Hot Tips for Cold Camping

Posted by Lillian on Oct 5th 2018

Question: What do I pack for a fall camping trip?

Answer: I’m so glad you asked!

Temps this weekend in Boulder are supposed to drop down to freezing (dear God I hope that means that our backyard brown marmorated stink bug population gets wiped out)! So we know what that means for the backcountry: is gunna be COLD! A few tips and tricks as you plan your Rocktober outing, TrailForkers:

* Remember the rain fly. Rain flies are not just good for rain! They’ll also insulate your tent and insure that all of that hot CO2 you’re exhaling stays in your tent, thus keeping you warm and toasty.

* Cozy socks! Bring clean, warm socks to slip under your Chacos (or maybe you're a Tevas person??) while you’re padding around the fire at night. Your toes will thank you.

* Invest in a warm sleeping bag. Those summer weight bags are next to worthless in fall temps: 0-degree bags or warmer are key.

* If you can’t get warm, EAT! I learned this during a Wilderness First Aid course and not only was it welcome information for somebody who just freakin loves to eat, it was also a revelation: I have an immense amount of trouble getting warm once the sun goes down. But mowing down on a bar or a bowl of Peanut Butter Banana Oats stokes those metabolism fires and gets things toasty from the inside-out. Seriously, it works. If your insides are cold, your outsides will be, too.

* Do you camp with doggies? Remember that they get cold, too! Last month we were up in the Uintahs in northern Utah and our black lab mix slept on the floor of the tent without a sleeping pad. (We are not bad dog owners; he typically sleeps in bed with us.) He woke up the next morning unable to lift his tail, and it took a couple of weeks for it to perk back up. Apparently Limber Tail is a thing. My extensive research on petmd.com didn’t reliably explain what this actually is, so I’m thinking of it as crooked-tail-caused-by-cold-weather-that-is-actually-very-painful-for-my-dog. Sleeping on the ground without a sleeping pad means your dog isn’t insulated from the cold and he could end up with a very painful, sad tail in the morning. Dogs need warm cozies too! Bring an extra, old pad for doggo, and if you’re car camping, by all means pack a down comforter. (Car camping = pack ALL of the things.)

Good luck out there, TrailForkers! Snap some pics for the grams of all those fall leaves for us!