Fall camping is a great deal of fun but it does present some challenges. One of the biggest problems that fall campers deal with is the cooler weather. During the Autumn, temperatures can drop quite low without much warning. These cooler temperatures can’t be ignored because hypothermia can be quick and deadly.
Fortunately, there are some simple steps to follow to prevent such problems in most areas of the world. Here are some very important tips to ensure you stay warm while camping during the fall season:
Pack two changes of clothes with multiple layers. This is really a minimum but backpacks can get rather heavy when you exceed this amount. Two changes of clothes is generally sufficient. You need to bring several layers for each change of clothes. The reason why is because the temperatures are likely to fluctuate while you are camping. You can then peel off or add layers as needed.
Thermal underwear, that is. No matter what the weather report says, bring thermal underwear if you are camping in the fall and are near cold weather climates. Fall weather can change on a dime and thermals are a must-have for being outside in cool weather.
Today’s sleeping bags are literally built for cold weather. The temperature ratings are posted right on the package when you buy one. The best idea is to find out the lowest of lows over the past ten years in your area and then go ten degrees cooler. You are much better off having a cold weather safety net that you can unzip for comfort that to have a sleeping bag that won’t keep you warm when the weather suddenly shifts.
All the time, if possible. In cold weather camping, staying dry is the most important factor of all. This includes sweating because it will soak your clothing and cause all kinds of problems when the temperature drops. Keep dry and don’t sweat your way through the wilderness. Keep one of your changes of clothes dry at all times. When you have wet clothes, dry them by the fire regularly.
Bring a pad to sit between you and the ground – We lose all kinds of body heat to the ground when we lie directly on it, so putting something between you and the surface is a good idea. Many people carry a mat or an extra sleeping bag to put under their bodies. If you are at a loss for anything else, a palette of grass and leaves is better than nothing at all.
The rules of burning a fire in the woods varies from state to state, so make sure you know the rules in your area. Also, take a class or two on fire safety before heading out to camp in the cold. There are portable heaters out there that can be quite dangerous as well, so be careful about that. If you learn the basics of fire safety, nothing beats a slow burning fire to roast marshmallows and hotdogs over.
Camping in the cold is really a matter of common sense. You should always know what you are heading for. Weather is unpredictable, but it is easy enough to have a safety plan in place if things get too bad. Deep woods camping should be left to the pros or those that have been properly prepared for such dire circumstances. Otherwise, head on out and enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature in the fall!