Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

4 Things You’ll Want To Pack for Camping in the Fall

A table and tent under the trees in fall.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

So you’ve decided you’re going camping this fall. Great. So are we. Fall is prime time for camping. The hot-and-sweaty summer days are gone, but the cold-and-miserable winter nights are still far off on the horizon.

That said, packing the same gear you used all summer for your fall excursions is a great way to have a bad time. Fall is campfire weather for a reason: Mornings and evenings get awfully chilly, and it doesn’t always warm up during the day either. That doesn’t mean you need to start revising your gear list from square one though. With these four simple adjustments to your typical loadout, you’ll be ready to enjoy all the best that the spooky season has to offer.

Related Guides

Bring the Right Socks for the Season

Whether you’re hiking or just hanging out around camp, if you aren’t breaking out the merino wool socks with the changing of the seasons, you’re doing it wrong. Wear ’em with your best hiking boots for their extra cushion and moisture-wicking properties. Wear ’em in your camp sleeping bag for warmer, dryer feet all night long. Hell, wear ’em with your outdoor hiking sandals if you want: Their natural anti-microbial properties won’t hang on to the usual funk detected in cotton or synthetic socks after a full day (or two) of use and abuse. Just make sure you pack an extra pair or two.

Darn Tough Hiker Crew Sock

A Darn Tough Hiker Crew Sock on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This isn’t the first time we’ve recommended a Darn Tough sock, and it won’t be the last, either. The Darn Tough Hiker is the perfect balance of cushion and warmth for all-day comfort on the trail, while still being breathable enough to keep your feet from overheating. Around camp, they’re stupid-comfortable, and that whole anti-microbial thing/anti-odor thing is a big deal when you’re sharing a confined space (like a tent) with someone else all night.

Typically we stick with the mid-length hiker for the summer/spring, but as the temps drop, we like to step it up to Darn Tough’s crew length as it works better with full-length base layers (more on those below). And before you balk at spending over $20 on a pair of hiking socks, just know that Darn Tough includes a lifetime guarantee with every pair. If you ever manage to wear a hole in one, they’ll replace it. No questions asked.

Wear Quality Base Layers For All-Day Comfort

Rocking full-length base layers in the outdoors is an absolute game-changer. Quality base layers made from merino wool or synthetic fabrics (remember, no cotton allowed outside) both wick moisture from your skin and help regulate your body temperature, keeping you warm when it’s cold out and cooling you off when you’re extra active. Depending on how low the temperatures fall in your area, you’ll either want to look into lightweight or midweight base layers.

Smartwool Intraknit 200 Merino Base Layers

A black Smartwool Intraknit Merino Base Layers on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Smartwool is probably the single biggest name in merino, and we’ve put many miles on their wool garments. Their latest lineup, the “Intraknit” base layers, takes a best-of-both-worlds approach, using a 50/50 merino wool and polyester blend. Smartwool claims this makes for a longer-lasting and faster-drying base layer that still sports all the benefits of their classic 100% merino tops and bottoms. We love the 200 weight fabric, which is the perfect compromise for 99% of fall conditions.

Don’t Forget a Good Cold Weather Hat

Fall marks the start of beanie season proper. The same rules that apply to those socks and base layers also apply here: Anything is better than cotton. Most beanies for men are a mix of wool (ya know, from sheep) and acrylic, which is basically synthetic wool. You’ll also see some made from polyester, which is a little more breathable than wool or acrylic but not quite as warm.

REI Co-Op Lightweight Beanie

A REI Co-Op Lightweight Beanie in Wisp Gray Heather variant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. REI’s Co-Op beanie is the perfect hat for camping in the fall. With a 70% acrylic/30% wool blend, it’s warm without being too warm, but still does all the stuff we love about wool, like wicking moisture and regulating body temperature. It’s a good-looking hat that comes in a ton of colors at a tough-to-beat price. Combine that with REI Co-Op’s knack for absolutely crushing the outdoors basics, and you’re looking at a real winner.

Read more: Best Wool Beanies

Patagonia Fisherman’s Beanie

A brown Patagonia Fisherman's Beanie on white background.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

For camping in the fall in milder temperatures, we love the Patagonia Fisherman’s Beanie. Its made from polyester rather than wool or acrylic, so it provides warmth on cooler nights without getting uncomfortable during the day. Speaking of comfort, if you typically find wool or acrylic beanies to be itchy on your skin, polyester is an “itch-free” fabric, so the Fisherman’s Beanie has that going for it, too. We also like that Patagonia adds a touch of Spandex to the fabric, which makes this beanie nice and stretchy without getting stretched out over time.

The Perfect Camp Blanket

A camp blanket is one of those great pieces of gear you never knew you were missing until you brought one along. Bring it to the campfire in the evening for previously unknown degrees of coziness. When it’s time to call it a night, your camp blanket comes into the tent with you, adding extra warmth and comfort on cooler evenings. When the sun rises and it’s time to get some coffee going in that chilly morning air, throw it around your shoulders to keep your body heat where it belongs. You’ve got two choices here: A classically rugged wool blanket or the modern convenience of a packable “puffy” blanket.

Pendleton Jacquard Wool Blanket

A Pendleton Jacquard Wool Blanket with bison pattern.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you’re leaning toward the rustic charms of a wool blanket, no one does it better than Pendleton. Pendleton has been weaving 100% virgin wool blankets out of their Portland, Oregon mills for over 100 years. They’re often imitated, but when you’ve got an authentic Pendleton in your hands, you know you’re holding a quality blanket that’ll last for decades. We like their Jacquard series of blankets because they’re as handsome as they are rugged, and look as natural around camp as they do draped over the back of your couch. Wool also happens to be naturally fire-resistant, so you don’t have to fear the occasional flying cinder burning a hole through your investment.

Read more: Best Camping Quilts

Kelty Galactic Down Blanket

Kelty Galactic Down Blanket in Cathay Spice variant.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you prefer something light and packable, a modern “puffy” blanket is pretty much a down jacket for your entire body. Our favorite right now is the Galactic Down blanket from Kelty, which uses actual 550-fill duck down in a blanket that somehow costs the same (or less) than the synthetic-filled competition. In addition to the natural warmth and compressibility of its down fill, we also give the Kelty Galactic blanket props for its 50D polyester exterior fabric. That’s about 20D above your average puffy blanket, which makes the Galactic longer lasting and more resistant to stains, tears, and punctures.

Editors' Recommendations

Kurt Spurlock
Kurt Spurlock is a writer for the outdoors and motorcycle industries. When he's not busy writing you can find him hoarding…
How much does it cost to build a golf course?
How much does it cost to build a golf course? The answer isn't a hole in one
A golf course with water views.

Have you ever looked around your favorite golf course and wondered what it took for those magical 18 holes to be the calming oasis you love? Or think you could do better than your local green and build a golf course that won't make you want to throw your driver into the trees? Either way, how much does it cost to build a golf course? The answer isn't a one-swing-fits-all kind of deal. Here's how to break down if building a golf course is something you want to putt around with.
The golf course building details

What to think about first
Before starting a budget for anything, you have to know the details. If you want to update your bathroom, you don't need to do a demo first, then buy the new toilet, and then measure the space.

Read more
Scout debuts Yoho, its first pop-up truck camper, with more models to come
Pack a full kitchen, toilet, and room to sleep 4 adults—all in the bed of almost any midsized pickup.
Rendering of a Toyota Tacoma with a Scout Yoho pop-up truck camper installed.

Way back when, in the dark days of the Pandemic Era, stir-craziness was rampant, fueling an explosion in new RV development. Scout Campers became part of that craze, releasing three new hard-sided truck campers in rapid succession. Now, the Washington-based builder is getting into the "pop-top" game with the debut of its all-new Yoho pop-up truck camper.
Everything we know about Scout's new Yoho pop-up truck camper

Since 2020, Scout Campers' entire line-up of hard-sided truck campers has been about portability, durability, and comfort. The Yoho continues that trend but with an even lighter, more compact, more portable design. Fully deployed, it's similar in size and proportions to its hard-sided brethren. But, Scout used next-gen materials—namely composite panels over an aluminum exoskeleton, a one-piece monocoque composite roof, and featherweight interior materials like recycled paper and bamboo—to pare down the dry weight to just under 1,000 pounds. On the outside, it's purpose-built to fit short- and long-bed midsize trucks like the Toyota Tacoma. What's more, the shorter design lowers the overall center of gravity for improved agility and handling on challenging trails.

Read more
Why this national park is known as North America’s Galapagos Islands
This national park is a true paradise
Channel Islands

Nestled off the coast of Southern California, Channel Islands National Park is a hidden gem that offers an unparalleled glimpse into the natural beauty of the region. Often referred to as the "Galápagos Islands of North America," this national park encompasses five islands: Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara. Each island boasts unique ecosystems, endemic species, and a rich cultural history that makes it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
Exploring the Galápagos of North America

Channel Islands National Park earns its nickname due to the remarkable similarities it shares with the famous Galápagos Islands. Both regions are isolated, leading to the evolution of unique species found nowhere else in the world. The Channel Islands are home to over 145 plant and animal species that are endemic, meaning they have evolved independently and are exclusive to these islands.
Anacapa Island
Known for its iconic lighthouse and stunning sea cliffs, Anacapa Island is the smallest of the Channel Islands but offers big adventures. The island's Arch Rock is a popular photography spot, and its waters are teeming with marine life, making it perfect for snorkeling and diving.
Santa Cruz Island
The largest island in the park, Santa Cruz, offers diverse landscapes ranging from rugged mountains to pristine beaches. Visitors can explore the extensive network of hiking trails, visit the historic Scorpion Ranch, and kayak through the famous Painted Cave, one of the largest sea caves in the world.
Santa Rosa Island
A haven for hikers and campers, Santa Rosa Island features rolling hills, expansive beaches, and rare Torrey pines. The island is also home to the endemic island fox, a small, charismatic predator that visitors can spot while exploring.
San Miguel Island
Known for its challenging weather conditions and remote beauty, San Miguel Island is a paradise for adventurous souls. The island hosts thousands of seals and sea lions at Point Bennett and offers incredible opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife photography.
Santa Barbara Island
The smallest and most remote island, Santa Barbara Island, is a sanctuary for seabirds and marine life. Its rocky shores and kelp forests are ideal for snorkeling and diving, while the island's trails provide breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.
Tips for visiting Channel Islands National Park

Read more