When summer draws to an end, many people tend to clean and store their gear in preparation for the end of their camping season. Just because summer is over, though, it doesn’t mean your camping trips need to stop. Fall can be one of the best times to camp for many reasons, but you’ll need to alter your typical practices to prepare for the colder months. Below, you’ll find a few tips to show you how.

Layer your clothing

Obviously, autumn is cooler than summer, so layering your clothing will be a crucial step in the process. Failing to pack warm clothes can make the trip more miserable than it needs to be, and sometimes people are forced to cut their trip short because of this failure. Typically, it’s smart to wear a base layer, a middle insulated layer, and an outer layer for weather protection. 

Pepare “as if”

You don’t want to go the opposite route, though, and pack only warm clothes, since the fall can offer warmer weather at times, as well. Prepare “as if anything can happen.” Don’t forget to pack lighter options such as t-shirts and shorts, especially if it can potentially get warm in your region.

Bring a cold weather bag

Make sure the sleeping bags you bring on your fall camping trip are made for cold weather and not for summer trips. Your best bet will be to purchase a quality mummy bag, because when the fabric is closer to your skin, it tends to keep you warmer. Most mummy bags come up around your head, which is where the majority of the heat from your body escapes, so you’ll appreciate the extra insulation on that first chilly night.

Choose a cold weather tent

Your tent will need to endure the cold nights, as well. Tents that are used for camping in colder weather are not only more durable, but provide a stronger shield against the elements.

Bring a tarp

I would also recommend bringing a tarp, which is one of the most important items to pack in general.

Cook during the day

In the fall, days become shorter, so campers need to keep in mind that food is more easily prepared during daylight hours than at night. For this reason, it’s smart to schedule cooking times throughout the day and plan activities around them. Food also takes longer to cook in cooler temperatures, so cooking during the daytime is smart because it ensures that you will spend less time cooking and more time relaxing.

Pack kindling

A quality fire will be your best friend on a cold autumn night, but when the summer camping season comes to a close, firewood becomes scarce. To counter this, plan ahead and pack your own. Not only will this prevent you from having to search through the woods for firewood, but it will also save you from having to make any additional trips to the nearest town, which can be miles away.

Be mindful of wildlife

Lastly, be mindful of the wildlife in your region. Animals can become more of a danger in the fall, since most of them are scavenging for food that has become less available with the impending winter months. It’s smart to bear-proof all your food, if possible, or make you’re your goods are tucked away inside the car, so the smell does not attract any bears or other creatures. In addition, make sure to bag all of your trash and remains from meals into bags that can also be stored in your car until after you exit the campground and find a dumpster.

Camping in the fall can be such a fun and exciting way to enjoy the outdoors when they’re at their most vibrant and beautiful. However, you’ll need to make sure you’re adequately prepared to handle the cooler weather and changing ecosystem before you simply hit the woods this fall. The tips outlined above can help you do just that!

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