Tips for Fall Camping

The seasons are changing, and the days of warm and light summer camping are gone with the wind. It is time to welcome shorter days, beautiful fall colours, and starry nights filled with campfires. Instead of packing up your camping gear for the season, pack up some essential items to make fall camping more comfortable, and bring on the fall adventures! Below, we have a list of ideal essentials to bring on your fall camping trip this year.

1. Water-Resistant Duffel Bag

The fall months can make your camping experience a little damp, especially on the west coast! To keep yourself and your clothes dry, a water-resistant duffel bag is the way to go. Be sure to choose something durable that will last for many trips.

2. Sleeping Bag

That ultra-light 4 C sleeping bag you have been backpacking with all summer will not cut it this time of year. Whether you are camping in a tent or the back of a truck, a warm sleeping bag is essential to staying warm and comfortable during the fall months. Typically, a sleeping bag rated between -15 C and -5 C will do just fine.

3. Sleeping Pad

Whether you are driving to your destination or hiking in, bring the thickest inflatable foam pad possible. It will provide cushioning, but more critically, a sleeping pad insulates you from the cold ground.

4. Tarps or Pop-Up Tents

A tarp under your tent and on top are a good addition to waterproof your tent and help warm you up even more.  Tarps or pop-up tents can also be used over a picnic table to set up a kitchen area to cook and eat, or just for a place to hang out other than your tent to stay dry during rainy periods.

5. Headlamp or Lantern

Erecting your tent in the dark on a Friday night is a common rite of passage for fall campers. The only thing more important than a good light source is keeping both hands free to work, which is why a headlamp is such a great tool. Headlamps will also come in handy for starting a fire and nighttime bathroom breaks! For area lighting, many prefer the convenience and safety of LED lanterns as opposed to conventional liquid fuel models.

6. Insulated Outerwear

A puffy down jacket or vest may sound like overkill in November, but across Canada, temperatures in the teens / low 50s are a very real possibility at this time of year. Be prepared, and you will be much more comfortable. Always be sure to bring waterproof jackets for your camping excursions, preferably with a zip-out fleece lining to use as layers.

7. Thermal Underwear

In the fall, a -6 C (21 F) morning can become a 20 C (68 F) afternoon. Dressing in layers is the key to broad temperature ranges, and a good base layer is a great idea. We recommend merino wool, which is unique in that it not only warms you up when it is cold out, but it also cools you down when the temperature rises.

8. Gloves and Hats

Fleece gloves and acrylic caps are just right for the variable temperatures of fall. Those Everest-grade expedition mitts can remain in the closet for a couple months yet.

9. Wool Socks

Kicking back becomes a little more complicated on chilly mornings or evenings. A heavy pair of wool socks will keep your feet toasty and comfortable. Slipping them on after you wake up makes your exit from that warm sleeping bag much easier.

10. Hot Beverage and Accessories

A steaming cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate is a quick way to warm your core and a pleasant way to start a chilly day. We highly recommend plenty of tea bags and cocoa packets, but if java is your thing, forget the instant stuff. Presses and other accessories allow you to brew your favourite bean, and many companies even make instant coffee packages for light packing.

11. Heat Source

Damp fall mornings often lead to even damper fall evenings, so there is a good chance the wood source for fires will be wet and difficult to start a fire with. Always be prepared with alternative heat sources to keep you warm including kindling to light that fire!

12. Maps

Whether you want to map out your adventures from the comfort of your tent with our Mapbooks or prefer the ease of planning on-the-go with our BRMB Web Maps or BRMB Smartphone App, we have you covered! Packing along a version of our Mapbooks and/or Backroad GPS Maps can be the difference between a warm night in your tent or a cold night on the mountain. Utilize a map, guide your journey and even track your waypoints. With both hardcopy and digital options, it has never been easier to plan out your next adventure on the go!