An advantage of camping during the fall is reduced prices on many state parks and national forests! Research individual forests and campgrounds to see if they have reduced entry fees. Schedule your trip with beautiful fall colors in mind but be sure to watch the weather, as it may fluctuate quickly. To be on the safe side, you should always be prepared for rain and even possible snow.
You will likely be much colder than you were on your summer adventures, so bring extra food for fuel and clothing to stay warm. It’s easy to get dehydrated with cooler, dryer temperatures, so be sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day! Bring a GPS so you know where you are and to let others find you in case of emergency. Extra firewood can also be useful, as dry firewood can be scarce in autumn.
One of the most important things you can do to stay warm at night is to pack the right sleeping bag and pad. Bring a sleeping bag that protects against temperatures, as they may be lower then you expect. Combine this with a sleeping pad to protect you from the cold ground and you are sure to stay toasty. When sun rises and you're ready to step out and start your day, keep your slippers close to stay warm amongst the frosty morning grass!
3. Staying Warm
With lower temperatures, it’s critical to keep yourself warm and dry so you don't risk hypothermia. Bring extra clothing, footwear, and mittens so you always have dry backups. About 30% of your body heat escapes through your head, so wear a cap to keep your whole body warm. To stay cozy from the inside out, bring an insulated mug for everyone in your party to share some hot coco or apple cider (recipe here).
4. Layering Essentials
Bring a variety of clothing for layering to stay comfortable while outdoors. Pack plenty of breathable, water-resistant options in case anything gets wet or dirty. Some crucial pieces to bring are base layers, such as thermal underwear, a thick, quality sweater, a wind and water-resistant jacket, a winter cap, gloves, and a pair of cozy slippers to stay warm from head to toe.
5. Be Aware of Less Light
Be mindful of when the sun sets and allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at your campsite before dark. Bring a headlamp and extra lighting for your campsite to manage necessary tasks such as starting a fire, cooking, and settling in for the night.
Cooking times are longer in lower temperatures so plan to rise early to heat water and prepare meals for the day ahead. In case the weather conditions become difficult, pack dishes that are filling and easy-to-prepare so you can spend more time warming up by the fire. Backpackers Bistro offers nutritional meals that are easy to cook and bring the comforts of home to the trail. Don’t forget to bring extra food, as you will be burning more fuel then you would during the summer!
7. Respect Nature
Many wildlife species are out and about in the fall, so it’s important to maintain space between the animals and be respectful of wildlife eating, mating, and nesting. If you would like to take some photos, use a zoom lens and do not approach them. Leave the places you visit just how you found them by educating yourself on the Leave No Trace practices.
In the wilderness, it's very important to maintain good hygiene. Traditionally, women either pack excess amounts of toilet paper or use the "drip dry" method. Neither of these are good options, with the latter being unsanitary and possibly resulting in bacterial infections. Kula Cloth has combated this issue by creating a reusable cloth designed for absorbing pee. Their product is the first antimicrobial cloth designed for adventurous women.