Sitting around a crackling fire is our favorite part of a camping trip—and we think fall is the perfect season to enjoy it. The autumn season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful foliage, and a good chance of spotting wildlife, so now is the time to get outside! Like any camping trip, however, preparedness is the name of the game, and your fall packing list should look a little different from your summer one. With the right list of what to bring, fall camping can be a fun and comfortable adventure. Below, check out our thoughts on what to pack while camping this autumn!

Ready for a great time by the campfire with the Pod Rocker™.

Staying Warm & Dry

Autumn weather can be unpredictable. Warm, sunny days may give way to chilly nights, and the chance of rain, wind, and even an early snow flurry is never out of the question. The key to enjoying your camping trip is staying dry, so pack with this objective in mind, and check the weather report just before heading out.

Most important on your list of what to pack while camping in the fall: layers and more layers of clothing! Choose pieces that can take you from the heat of mid-day through the steep temperature drops at night without needing to change your outfit completely. As a base layer, opt for thermal underwear or lightweight clothing made of moisture-wicking fabric like polyester, fleece, or wool. These materials are breathable and will help you stay dry whether you work up a sweat on the trails or get caught in a rain shower. Then layer on a wool sweater, followed by a jacket or rain poncho. On your feet, you’ll want wool or synthetic socks (leave the cotton socks at home), and sturdy, waterproof hiking boots. And while you may not need them during the day, you should also have a hat and pair of mittens stashed in your backpack.

With layers of clothing, you’re ready for any kind of weather—but don’t forget to protect your campsite as well. Pack at least one tarp, so that if you arrive to find soggy ground, you can put it down before setting up your tent. Tarps are also great to tie up as make-shift canopies if your tent doesn’t have a rainfly, or if you need additional shelter from the rain or wind.

Finally, keep a stash of plastic bags on hand. If the weather gets wet, you can protect electronics in sandwich baggies, while larger items can be tossed into trash bags.

Getting Comfortable

After pitching your tent, setting up your campsite, and enjoying a day of hiking or kayaking, there’s nothing better than sitting down to relax. Of course, it helps if you have a comfortable camp chair to sink into—the bare ground will feel even colder and harder when you’re tired! The best-selling Freestyle Rocker™ is always a favorite for long nights like these: its smooth rocking helps you relax, while its sturdy armrests and back support keep you upright enough to enjoy a drink and lots of laughs.

Ultra-smooth rocking relaxes the body and lets the good times last even longer.

For a more laid-back feel, curl up in the roomy, sling-style Pod Rocker™. Just add a flannel throw and some ghost stories, and you’re in for a crisp, cozy autumn evening!

Building a Better Camp Bed

Chilly autumn nights make for perfect sleeping weather—as long as you’re not shivering, that is. Ensure that you’ll stay toasty by putting an insulated sleeping pad down first. This is a necessity because the bottom of your sleeping bag gets compressed under your weight and provides no insulation on its own. On top of your pad, your sleeping bag should ideally be rated for at least 10° colder than the lowest overnight temperatures will reach outdoors. Extra blankets should be wool or down, as these will provide maximum warmth without adding too much bulk.

Remember to set everything up as early as possible, as it starts getting dark earlier in the fall. Bring along a lantern with rechargeable or extra batteries just in case.

Making the Most of the Season

The fall foliage never lasts long, so take it in by spending a day hiking or kayaking. If the weather is chilly, resist the temptation to spend the entire day curled up—staying active will help you stay warm! Whatever activity you choose, make sure your daypack has bug spray, sunscreen, and a full water bottle. If you have a good camera, bring that along too, because this is the perfect opportunity for breathtaking nature photos.

After a day spent outdoors, you’ll have a hearty appetite, and you can savor the delicious flavors of autumn by planning camp meals full of seasonal ingredients. Sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked on hot coals are a perfect accompaniment to a pot of chili simmering over the campfire; a side of cornbread makes this a truly satisfying supper. For dessert, fresh apples can be chopped up and tossed with cinnamon, brown sugar, and nutmeg, and then cooked in a foil packet over your campfire.

Don’t forget the late-night snack essentials: marshmallows, chocolate squares, and graham crackers for campfire s’mores.

A camp kitchen like the Slim-Fold Cook Station™ makes food prep easy and organized—and yes, there’s a spot to securely hold that well-earned glass of wine, too! The cook station is also handy for serving snacks, which you should pack plenty of! If you need additional space, the Compact Camp Table 20™ makes a great side table, but can also handle dinner for two.

Multi-task like a pro by placing a camp stove right on the
Slim-Fold Cook Station’s heat-resistant surface.

Even if the weather is clear, the available firewood at your campsite might be damp. Save yourself a lot of trouble by bringing a stockpile of dry firewood—and remember that with cooler temperatures, you may want a larger fire for more warmth, so plan on needing more firewood than you’d use in the summer. When you can quickly and easily get a campfire going in the evening, you’ll find that this was well worth the trunk space!

Whether you’re building a campfire in a fire ring or setting up a portable fire pit, you can enjoy it best in the FirePit Rocker™. Designed with mesh panels to keep you from overheating, and featuring our lowest seat height for a more relaxed vibe, this rocker is ideal for a cozy campfire.

And if the weather lets you down, all is not lost—pack a deck of cards, a few board games, and a couple of good books, just in case. For more tips for camping in chilly temps, check out our post Warm Up to Cold Weather Camping!