Even though camping is an activity that’s the most popular during the warmer summer months, it’s also an activity that can easily be extended into the fall season. In fact, there are plenty of campers who prefer autumn camping over summer camping and we frankly can’t blame them. Fall camping can be a beautiful experience with cooler nights and the beautiful colors of the trees being the main highlights of this season. However, fall camping can also be inconvenient at best or dangerous at worst—if the camper doesn’t adequately prepare themselves for this adventure.
In this article, we’re going to discuss some of the things that campers should think about before they head out for autumn camping. The following points will help the camper remain more comfortable and safe during their adventure and should be seriously considered before heading out. Now that we’ve prefaced this article, let’s just jump right into things, shall we?
Step One: Choose The Best Autumn Campsite
The first thing that a person is going to want to do is to make sure that they pick the right campsite. When choosing a campsite, the camper should consult a guidebook or perhaps an online resource that will help them pick the right spot. For some areas, the camper needs to pick up a backcountry permit and preselect a site. The camper should also find out whether reservations are needed for the area they’re camping.
The camper should choose a spot that’s close to the water but not close enough to be right on the edge of the water. As a general rule, the camper should be about 200-feet away from the water. The camper should also be located away from the trail, so that they don’t obstruct the view of campers or hikers, and that they don’t inhibit wildlife’s access to the water.
Choosing a site that catches the rays coming from the rising sun is usually a good idea during the fall months. This will not only give the camper a little bit of warmth in the morning but will also rouse them from their sleep. For campers looking to catch vibrant fall colors, September and October are usually the best months—although some trees still have their leaves in early November. By late fall, most trees will have shed their leaves and will only have bare branches.
Step Two: Pack The Right Gear
The next thing that the camper needs to think about is packing the right gear. Although autumn can have some pretty warm days and mild weather, this can change in an instant, so the camper needs to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Let’s examine some of the things that the camper is going to want to have with them.
The Proper Clothing:
The first thing that the consumer is going to want to do is to make sure that they have the proper clothing. And we don’t mean looking at the weather reports on the local news and only packing what the camper “thinks” they need. No, we mean having the right combination of clothing so that the camper can add clothes if it gets cold and remove clothes if it gets warm. Remember, versatility is the key to successful fall camping. Below are some items the camper is going to want to have with them.
- Base layers with moisture-wicking properties (such as thermal underwear).
- Synthetic, fleece, or wool sweater.
- An outer jacket that’s wind and water-resistant.
- A winter coat.
- A rain poncho and rain pants.
- Waterproof boots
- Light and heavy sock with extra pairs packed.
- Gloves and mittens plus a spare set.
- An extra pair of boots.
- Bandana or Balaclava.
The Right Gear
We’re not going to lecture campers on what camping gear they should take because we feel campers already know what they need to camp. All we’re going to do is mention a few extra items that campers should make sure that they have with them while camping through the fall months. Most likely, most campers will already have most of these items in the gear.
- Waterproof matches
- Aluminum foil
- Vaseline-soaked cotton balls for tinder
- A fire starter
- Survival blanket
- Extra water
- Extra nuts and trail mix
Step Three: Keep In Mind Autumn Camping Challenges
The next thing that we want to discuss is the importance of keeping in mind some of the challenges of fall camping. Although autumn camping might seem like it’s the same thing as summer camping, there are some distinct things that the camper needs to always keep in mind. We’re going to take a look at some of these below.
Hypothermia Is Always A Risk
Although many campers might consider hypothermia as something that they only have to worry about during the winter months, the truth of the matter is that hypothermia can happen during the spring or fall months as well. Hypothermia can happen when air temperatures are as low as 50-degrees Fahrenheit or water temperatures are as low as 60-degrees Fahrenheit. And if the camper is wet, hypothermia is even a bigger possibility, so the camper should be prepared with extra clothing and taking swift action if temperatures get too low.
Wildlife Can Be Especially Dangerous In The Fall
Although it’s good advice for campers to always be wary of the wildlife in the area where they’re camping, the autumn months can be especially dangerous. That’s because many animals are engaged in mating rituals and these animals can be extremely territorial and aggressive if the camper happens to disturb them.
This is also a time when bears are looking to increase their calorie intake to prepare for their winter hibernation, so it’s important for campers to handle their food properly. This means hanging the food away from camp from a tree branch and not keeping any food in their tent.
If fall campers take the time to follow all of the above steps, there should be no reason why they can’t enjoy autumn camping safely.