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Autumn and Cold Weather Camping

This week it looks like we’re finally saying “so long” to warm summer days and settling back into cooler shorter evenings. But here at the Great Outdoors we’re not ready to say goodbye of camping season yet. Our staff don’t stop going outside when it cools off, we make some small changes to our kit and get back out there!

Autumn camping can be a real treat for those who know how to do it. The sun is up until 19:00 even in the last days of September, and shorter days mean you don’t need to wake as early to catch the sunrise. Cooler nights make cozying up around a campfire so much nicer, and they make for insect free hiking during the day. For some of us, there is nothing better than a hot coffee on a brisk morning. Here are our top tips for squeezing the most out of the season.

Worried about the cold?

The biggest deterrent to camping in Autumn is the cooler weather. Packing a beanie is a start! Warm clothes like a down jacket are helpful when you aren’t being active- that’s when you’ll feel the cold the most.

Base layers are a crucial piece of the cold-camping puzzle too. A good base layer will help keep you warm all day long, and makes for great pyjamas if you need some extra heat at night too.

A warm sleeping bag is a no brainer, but a better ground mat is something you might not have thought about. Air mattresses are fine in the summer but tend to circulate cold air underneath you. A foam filled mat can help insulate you from the ground while you sleep too.

Equipment expert Ian’s top tip for cold nights spent needing to go pee? Just get up and go! It might not be fun having to go out into the cold, but your body is using all its heat energy to warm your urine. You’ll be warmer for it in the long run.

Speaking of water, you can fill a Nalgene Bottle with boiling water before bed and put it in the bottom of your sleeping bag. The hot water won’t have an adverse effect on the bottle, and will help keep your toes toasty as you fall asleep. When you wake up in the morning it will have cooled off and you won’t have to go hunting for a drink of water.

Hot drinks on a chilly day!

One of the best parts of cold weather camping is the hot drinks. No matter the length of the trip, invest in a flask or two. In the mornings when you boil water for tea or coffee you can boil some extra for your flask. This way when you stop for tea, lunch, or even dinner you can have hot drinks- no stove required!

Afraid of the dark?

Nothing beats the glow of the campfire and a night sky full of stars. An earlier sunset shouldn’t mean more stumbling around in the dark. A good head torch is essential for finding your way around, late night snacks, and even later night bathroom runs.

Make sure you invest in torch with a red-light option too. They are invaluable on a dark night.

When you spend a lot of time in the dark, your eyes adjust, and when you shine a white light your pupils dilate to block out the shock. It can take up to 1 hour to revert and adjust to the dark after the shock of white light! Red light doesn’t have the same effect on your eyes so when you turn the torch off you can still see when it goes off.


With a little more preparation cold weather camping can be equally as fun as summer camping. Follow our tips, and stock up on a few bits of warmer gear and you’ll stay toasty warm on your trips out.

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