By far, summer is the most popular season for hiking and camping. The weather is beautiful, and the kids are out of school for a few months, so what better way to enjoy the season than by spending it outdoors? But for some, camping in the winter can also be a rewarding, challenging, and fun experience.
Our camping tips by the season will focus on tips and tricks for every season, including what gear, type of shelter, and food to bring along to ensure that you and your family enjoy your vacation in the great outdoors.
Camping Out in the Fall
The fall is a beautiful time of year. The temperature is finally starting to cool off, the leaves are changing colors, and the air is crisp with a slight chill. In fact, camping in the fall can feel pretty refreshing after an especially hot summer.
To be prepared for camping in the autumn make sure you check with your favorite campsites to find out which areas are available in the fall. Many campsites will remain open during this time of year and may even offer reduced fees during the offseason.
Because the weather tends to fluctuate during this time of year it’s important that you bring along a good sleeping bag designed for cold weather. Look for bags that are labeled for zero to thirty degrees.
Even if the weather feels pleasantly warm during the day, it’s likely to drop quite a bit at night. Bring several layers of clothing including a waterproof jacket, hats, thermal underwear, and gloves. This type of gear will keep you comfortable, warm, and dry.
Camping Tips in the Winter
Winter may seem like it should be the least popular time of year for camping, but considering there are no flies, mosquitos, ticks, crowds, or high camping fees, for some, winter is the perfect season to enjoy some solitude in the backcountry. But it’s also one season that requires plenty of care, planning, and preparation in order to stay safe, warm, and comfortable.
If you’ve decided to give camping in the winter a try, the biggest key to being comfortable camping in this season is knowing how to keep warm, especially at night when the temperature drops. While the days can be freezing, the nights can be dangerously cold. So, the first thing we recommend investing in is a hooded sleeping bag, also referred to as a mummy bag. If you’re planning on camping out in an area that regularly experiences snowfall in the winter, then bring along a sleeping bag liner. These liners can easily add eight to fifteen degrees of warmth.
If you’re the type of camper who normally refuses to use an air mattress or camping pad, camping out in winter will definitely make you reconsider your reluctance to use one. Using a pad or sleeping mat on the floor of a tent can help your body to retain heat, providing insulation from the hard cold ground that can leach body heat throughout the night.
A reliable tent will be the next most important investment. You’ll need a totally enclosed model, which can prevent you from waking up cold and wet in the middle of the night.
When you’re camping in the winter, it’s always important to research the area and bring along a map. Camping in the winter can present dangers you normally wouldn’t have to deal with in the summer months, especially if it snows. So be prepared. Study maps to become familiar with the area, locate local stores, learn about emergency services in the area, and bring along plenty of canned goods, dried goods, and water. It won’t always be easy to make a fire at night, especially if it rains or snows. Make sure you bring along a heavy-duty tent, mummy bag, the best camping cot, adequate clothing, and food that can be prepared without a fire.
Camping in the Springtime
Spring can be a lovely time of year and the perfect time for camping. During this time, animals begin to move around again, the ground begins to thaw, the air feels fresher, and plant life starts springing up. But during this time, you’ll still have to battle cold nights and brisk mornings. Just like the fall, spring can also be an unpredictable season. We recommend using the same gear you would if you were camping out in the winter, in order to adequately prepare for the colder spring nights. During the day you’ll probably be able to get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but at night, when the temperature drops, you’ll be grateful for your fully enclosed tent and a mummy bag.
Summer Camping Tips
Just like camping in the fall and winter months, camping out comfortably in the summer is all about being prepared. The tent you choose should have plenty of venting options, so you can prevent hot air from becoming trapped in the tent during the day, which will make sleeping more comfortable at night. While you won’t need to bring your mummy bag along in the summer, you should still bring a lightweight sleeping bag with you.
Choosing a good camping cot, such as the Big Agnes Helinox Cot One V2, which will work to keep you cooler during the night, while keeping you off the ground away from insects, snakes, and other types of wildlife.
The bedding you bring should be cool and light, so bring along a sleeping bag that’s made out of a thin nylon.
Aside from sunblock, insect repellent is definitely something you don’t want to get caught camping without. While it’s true that a fire at night can work to keep insects away, it won’t be enough to keep you bite-free.
Camping Supplies for Every Season
Regardless of the season, if you decide to explore the outdoors, below you’ll find a list of important gear and supplies that you should bring along on any camping or hiking trip:
- Freeze-dried food, protein bars, trail mix
- Bottled water
- First aid kit
- A great outdoor watch
- Camping stove and appropriate fuel
- Flashlight, lantern, batteries
- Iodine tablets
- Sleeping bag and pad
- Camping cot
- Weather appropriate tent