People tell horror stories about camping: Bugs everywhere, brutal heat or severe cold, thunderstorms, and so on. That’s why fall camping is superior – the air is cooler but not yet bitter, the bugs are crawling into their holes for the winter and that volatile summer weather has (hopefully) settled down a little. As a bonus, the leaves are changing color. It’s time to get outside.
If you’re planning a fall camping outing, here are a few accessories to consider.
Fall is famous for that lovely crisp air. Crisp is a word that means delightfully cool when you’re active during the day, and uncomfortably chilly when the sun goes down. Make sure you have a good sleeping bag, rated for cooler weather. For tent camping, add a sleeping mat to go underneath your sleeping bag. This provides an extra layer of shielding from the cold ground.
A campfire is, in my mind, essential to camping in any weather. If I were camping in Florida in August, I’d start a campfire. But in the fall the warmth from those flames can feel extra nice. Here are a few items to go with that fire:
· A Pie Iron: This takes the humble hot dog stick up a level, letting you cook all kinds of food over a fire, like simple pies, pizzas and hot sandwiches.
· A Kitchen Lighter: A fire is only fun if you can start it. Matches might seem better suited to that rugged mountain man experience, but then, so is rubbing sticks together or waiting for lightning to strike a dry log. A clickable kitchen lighter makes things easy.
· A Popcorn Popper: Because popcorn is good. And popcorn was invented to be popped over an open fire.
· A Dutch Oven: This simple cast iron pot does yeoman’s work for a variety of cooking, either in hot coals, over fires or on a camp stove.
Speaking of camp stoves, when you drag yourself out of your sleeping bag on a chilly morning, you want coffee fast and you don’t want to make a fire first. Get yourself a nice propane camp stove (although I’d recommend using it outdoors because of the carbon monoxide risk).
It doesn’t have to be big and bulky. Stoves range in size from the kind hikers fold up and put in their backpacks to the kind you’ll want a trailer to haul.
One of the joys of fall camping is taking photos of that vivid orange and red foliage, and capturing the rest of your hiking, hot dog roasting and fishing to make your friends envious. If you’re using your phone to do this, you’ll want to have a ready power supply to recharge it.
One way to do this, if you don’t want to be limited to campsites with power hookups, is to pack a solar-powered phone charger. There are a number of different models available and they can be quite effective.
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