© Forrest Mankins 2021
Camping after Labour Day might be seen as a special type of adventure for those who really enjoy roughing it—often with specialized gear. But recently, many campgrounds have expanded offerings for all-season camping, making fall and winter escapes easier and more comfortable for recreational campers.
Camping into late fall offers some amazing sights you won’t see during the heat of summer—campgrounds quiet down, fall colours are on display, and wildlife sightings are more common without the summer crowds.
“It’s not unusual for campers to see white-tailed deer, caribou, or moose during the fall season,” said Rafael Gonzales, a regional manager with Parkbridge. Gonzales oversees 11 campgrounds and RV resorts throughout Québec and has seen the benefits of fall camping first-hand. “As campgrounds become less busy, and the temperatures fall, late-season campers get treated to some unique sights and experiences.”
Many campgrounds now offer RV and trailer sites, or cabins and yurts where you can give cool-weather camping a try without totally abandoning the comforts of home. Or, if you’re ready to try a more rustic experience, book a tent site at a campground close to home so you can test the waters (and your gear) before trekking too far away from civilization.
If you’re heading out on an autumnal camping trip, here are four must-know essentials to be one with nature, boost your state of mind, and explore what Canada has to offer.
Choose the right tent
Tents come in different weights, shapes, and sizes. How do you choose the one that’s right for you? First, understand how long you’re camping for, how much you need to store and how far you will have to carry your tent to the site.
A good rule of practice is to pick a tent that fits two more people than your party for extra space to store your gear. If you have lots of gear, you may want an even larger one. If you need to carry your tent a long way, choose a lightweight model.
Book your campsite in advance
Don’t leave it up to chance to find the perfect campsite at the last minute. Many campers book months in advance, so get online as soon as you know when and where you want to camp and lock in a site. Make sure you read the amenities each park offers to pick the one that best represents what you want out of your trip, and be open to trying new campgrounds.
Be aware of the weather
Each season requires different planning and different gear. Coleman tents, for example, offer extensive protection from the weather, saving you from making extra adjustments to weatherproof them. Layers of clothing also are key to prepare for changing weather. A base layer with wicking fabric will keep you warm during
Follow a few food rules
When you’re camping, you’re a visitor. Wildlife will be present and will take advantage of any food that’s left out. Never leave food outside or in a tent unattended, and don’t burn food waste in a fire. Always wash your dishes right away. Store food in your car inside your cooler, if possible. Often, parks have rules and guidelines around food storage, so make sure you’re aware and follow these.
Photo © Fronterra Taking a road trip to the campsite is a rite of passage for many Canadians and a fun way to spend time