This post is sponsored by RTIC Coolers, all opinions and experiences are my own.
Summer may be over but you can still get out and enjoy the outdoors with some fall camping.
There are a few things to consider for the cooler weather when planning your fall camping trip like location, cold weather gear, and good comfort food to keep you warm.
One of my favorite things about camping is just getting to unplug and chill out for a little bit. I got out to Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierras for a weekend getaway to relax and enjoy the fall weather. Alabama Hills is in the high desert so it was still warm during the day and the nights weren’t too cold. But my favorite things about camping in this area are the epic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Mount Whitney.
Here I’ve got all my favorite places to camp in the fall, what I pack, and my favorite meals, to make it easy for you to get outside and enjoy the outdoors!
#1 Where to go
Depending on what you want from your camping trip you have the choice between desert camping and alpine camping. Fall is the perfect time for camping in the desert, temperatures are in a bearable range and the desert landscape is always pretty. If you are looking for some fall colors and changing leaves somewhere in the mountains is going to be the best. Being up in the mountains will mean cooler temperatures but pretty scenery.
Regardless of where you are going, make sure to check the weather, some years get cold quicker than others and frosty mornings while pretty can be uncomfortable.
- Joshua Tree
- Alabama Hills
- Death Valley
- Lake Tahoe
- Sequoia/Kings Canyon
#2 What gear to bring
Fall means cooler weather and shorter days, which means you’ll need lots of warm layers, sleeping gear that is rated for cold weather, insulated cups to keep your drinks warm and plenty of lights for when the sun goes down.
A little packing list:
- Warm clothes: beanies, warm socks, base layers, jacket, gloves, scarf, puffy jacket
- Wam sleeping bag that is rated down to at least 20 degrees or lower.
- Thick sleeping pad for both warmth and comfort.
- RTIC Insulated Tumbler to keep your coffee, hot chocolate, or tea nice and warm, and the flip-top snaps shut so there’s no risk of spillage when you are on the move.
- RTIC Day Cooler for keeping all your snacks safe. It’s easy to carry on daily adventures and keeps things cold for 24 hours, perfect for a weekend getaway.
- Solar Lantern to reuse that sunlight when the sun goes down.
- String lights for a little more light around the campsite.
- Blankets for a little extra warmth whether you’re watching the sunset or reading in your tent.
#3 Cozy Comfort Food
There’s nothing like a good meal when you’re camping. I’m a firm believer that you don’t have to sacrifice taste just because you are cooking on a camp stove or over a fire. Here are a couple of my favorite camping recipes, they are hearty and healthy and taste awesome!
Breakfast Yogurt Parfait:
I use mason jars so I can premake them the night before and just store them in the cooler.
- Greek Yogurt
- Berries – strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
- Honey (optional)
Layer ingredients in mason jars and store overnight or enjoy right away.
Loaded Veggie Mac and Cheese
- Box of mac and cheese (I like Annie’s brand)
- Bell peppers
- Cherry tomatoes
- Cheddar cheese (optional)
Make mac and cheese according to directions, add a little extra butter and then add in all the veggies and cook until spinach has wilted. Serve topped with a little cheddar cheese if desired.
A few extra food items I always make sure to have are coffee for the morning, hot chocolate and marshmallows, and my favorite snacks like crackers, cheese, salami, and some fruit.
A few bonus tips
Hot water bottle in the sleeping bag – If the nights are really cold I will boil water and put it in a hard plastic water bottle (like a Nalgene) and put it at the bottom of my sleeping bag to keep my toes warm.
Put the rainfly on the tent – It might be tempting to look at the stars at night through the mesh of your tent, but by putting the rainfly on you’ll keep any extra heat in the tent with you.
Have extra lights – Having extra headlamps and lanterns is key when the sun goes down but you’re not ready to go to sleep. I love solar-powered lights because you don’t have to worry about batteries dying.
Things to do in the tent and by headlamp/lantern light – Board games, cards, or a good book are all good things to do by lamplight.
The 10 Best Fall Trips
California Camping Options
15 Car Camping Essentials
A Guide to Joshua Tree Campgrounds
Take Care of the Outdoors with Leave No Trace
An Epic California Road Trip up Highway 395
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