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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Tips for Fall Camping Fun

Tips for Fall Camping Fun

Camping is a popular pastime that’s good for both body and soul. Spending time immersed in Mother Nature’s beauty can decrease stress and create a sense of connection and well-being, while hiking, fishing, and related activities strengthen our bodies.

Though summer is the most popular season for camping, the fun doesn’t have to end just because autumn has arrived. Fall can be one of the best times of the year for spending time outdoors. Mosquitoes and other summer pests have mostly disappeared, as have the droves of other people clogging up your favorite destination and taking the best campsites. The changing leaves are a special treat, and the chill in the air makes nature hikes a little easier.

With a little extra planning, an autumn outing can be as good as, or better than, a summer camping trip. Here are some important things to consider:

Wear layers. Autumn temperatures can be extremely unpredictable, with summer-like highs one day and downright wintry conditions the next. Even the warmest days can turn bitterly cold as the sun goes down. Be prepared for a variety of conditions and adjust your wardrobe accordingly.

Wear a hat. Most of your body heat escapes from your head. This is especially critical at night, when temperatures can plummet close to freezing, but is also important to remember during the daytime. You can layer on all the clothes you want, but if your head is bare, it’s easy to become too cold.

Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for cold weather. Being warm enough, especially while sleeping, can mean the difference between a happy memory and a trip to the hospital. A mummy bag is the best bet, because it keeps in the most warmth, especially form your head, where, to repeat, most of your body heat escapes. It’s also a good idea to use a sleeping pad to insulate yourself from the cold ground.

Consider cooking times. Food takes longer to cook when it’s cold to begin with, and the days are shorter. Allow yourself enough time before it gets dark to cook.

Be aware of wildlife. Bears and other animals are always a concern, but they can become even more of a danger in the autumn. As their food supply begins to die off, they become more determined in their foraging. Be sure to seal up any food you have in airtight containers — or in your car if it’s nearby — to prevent attracting them. Be on the lookout for bees and wasps, too. They become more active, and more aggressive, at this time of year.

By taking these simple precautions, you can continue enjoy crisp nights around a warm campfire for several more weeks to come!

4 comments

1 Velvetanne Drake { 09.09.12 at 10:50 am }

Here in the Southeast, we are just starting to go back outside from the last few months of misery – aka Summer. LOVE Fall! Thanks for the article – divorced and just starting to camp again after many years of being married to someone who hated it. Sad reading Mr. Reynold’s comments above and not being able to now because of health. makes me sad to have lost all those years not being in nature and motivated to get with it! I’m looking for tips for women who camp/RV. I will be camping alone at least for awhile until I can make some friends or camping friends and guess I need to stick to campgrounds at State Parks or private campgrounds?

2 John Nevill { 10.13.11 at 5:22 pm }

I love off season camping, I remember once in the Fall at Bard Springs, AR. We went up just for one night (and I hope they read this), got there in the morning, (only one other group there). Set up camp, had a wonderful day exploring around, cooking, talking, playing family games and listening to the owls as I drifted peacefully off to sleep.
But then as it turned out, the other group was about four squirrel hunters and their families and they thought it would be funny to get up at the break of dawn, position themselves around us (just out of sight) and shoot up about a hundred+ shot gun rounds, nonstop. I was laughing at the idiots, but the wife, kids and friends weren’t so sure. In about thirty minutes it was over; I exclaimed rather loudly as one finally tried to ease back into camp empty handed “See, I told y’all they couldn’t hit anything”. They wasted a good morning of hunting and several dollars worth of lead.
I had to go to work that night, so after lunch we loaded up and left; just smiled and waved as we pulled past their camp.
I still love camping and Arkansas.

3 James Reynolds { 10.12.11 at 10:45 am }

besides a sleeping pad under your sleeping bag, a sheet of tin foil, such as Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil, between the ground & your pad will also help to keep you warm by blocking a lot, if not all the cold & dampness directly beneath you.

Also, depending on the night time temperatures, warming pads, such as Therma Care Heat Wraps,can help to keep you warm as well.

4 James Reynolds { 10.12.11 at 10:28 am }

When I was but a wee lad, some of the best camping I had was in the fall & winter months. :0)

it was so much quieter & more peaceful with most, if not all, the crowd gone…and there was always more wildlife sightings too. From small ground squirrels all the way upto & including White Tailed Deer who I used to feed.
Now that I am older, my health not so good, and lack of equipment, I’m not able to camp like I once did…

I miss those days…we had fun just watching the animals & all the antics they would do… :0)

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