Camping during the fall months is a big favorite in my family. In California, you can usually count on brilliant blue skies, warm daytime temperatures and best of all? No crowds! It seems to me that in the fall the stars shine brighter, the air seems fresher and the campfire dances just a bit slower. Could be my imagination, but I’m pretty sure everything we cook while camping Yosemite in October tastes better and the clean up is easier.
I do have some helpful fall camping tips to pass on, trust me, you’ll be far more comfortable and relaxed if you are well prepared.
During the fall, depending on your location, you may experience a full range of temperatures. Here is the number one tip. Layers. From socks to hats and everything in between, you can be cozy in layers. Peel them off as the day warms up, add them back as the evening turns cool and settle down by the fire with a throw just be fore turning in.
Always have the right type of clothing and remember your head. You lose most of your body heat from your head, so be prepared. Gloves and thick socks, long and short sleeved cotton knit shirts, thermals, denim and Pendleton’s are great additions to the pack. If you are planning on camping in an area known for sudden snow or heavy rains, add waterproof and insulated outerwear.
Shelter: A tent with enough room to stand while dressing can prevent loss of body heat. Dry shelter is critical, so be sure to first lay down a waterproof ground cloth to under the tent to provide protection for the floor and keep water out. The ground cloth is very important, and should be smaller than the tent footprint. I use an even smaller plastic sheet inside the tent for extra protection in damp weather.
Food: Never ever keep food in your tent. Not even your toothpaste. Never. Not because of ants, but because of bears. Always keep every scrap of food in a bear resistant locker, suspended from a tree branch a good 12 feet off of the ground. Toss food scraps and garbage in park approved bins or if out in the backwoods, bury food scraps away from camp and pack your trash in a bear resistant locker, stored away from the tents at night.
Bears are tenacious opportunists and will do whatever it takes to get food.. Just ask any of the many people who have had their cars opened like a can of beans because they left a candy bar on the dashboard.
Above all else – have a blast!