As the summer months start to wind down and the temperatures drop, many outdoor lovers may be packing up their gear and saying goodbye to the camping season. But wait! For many outdoor lovers, the time for hiking, camping, and paddling is far from over. It is my favorite time of year to break out of our tent and explore. If you have considered fall camping but aren’t sure where to begin, read on…
Outdoor lovers and avid travelers, my husband and I have found that camping is the perfect way to see the world around us. Not only does it provide us with the opportunity to visit new places, but it also allows us to spend our time outdoors surrounded by nature. There is nothing more peaceful and relaxing than falling asleep to the sound of crickets and waking up with the morning songs of the local birds.
The summer months are a popular time for outdoor travel, but they aren’t the only time. If you haven’t tried fall camping, I highly recommend it!
Why I Love Fall Camping
Beautiful Fall Colors
The first (and most obvious) reason people love heading out in the fall is the stunning views created by the changing leaves. There is something truly magical about the wave of red, orange, and yellow that blankets the area. Many people (ourselves included) will travel to specific destinations known for this stunning display of nature’s beauty with incredible photo opportunities. To do so, you should research the area you are planning on visiting and the predicted dates for peak fall color in that region. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
While the hot summer temperatures may be ideal for a day on the beach, they do not necessarily set you up for the best sleep of your life. Studies show that the optimal sleeping temperature is a cool 60-68 degrees Fahrenheit. You may be able to make this happen in an RV or travel trailer with an electrical hookup to support an AC unit, but the same can’t be said for tent campers and those who prefer a more rustic, electricity-free trip.
More Comfortable for Adventuring
If activities like hiking and paddling are part of your travel plans, you may want to consider holding out until later in the year. The cooler fall temperatures help lower the risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, allowing you to enjoy all your favorite trails and waterways without the additional risk. Plus, it’s generally just more comfortable.
One of the major inconveniences that campers face is the presence of bugs, especially those that bite. Not only are bugs like mosquitoes annoying, putting a damper on our outdoor travel plans, but they may also carry dangerous diseases. During the summer months, we make use of gear like backyard tents and dining shelters, bug spray, bug zappers, and citronella candles. Another way to enjoy a bug-free trip is to wait until the end of mosquito season in the late fall. You may need to dress a little warmer, but many people believe that’s more than worth it to avoid those nasty pests.
Perfect Campfire Weather
Few things scream camping the way that a campfire does. However, the heat of summer can kill those plans quickly. If you are already roasting from the hot summer temperatures, you’re far less likely to enjoy sitting around something that emits even more heat. The cooler fall temperatures provide the perfect atmosphere to sit around a campfire, making smores and telling ghost stories. Feeling the warmth of the heat deep in your bones at that time of year is so comforting.
Tips to Get Started Fall Camping
In most cases, those who tell me that they have tried fall camping and didn’t enjoy it went into the experience with little preparation. Before you pack up your gear and hit the road, there are a few things that you should know to improve your experience.
Fall camping means cooler temperatures. Luckily, this can be addressed easily by dressing in layers. It may sound like common sense, but there is more to it than just wearing more clothing. The layer that is closest to your body should be moisture-wicking to remove sweat. On top of this, wear something thicker and insulating to keep yourself warm. It includes comfortable sweaters and fleece jackets. Finally, top this all with a thin waterproof shell to protect you from both the wind and rain. Pack a hat and gloves for the colder evenings, and don’t forget to layer your socks.
Blankets Beneath You, Not on Top
Pack some extra blankets for your fall camping trip to help you stay warm overnight. However, the ideal way to use them may not be what you think. Rather than putting the blankets on top of your sleeping bag, create layers beneath you. It works to insulate you from the cold ground while your body heat warms up the air inside your tent or trailer. It isn’t to say that you can’t enjoy snuggling up under a warm quilt, but you should prioritize the base layers of your bedding most for a warm and cozy night’s sleep.
Fall Comfort Foods
Many of my favorite foods and drinks are associated with the cooler fall months, so why not embrace them? When camping at this time of year, my husband and I always pack our cast iron Dutch oven so we can cook soup, stew, and chili over the fire. In place of cold drinks, try sipping on hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider, and other hot beverages. It is also a great reason to focus on keeping that campfire burning throughout the day.
Make This the Year You Try Fall Camping
If, after reading all of that, you are interested in booking a trip in the coming months, go for it! Fall camping addicts like myself can tell you all about our experiences, but the only way to know if it’s something that you enjoy is to try it for yourself. Give yourself time to plan and pack strategically to be well-prepared, and most importantly, enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.