Fall is a gorgeous time of year when the weather is mild, wildlife is out and about, and hiking paths offer greater visibility as the trees shed their leaves. The majority of the heat and the humidity from the summer has dissipated, allowing for more comfortable outdoor activities. In other words, it’s a great time to get out and enjoy nature with an overnight hike!
However, the autumn season offers its own unique set of challenges when embarking on a camping trip. To make sure you’re well-prepared, follow this checklist while packing:
- A tent with a rain fly.Depending on how early or late into fall you’re camping, you could experience some rain or even snow. Get a tent with a rain fly and make sure to test it out before starting your adventure. Or if you already have a tent you can get a rain fly here.
- A warm sleeping bag. It may be warm during the day, but as mentioned above, fall weather can dip and rise at a moment’s notice. Pack a sleeping bag that’s built for warmer weather than you’re expecting; worst case scenario, you can always unzip part of it to stay cool.
- A lighter, matches, and kindling. Sometimes, we like to do things the old-fashioned way, and that’s admirable—however, if your firewood is a bit wet from a recent rain or morning dew, it may need a prod from kindling to get started. Matches run out much more quickly than full lighter, so bring both just in case.
- A portable foam mattress pad. The floor of your tent is likely going to be cold at night, so having a little something under your sleeping bag will help you stay warm.
- Layers. Bring something warm but not overly heavy, like a blanket or sweater made of fleece fabric, for nighttime. Fall weather can be finicky and you want to be able to add and remove layers to be as comfortable as possible.
- An insulated hot & cold water bottle. Cool drinks may be useful for sunny days of hiking; at night, a warm water bottle in your sleeping bag is a great way to keep yourself toasty.
- Insect repellent. Cooler weather means fewer bugs, which is always an upside of fall camping, but don’t be fooled: there are still plenty lingering in the brush and fallen leaves. Be safe rather than sorry and keep a small bottle of bug spray in your bag.
- A fold-up chair. What good is building that campfire if you don’t have somewhere to sit around it? The ground may be cold or wet, especially at night or in the early morning dew, so bringing compact travel chair is a great way to enjoy some extra comfort around the fire.
Safety & Survival
- Food. No matter how many days you’re camping, make sure to bring a little extra food. There can be any number of mishaps leading to food shortages, from hungry wildlife to unexpected rain, and having some extra provisions in your dry bag as emergency food is a great way to ensure you don’t find yourself without dinner.
- A quality first-aid kit. Because weather can be tricky and fallen leaves can camouflage early frost and icy patches, things can get slippery. Having a proper first aid kit on hand can assist in the instance of any trips, slips, or falls, and can help hold you over until help arrives in cases of more extreme injuries.
- Waterproof bags. Line your backpack with garbage bags or buy a dry bag for your essentials. They come in all sizes, and you can likely find one big enough to essentially line the inside of your bag. Depending on the size of your backpack, it could be helpful to keep extra dry clothes and blankets in the dry bag as well.
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