No matter what season you decide to plan your camping trip, the most important thing to remember is to bring the appropriate clothing, gear and equipment.
Here are some quick but useful tips to keep in mind when camping in different seasons:
Because the weather is typically warm and dry, summer is considered to be the most popular time of the year to camp. However, since the weather is bright and sunny and schools are out, campgrounds can get crowded this time of year. Summertime does scream vacation, so if you’re planning to go camping during this season, be sure to plan well in advance and make your reservations early.
Here are a few summer camping tips to follow:
- Protect yourself from bugs – Another downside of summer camping are the presence of bugs and insects (it’s the prime breeding time for mosquitoes), so insect repellent is a must-have in your bag. Set up your tent away from bodies of water. Also, bright white lights are attractive to insects, so choose warm lighting like yellow and orange to light up your campsite at night to help minimize the presence of bugs and mosquitoes.
- Protect yourself from the sun – While a bright, sunny day is good for outdoor activities, it’s not very good for your skin. Pack a sunscreen, some long-sleeved shirts, sunglasses and a hat to protect yourself from the harmful rays. You don’t want a bad sunburn to ruin your trip!
- Ditch the sleeping bag - Sleeping bags are great for keeping your warm and cozy while sleeping at night. That’s not something you want on a hot summer night! Unless you’re expecting rain or cool nights, a blanket, lightweight quilt and your favourite pillow should be enough to keep your comfortable.
- Keep yourself cool and hydrated – It’s highly important to keep yourself hydrated all throughout your trip, so be sure to bring extra water. To keep yourself cool, choose a shaded spot to set up your tent and bring a portable fan and an icebox if space permits.
The main reason to go camping in the fall? The breath-taking scenery! Beautiful hues of orange, red and yellow are everywhere and the weather is ideal – typically warm during the day and cool during the night. Not to mention that the crowds have disappeared and many campgrounds offer a discount during this time of year!
For some fun and family-friendly fall camping activities you can try, read our blog post here.
Here are a few fall camping tips to follow:
- Take advantage of the scenery – If you’re camping out in autumn, you might as well choose a campsite that has beautiful fall foliage. If you can find one that has reduced fees (many National Forests and State Parks offer discounts during fall months), the better!
- Be ready for the cold – While fall weather is typically cool, it can get really cold especially towards the end of the season in preparation for winter. Keep warm by bringing clothes that are made of fleece, wool and synthetic material. Pack a jacket, gloves, thick socks, a hat and sunglasses.
- Pack your sleeping bag – This is the time to bring your sleeping bag along with a sleeping pad and some thick, warm blankets in case it gets really cold.
- Fight off the winds – It can get very windy during autumn so it’s important to protect yourself (and your tent!). Set up your tent ideally near a tree or in a sheltered spot to help break wind. You can also use your car or a tarp if all the good spots are taken.
You probably think that winter camping is something you wouldn’t try because of the cold, but contrary to popular belief, cold weather camping is becoming more and more popular nowadays. It’s not for everybody but it’s an exciting thing to try if you really love camping.
There’s a certain charm in winter camping – early mornings and early nights, beautiful snow-covered landscapes and the absence of bugs and insects are just a few of its advantages. The main downside is the cold, but when you come prepared, you’ll be good to go.
Here are a few winter camping tips to follow:
- Choose your campsite wisely – When a choosing a spot to pitch your tent, choose a flat area and compress the snow surrounding it (this insulates heat better than loose snow). Avoid the top of hills because of wind and bottom of hills because of cold-air troughs. Your goal is to look for a spot that will shelter you from elements.
- Pack the right clothes – When winter camping, you should aim to stay warm and dry. Start with a close-fitting base layer to trap body heat, followed by an insulating layer then a jacket (fleece or wool). Lastly, wear an outermost layer with weather-proof lining which will protect you from the elements. Don’t forget your hat, gloves, socks, earmuffs and scarf – it’s better to overpack this time.
- Prepare your sleep gear – Unless your sleeping bag can take cold weather just fine with the help of a liner and a sleeping bag, invest in a 0-degree or lower bag (depending on the weather forecast). The important thing is that you are off the ground and comfortable.
- Learn how to build a fire – A campfire will be your greatest source of heat when out in the wilderness during winter. It’s important that you know how to create your own fire and not rely on other campers for this.
Spring – warm days are ahead, trees are beginning to bloom and campsites and trails are not crowded. It’s a great time to go camping, but wet-weather camping can also be tricky so it’s important to come prepared.
Here are a few spring camping tips to follow:
- Call your campsite – Before making reservations, it’s important to check the conditions of the area. The snows may have changed the sites and the trails, so be sure to call your chosen campsite ahead to know if the snow pack has melted, which trails are open and which roads to take when you come.
- Use your winter gear – Snow will just be partially melted which means that it will still be cold even on warm days, especially at higher elevations. Don’t pack away your winter gear yet, especially your sleep gear.
- Avoid hypothermia – You are more at risk for hypothermia wet weather camping compared to when camping at below-freezing temperatures, so your ultimate goal is to stay warm and dry. Use the same type of clothes you would wear for winter camping, just remove layers when it gets warmer.
- Be aware of wildlife – Many animals are coming out of hibernation during spring, so be alert (especially if you’re in bear country). Many species would also be birthing their young – it’s important to stay away from them as the mothers would most probably be nearby. To avoid attracting wildlife to your campsite, keep your food sealed and away from your tent.
Each season offers a unique experience in the outdoors– so why not make it a goal to camp in all seasons?