinder and kindle early on in your trip can save you trouble down the road.

Sleeping Bags

Summer sleeping accessories are usually light-weight and breathable for the more humid nights of the year. However, they aren’t very well equipped to keep you cozy during temperature dips of the fall. You will want to shop for cold rated sleeping bags to avoid shivering on those late nights.

These can be insulated for incredibly low temperatures for winters or mountaineers, but many campers can get by with three seasons rated bags. Generally -6◦C to 0◦C (20 – 32 Fahrenheit). As well, if you tend to be a cold sleeper, mummy styled sleeping bags preserve heat that might be lost through your head. 

Sleeping Pads and Foam

It’s not just your sleeping bag that will keep you cozy on a cool night. Sleeping pads and/or air mattresses will and do make a difference in maintaining body temperature. If you don’t feel like upgrading, bringing a layer of foam can be an inexpensive alternative to keeping you warm during fall nights.

Extra Tarps

Mornings during the fall will present you with some incredibly surreal sunrises and comfort. However, you will notice dew is a lot more prevalent when compared to the summer months. This extra moisture means it is best to have extra tarps.

Placing one above and underneath your tent is a great way to keep yourself dry from any water permeation. As well, extra tarps above a dining tent will ensure you have refuge away from any inclement weather.

Lastly, tarps can be hung vertically between trees to keep brisk winds from reaching you while sleeping, eating or enjoying an evening fire.

Headlamps and Flashlights

With shorter days comes more time in low-light settings. To prepare for the shortage of sun, having extra headlamps, flashlights and batteries will serve you well when it comes to visibility. Be sure to check your reserves before setting way.

The “Just in Case’s”

As previously mentioned, weather during the latter months of the year can be quite unforgivable. So, if snow or sleet presents itself, you might want to take refuge in a close cabin, or go out for dinner to wait out a storm. In these cases, you will be happy to have extra cash in your pockets for those “Just in Case” moments.

Hopefully this guide has you prepared for extending your camping season comfortably. As we all know there is never such a thing as “too much” outdoors! If we have missed any tips or advice that you would have included for fall camping, let us know your recommendations. We will be sure to update our list!

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