Camping is a getaway activity for most people who’d like to take some of the stress off their shoulders and enjoy nature. Most people enjoy the early spring months where the days are mildly warm and the nights feel cozy next to a well made campfire. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the campers go out in this particular season. Camping can be done in all of the Earth’s four seasons and each one of them requires individual preparations. Here, we will give you some of the best camping tips for each season and explain what are the pros and cons of going out in the nature during all of its seasonal stages.
As we mentioned, springtime is when people tend to go out the most. This is why we will kick things off with it.
Key Takeaway: When you’re camping, the tent you use, the clothes you wear, even the food you eat can all depend on the time of year you go camping. Each season will bring about its own challenges from intense heat to freezing temperatures. Bringing along the right gear such as a insulated tent or a mesh camping cot, can make all the difference in regard to your camping experience.
Our guide is designed to help you prepare for your next camping trip, whether you’re braving the summer heat or embarking on a challenging winter adventure.
Keep reading to learn how to properly prepare for your next camping trip, based on season.
Camping During Early Spring
If you are wondering why we specifically mention early spring and not spring in general, it is because spring tends to mimic the summer weather in its later days in most places. Here are some of the pros and cons of camping out during early Spring:
- Everything is fresh and green
- Weather rarely requires heavy clothing
- Lots of animals and birds for spotting
- Kids usually have vacations such as spring break during that time
- Weather can sometimes be unpredictable
- Paths can be covered in green after the winter (they become harder to follow)
- Conditions can get muddy
- The chances of short bursts of rain require you to bring waterproof gear
- Most animals go out of their winter sleep to search for food (for example bears)
Early spring is an exciting time. You’ll get your first taste of warmer weather, the flowers are in bloom, and the weather is mild and comfortable. However, it can also be unpredictable as well.
So, as we said, the weather can be your biggest friend or your bigger foe. Make sure you bring raincoats and tarps to waterproof your tent.
Nights during spring can often be as chilly as the ones during the later stages of winter so we recommend bringing almost the same gear you’d bring in a winter month just in case. Mummy bags and nicely isolated tents are a must.
Check the weather before you head out into the mountains and, even better, give your gear a nice test run in the backyard to see if its still good to go in case of a rain or a storm.
Summer Camping Tips
Just as it is in the other seasons, camping during summertime is all about being properly prepared. The thing which you should look out for the most (apart from the heat and the sun) is stormy weather. Summer storms tend to be more violent and can catch even a prepared mountaineer off-guard.
- Great weather
- Paths are cleared
- Can be crowded at the good locations
- Lots of insects
- Heat can be gruelling
If you camp mostly during the summer, a well-ventilated tent is the way to go. A good camping cot is a must as well, since it will keep you above the hot ground and above all insects and wildlife.
Since the ground absorbs heat during daytime and brings it back to the air during the night you will need something to insulate your tent from that heat going in. This will be a good tarp.
All the bedding you take with you should be light and cool and the sleeping bags should be made predominantly of nylon.
Sun creams and insect repellents are also a must and definitely something you don’t want to forget. A campfire usually keeps insects away but a good repellent does wonders once you stray further away from the camp.
Fall Camping Tips
Fall (Autumn) is one of the most beautiful seasons to be out in the nature, as everything changes its colors right in front of your eyes and you get to witness nature’s way of painting some of the most gorgeous landscapes. Still, temperatures can vary a lot from day to night and weather is mostly quite damp. Camping during this season, in our opinion, feels the most refreshing out of all seasons.
- Beautiful sceneries
- Mild weather
- Lack of insects and animals in general
- Temperatures do not go too high, nor too low
- Can rain a lot
- Can be hard to find a good camping spot (without too much mud around it)
Since weather changes a lot during this time of the year, make sure you pack a good and warm sleeping bag in case of cold nights. Look for bags which are suitable for the 0-30 temperature range. Also, make sure to check with your camping spots to see if they are still open.
Many campers can agree that the fall can be the best time to go camping. You won’t have to deal with crowds or deal with intense heat during the day. The temperature during the day is often mild enough to allow you to enjoy being outdoors without getting a sunburn.
It’s also the perfect time of year to go long-distance hiking or do some serious exploring.
While the days tend to still feel warm at times during the fall months, the temperature will drop significantly at night. Keep this in mind when you’re packing for your upcoming trip.
Bring extra layers of clothing and thermal underwear, as well as gloves. Water protection for you and your tent are a must even if the forecasts predict clear skies.
Want to know which are the best camping tents for this year’s seasons? Check out our full Buyer’s Guide on the topic.
Winter Camping Tips
By far, the hardest and the most experience-requiring season for camping is winter. Yes, it may be breathtakingly beautiful but the risks outweigh the experience in most cases, or at least for beginner campers. Before we continue, we need to say that you always should be accompanied by a more experienced camper if going out in the winter. Whether it is to climb a mountain or just to camp in a gorgeous snowy canyon, never go alone.
When camping out in the winter an insulated sleeping bag and a waterproof insulated double wall tent will be essential. Proper clothing will also be important. Wear several layers of clothing, bring plenty of extra socks and gloves, and bring fleece pants instead of denim jeans, which take longer to dry.
Be prepared to go without a fire if it snows or you’re stuck in an intense downpour for days at a time. Being prepared and camping with experienced winter campers can be lifesaving in freezing temperatures.
- Breathtaking landscapes
- No insects
- Cheap camping fees
- Tough terrains
- Extreme conditions
- Lots of possible bad outcomes
- Unpredictable weather
- Sub-zero temperatures
Some of the benefits of this season are that there are no mosquitoes to buzz around your head. The low camping fees are a huge plus too.
The two main pillars of camping during the winter are planning and preparation. If you plan your route and days ahead and pack accordingly, there are few things that can throw you off-course.
The biggest task for you during this season is to know how to keep yourself warm, especially at night when the temperatures go far too low for any unprepared person to survive. Proper floor insulation is key to retaining body heat during night time. Camping pads, floor mats, and air mattresses are good to have in such conditions.
Finally, always bring a map, learn more about the emergency services in the area, bring along a good amount of canned foods and water and make sure your tent is heavy duty. Mummy bags (the fully enclosed models) are a must.
These camping tips by season will help you prepare for freezing temperatures, intense heat, and rainy weather conditions.
Camping out during the winter months allows you to experience a side of nature you’ve never seen before. But as we mentioned, it can also be the most challenging time of year. The spring and summer months also present their own challenges, but are often a better choice for beginners.
Regardless of what time of year you decide to spend some time in nature, make sure you bring along the right gear, clothing, supplies, and food. Above all, make sure you’re camping with someone who has more experience spending a week or two in the great outdoors.