Get you and your family ready for the great outdoors this fall. Autumn can be a wonderful time for camping. Yes, the weather is getting a little cooler, but if you arrive prepared you can soak in some of the best nature has to offer before winter sets in. In order to plan your trip, you’ll want to read up on these tent camping basics for you and your family. These tips can help you have the best camping experience possible and get the most out of your trip.
About half of people who camp say they became interested in it because they love the outdoors. Don’t let a dip in the temperature and change of season diminish that love. There are a lot of excellent reasons to spend a weekend out in nature as the leaves start changing color. The cooler temperature might actually be more enjoyable for many people. There’s nothing like a crackling, warm fire on a chilly night.
Keep reading to find seven tent camping basics for you and your family this fall.
1. Decide How to Get There
The first step to any successful camping trip is getting there. Camping spots can be far from main roads and beaten paths, depending on how isolated you’d like to be. That can pose some challenges when it comes to having the right vehicle for the terrain.
There is also the matter of packing to consider. You may feel you need to pack a lot for an autumn camping trip because the weather is cooler. Tents, blankets, sleeping bags, extra clothing, and food can take up a lot of space in a small car and quickly crowd out seating.
If you only have a small car, you might want to look into minivan rental while planning your trip. A minivan can offer you a lot more space for all the tent camping basics you’ll require for your trip. If you aren’t sure yet whether you’ll need a larger car or not, you can always do a packing test run. See how the camping equipment as well as some coolers and suitcases fit in your car. It will likely become evident quickly if you need more space.
If you have a large family that you’re traveling with, you will almost certainly need a larger vehicle in order to get there with all your gear and supplies. Some people like to travel in an RV, even if they plan to stick to tent camping. That can be a good option for a family or large group, as an RV will certainly allow you to travel with all the tent camping basics you’ll need.
2. Decide Where to Stay
Of course, you need to know where you’re headed before you decide how to get there. This can be related to your vehicle, however. Some campsites are small and will charge extra if you roll up in a large vehicle. Some have dedicated RV parking or no RV parking at all. If you are traveling in a minivan or RV, you should look up your campsite to see if you will be able to park that vehicle there during your stay.
You also may want to keep a close eye on the weather when choosing a camping location in fall. Some areas will be much more prone to rain that time of year. You don’t want to show up for tent camping and get surprised by a sudden storm that floods you out. That can quickly turn a fun trip into a miserable one.
When choosing a location, however, you don’t only want to think about what can go wrong. Also take into consideration what you are hoping to get out of the trip.
If you just want to get away and have some peace and solitude with your loved ones, a large camp site with many spots open might not be the best option. You may instead want to find a place a little farther off the beaten path. The tent camping basics you’ll need could change if you are more remote, however, so keep that in mind when you are looking up locations.
On the flip side, some families like the security of knowing that they are still close to a convenience store or supermarket if they find they missed something while packing. There are plenty of campsites that can give you the benefits of both nature and modern conveniences. If this is a concern for you, look up what is in the nearest town to see what resources might be available during your trip.
3. Make Sure You’re Well Stocked
One of the most essential tent camping basics is simply making sure you are well-stocked on supplies. As noted above, you can choose a campsite that is close to things like convenience stores, but why interrupt your vacation if you don’t have to?
If you can, plan out your tent camping basics before you even start packing. Lists can be vital tools in determining what you’ll need to get through the weekend. Look up the weather so you can plan things like blankets and clothing accordingly.
One of the hardest things to plan for, though, is meals. What you can cook and eat changes when you’re camping. You likely won’t have access to many of the amenities of a full kitchen, so you will need to plan meals around what is available.
See if you can write down some ideas for your meals and snacks for each day. It is a good idea to pack a little more than what makes the list. If there was an unforeseen circumstance, you would definitely want to have extra food and water around.
If you don’t have one already, invest in a hard cooler for your trip. A good cooler is one of the most essential tent camping basics. It is important that this cooler won’t leak, can store a lot of food and will keep it cold. A whole cooler of ruined food can quickly spoil your entire trip.
4. Plan Your Activities
While you are doing your practical planning, why not plan some activities as well?
Tent camping means that you will probably be out and about all day. There isn’t that much to do at the campsite itself when it’s just your family and a tent. So one of the best tent camping basics is just to figure out what activities exist in the area.
If you are in a forest, you may be able to go hiking or biking together. If there is a local ATV dealer, you may even be able to buy or rent ATVs to take through the woods. Many people go camping specifically to find locations for ATV riding.
Hiking and biking are quieter activities, but no less rewarding for that. If you love hiking, you should look up whether there are trails near where you are camping. You can explore the woods with your family for a whole day and return to a cozy campsite and crackling fire in the evening.
You don’t need to stick to land when you go camping, however. There are also a lot of water-based activities you might enjoy while camping, such as swimming and paddleboard trips.
Many campsites are located near rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. If you are a family of water-lovers, you should try to see if there are any opportunities near where you are camping.
On the far end of the spectrum, you may even bring a fishing boat out camping with you to really enjoy the water to the fullest. This may be the last chance for you and your family to get out on the water before winter freezes it, so try to take advantage if you can.
5. If You Are Bringing a Boat, Arrive Prepared
However, if you are bringing a boat, that also carries with it additional concerns and challenges.
As with an RV, you will need to make sure that you can actually park your boat. There are a lot of campsites that are great for tent camping basics, but might not have the space or infrastructure to accommodate a boat.
You also will need a vehicle that can haul a boat trailer along with it to your location. Sometimes, campsites can be located down very bumpy dirt roads or up steep mountainsides. If that is the case, it can be a real challenge to haul along a boat. You should investigate this and see if others have brought their boats to this campsite before you commit to doing it.
One of the bare essentials of boat ownership is boat insurance. Now is when that insurance becomes especially important. You never know if there will be an accident or incident of some sort. Because you are camping around other people, as well, you want to make sure you’re insured just in case the worst should happen.
6. Understand that Nature Can Be Dangerous
Talk of boats goes a little beyond tent camping basics, so let’s talk about something we should all be wary of while camping – safety. Nature is beautiful, but it can also be hazardous. There are a lot of ways to get injured while you are out in the woods.
Injuries from camping don’t always mean broken ankles and other severe accidents. It is all too easy to go for a relaxing hike and wake up the next day with an itchy rash. That’s why you should know the signs of poison ivy and poison oak before you spend time camping in the woods. In some cases, these rashes can cause severe reactions, so you should also know if anyone in your family is allergic.
You also should be careful of wild animals. Bears generally steer clear of humans, but they may come around sniffing for food if you don’t observe the tent camping basics regarding food and food waste. You definitely want to pack away your food at night. If you leave it out, it won’t just be bears that might get into it. Raccoons and other critters can be attracted to the smell.
The same goes for your trash. That trash might smell tasty to an animal, so you don’t want to leave it out to attract anything. Check if your campsite has dumpsters available where you could get rid of your trash each night.
Of course, there are also insects to think about. An insect bite can sometimes turn serious depending on what kind of bug you encountered and whether you are allergic. It is a good idea to know beforehand if you or anyone in your family is allergic and what you need to do in the case of a bite or sting.
7. Know What to Do in an Emergency
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents and unforeseen circumstances do still occur. It is possible to do everything right, know all your tent camping basics, and still end up with an emergency on your hands.
In the case of an emergency, it is good to know ahead of time if there are hospitals or animal hospitals nearby. If you bring a pet, they can also run into danger outside, so look up both if you are traveling with a dog, for example.
Because campsites may be remote, it can take a long time to reach a hospital depending on where you are. That is why it is good to also have your own first aid kit. A decent first aid kit is one of the most crucial tent camping basics. It will allow you to address an accident instantly and potentially prevent further harm in the process.
It’s also not a bad idea to have extra supplies around. Things like pain killers can come in handy if you have to get someone to the hospital but it is going to be a long drive.
Hopefully, all of these tent camping basics will help you plan the perfect fall camping trip with the family. It is not pleasant to think about emergencies, but it is worth it to include that in your planning as well. You hope you won’t need it, but will be grateful if it turns out you do.
In the end, a little planning can go a long way toward making your family’s fall camping trip a relaxing and worthwhile experience. You don’t need to stay locked up inside just because the weather has gotten a little cooler. As long as you’re prepared and plan ahead you can still have a fantastic getaway.