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Fall Camping: How to Stay Warm and Dry

The summer months are often the most crowded when it comes to outdoor fun in the Northwest, and overcrowding can become a problem for campers looking for a quiet outing in the forest. Fortunately, once the fall sets in, most of the people head out, giving campers who seek a more secluded retreat the perfect opportunity to enjoy nature in a more peaceful, and serene setting. Here’s what you need to know to prepare for a fall camping trip.

Benefits of Fall Camping

Aside from the obvious (fewer people), fall camping offers a number of advantages, despite the lack of sunny weather. For one, fall camping is particularly lovely due to the assortment of colors seen all about the forest. As the leaves change color and start to coat the ground, one can really experience the changing of the seasons. Furthermore, you will notice more animal activity as critters prepare themselves for the coming winter months. For these reasons, the mystique of the forest truly comes alive in the midst of fall.

While it may be colder than the summer months, the lower temperature can be advantageous, as campers won’t find themselves sweating in the sweltering summer air. This enables longer and more enjoyable hikes, as well as an overall more comfortable experience. What’s more, camp fees are normally lower due to less traffic coming through. These are just a few of the advantages fall camping has over the summer months.

Preparing for a Fall Camping Trip

Camping in the fall can be a lot of fun, but it can quickly turn sour if proper preparations are not made. Although the necessary camping gear isn’t all that different from what you would bring for a summer trip, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Colder weather

ou’ll need to include extra warm clothing, blankets, tarps and rain gear among your camping equipment, as you’re more likely to encounter bad weather and chilly nights. Always bring more warm clothing than you think you’ll need in case you get wet. Some camping gear essentials include a wool hat, layered socks (ideally a thin insulation layer under a thicker wool sock), long johns, gloves, and waterproof boots. Be prepared for plenty of rain and have some fun activities ready in case you end up tent- or canopy-bound. Pitch your tent on a high spot in the campground to prevent water from pooling.

Shorter days

Nights come sooner in the fall, so you’ll want to bring plenty of extra firewood and matches, as well as ample UV LED flashlights and lanterns for illumination. Be sure to wrap your firewood in plastic or store it in your vehicle to keep it dry.

More active wildlife

Bears and other critters are storing food in preparation for hibernation at this time, so it’s especially important to exercise good camping safety practices. Keep your food in airtight containers, away from your tent (preferably in your car). It’s also a good idea to keep an LED lantern or some other type of light on in your campsite all night to discourage animals from visiting. Include a fully stocked first-aid kit in your camping gear in case of any injuries.

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