When the leaves turn colors and the weather turns chilly, many people decide it is time to put away the tent and get cozy indoors. However, I advocate for a great weekend of “cozy camping,” where you enjoy the great outdoors even if it has gotten a little cooler outside. One great location to try is Governor Bebb MetroPark. Their campsites are known for being affordable and the location has great hiking trails to get your blood flowing during the day. If you have a large group, consider renting the Murstein Group Cabin - there’s no heat, but it ups the comfort level a bit if you want to have a big family autumn camping trip. The Pioneer Village is a great attraction for kids, showing them artifacts from the past and keeping things exciting.
Here are 4 great tips I learned from my recent fall camping experience; I hope they help you enjoy the outdoors a little longer this season.
Gear Really Helps
If you don’t already, consider investing in a sleeping bag that is rated for a low temperature; it may not seem much different from other bags, but it will keep your toes toasty when it’s chilly out of the tent. Winter tents also have a thicker material that helps retain your body heat and keep the air inside a little warmer than outside. Lastly, I love a good packet of HotHands handwarmers; these sandbag-like pocket packets heat up gently to keep your boots or your hands from feeling icy. All of these items can be found at outdoors stores, like Cabela’s in Liberty Township.
Keep the Firewood Flowing
Sitting around the campfire is a treasured memory from summer camping, but it is downright delightful when the weather is frosty. Get a fire started with kindling or fire starter, and keep locally-sourced logs handy to stoke it throughout the evening. When the fire burns low late at night, bank the remaining ashes over the coals, which will hold a little heat till morning, speeding up the process of starting your morning coffee and breakfast fire.
Get Everyone Moving
To enjoy the full fun of autumn camping, organize a game of soccer, frisbee, or a brisk jog through the park. Nothing gets the blood rushing (and the tummies rumbling!) like some great outdoor exercise.
Bring Some Campfire Story Games (and S'Mores!)
When you sit around the fire, make sure you bring your favorite songs, stories, or games to play while chatting and catching up with family and friends.
You’d be surprised how much fun you have when autumn camping; I know from experience that, after a couple of nights, you figure out how to stay cozy and really get to bask in all of the autumn glory of the leaves. Best of all? Almost no bugs! Happy camping, everyone.