Roasting marshmallows, sleeping under the stars, listening to the crickets chirp at night – all these experiences and more are available to anyone brave enough to spend a night in the woods. But when is the best time to go camping? Are some seasons better than others?
Summertime is the most popular time to go camping because its generally warm weather makes for a more comfortable experience and presents fewer challenges than colder months. However, these more favorable conditions also lead to increased crowds and difficulty in locating available campsites.
This article will explore the best times to go camping and what different seasons offer campers willing to take on their challenges.
What Season is Best for Camping?
Each season offers its own set of unique experiences and challenges. To simply say that one is generally better than another completely ignores your own personal preference and desires.
Rather than slate a blanket “winner”, let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages to camping in each season.
Camping in Spring and Summer
Spring and summer offer great opportunities for both casual and seasoned campers. These seasons are often mild and present little to no risk of freezing and other weather-related accidents.
Hiking out to a secluded camping spot on a warm summer day can be one of the most fulfilling experiences a camper can imagine. Warm weather also opens up activities like swimming, fishing, sunbathing, and rock-climbing.
To spice up your summer camping experience, find a campground or park with a lake or other waterway. Having a source of water nearby does a few things.
- It gives you a place to swim and have fun when you get bored.
- You now have a place to bathe and clean off.
- Water means the potential for fish! Fishing is a great way to snag or meal, or simply enjoy the peaceful scenery.
Rock-climbing is another fun summer activity that is a great fit for fair weather. While cold weather climbing is still possible, it can be much more difficult (and dangerous) with cold fingers and the need to sometimes wear gloves.
Going climbing in the summer is much less risky and more enjoyable!
If you have a beach or rocky area near your campsite, you might also just enjoy lounging in the sun! Not only is this a great way to relax and unwind, but you may catch a tan in the process 😉
Additionally, campers often find that the warm summer weather increases their overall mobility. These can be especially helpful for those who have limited mobility due to age or injuries, as the cold weather can make them feel stiffer.
As you can see, warm weather camping in the summer and spring is full of fun opportunities!
However, they’re not without their downsides…. For one, all of these positives mean that there will likely be many other people camping as well. For those trying to get some peace and quiet, or detach for a while, this can make things tricky.
For campgrounds that require reservations, you may need to plan well in advance to secure a spot as the most popular campgrounds fill up quickly in the warm months.
Warm weather also increases the likelihood of mosquitoes and other bugs. While the bugs may not be an issue in some areas, they can make an experience downright horrible in others!
Spending a day or weekend getting eaten alive by mosquitos is far from anyone’s dream getaway!
Camping in Winter and Fall
Camping in the winter and fall is much more a of a challenge because of the extreme temperatures and harsh weather conditions. However, it does offer a peace and solitude that can be hard to come by in warm months!
Unless you’re going camping with an experienced group, those new to camping should plan on “getting their feet wet” during warm months to avoid the challenges that come with the colder months.
Winter camping has a few unique challenges – the most obvious one is staying warm!
Staying warm requires lots of equipment and planning. To pack adequately for a winter trip, you have to consider where you’re going, how long you’ll be there, and how you can keep warm.
For these trips, you’ll need lots of insulation and changes of clothes. You’ll have to stay dry and build fires to warm yourself up. These factors all add up to a journey that really makes you feel accomplished when completed.
Additionally, winter camping is a much more solitary experience. Most people choose to go camping in the summer, so you’ll get a lot more alone time. The world stops for just a little while during the winter, and only the most resourceful animals stay active.
Bugs, snakes, bears, and other pesky creatures are dead or in hibernation around this time of year, so you won’t have to worry about them nearly as much.
If you’re looking for a gratifying challenge, you’ll find it in winter camping. Keep in mind the dangers and the risks, and have fun out there.
What is Too Hot for Camping?
While summer weather is perfect for camping, keep in mind that the weather can be too warm. Hot weather poses a risk of heatstroke and dehydration, which can turn into severe disasters while you’re out on the trail.
Heat is your biggest heat-based worry when you’re out on a hot day. Heatstroke can occur when your internal temperature reaches above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily though, your body has ways of cooling itself down.
To keep yourself from getting heat stroke on a hot day, make sure you’re well hydrated. Your body uses sweat to cool itself down, and sweat takes water to be created. Drinking enough water can help cool you down.
There really is no specific temperature considered ‘too hot’ to go out. There are dangers associated with high temperatures, and if you take the right steps, you might be able to avoid them.
Don’t go on long, strenuous hikes if the temperature is anywhere above one hundred degrees. When the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you should consume at least one quart of water to keep your internal body temperature down.
Make sure to wear clothing with adequate ventilation. Just like with winter camping, you have to dress for the weather. Wearing jeans, a heavy shirt, or any other form of heavy clothing increases your insulation, which will drive up your body temperature.
Finally, take advantage of water sources nearby!
If you’ve got a clean, swimmable river or lake, bathe in it to cool yourself down if you get too hot. When the temperature gets too high, it’s good to take advantage of every possible opportunity to cool down.
Lastly, remember that camping doesn’t have to be a high-exertion experience. Some camping trips use no more energy than sitting on the couch at home. If you think it’s too hot to hike, don’t. Rent out a campsite for the night, go swimming, just have fun.
What is the Best Weather for Camping?
Your preferences will decide what the best weather for camping is since it’s a matter of opinion. However, we can examine a few different weather conditions and see what they offer so that you can decide for yourself.
Camping in the rain can offer a unique and relaxing experience to anyone willing to take up the challenge. Listening to raindrops patter against the leaves is an experience like no other and can be very peaceful.
Camping on a sunny day, meanwhile, is pleasant for many reasons. Hearing the birds chirp, listening to the wind move through the trees, all of these leave impressions that last a lifetime. Plus, the starry sky will greet you, as it does all campers, with many smiling faces in dozens of ancient constellations.
You also might consider camping in the snow. Remember to keep warm and dry, but also remember that there’s still fun to be had.
Here’s what we recommend. On a particularly snowy day, when the snow piles high, go out into an open space and pile snow up to about knee height. Now, dig a hole out of the snow about the size of your body. When you lie down in it, you’ll experience silence and solitude as you’ve never experienced.
Finally, in the fall, when the trees turn red and the leaves tumble to the ground, camping can bring you close to this phenomenon and let you experience it to the fullest.
Camping on an amber fall day is like camping in a storybook. Your eyes will be continuously treated by the sight of the red canopy, and cool, savory winds will grace your nose. Don’t toss out a fall day. Camping can be done in any weather.
When you ask yourself whether the weather is suitable for camping, you should be asking yourself what about the weather you haven’t yet noticed- what experiences can still be had. That, after all, is the point of camping- to have new experiences.
Camping reveals new things about places and can tell you a lot about yourself as well. It’s a journey that helps you to discover the world anew, and to say there’s one kind of weather or another that’s best is like saying there’s only one good flavor of ice cream.
We would say a summer’s day is much like strawberry ice cream, sunny and sweet, while a winter’s day is more like vanilla, subtle but savory.
All in All
All in all, there is no one best time to go camping. Different seasons hold different experiences, and if you’ve got the guts, we’d definitely recommend having a camping trip during each one.
Summer may be the most popular choice, but cold winters and cool falls also hold wonders beyond imagination.
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