Wild camping is for any season. Each season offers something completely different. During the summer, wild camping is leisurely and pleasant, with warmer temperatures. Spring sees the landscapes bursting into life and is great for wildlife spotting. But what about the Autumn? In this article, we look at wild camping in Autumn in the UK.
Wild camping in Autumn in the UK can provide an incredible experience. The landscapes transform, and while temperatures drop, it is still warmer than the barren desolation of Winter. Read on to find out what you can expect when wild camping during this season, and a host of useful tips so you can get the most out of your experience this Autumn!
Wild Camping in Autumn: What to Expect
Firstly, let’s look at what you can expect from wild camping in Autumn in the UK. It is important to understand how this season differs to summer and spring. Understanding the differences will allow you to plan accordingly.
The nights are much colder
Firstly, nighttime temperatures can drop. During the spring and summer, we experience favourable temperatures at night. It can even remain hot at night during the summer. In contrast, it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop below 10-degrees Celsius and even to 0 or freezing.
Therefore, preparation must be made for this drop in temperature. As you will see below, you must allow for additional equipment and clothing to stay warm at night.
The change in the landscape can be dramatic
One of the best things about Autumn in the UK is the change in landscape. We are lucky to have some amazing woodlands to explore during the Autumn. During this season, trees, bushes, and plants are preparing for Winter. They shed their leaves and reduce the amount of chlorophyll to help preserve energy for colder temperatures.
As a result, the fantastic greens you see during the Summer disappear. This is replaced by a magnificent Autumnal display of orange, red, yellow, brown, and gold. I find this season captivating simply due to the variance in colour. You can see different shades everywhere and no tree or plant looks the same.
You will also notice that trees start to heavily shed their leaves. They do not become completely barren and leafless – this happens mainly in the Winter. However, you can usually see entire walkways and trailers covered with stunning carpets of colours leaves.
You should encounter fewer people
As the nights draw in, and the temperatures drop, UK citizens generally retreat inside. Wild camping in the UK is most popular during the spring and summer. During the Autumn, you will generally see fewer wild campers.
This provides a fantastic solitary experience. It allows you to truly appreciate the UK wilderness and landscapes without disturbance. Things like car parks, walking trails, and typical tourist hotspots will be less frequented and this is great for those who want to escape the crowds.
Ground conditions may also change
Due to the changing temperatures, you may also notice a difference in the ground conditions. This is important to understand for pitching your tent and choosing a suitable wild camping location.
You will generally experience two types of ground. Firstly, we often see greater rainfall during Autumn. As a result, the ground can often be muddy, wet, and damp. This can make choosing a suitable pitching location difficult. It can also make wild camping in Autumn incredibly dirty!
Secondly, as the temperatures drop, the ground often hardens. If temperatures are near freezing, you can expect tough ground. This could make it difficult to pitch a tent and effectively knock tent pegs into the ground. Also, at night it will make your groundsheet that much colder. This is why nighttime preparation is highly important.
Wild Camping in Autumn: Tips
Now that you have a great idea of what wild camping in autumn can bring, we can offer some advice. Wild camping in Autumn presents a highly different experience to summer and spring. The changing weather and ground conditions mean you must be prepared!
1. Find a camping spot where you can fully appreciate the beauty of Autumn
In my opinion, Autumn is best experienced in woodlands. Here you can see the full effect of the transformation of colours. Therefore, if you want to truly experience Autumn, it is advisable to find a suitable wild camping spot in a forest or at least near one. You can then easily explore the woodlands and see the beautiful colours first-hand!
2. Check expected weather conditions beforehand
This is a great tip for wild camping in general. However, it is incredibly important during the Autumn. This is because the weather can be highly changeable. One day you may experience sunshine, mild temperatures, and no wind. The next day, you could wake up to a hard frost, cold temperatures, and rainfall!
3. Pack a sleeping bag that can insulate against cold weather
As mentioned above, Autumn nights can be incredibly cold in the UK – you can often experience temperatures close to 0. Having the right sleeping bag is therefore vital. If you do not protect and insulate yourself properly at night, you could easily get cold and potentially get hypothermia.
A cold weather sleeping bag is a must-have item, therefore. You can check the product description and see what temperatures they are suitable for. Also, it could be a sound idea to take two sleeping bags.
4. Consider packing sleeping pads as an extra protective layer
Aside from a cold-weather sleeping bag, you could also consider sleeping pads. Something like the YSXHW Self Inflating Camping Pad could be a great option. Sleeping pads provide several benefits. Firstly, they provide padding and extra comfort if you are sleeping on hard ground.
Secondly, they can offer extra insulation and warmth in combination with your sleeping bag. Sleeping pads are inexpensive and certainly worth the investment for wild camping in Autumn and Winter.
5. Pack a mix of clothing so you can layer accordingly
It is ideal to pack a mix of clothing for your Autumn wild camping adventures. This is because the weather is often changeable. For example, you could experience freezing temperatures during the night. However, you could then wake up to a bright morning and as the day progresses, temperatures could still reach the mid-10s or higher.
If you are hiking in warmer temperatures, you do not want to be bogged down by heaps of thick clothing. Layers are therefore important. You can add or remove layers to comfortably accommodate the changes in temperature during Autumn.
6. Have waterproof gear on standby
In the UK, the Autumn can be wet! Indeed, it can be wet during any season in the UK! To combat this, we advise having a set of waterproof gear and equipment to take with you. This should include waterproof trousers and a jacket, and ideally something like a waterproof tarp and groundsheet for your tent.
There is nothing worse than damp clothes and camping equipment! It can spoil your experience, but it can also be dangerous.
7. Eat carbs, fats, and warm drinks/soups
To combat the cold weather and changing conditions, it is important to eat the right foods during your Autumn camping trips. Normally we would avoid eating too many carbs and fatty foods. These foods are a sure-fire way to put on weight after all!
However, during the Autumn, it’s OK to indulge. During colder temperatures, your body will burn off fat and use energy quicker to maintain your internal body temperature. You can aid this process by eating carbs and fats. Don’t worry – you won’t pile on weight! The hiking, trekking, and physical activity involved in wild camping should easily help you burn off excess calories.
Ideal foods could include fish, and nuts, for example. Having access to hot drinks is also a great idea! This could be tea and coffee, or a delicious tin of hot soup.
8. Prepare adequately for the night
We cannot stress the importance of night preparation enough for Autumn wild camping. In the UK, we are lucky to have relatively mild nights during spring and summer – temperatures don’t drop drastically. As a result, fewer precautions are needed during these seasons at night.
However, during Autumn and Winter, temperatures can plummet during the night. Of course, compared to locations like Canada, Siberia, and northern Scandinavia, night temperatures can be considered mild! But for the average UK citizen, this change in temperature makes a great difference.
As a result, you should prepare fully for the nighttime when wild camping in Autumn. Make sure your tent is sealed and watertight. Consider bringing a hot water bottle. Wrap up, insulate your sleeping bag, and stay in it!
Experience the Changing Seasons and Wild Camp This Autumn!
While the spring and summer generally give warmer conditions, Autumn offers something completely different. It gives an enthralling camping experience in which you can see nature preparing for the forthcoming winter months.
The transformation in colours is sublime. Greens turn into brilliant shades of yellow, gold, orange, and red. Trees, plants, and bushes shed their leaves. You can see colour wherever you look – from the fantastic sunsets and sunrises in the sky to the carpets of fallen leaves and debris that litter hiking trails and woodlands.
As a result, wild camping in Autumn can be an amazing experience. We hope you have some insight into what you can expect during this season. Why not use your newfound knowledge and head out into the wild in the UK this Autumn?