After a fun-filled but hectic summer, we're welcoming fall with open arms. The pace of life seems to slow down just a tad, which makes it the perfect time for weekend getaways. With golden leaves on the trees and a crispness (okay, or actual frost for some of us) in the air, our favorite places are primed for an adventure. For us, there's no better way to enjoy fall than with a car camping trip. Here are a few tips to make it great.
1. Pack for the cold
While the days still may have you biking or hiking in a t-shirt, the evening temps drop quickly. When you crawl in your tent or the back of your car for the night, you'll be glad that you packed a cold-weather sleeping bag. The best option is a mummy bag rated for 0-30 degrees F, which should keep you nice and toasty. Also be sure you bring big puffy jackets, hats, gloves, etc., as once the sun starts to sink, it gets cold fast.
2. Stock up on firewood
After a summer of campers, firewood can become scarce. And you'll surely want a campfire in the evening (as long as there are no burn restrictions)! So before you head out, pack your own wood and kindling to ensure you'll have a cozy fire at the end of the day.
3. Plan for the light
With the days getting shorter, setting up camp before you leave for your hike/bike/fishing spot will make the evening much more enjoyable. If you're coming home it the dark, it's nice to be able to roll into your camp site with everything in order. That way you just fire up the stove to make dinner without fumbling around looking for missing items. But probably a good idea to throw in an extra head lamp or camp lantern, just in case!
4. Watch for wildlife
The fall is a busy time for wildlife, as they're preparing for winter and engaged in mating rituals. This might make for great wildlife watching, but beware that animals can become more aggressive, too, so keep your distance. And, be sure to store your food properly, or you might come back to find a not-so-friendly visitor in your campsite. Also, be aware that hunting season is here in many areas, so wearing brightly colored jackets if you're hiking in the woods is a good idea. Bring something colorful for dogs too!
5. Pack for possibilities
Aside from packing lots of clothing layers for weather conditions, car camping trips allow you to pack for multiple activities, too. Since you're not concerned about weight, why not throw in your biking gear, your trail running stuff, climbing gear, and a fishing kit, too? Once you're on the open road with a car full of options, you can spontaneously stop and adventure anywhere that catches your eye.