Keeping Warm During Fall Camping Trips

So you’re ready to go camping this Fall, but you’re not sure if you’ll be warm enough. Sure, you can make a toasty, roaring fire, but what about when you step away from the nice heat source? And what about when you go to bed, won’t your tent be just an ice box? Maybe its just better to stay at home…

Hold on there, camper! Don’t throw in the towel just yet. There are plenty of ways to keep warm during the fall season, and its not as hard as you might think. Let’s attack things in a step-by-step process and then you’ll be ready to tackle some great fall camping!

Warm During Fall Camping Trips


The first defense against chillier weather is the clothing that we wear. When we’re in summertime, the objective is to be as cool as possible while still being presentable to the world. As fall rolls around, the objective changes to be warmer as the temperature goes down. But it isn’t necessary to jump into your winter clothes just yet.

You may find that all you need to do is to wear a long-sleeved shirt and a part of light pants. These garments help to trap your body heat before it escapes, thereby keeping you warmer. Often you may find that you can still be comfortable wearing shorts and/or a t-shirt during the day, but when the sun goes down you’ll want the longer sleeves and longer pants to keep warmer.

As we move deeper into fall and early winter, you can start to wear thicker clothing in a single layer. Sweatshirts and sweatpants fall into this category, as do blue jeans and other items. You may opt to wear multiple layers at this point as well, such as a t-shirt under a sweatshirt. The layering effect again helps to trap more of your body’s heat to ensure you aren’t cold. As you can see, planning ahead allows you to bring the right clothing based on the forcasted temperatures, making your camping experience more enjoyable.


Those flames aren’t just for cooking over! As we all know, fires are a great source of heat. As the temperature falls, sitting near the campfire is a great way to keep warm. The more activities that you can think of to do near or around the campfire, the easier it will be to keep warm. Cooking is an obvious choice, but so is reading, knitting, writing, playing cards and other activities. A warm fire coupled with some layered clothing = a nice, toasty YOU!



This one might be like the fire in that it should probably go without saying, but it’s worthwhile to point it out. Blankets are a good thing to bring with you because of their versatility. You can use them while sitting in your camp chair or hammock, sitting in front of the fire, at the picnic table, or use it as another layer for your bedding. Its a good idea to bring at least one blanket camping with you, as you might find that you use it more often than not. Be sure that the blankets you bring camping with you are not your “good” blankets. These will get dirty, stepped on, and might even get a hole burned through them from a stray ember from the fire. So bring the old blankets and you won’t worry about what happens to them.

Portable Heaters

For purposes of this post, I’m referring to the small heaters that screw onto a 1-pound propane bottle. These heaters are great options to take the chill off inside your tent. Of course, you will need to be careful where you place the heater, and you’ll need to make sure that you have ventilation in your tent so that you aren’t asphixiated. I am NOT an advocate for leaving these devices running while you sleep. Sure, they claim that they have a shutoff, but I still would not leave them running while you sleep as too many other issues could happen with them. If you decide you want to use one of these, then only run it while you are awake, and make sure you have good ventilation for your tent. When you turn it off, I highly recommend that you place it outside. You can always bring it back in again if you want to warm up a little. You should get several uses out of the 1-pound tank before it needs replacing.

Catalytic heaters are more old-fashioned, but the same rules apply to these heaters as with the small propane ones. Just use them temporarily to heat up your tent a little, then snuff them out and put them outside.


Okay, rocks?! Apparently this author has lost his mind. Well, not exactly. This is a really old idea, like hundreds of years old, but the principle still works. The idea is that you want to have a toasty warm bed, right? Well, how do you do that when you’re out camping? Rocks is the answer. Rocks put near the fire heat up and retain that heat for a while. You can use those rocks to heat up your bed, then place them outside to use again the next night. Sounds pretty simple, right?

If you choose to do this, be sure that you handle them carefully. It might be wise to wrap them in a towel to handle them until you get them to your bed. Also, be careful not to get them too hot, as they might break. This happens if a rock has enough moisture in it that gets to boiling and cracks the rock, sometimes violently. Be sure to not get your rocks this hot.


Instant Heat Pads

There are hand warmers and foot warmers that you might want to employ, and they make larger ones for other areas of the body. These used to be single-use items that were cheap but effective, and left a certain amount of trash after they were used. Today, there are actually reusable warmers like this in various sizes and shapes. These are quite desireable and only take about 10 minutes to “reset”, then they just need to cool down and they’ll be ready to be used again.

Wrap Up

The above 6 ways to keep warm are most of the major ways people use to keep warm during the cooler fall and spring times when they go camping.  We typically have several of these options that we use when we go camping, but clothing is probably the most important of all of them.  What about you, what are your tried and true ways to keep warm when camping?

Leave a Comment