September, October, and November are the wonderful months to camp and hike as weather won’t be extremely hot or cold. Not only will you enjoy the change in season, but the crowd will be down and the bugs will be less.
During September long weekend, I went on a camping trip to Hocking Hills with my friends, few who are very close to me and few I have never met before. It was a wonderful experience to get to know new people and have the most quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the urban life.
I have been cabin camping a few times in my life. This trip was my first-time tent camping, and I learned a lot of things. Here are some tips for you on what to expect for your first-time tent camping, what to wear and what gears to bring with you.
What To Expect From Tent Camping
1. You will get dirty
The weather forecast for the day we left for camping was rainy and the remaining 2 days were sunny. So we planned to reach the campsite by the time rain stops. We had to pitch our tents in mud as there weren’t any dry spots. My shoes, hands, hair and everything was covered with dirt within no time and I was smelling like soil. Which I enjoyed and had no complaints about until I reached home and worked my ass off to get that dirt off from my skin, shoes, and clothes.
2. You will have to share shower with 100 other people, use portable toilets that might stink
The most realistic and toughest part of camping is using portable toilets. The moment you get in one of those toilets you wish you were home enjoying the luxury of the cleaned and sanitized washroom.
Most of the campgrounds have a public bathhouse and toilets. I suggest you first locate those and only use those. I wasn’t aware that there were actual toilets in our campground until I went to take shower the next morning.
I recommend bringing a pair of flip-flops and wear them whenever you take a shower or use one of these public bathrooms. Bringing an extra bathroom roll is also advisable.
3. You will probably not have cell service
I actually expected this and was prepared not to bother about it. But we actually had a decent reception in our campsite which we used to our advantage and had fun with the walkie-talkie app. We used that app to communicate with each other from our tents even when we were at an audible distance from each other tents. I also shared some of my excitement in my insta stories.
4. You will Walk a lot
Hiking is my favorite activity to do when I am camping. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy the nature and workout at the same time. We hiked a couple of trials in Hocking Hills that covered few beautiful caves and bunch of waterfalls. You will forget about how hot or cold the weather is once you start enjoying the sight.
5. You will experience beauty in everything
My favorite part of camping was gathering around the fire at night, playing games, chit chatting Instead of watching Netflix or checking the phone. We ate our meals together, appreciated each other’s efforts and experienced the beauty of being present in the moment.
I never thought I could just pass time by staring at the fire and listening to the sounds of the night. It was magical on how nature lets you experience the beauty in everything, and how little things can bring you joy.
My second favorite part of camping was sleeping in a tent with my girlfriends. It was like a pajama party, we chit chatted all night until one of us dozed off. We experienced the beauty of listening and harmony.
What To Wear For a Fall Camping Trip
Layering is key for staying warm in fall and winter. It also helps you to pack lite as you can mix and match your pieces to create new outfits. Be sure you bring comfortable and warm clothes like long sleeve tee, thermal underwear, lightweight sweatshirt or wool sweater, fleece legging, thick socks (pack extra), puffer vest, fleece jacket, plaid shirt for layering, all-weather jacket, and beanie hat
2. A Rain Jacket
Fall weather can be unpredictable – There are chances of rain in many areas. So always carry a rain or all-weather jacket with you irrespective of what forecast says. It will also help you retain warmth as an extra layer at night. This all-season jacket is perfect for both fall and winter.
3. Hiking Boots
Comfortable and waterproof boots are a must especially if you are planning to hike. If you know it’s going to be cold, opt for actual hiking boots that will keep your feet warm. If not you can bring your regular running or gym shoes. But keep in mind, the shoes are going to get really dirty. I love this Aetrex moto boots that are waterproof and sturdy enough to also walk in the snow.
4. A Hat
A hat is a must for me. It will keep you warm in cold and in Sun it will you protect your face from direct UV radiations. Depending on the weather pack a baseball hat or a beanie.
What Gears To Bring
You need a good tent that doesn’t leak. With the wind in fall, be sure to properly pitch your tent with extra stacks. Always carry extra stacks in case you lose one or some rock pretzels one of yours. I like this 4 person tent
2. Sleeping bag and pad
We didn’t actually carry any sleeping bag or pad instead we took all our comforters including some extra ones to use them as pads. But for colder months make sure you carry an insulated sleeping pad and a zero degree sleeping bag.
We underestimated the usage of the lamp. We thought the campfire will give us enough light but you definitely need portable lamp inside your camp that you can carry with you to restrooms at night. We bought these $3 lamps that were really bright.
4. Camping Chair
Remember to bring your own chair because the campfire is set up, everyone likes to sit in front of the fire. Check out this $11 chair
5. Grill Set
Some campsites do provide grill as one of their amenities. You can check their website or call them to check with them before booking your campsite. We bought this grill set that was very useful.
6. Cooler and Ice
You definitely need one for cooling your drinks and refrigerating food. This one comes with a roller
7. Propane Stove and extra fuel
Carry extra propane gas cylinders with you as colder temperatures lead to longer cooking time. Plus you would want enough to make an extra bottle of hot water to snuggle with in your sleeping bag at bedtime for extra warmth. My friend has this 2 burner stove and I am totally getting this cookware set when I go on a backpacking trip.
8. A Thermos
To keep your hot coffee or tea hot :). This one is stainless steel and BPA free.
9. Storage Locks and Bear can
Be sure to not leave any food or drinks open at night to avoid attracting animals to your campsite. Store them in beer cans, hangs and use locks to lock your cooler or put your leftover food back in your car.
When it comes to waste management. We separated our recycle waste in a separate trash bag like we always do at home. Apart from saving the environment, it also helps me in reducing the plastic usage in general. You can always bring back the recycle trash bag with you if you couldn’t find any recycling dumpster at your campground.
10. Bug/mosquito Repellant
We were told a bug repellant is a must but luckily we didn’t have any issue with mosquitoes/bugs. I found this all natural mosquito repellent bracelet
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What was your camping experience like? leave them in comments below
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy ~Rumi”
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