Fall is a beautiful time of year and even a better time to camp. The bugs are minimal and so are the crowds. Crisp air, changing leaves, and chilly mornings make for a memorable experience that could easily be passed up. With proper preparation and packing, cold weather camping does not have to be intimidating.
Stay comfy and cozy in the cold with these tips:
WINTER-RATED SLEEPING BAG
If you want to stay happy in the cold, you need to stay warm, especially at night when the temperature drops. Check that your bag is rated for about10 degrees colder than coldest possible air temperature. It’s a lot easier to cool down by unzipping a bag, versus trying to get warm in a bag that isn’t geared for the temperature. A closed cell sleeping pad (under your inflatable) can help insulate too.
PACK A TARP
A tarp comes in handy just about any season but in inclement weather, can make a huge difference. Place a tarp under your tent as a moisture barrier, provide an extra layer of protection over your rain fly or tie a tarp between trees (or attach to your car) to create a makeshift shelter.
When packing clothing for your trip, think about it in terms of base layers, middle layers, and outer layers. Your base layer should be made of synthetic or wool materials which wick moisture away from your body and dry fast. The middle layer is your insulation layer. Think fleece and down. Lastly, the outer layer should be windproof and waterproof in case of rain, snow, and extreme conditions. Also, don't forget gloves, hats and proper footwear!
KEEP YOUR GEAR DRY
A Dry Bag such as the Waves Gear Waterproof Dry Bags are a fantastic addition to any trip, but especially one that has the potential for rainy or wet conditions. Use to store food, sleeping bags, clothes, basically anything you need to keep dry. When used properly, its pretty much guaranteed your gear is going to stay dry. A dry bag also makes a great barrier between you and wet ground if you need a dry place to sit.
Campfires and camping go hand in hand. If bringing your own dry wood isn’t an option, make sure you at least have a fire starter. An easy and affordable solution is vaseline cotton balls. Lightweight and affordable, learn how to make them here. If you do find yourself without dry tinder, look for pine needles as they absorb very little moisture.
What are your cold weather camping hacks?