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Fall Camping Tips When Camping with Kids

We are sharing our top fall camping tips when camping with kids because a little preparation can make a difference between fun and failure. Let’s get started!

tent in autumn with the text fall camping tips

Fall Camping Tips when Camping with Kids

Picture this: You’ve taken your 4-year-old camping in October in the Pacific Northwest and it’s an amazing trip. The forest is vibrant, alive with the sounds of forest creatures preparing for winter. You go to sleep under the stars, assured by the weather channel you have clear skies and…

You wake up to damp EVERYTHING and a rushing river outside your tent. #goodtimes

Here at Ruffles and Rain Boots, we share our tried-and-true camping tips and hacks because camping with kids in tow can be hard! A little preparation and foresight can make the difference between fun or failure.

Below are our top tips for when you go fall camping with kids. Getting out during Autumn is a great learning opportunity for everyone but it is a little different than camping in summer.

brightly colored leaves on the ground in a fall forest

Book the “Right” Site When Fall Camping

If you’re camping with kids, the campground and campsites can make all the difference for a trip. Fall camping is unpredictable and that weather makes it important to have rainy-day accessible activities. These can be as simple as some of what we shared in our camping with kids tips or as involved as planning day trips.

RELATED READING: Beginner Hacks When Camping with Kids

Clothing and Personal Gear

Fall camping brings cooler temperatures at night while still getting comfortably warm during the day. Plan for a light sweatshirt in addition to any camping clothing. Additionally, rain boots or muck boots are a good idea if you’re in an area that could get rain in the Fall.

I’m in Seattle, so in addition to our normal summer camp kit we pack:

  • rain boots
  • tennis shoes
  • extra socks
  • raincoats or ponchos (great to go over packs when hiking in the rain)
  • extra towels
  • hat (to keep the rain off the face)

Food / Hot Food Items 

Hiking and exploring during the day is hard on kids. Warming up by the fire is great but so is a nice, hot meal. A hearty dinner can make a difference in attitudes, so plan on bringing or making food items like chili, hearty soups, and hot breakfasts.

If you’re new to meal prep for camping, I’d recommend this camping cookbook. It has everything in it and shopping for inexpensive, filling campfire meals is her specialty!

camping meals camping recipes what to cook when camping

Overnight / Sleeping Outside During Fall 

If you camp with a roll and a light blanket during the summer months, Fall is the time to break out a sleeping bag. The kids will love snuggling and zipping themselves up, but the real benefit is that everyone will be warm enough to get a good night’s sleep.

If you’re camping with kids, bring long-sleeved, full-length pajamas. Another one of our fall camping tips is to “gift” some new fuzzy slipper socks. Kids love them!

RELATED READING: How to Have Fun Camping in the Rain with Kids

Campsite Preparation

When camping in the Fall, consider prepping your campsite a bit differently than in summer. Bring along tarps – and extra tarps. The ground might be damp when you make camp and a tarp underneath the tent base might be the extra barrier that allows you to stay dry.

Even waterproof tents will benefit from a ridgeline or an extra tarp draped over the top. Making a cover for a picnic table is something we do often in order to have a nice dry spot when it’s raining.

If you know you’re going to get rain, it’s a great opportunity to teach the kids to dig out a moat around the tent. ;)

close up of red orange and yellow leaves with a forest background and text which reads how to make camping with kids in the fall a success

Firewood and Starters

On our very first Fall camping trip, we had perfect weather – such luck! But, we didn’t take into account that it rained right before we got out to the middle of nowhere and that all the wood was wet.

It’s not the end of the world, but it makes camping with kids a lot easier when you can start a fire as the sun goes down. Bring a bundle of wood and some starters to help make it easier on the grownups that first night. This is one of the most helpful fall camping tips!

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Over to You

What Fall camping tips can you share when camping with the kids? Let us know below!

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