Planning a fall family camping trip? Keep scrolling to get my family camping packing list, plus my top tips for camping in fall with kids!
This fall family camping packing list post was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
Are you planning an epic family camping trip this fall? In this post, I’ll share my family camping packing list, plus my top tips for camping in fall with kids!
Camping in the fall is a great way to get out of the house and enjoy nature before winter hits.
The air becomes a little cooler and the scenery starts to change into those beautiful fall colors we all love.
That beautiful scenery and the not-so-hot weather are what make planning a camping trip during the fall season so great!
It’s also a wonderful opportunity to spend time together as a family, teaching your children about self-reliance and independence.
But there are some things you’ll need (and need to know) if you want your autumn family camping trip to be successful!
For example, you don’t have to worry about bugs or humidity while sleeping under the stars when it’s cooler outside.
Plus, many campgrounds offer discounts on sites during the off season, so that can save you money!
If you pack smartly and follow my tips, then your autumn camping trip will be amazing. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s get started!
Autumn Family Camping FAQs
Is October a good time to go camping?
Camping in October can actually be pretty awesome, depending on where you go. September and October are some of the best months to go camping for families because the weather is usually mild. Plus, it’s off-season, which allows you to experience nature with fewer crowds. But be sure to check the forecasted temperatures before you leave. If it’s going to dip below 55 degrees, make sure you have appropriate camping gear!
How do you stay warm camping in 40-degree weather?
To stay warm when the weather drops to 40 degrees at night, it’s crucial to focus on specific camping gear: look for cold weather sleeping bags, extra blankets, and thick sleeping pads (skip the air mattress). And tent camping is going to keep you warmer than open-air camping. Also, warm clothing is important, both for sleeping and during the day!
How cold is too cold to camp with a baby?
If you’re planning a family camping trip with a baby, check the weather first. Note if temperatures are below 50 degrees (or 60 in wet or windy conditions). Babies will not be able to keep their own body temperature high enough in this weather just by wearing just one layer of clothing and socks. They’ll need several layers including fleece or wool, thick socks, and hats for sleeping at night while camping.
Why is Fall the Perfect Time to go Camping with Kids?
In most areas, the fall season brings in cooler weather, so it is not so hot and muggy out. This means you’ll actually be able to enjoy your trip and not be miserable in your activities!
Another great thing is you that get to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Fall in any parts of the world means the leaves are changing beautiful shades of red, orange, gold, and brown.
In the fall, the foliage gets brighter making for the beautiful scenery outdoors. Kids love to collect leaves and see animals being more active that you normally might not see.
And while the days may be shorter, there’s still plenty of time in the fall to take advantage of daytime activities and sightseeing. Especially because you won’t be exhausted with heat and humidity now.
Whether you are going in your family RV or doing tent camping, fall is a great time to enjoy nature!
The only consideration is that with cooler days and night, you’ll need some specific camping gear added to your family camping packing list.
The Best Fall Family Camping Checklist
If you’re planning a camping trip in the fall with friends or family, you’re probably wondering what to pack.
With cooler temperatures, family camping trips in the fall just takes a bit more planning when it comes to camping gear. Especially when it comes to sleeping gear, since temperatures drop more at night.
Autumn is a much cooler season than summer. And while it may not be a truly cold season where you are, you’re going to more exposed to the elements.
Especially if you’re camping with kids, you’ll need to plan your camping checklist carefully. But don’t stress! Below you can read my autumn camping essentials for family adventures!
Fall Camping Outfits
When it comes to clothes, you’ll want to think carefully about your family camping packing list. Since the weather can be so different from day to day, you want to make sure you’re prepared.
Layering is a great thing to do in the fall and what you layer with will depend on your planned activities. Bring some short and long sleeve shirts made of a quick-dry fabric.
If you plan on hiking or doing other activities that require you to be more active and sweat, clothing made from a good moisture wicking material will come in handy. The last thing you want to deal with is wet clothes on a cold fall day!
If temperatures run below 50-degrees, you should really bring a pair of long johns to keep warm.
We’re pretty obsessed with these long johns for our school age kids. It’s a great layering piece for outdoor adventures in fall and winter.
And a rain jacket or at least a poncho should always be in your camping gear to help you stay dry in the random fall rainstorm.
We certainly don’t want to be taking any high heels or dress shoes when it comes to camping! Can you imagine that fiasco?!
Camping means being in the outdoors and taking advantage of everything the nature and wilderness has to offer.
Since you will be spending more time outdoors, you will want to be prepared with sturdy tennis shoes and hiking boots on your family camping packing list. Or even heavy-duty rain boots if your campsite is in an area with high rain fall.
And non-slip hiking boots are always a great option and can come in handy for any camping activity or weather you may experience.
Sleeping Bags + Sleep Pads
If you will be pitching a tent to sleep in, a warm and cozy sleeping bag will keep you comfortable at night. But buying a sleeping bag can be tricky.
And it’s really important to use sleeping pads underneath. A sleep pad provides an insulated layer between sleeping bags and the cold ground.
Other Essential Family Camping Gear for Fall
Most of these camping supplies are necessary when camping in cooler climates. Consider adding most of these to your family camping checklist.
These should be at the top of your family camping checklist. They’re super helpful, especially in the fall when nights are longer. And don’t forget to keep extra batteries on hand.
Depending on how you plan to cook your camp meals, you may need to bring a camp grill, a cast iron griddle, or dutch oven. Or if you prefer a camp stove, this one is excellent and is perfect for larger families.
You can take charcoal with you if needed. Otherwise, sticks may be an option depending on where you are camping. And kids love to help gather tinder for the fire!
I also recommend thinking about any extra activities you’ll be doing. If you’re sightseeing binoculars, guides, or even a camera would be good.
5 Tips for Camping with Kids This Fall
1. Check Your Gear and Plan Your Trip
When you first decide that you want to take a fall trip, start planning how you will be traveling. Where you do you want to go and when your schedule is open?
Will you be taking a camper with you, or will you be tent camping somewhere?
Perhaps you’re taking your V or pop-up camper. Before you head out, make sure it’s been prepped and is ready to go.
The same goes for your tent. Check that there are no holes and that it works as it should. Also, consider bringing extra tent stakes and a tent repair kit with you, in case you have to fix the tent.
2. Pack Smart
When it comes to packing, you will want to prepare for just about anything during the fall season.
Depending on the area you are camping in, make sure you have everything you need to stay warm.
Layering is always a great idea in the fall. This will allow you to add or take away layers as needed depending on the weather and temperature.
You’ll also want to be sure you’re packing the right shoes, safety items, and other family camping essentials you may need during your camping trip.
3. Prepare for Everything
No matter what time of the year you decide to take a camping trip, you’ll want to be prepared for anything and everything! Take into account where you’re going, the weather, and what necessities you may need.
Besides prepping your RV and making sure you have everything for tent camping in fall weather, you’ll want to have an emergency kit prepared that includes a good first aid kit and a waterproof tarp.
It always helps to make your own family camping checklist that is specific to either tent camping, car camping, or RV camping.
4. Plan Activities for Kids
Even if you’re trying to unplug, planning kid-friendly camping activities can help. Research your options ahead of time and have some backup ideas in case of bad weather.
Bond with the kids by participating in hiking or fishing activities together while enjoying nature’s beauty.
And bring along arts & crafts for inside the tent as well as card games, an engaging activity that everyone will love!
5. Take Time to Enjoy Everything
Camping is supposed to be fun and relaxing. And while it feels redundant, it needs to be said: Take a bit of time to soak up everything that is going on around you!
Enjoy the scenery, the sights, sounds, and fun activities while you’re camping.
If you’re camping as a family, this is a great way to spend some quality time together. Scheduling fun activities or making up your own are a great way to do so.
Hopefully, these tips for camping in the fall will prepare you a little bit for the road ahead.
The most important things are to make sure you’re prepared and to ready enjoy yourself. A memorable fall family camping trip is always better than a miserable one!
Best Fall Camping with Kids in the PNW
Since I live in the Seattle area, I figured I’d share a few local campgrounds that are awesome for fall tent camping with kids.
Washington State Campgrounds
- White River Campground at Mount Rainier, Washington
- Kalaloch Campground at Olympic National Park, Washington
- Salt Creek Campground in Port Angeles, Washington
- Beverly Beach State Park on the Oregon Coast
- Silver Falls State Park in Salem, Oregon
- Trillium Lake Campground in Mount Hood, Oregon
British Columbia Campgrounds
- Fort Camping at Brae Island Regional Park in British Columbia
- E.C. Manning Provincial Park in Hope, British Columbia
- Babine Mountains Provincial Park in Northern B.C.
Fall Family Camping List Wrap Up
I hope my top fall camping tips and camping with kids packing list will help you plan your next family adventure.
Fall is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors because it’s not too hot and there are less people around.
Plus, if you’re lucky enough to be camping near any type of pumpkin patch or have an apple picking farm nearby, then that’s an added bonus!
Fall is such an enjoyable time to enjoy the outdoors, so make sure to get outside before winter sets in!