Top Fall Excuses for Not Camping

fall-beach-campingIt happens to the best of us. Homework, sports and the weather – you probably didn’t mean to give up on camping after Labor Day, but now it’s the middle of October and you can’t even remember where you stored the camp stove (but you’re pretty sure you forgot to clean it, first!).   Luckily, there are a lot of other people who have given up on camping until next spring, which makes this a great time to visit some of those favorite sites that are always too crowded during the summer. For a bit of motivation, here is a list of the top fall excuses for not camping:

School sports

If you have children then you know that your weekend schedule is completely booked, from now until Christmas. This isn’t something that we have to deal with yet, since our oldest is just in the fourth grade, but with three kids it is certainly something I’m concerned about in the future. I love school sports and I was a bit of a jock in high school, but I’m not sold on the idea of giving up every Saturday to them. Am I just getting old?


Let’s face it, sunshine and 80 degrees sounds a lot more attractive than cold, damp and 50. Most people won’t even consider heading into the backcountry if there’s a hint of rain in the forecast, but maybe that’s a good reason to give it a shot? You just might discover that it’s not nearly as bad as you imagined and snuggling up to the campfire on a crisp evening is actually a lot of fun!


I don’t know if it’s just my selective memory, but I sure don’t remember having a lot of homework, when I was in grade school. My kids, however, are bringing home at least an hour’s worth every night and they regularly have some on Fridays, too.

Hunting season

I don’t hunt anymore, but I grew up hunting so I know that when September rolls around, the rest of the world stops and hunting season begins. Now, maybe there are families out there who hunt together, but if your kids are young then that is probably not an option.

Campgrounds closed for season

Even here in California, some of the campgrounds in the Sierras start closing in late September. In many parts of the country, however, Labor Day is the grand finale and the last weekend that many campgrounds are open.

See also…

19 thoughts on “Top Fall Excuses for Not Camping

  1. Roy, my husband and I have done many trips up to the hunting camp when the hunting season is over for a nice over night or for the weekend. Usually there is snow on the ground and we don’t spend as much time at the fire at night but it is still a great time. It’s not camping in my RV that is all closed up and weatherized. There are no amenities there either but, it is a nice get away to break up those long winter months.

  2. From the people who are able to get out for fall camping, I would be interested in what states you are camping in and what your temperatures are. I camped this weekend in Wisconsin and it didn’t get above 45 in the day and went down to the 20″s at night. It was colder then I expected it to be, but was really nice to be out.

    • Jenn – we haven’t seen the 20’s for two years! I do want to try and get up into the mountains next month, though. I sure love those crisp (dry) evenings.

  3. Fall camping is the BEST camping. Second best is spring! We’ve been taking our son camping since he was 5 months old. Packnplay and all! LOL! Lots of layer’s for sleeping and he was fine. We are camping next weekend with our normal October crew. There is a chance of rain, but that’s what tarps are for! ;)’

  4. Fall school sports puts and end to our camping season until Thanksgiving. With one son on the high school football team and the other in a soccer league, there is no longer a weekend to slip away. That's too bad as the central coast of California has some of the best weather this time of year.

    • I think we’re going to be in that same spot in a few years, Craig. Labor Day to Thanksgiving sure sounds like a long time!

  5. My favorite season to camp is Autumn when it's a bit cooler. We usually have an Oktoberfest camping trip, or as we call it, Kamptoberfest. We really enjoy being out when it's cooler and quieter since there's less folks in the campground. We bring brauts, German brew, and load up the ipod with oompah pah music and the chicken dance and have a great time with friends. (We keep our music low so only we can hear it – otherwise we're usually music free so we can hear nature.)

    My husband just had knee surgery so we'll see if we'll be able to make it this year. We're keeping our fingers crossed. Unfortunately though, our area has a fire restriction in place so no campfires even in the campgrounds. That will make for a much colder night than usual.

    Our coldest night camping was in February up in Big Bear. It was 19 degrees at night and we had ice inside our tent walls from the condensation. The water bottle by my bed was frozen solid by morning. Whew, now that was a cold night, but I'd sure do it again. 🙂

    • It got down to about 0 this weekend here in Montana. Ten years ago that wouldn’t have bothered me. Now I think twice (or three times) about camping when it’s that cold.

      • Melynda – that’s cold! I spent some time in the Arctic in my younger days, but I’m more of a hot-cocoa-by-the-fire kind of guy, now, when it gets that cold 🙂

  6. I usually do a fall camping trip with my friends, and it is often the best camping trip of the year. Most years it's 60s in the day and 40s-50s at night at this time of October. But this year is colder and wetter than any year. We've put off the trip 3 times now and are about to give up. But that seems to be the way this year has gone. This was the year without a summer, and now it's becoming one awful autumn as well.

  7. Melynda if you camp with your 1yrold…could you put him in a one piece snowsuit to sleep? He would be warm and you wouldn't worry. (hopefully). Seems like I have seen a sleeping bag for adults that looks like a giant one piece snowsuit but is really warm. That would be weird to sleep in.
    I want to camp this weekend, and there are no cabins in my Wisconsin park so I'd have to tent it. Its going to be in the 50's in the day which is ok, and would be colder at night, but I can take enough stuff to keep warm, I think the thing that gives me pause is the early dark. But its going to be good weather this weekend….so…..probably.

    • I've seen those on the web (babyinabag / grobag / sleephuggers), but I've never talked to anyone who's tried to use them camping. I suppose they'd work?

    • Duh, don’t know why I didn’t think of the snowsuit. i guess since our camping gear is with our summer clothes and our winter clothes are with the skis. Of course, the snowsuit would be perfect!

  8. My excuse is that my 1-year-old squirms out of his sleeping bag over and over all night long. Not a big deal in the summer, but it is awfully cold for a baby to be sleeping outside a bag this time of year.

    We've been thinking about renting a Forest Service cabin. They are pretty affordable, have wood stoves and are in beautiful locations. Not quite camping, but at least we'll be out there.

    • Melynda – we have some friends who rent the cabins in the winter and really like them. They say it's great to go play in the snow and be able to come back inside a nice, warm cabin.