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Fall camping with full comfort

WHAT TO BRING?

Contrary to what you might think, fall camping is very accessible indeed. Because in reality, fall camping doesn't require much more gear than you need in summertime. So if you’re already equipped for camping in general, you’re almost ready to go this fall!

Here are the elements to keep in mind for a comfortable and enjoyable outing.

Parc national du Mont-Tremblant Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant Mikaël Rondeau | © Sépaq

A MUMMY STYLE SLEEPING BAG

The "mummy style" element is important here. The goal is to be able to close the entire bag around you, letting out only the tip of your nose. Of course, we're talking about when it's a particularly cool night. You won’t always need to cover up so much. Second, the bag's moisture resistance and temperature rating will make all the difference. Right off the bat, it's good to know that synthetic comforters are known for their superior moisture management. Finally, if you want to use your summer sleeping bag, you can buy a spare liner and simply insert it inside to get more warmth. You can also bring a large wool blanket to put over your sleeping bag in case of a chilly night.

AN INSULATED CAMPING MATTRESS 

The camping mattress you choose is just as important as your sleeping bag because the mattress will ensure the efficiency of your bag and protect you from the cold created by contact with the ground. FYI: the insulation capacity and thermal resistance of camping mattresses are rated according to the R-value. The higher the value, the greater the resistance to cold. For a fall mattress, we look for a value between R 2.0 and R 4.0, characterized as a three-season mattress. This information is indicated on the mattress, so check it when you buy.

Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq
Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie
Parc national des Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Rivière-Malbaie Steve Deschênes | © Sépaq
Parc national de Plaisance
Parc national de Plaisance Paul Dussault | © Sépaq
Nancy Guignard | © Sépaq

WARM CLOTHING

The key to an enjoyable expedition is to have warm clothing…lots of warm clothing. Feel free to bring a fleece and a down jacket. Ideally, you should dress in onion skin mode, wearing several thin complementary layers that can be removed as you go about your day and put back on as day turns into night. In the evening, the toque will be your best friend, and you can even leave it on overnight if need be. Don't hesitate to bring blankets for those precious moments around the fire. Some people even wear gloves or mittens, depending on their needs. In any case, think about what your clothes are made of. Look for fabrics that insulate you from the cold and keep you dry. A little tip: when you go to bed, remember to put your next day's set of clothes in the bottom of your sleeping bag; your clothes will stay warm and dry and you’ll only have to slip them on the next morning before leaving the tent. 

Camping chairs

As mentioned in the article on the little-known benefits of fall camping, we generally spend more time around the fire in the evening, as the sun sets earlier than in the summer months. This is a very pleasant pastime, but more importantly it keeps you warm. So camping chairs are a must in fall. It's nice to sit comfortably in chairs instead of using other surrounding items, such as logs, which are often wet at this time of year.

Parc national du Mont-Orford
Parc national du Mont-Orford Paul Dussault | © Sépaq
Parc national de la Yamaska
Parc national de la Yamaska Julie Audet | © Sépaq

AN AUXILIARY LAMP

An easily overlooked detail that can drastically change your camping experience is the lamp. Whether it's a flashlight with a clip or a headlamp, keep in mind that the sun will be setting early and that you’ll need light to carry out some of your everyday activities, such as preparing dinner (a somewhat annoying task when you’re in the dark). In fact, when camping in the fall, it’s very pleasant (even essential) to prepare warm and comforting meals. Let yourself be inspired!

THE LITTLE BONUSES

Finally, many other accessories can be suggested when the time comes to equip yourself for the fall. In the list of small bonuses that make a big difference, we also add the tarp placed under the tent and the candle lantern for the interior. These two elements will keep the humidity at bay. 

Another good option is a small propane heater that you can install in your tent. There are several models available in outdoor stores, and all you need to do is buy a little propane tank to operate it. Be sure to set up your heating system in an open ventilated space, away from luggage and other objects (but please note that it’s okay to use it inside a tent). You can use your heater all night or just before going to bed to warm up for a few minutes. Very practical indeed! 

It's not often we say it, but here, too much is better than too little. Fall camping is a lot of fun if it's comfortable and not cold. Feel free to bring several clothing options as well as blankets, which you can always leave in your luggage if you realize that it's not so cold after all. That's the whole case… you're all set for a great fall camping trip!

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