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Fall Camping Checklist: Must Have Essentials


September 28, 2020

In between the sweltering summer and freezing winter, Fall is the perfect time to go camping. Comfortable temperatures and beautiful scenery from the changing leaves are a great reason to spend some extra time outdoors. 

If you’re going camping for the first time this fall and aren’t sure what to pack, check out our comprehensive list of must have essentials.

What to Pack for Fall Camping

When determining what to pack, consider factors such as how long will you be camping for, how many people are going, and what is the expected weather. You’ll also want to check if the area you’re camping at offers amenities such as restroom facilities and a drinking water faucet at each campsite.

Clothing/Wearables

  • Comfortable shoes or boots suitable for hiking: Wear shoes that you’ll be fine walking in for a few hours, and make sure they have good traction for all terrains. 
  • An extra pair of shoes and socks: It’s always a good idea to pack an extra pair of shoes and socks in case the ones you wear get wet or damaged.
  • Breathable fabric shirts, pants, and/or shorts: Even with great fall weather, a day out hiking will leave you sweaty if you don’t wear light layers. Unless the weather is expected to be unusually chilly, bring clothes made from breathable fabrics such as cotton or polyester.
  • Thermal underlayers: Bring some insulated layers just in case it gets colder than you expected during the day or at night.
  • A rain-resistant jacket: When choosing which jacket to bring on your trip, choose one that offers protection against inclement weather. If it’s expected to be somewhat cold, opt for a heavier jacket with a rain-resistant outer layer. Otherwise, a lightweight nylon or polyester jacket should do.
  • Sleepwear: After a long day of hiking, you’ll be glad you brought some clothes to change into for the night.
  • A lightweight backpack: It’s not technically clothing, but you’ll want to bring a lightweight backpack filled with water, snacks, and emergency supplies anytime you step away from the campsite to go hiking.

Campsite

  • Tent with a rain shield (and stakes if not included): Make sure the tent you bring comes with a rain shield that goes over the top. Additionally, check to see if stakes are included so you can plant the tent in the ground. You may also want to bring a mallet to make things easier.
  • A warm and durable blanket: Bring a blanket that’s soft and warm to help you sleep comfortably at night, but also durable enough for you to use outside since the campfire won’t keep your back and neck warm. Denali has a wide selection of soft and durable blankets that are great for camping and an everyday throw for your couch. For an outdoors themed blanket, check out our Rustic, Western, and Plaid collections.
  • Inflatable mattress or sleeping pads: Don’t ruin your trip with a bad night’s sleep on the hard ground, bring something to add a bit of cushion so you sleep comfortably.
  • Pillows: Bring one pillow per person to complete the list of bedding essentials for your next Fall camping trip. Looking for a pillow with a bit more durability for outdoor use? Check out Denali’s wide selection of pillows, which are made from the same great materials as our soft and durable blankets.
  • One or more tarps: Even if your tent comes with a rain shield, you’ll want to bring a tarp to prevent moisture or rain from softening the ground below your tent. If you are worried about the ability of your rain shield to adequately protect your tent, bring an additional tarp to place over it.
  • Foldable chairs: Don’t expect to spend all the time at your campsite inside the tent, bring some foldable chairs for you and others to sit around the campfire at night and in the morning.

Health/Hygiene

  • Emergency first aid kit: Carry a first aid kit at all times during you’re Fall camping trip so you’re prepared in the case of an emergency.
  • Bug spray: Depending on where you’re going camping, bugs may or may not be a major issue. Either way, make sure to pack some bug spray to keep mosquitoes and other insects away.
  • Sunscreen: Long days outside mean lots of sun exposure, so bring sunscreen and reapply as needed.
  • Hand sanitizer: Expect for your hands to get dirty while camping, so bring hand sanitizer and keep it with you at all times.
  • Toilet paper: Check to see if your campsite will have a restroom facility nearby. If not, bring a roll or two of toilet paper.
  • Toiletry kit: Bring a bag of hygiene essentials such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and shampoo/conditioner if you may be staying for multiple days. 
  • Towels: Bring one or more towels in case you or others end up getting wet at some point throughout your adventure.

Kitchen/Food

  • Reusable water bottles and gallon jugs: Bring plenty of water for your camping trip to ensure you stay adequately hydrated. To prevent waste, consider bringing reusable water bottles and one or more gallon jugs for refills.
  • Wood and/or charcoal (if camp has a grill): Check to see if your campsite has a grill, and verify that you are able to use it during the time you wish to go camping (since some campsites may have burn bans in early fall). When it comes to fuel, don’t rely on finding wood at the campsite (many campsites do not allow this). Instead, bring wooden logs and/or charcoal for fuel.
  • Grill rack (if applicable): If your campsite has a grill, check to see if it has a rack for you to put a pan on. If not, you’ll want to bring one so you can cook things on more than sticks.
  • Portable grill and fuel (if camp does not have a grill): If your campsite does not have a grill, bring a portable grill and fuel so you can cook food.
  • Strike anywhere matches: Bring matches as opposed to a lighter so you can drop the matches into the campfire, and bring strike anywhere matches in case the strip on your matchbook gets worn out.
  • Cast iron skillet and/or pot: A good cast iron skillet is a camping staple due to its incredible durability; if you’re making a soup you could also opt for a stainless steel pot.
  • Cooking utensils: Depending on what you’re cooking, you’ll want to bring utensils such as a spatula and tongs. 
  • Plates and bowls: Pack some disposable plates and bowls so you don’t have to carry heavy dishes that can’t be washed.
  • Pocket knife: You never know when you’ll need a knife, so bring one with you at all times and consider a blade that has multiple tools such as mini-scissors and a bottle opener.
  • Eating utensils: Don’t forget to bring utensils so you can actually eat your food, you don’t want to be stuck with using a stick as a fork.
  • Paper towels: It’s always a good idea to bring paper towels, which can be used as napkins or for wiping down the skillet.
  • Trash bags: You’ll want heavy-duty trash bags that you can seal tightly and hang to prevent odors from escaping and animals from getting into.
  • Portable snacks: The food you choose to bring for your trip is up to you, but make sure you have some portable snacks such as granola bars that can be stored in a backpack when you go hiking.



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