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.
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.