Why stop now? That’s what every camper should ask themselves when the summer comes to an end. Autumn is amazing and despite the colder and sometimes wetter weather, this season offers so much for the camper who is prepared and looking for their next staycation.
In this article we share our top tips on getting the most out of your camping trip when the season step-changes into autumn.
Camping in autumn is much the same as in summer; there are just a few extra things you need to consider. The weather in autumn can be unpredictable with colder temperatures and rainy days on the horizon. But if you have the right gear and are looking for a late-season escape beyond ‘peak’, then there is no excuse not to try camping in autumn.
Before we get to our top tips; let us first give you the benefits that camping in off-peak months bring.
With peak summer season over, many campers will be packing their tents away for winter hibernation. We always find that campsites, pitches and even local pubs in hotspots are quieter and nowhere near as busy, making them the perfect getaway for anyone searching for a peaceful retreat.
If you’ve ever looked at a campsite booking calendar, you’ll notice that the prices increase in the summer months to match the demand. Although many of us camp through the summer, it’s great to make the most of the lower price of pitches in key months like October and early March, when the weather can be good, but peak season hasn’t started yet. Want to save even more money and enjoy a back to basics adventure? Then why not read our beginner’s guide to Wild Camping.
There’s no getting away from the fact that autumn adventures can be colder and wetter. But, don’t let that put you off. If you’re looking for a last minute staycation and keep an eagle eye on the weather forecast, you’ll be surprised how comfortable camping in autumn can be if you have the right kit. You can’t rely on the great British weather at the best of times and remember what Alfred Wainwright famously said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.”
Let’s take a look at the best way to prepare for an autumn camping adventure.
Like any camping trip or outdoor adventure, it’s a good idea to think about the location and weather, as these factors will influence the gear you take. Autumn can be unpredictable and so check the weather forecast regularly, invest in the right gear to keep you warm and dry, and check out our advice on ventilation and condensation later in this article.
Pro Camper Tip: Short nights mean it gets darker sooner so plan to arrive at your campsite early to ensure you’re not pitching it in the dark.
Having the right kit will ensure you stay warm and comfortable on any autumn camping trip. One of the most important elements of any cold weather camp is looking at your ‘sleep system’. A sleep system is the combination of a sleeping bag and a sleeping mat which work together to resist the cold. If you have a high quality sleeping bag but are sleeping on a cheap Lillo from your local supermarket, then you’re going to feel the cold. Invest in quality products for a great night’s sleep.
When selecting a good sleep system:
Once you have your sleep system sorted, it’s important to dress for the season. Make sure your kit list includes thermals, a fleece, an insulated jacket, a winter hat and gloves, thick socks and extra layers for the night time. If you’re not carrying your camping gear far from your car, then you can afford to take blankets and even a tent carpet.
Pro Camper Tip: A foil blanket and hand warmers are affordable and effective ways of keep you warm. Keep them in your rucksack just in case.
The great British weather is always unpredictable so make sure you’re prepared for rain. Waterproof jackets and trousers are essential; plus, waterproof footwear is highly recommended.
Our top tip for autumn campers would be to check your gear before you go. There’s nothing worse than turning up to site and finding out your tent has a leak; so test before you travel and if it needs it, reproof your tent to ensure it will keep rain out. Trial pitching before you travel also means you’ll be comfortable putting up your tent in all weather.
The wind is another factor to consider this season. When pitching your tent, look for shelter from a hedge, treeline or building and use your guylines effectively. Just make sure you don’t pitch under a tree as tree sap can damage the fabric. Watch our video below on using tent guylines.
Staying warm is a combination of having warm clothing, a quality sleep system and a source of heat. The best way to inject extra warmth into your camping set up is with warm food and hot drinks. So a portable stove and easy-to-cook food is an essential we always recommend; plus, don’t forget your flask. Whether you’re a family camper or a backpacker, we have a great selection of portable camping stoves to suit you.
Pro Camper Tip: Fill your flask up with hot water before bed, put it at the bottom of your sleeping bag and you’ll have toasty toes all night long.
Colder temperatures can cause a build-up of condensation inside your tent. Use the vents in your tent and open the doors on dry days to manage condensation effectively. It’s common for campers to think their tent is leaking when it’s actually condensation. Watch our simple video on how to deal with condensation.
There you have it, our guide to camping in autumn. See, it’s not so scary after all. Remember, camping comfortably in colder months simply requires the right gear, an eye on the forecast and some hot meals you can cook on site. And if you’re still not sure, why not book a hotel staycation as a base to keep you refreshed for autumn walks. If the end of summer is your last outing in your tent, or you’ve used your tent a fair bit this year, check out our handy guide to caring for and storing your tent over winter.