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Well, summer is officially over and fall is definitely here (at least here in Wyoming…). And while that might mean that some of you are winterizing your campers and RVs and relegating yourselves to not camping again until spring, for me, it means spending every weekend camping until the snow keeps me from doing so.
But fall camping is a different animal than summertime camping, and that means that there are some things you need to do differently for your trips to go off without a hitch.
Check out these fall camping tips to help you make the most of what good weather remains!
Beware of Animals
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In these parts, we have to be bear aware year-round, but fall is a particularly dicey time since bears are stocking up on food and water to get them through their winter hibernation. If you get between a bear and its food, watch out.
You don’t want to attract bears to camp, either. This means being diligent about proper food and garbage storage. Keep all food in a bear box or inside your RV, camper, or vehicle. Take trash to the trash bins if you’re in a campground, and if you’re not, store it underneath your RV or camper. Don’t leave anything out that a bear might find interesting!
Fall Camping Tips: Check the Foliage Forecast
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I’m writing this the last week of September, and while there are still some beautiful fall colors around, some trees are already nearly bare – or their leaves are already brown.
If you live in an area that has a nice fall season, check the foliage forecast to determine when the best time is for you to catch the foliage as you camp.
If anything, you want to be a little early for the peak colors as opposed to a little late, otherwise you run the risk of catching a lot of sad, tired-looking leaves if the changing of the colors goes faster than expected. Just be prepared to have a lot of company as you camp – many folks love to get out this time of year specifically to enjoy the fall colors!
Make Sure You’re All Set for Power
By now, the Forest Service campgrounds in my area have shut off services like water and power. And while the batteries in your RV or camper can probably get you through a couple of days and nights of cool fall weather, I, for one, wouldn’t want to rely solely on my batteries when the nighttime temperatures dip into the low 20s.
If you have a solar power system in your rig, you’re already a step ahead.
Solar panels like the Briter Products 400W panel shown above provide power year-round, even when the days are much shorter as they are now.
For example, with less daylight, this solar panel still allows you to recharge the batteries in your rig once a day. For my purposes, that’s plenty of juice to get me through a weekend of running the furnace and having the camper’s lights on at night.
Solar panels like these are extremely efficient, too, particularly when paired with Briter Products’ lithium-ion batteries. This tandem works together to collect and store the power you need and discharge it efficiently over the course of your trip.
Just remember to select a campsite that still gets good sun exposure in spite of the sun’s lower position in the sky. Your favorite summertime spot might be in the shade now!
Fall Camping Tips: Take Time to Visit Places That are Busy in the Summer
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With the changing of the leaves and the cooler temperatures come a lot more solitude, even in the most popular national parks.
Visiting Yellowstone this time of year, for example, might afford you a full day in the park without seeing more than a few other people. Parking is easy to find, boardwalks are relatively empty, and even iconic overlooks (like Artist Point at the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone) will likely have sparse visitors. This is the exact opposite of the experience you’ll have in July!
Even state parks, Forest Service Campgrounds, and RV parks will have fewer visitors, so you can enjoy more solitude just about anywhere you want to camp in the fall.
Just keep in mind that winter comes quickly in some places (like Yellowstone), so be prepared for very cold weather, snow, ice, and even closed roads.
Despite the potential risks of bad weather and aggressive animals, it doesn’t get much better than camping in the autumn. Use these fall camping tips to get ready and head out one last time (or a few more?!) before winter really sets in.