how to prepare for fall camping

How to Prepare for Fall Camping

The temperature is dropping, but that doesn’t mean you need to pack away your camping gear for the year. We’ve assembled our best tips for how to prepare for fall camping that we’ve gathered from years of camping in cold weather.

Where to Camp During the Fall

Fall schedules begin after Labor Day in National Parks, which means reduced rates on most campsites and entries into the park. Fall schedules are perfect for campers because, not only does it save you money, fall means fewer visitors to the park. If you’ve ever been to Yellowstone in the heart of the summer, you know it can be an absolute zoo.

Regardless if you choose to stay at a National Park or a local campground, fall typically means fewer campers and reduced rates.

How to Dress For Fall Camping

Layering is essential for fall camping trips. We love merino wool as base layers and building a system on top of that material. Daytime and nighttime temperatures can change drastically in the fall. Layering allows you to add or subtract clothing throughout the day as needed. A good rule of thumb is if you start to sweat, take layers off. Merino wool does a fantastic job at wicking moisture away from your body so if you get overheated, you won’t get nearly as chilled later in the day as you would with cotton or a similar material.

TIP: One often overlooking fall clothing item is a stocking hat. Just because there isn’t snow on the ground and freezing temperatures, don’t think a winter hat shouldn’t be part of your fall camping gear. Keeping your head and ears warm throughout the day will go long ways in making cooler temperatures bearable.

What to Eat: Fall Camping Recipes

Certain recipes go great with chilly weather and changing leaves. From a hearty breakfast to get the day started to chicken cooked right over the campfire, we’ve included a day’s worth of our favorite fall camping recipes that are sure to warm you up.

Breakfast

Cast Iron Quiche with Grilled Hamsteak, Mushrooms, Onions and Zucchini
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The smoky flavors of a grill are absorbed beautifully into this Cast Iron Quiche with Grilled Hamsteak, Mushrooms, Onions and Zucchini, making this a real treat to prepare over a fire. This recipe also works well in a covered Dutch oven right over a campfire. Put on the coffee and let’s dig in!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Cast Iron Quiche with Grilled Hamsteak, Mushrooms, Onions and Zucchini
Print Recipe
The smoky flavors of a grill are absorbed beautifully into this Cast Iron Quiche with Grilled Hamsteak, Mushrooms, Onions and Zucchini, making this a real treat to prepare over a fire. This recipe also works well in a covered Dutch oven right over a campfire. Put on the coffee and let’s dig in!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 15 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Roll out dough and place in 12” cast iron skillet (or transfer from foil pan if using preformed crust).
  2. Put 2/3 cup cheese in the bottom.
  3. Slice zucchini in ¼” slices.
  4. Grill hamsteak over medium heat (325⁰) until char marks appear. Remove from grill and cube.
  5. Put zucchini, mushrooms, cubed hamsteak, and onion on top of cheese.
  6. Whisk eggs and half and half. Pour over ingredients in pan.
  7. Top with remaining cheese.
  8. Place in covered grill over medium heat (325°) until crust is brown and knife inserted into center of quiche comes out clean – approximately 40 minutes.
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Cast Iron Potato and Brisket Hash with Bell Peppers and Onions
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Cast Iron Potato and Brisket Hash with Bell Peppers and Onions
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat of about 375°F.
  2. Pour oil in 12” cast iron skillet and heat on grill.
  3. Place potatoes, onions and peppers in skillet and sauté for approximately 10 minutes, until potatoes begin to soften slightly.
  4. Add brisket to skillet, add salt and spices and continue to cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until potatoes and vegetables are tender, turning mixture frequently.
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Lunch

Pulled Pork Tacos with Cast Iron Spanish Rice
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This recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos with Cast Iron Spanish Rice uses the flavors of the smoker to further enhance the culinary experience with slow-smoked pulled pork. The spices, fresh salsa, and roasted peppers make this a delicious treat the whole family will love!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Pulled Pork Tacos with Cast Iron Spanish Rice
Print Recipe
This recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos with Cast Iron Spanish Rice uses the flavors of the smoker to further enhance the culinary experience with slow-smoked pulled pork. The spices, fresh salsa, and roasted peppers make this a delicious treat the whole family will love!
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Salsa
Tacos
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Combine all salsa ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Heat pulled pork or utilize immediately after smoking.
  3. Grill poblano pepper over high heat until charred on all sides. Remove seeds and dice.
  4. Combine sour cream and chipotles (blend or crush chipotles in adobo sauce until smooth).
  5. Place pork into flour tortillas, top with salsa, cheese, peppers and drizzle with chipotle sauce and barbecue sauce.
  6. Serve & enjoy!
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Dinner

Grilled Flank Steak
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Grilled Flank Steak
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Ingredients
Garlic Dust
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Trim any excess fat from flank steak and lightly oil both sides. Generously sprinkle both sides with Damon’s Garlic Dust and let steak warm to room temperature for at least 20-30 minutes before grilling.
  2. Prepare grill to medium-high heat of about 375-385⁰F.
  3. Grill steak to desired doneness. For medium rare, grill about 3 minutes and rotate 90⁰, flip and repeat. Once done, remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before slicing. REMEMBER: Slice against the grain of the steak for maximum tenderness.
  4. Place mushrooms and onions in a foil pouch with butter. Sprinkle with Damon’s Garlic Dust and wrap tightly. Place on grill and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Pick up foil pouch with tongs and shake halfway through grilling to ensure even cooking. Remove from heat and vent before serving.
  5. Lightly coat asparagus with oil, sprinkle with Damon’s Garlic Dust and place on grill. Grill until tender, rotating frequently (approximately 8-10 minutes until done).
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Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbs & Sausage
Print Recipe
Jerk chicken can be dry-rubbed or marinated in a wet rub such as this recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbs & Sausage. The sweetness of the potatoes with the complexity of the herbs is a perfect pairing for this spicy chicken. Fire up this recipe to take your grill on a journey to the Caribbean!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbs & Sausage
Print Recipe
Jerk chicken can be dry-rubbed or marinated in a wet rub such as this recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Herbs & Sausage. The sweetness of the potatoes with the complexity of the herbs is a perfect pairing for this spicy chicken. Fire up this recipe to take your grill on a journey to the Caribbean!
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6-8 people 20 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Jerk Marinade
Sweet Potatoes w/ Herbs & Sausage
Servings: people
Instructions
Chicken
  1. Combine all jerk sauce ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. Remove 1 cup and set aside.
  2. Trim excess fat off leg quarters and place in plastic bag with jerk sauce (aside from the 1 cup that was set aside). Place in refrigerator or cooler for 3-4 hours.
  3. Prepare grill to a medium-high heat of about 375°F.
  4. Remove chicken from bags (discard liquid). Grill chicken over direct heat for approximately 15 minutes, then turn chicken over and grill an additional 15 minutes or until juices run clear and internal temperature reaches at least 165°F. Utilize remaining 1 cup of jerk marinade to baste the chicken 2-3 times while grilling.
Sweet Potatoes w/ Herbs & Sausage
  1. In cast iron skillet, cook sausage over grill or stove for 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to skillet and cook uncovered for approximately 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until potatoes are tender.
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How to Stay Warm At Night

Depending on nighttime temperatures, a zero degree sleeping bag should handle most temperatures you would run into camping in the fall. If there is a chance for colder temperatures, we like to be “over bagged” than “under bagged.”

Resist the urge to sleep in layers of clothes. Sleeping bags work by trapping body heat. When you add layers between you and the bag itself, the technology built into the bag doesn’t work nearly as well to reflect that heat back to you. Strip down to your base layer before climbing into your bag. You’ll be amazed at how warm your bag can get even in cold temperatures.

TIP: Stay away from covering your face or burying your head in your sleeping bag. Each breath you take is increasing the moisture in the bag. You do not want to wake up in the middle of the night with a damp, condensation-filled sleeping bag. Mummy bags work great for fall camping because it provides insulation around your head while allowing your breath to escape the bag. If you have a traditional-style bag, wear your stocking hat to bed to insulate your head.

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