With October in full swing and everything November has to offer right around the corner, many of us are busily planning our upcoming fall trips. Enjoying a spooky Halloween destination, exploring the delicious delicacies at a harvest festival, partying hard at an Oktoberfest event, or enjoying quality holiday time with our families are all great reasons to hit the road for an autumn road trip.
But when you’re traveling by RV, your packing list matters — perhaps more than it does in any other common form of travel. It’s super easy to forget some of the smaller the camping essentials that ensure your trip runs smoothly and comfortably all the way through.
And fall travels, specifically, call for even more attention to detail. Cooling weather necessitates extra layers, and holiday celebrations make having the proper cooking equipment that much more important.
So we put together this list outlining the camping essentials you’ll need to enjoy your upcoming fall road trip… as well as a ton of useful tips, tricks, ideas, and cold-weather camping advice along the way.
Why Fall Travel?
Before we dive into our ultimate checklist of all the things you need to make your fall camping trip a success, let’s back up a few steps. Considering the popularity of the summer road trip, fall might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of RV travel. Is it even worth taking a fall RV camping trip?
Our answer is an unmitigated “yes!” Fall offers all kinds of amazing and unique travel opportunities, some of which summertime simply can’t compete with. From harvest festivals to leaf-peeping to enjoying family traditions in comfort, here are some of our favorite reasons to head out for a fall road trip.
See the best fall foliage in all its splendor.
There’s just something about the changing leaves, whether it’s an aspen gone all yellow or a slowly-reddening sugar maple. In many parts of the country, this autumnal display is enough of a spectacle that people travel from miles away to see it.
Whether you plan to get outside and take a hike to see the fall foliage up close, or you’re just looking for a quaint town whose red leaves you can watch fall from the comfort of a cafe (or even your RV’s couch), traveling for the express purpose of viewing the changing landscape, which is sometimes known as “leaf peeping,” is a very common fall travel tradition.
Here are some RVshare posts to help you get started on your own leaf peeping journey.
- Our Favorite Places to Travel This Fall for Every Occasion
- Best October Road Trips
- Our 7 Favorite Fall Activities to Enjoy in your RV
Enjoy outdoor activities in cooler weather.
If you’re an outdoor adventurer, fall brings a whole new suite of opportunities that summer can’t provide, like crunching through (or piling up and jumping in) those beautiful leaves that litter your favorite trails and pathways.
And although the cooling temperatures mean it may be too chilly for activities like, say, white water rafting, there’s a strong argument to be made that fall hiking is even better than its summer and spring counterparts. In most parts of the country, the daytime temperatures are cool and comfortable, while the sun is still shining for a good chunk of the day. And since Jack Frost hasn’t brought his deluge of snow quite yet, you don’t have to worry about everything being all slick and slippery — you just get to enjoy beautiful, bright days with that just-right hiking temperature that means you won’t sweat puddles through your shirt. (Do be sure to bring moisture-wicking layers, however; even in the cool air, you’ll still sweat a little bit with your effort, and having clammy cotton clothes stuck to your body is pretty much the worst feeling in the world. We’ll talk more about the best hiking gear to stash in your camping bag later on in this article!)
Taste the fruits of the season at a harvest festival.
In the northern hemisphere, fall is a time of plenty: all the hard work we put in over the summer to grow fruits and vegetables has finally paid off, and the world is awash with all sorts of delicious treats to sustain us through winter.
This is, indeed, a very good thing — and well worth celebrating. Which is exactly what many American cities do, hosting festivals centered on this freshly-produced produce, from pumpkins to apples to cranberries.
Several other events and traditions make fall a festival-heavy time, during which we also celebrate holidays like Halloween, Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving. And all of these celebrations make a wonderful excuse to take an RV road trip, which makes getting a front-seat ticket to all the action that much easier — especially since some of these festivals feature on-site camping.
For fall festivals to check out in your RV, please see the following RVshare articles:
- 7 Fall Festivals to Check out in your RV
- The 12 Best Cities to Check out Oktoberfest Celebrations in your RV
- Your Guide to Upcoming Fall Fairs and Festivals: How to Get there and Where to Camp
Celebrate your favorite holiday traditions with all the comforts of home.
Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Veterans Day — the end of the year is stacked with so many holidays, it can almost feel too busy at times.
But RVing makes it easy to enjoy your holiday traditions in comfort, taking your travels at your leisure and enjoying your privacy even at big family events.
You could take your RV to your family’s dedicated feast host this year, not having to worry about crashing on a couch or keeping slightly-too-close-for-comfort quarters with distant relatives you don’t know that well. Or, you could create a brand new tradition by inciting a family caravan: have everyone rent their own rigs and meet at some central location! You’ll get to keep the homey, family-reunion feel all while sneaking in a quick vacation and possibly exploring a brand-new destination.
And if you’re worried about whether or not it’s possible to host a holiday feast in your rig’s limited kitchen space — fear not, it totally is! Here’s how to entertain a big party in even a small travel trailer, as well as our guide to outfitting your kitchen with the gear you need to make fall and winter cooking easy and efficient.
RV Camping Essentials: Don’t Leave Home Without These!
By this point, you’re doubtless on board with fall camping, and all the fun adventures it can lead to.
So let’s move on to those RV camping supplies you need to ensure your trip is safe and successful!
It’s so easy to forget simple camping necessities — but that doesn’t make it any less of a pain once you realize you’re without them. Depending on the missing item, discovering you’ve forgotten a piece of camping equipment can mean an annoying (and potentially costly) trip to the nearby camping supply store… or, in the case of some sort of otherwise-avoidable emergency, an all-out end to your adventure.
So we’re starting our fall essentials post with a few camping accessories you always need to have on board, no matter what season it is when you travel. Then, we’ll move on to some specific cold-weather camping gear and other items to help keep your fall travels cozy and comfy.
Camping Essentials for Beginners
Never taken an RV trip before — or just want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your next adventure?
Here’s what you should ALWAYS have on board your travel trailer or motorhome before you even think about putting the key in the ignition.
1. An emergency kit
Safety always comes first — which means having an emergency kit should always be your very first packing priority. You’ll want to include a basic set of first-aid supplies as well as emergency preparedness items like thermal blankets, extra potable water (collapsible jugs make this much easier), and a flashlight.
This packing list item is so important, in fact, that we’ve actually written an entire article just about emergency kits! Click here to learn more about the essential gear every savvy RVer keeps on board… just in case.
2. Connection accessories, like potable water and sewer hoses
When it comes to things you need for camping, there are some things you need… and some things you really, really need.
And if you want to take full advantage of your RV’s creature comforts, connection accessories like potable water hoses and sewer hoses are absolutely essential camping gear. Whether you’re connecting to the hookups at a developed campground or just filling and emptying your tanks in preparation for a boondocking stay, you don’t want to find yourself in a potentially messy situation by leaving home without these!
3. Basic tools
You don’t need to be a full-blown mechanic, but having some basic tools on board, from tire-changing gear to a regular old household hammer and pair of pliers, can mean the difference between a quick roadside repair or a lengthy and potentially expensive process of trying to find last-minute professional help — which could totally derail your trip plans. A simple way to get as many essentials as possible for the lowest cost? Purchase a pre-made household tool kit, as well as an automotive one. A whole lot of your bases will be covered.
4. Toiletries and personal hygiene products
If you’re used to traveling by plane, or even in a regular car, and staying at hotel rooms, it can be easy to forget basic necessities you use every day, like shampoo and conditioner. If you own an RV, your best bet is to buy a whole set of toiletries and simply leave it on board — but even if you’re renting, don’t forget about personal effects, like your toothbrush and your daily medications.
5. Household items like sheets, towels, and cookware
Again, on most vacations, you don’t need to worry about whether or not you have bath towels or a cast iron pan. But when you’re RVing, you’re bringing the house along for the ride… so make sure you also bring the items that make a house into a home!
If you’re renting a rig, chances are many of these items will be included as part of your rental package, but always make sure you double-check so you don’t end up stranded without a basic necessity. If you have an RV of your own, you can either strip your bed, bathroom, and kitchen at home or purchase a dedicated set of towels, sheets, and basic cookware so you’re always stocked and ready for the road.
Camping Checklist: Fall Edition
Now that we’ve got the bare bones covered, let’s move on to some items that are specifically tailored to autumn camping. These fall essentials will help you enjoy the season to the maximum extent possible!
6. Fall-friendly outdoor adventure gear
Even if you’re an avid summertime hiker, you might forget to gather the hiking gear you need to make your fall outings comfortable. Although moisture-wicking materials are always more comfortable for outdoor activities, they’re even more essential during the fall, when the chilly air can stick your sweaty clothes to you — not pleasant.
Wool socks are another good investment for autumnal outdoor adventure seekers, as is a nice, sturdy set of hiking boots, whose treads will keep you from slipping on all those leaves. A good backpack will come in handy to tote around those extra layers once you shed them, not to mention snacks, water, and other hiking essentials.
7. Layered clothing
Even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time in the great outdoors, with its dramatic daily temperature fluctuations, fall clothes are all about layers. Bring a few base-layer items, like jeans and tank tops, and then load up on easily-sheddable extras like button-down flannels, sweaters, and waterproof jackets.
8. Waterproof wardrobe essentials
On top of all those layers, you’ll want to make sure your final optional layer is something waterproof — autumn is rainy in many parts of the country! Investing in a cute, but functional, waterproof jacket and pair of rubber boots can mean the difference between spending a rainy day cooped up inside and braving the drops to go exploring.
9. Cold-weather clothing accessories
Finally, round out your fall wardrobe with all the cozy accessories that simultaneously help it feel more like fall… while helping you keep your extremities nice and warm! Gloves, scarves, hats, ear muffs, and tall boot socks all complete fall outfits while also ensuring you’re comfortable enough to enjoy everything your destination has to offer.
10. Extra blankets and cozy touches
Even if you’ve got so many sweaters they’re spilling out of your RV’s closet — a very likely potential problem, which we’ll offer a solution to in just a moment — there’s something about cuddling up under a cozy blanket on a cool fall day that can’t be beat. So make sure you bring along your favorite quilt or throw so you can make a night of it on your RV’s couch or armchair.
Fall-themed and holiday decor can also make your home away from home feel… well, homier. From turkey-printed hand towels to plain old Indian corn, don’t be afraid to make your RV’s interior match the season!
The Best Camping Gear for Fall Travel
Want to take your cold-weather camping game to the next level? Here’s some more stuff to add to your camping list if you’re looking for a little bit of extra ease and luxury.
11. Closet organizers
All those layers add up quickly, especially if you’re traveling with a family. If you want to make sure you have room for everyone’s favorite fall duds, a hanging closet organizer can come in super handy, easily extending your available space for a very small price.
12. Hand- and foot-warmers
If you’re prone to numb fingers and toes, think ahead — and bring along these cheap and easy cold-weather solutions.
Psst — looking for a great stocking stuffer for your favorite outdoor lover? These guys make excellent camping gifts, especially for people who tend to be a little bit cold-blooded (but who don’t want to let that keep them from exploring the great outdoors all year round!).
13. A leaf blower — or at least a rake
If you’re going to be staying in one place for more than a few days, chances are you’re going to have some leaves fall onto your rig and camping area. That’s why they call it fall, after all!
However, keeping your rig’s delicate systems and finishes free of debris is essential to keeping it in good working order, and that includes leaves, twigs, and other common fall flutterers.
A leaf blower will make clearing your area (and, importantly, your awnings) a snap, but a plain old rake will also work if you’re on a budget. A foldable, telescoping version makes for easy storage, especially if your RV has an under-coach cargo hold.
14. Equipment to make (and eat) your favorite fall treats
The leaves are lovely and the chilly air is nice, but let’s get real: one of the very best parts of fall is all the feasting it brings! From comforting hot drinks like cider and cocoa to full-on Thanksgiving turkey dinners, the delicious goodies we get to eat during this time of year is a huge part of what makes fall… well, fall.
So before you set out on your fall camping adventure, make sure you have the stuff you need to make your favorite seasonal treats on board. That might be as simple as a mug and a plain old coffee maker, or it might mean investing in something that can help you whip up gourmet goodies, like an Instant Pot. (Yes, by the way, the Instant Pot is our go-to suggestion for camping cooking equipment, simply because it offers such a wide range of utility for such a small physical footprint and price. From sautees to soups and even baked goods, these little pressure cookers can do a whole lot — we’ve even written a whole post about how and why to use one!)
Camping Recipes for Fall Feasting
From hot apple cider to pumpkin pie and all sorts of other tasty treats in between, one thing’s for sure: fall is a time to eat well!
One of the best ways to experience the fruits of the fall season is to travel to a harvest festival, where you can pick your own fresh apples and pumpkins to turn into delicious baked goods and savory dishes later on. But you can also create your favorite holiday feast foods and other seasonal goodies in your RV kitchen, even if you don’t have all that much room.
Here on the RVshare blog, we’ve talked about how to make a killer turkey dinner in your RV’s small space, as well as how to go about entertaining a big group in a teeny-tiny living area. We’ve also covered some of the best camping recipes to enjoy all year round, including many hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dishes that are absolutely perfect for cold-weather camping.
One of the best things about fall is that it’s the ideal time of year for grilling. It’s still warm enough outside that cooking outdoors for a few hours doesn’t sound unbearable… and yet by the time evening falls, the chilly air makes a delicious, hot, fresh-grilled meal sound that much more appetizing.
What’s more, your grill can churn out all sorts of delicacies. You can get way more creative than burgers and hot dogs! Check out our grillmaster’s guide to learn everything you need to know to become the barbecue champion of the campground, as well as to see some novel grilling recipes you probably haven’t already thought of.
Ready to Make the Most of Your Fall Vacation?
It’s not surprising that we think RVing is the best way to travel, no matter where you’re headed or what time of year you’re headed there. I mean, our company’s name is RVshare!
But when it comes to fall road trips and autumn camping adventures, an RV really is the ideal way to get out there. You’ll have the opportunity to connect with nature and experience stunning fall landscapes without having to give up the comforts of home that make this time of year more enjoyable, like cozy blankets and real beds to hunker down through the night in. And unlike with a regular tent-camping trip, you’ll be able to enjoy the gourmet goodies that make the season so delicious, instead of subsisting off of pre-packaged backpacking meals and trail mix.
If you don’t already have an RV of your own, renting a rig through RVshare is an ideal way to experience the camping lifestyle for the smallest price possible. Because when your rental vehicle comes directly from an actual individual — who likely uses it themselves to camp and vacation in — the listing price doesn’t have to cover the overhead expenses of running a full-on business. They’re just trying to put some extra money in their pocket to enjoy more of their own adventures with later… and they can pass on those savings to you by making their RVs available for a fraction of the price of the big, commercial guys!
What’s more, renting through RVshare gives you the opportunity to experience a wide range of recreational vehicles that it might not be easy, or even possible, to find on a traditional RV rental dealership floor. So if you’re curious about taking on the great outdoors in a pop-up camper or sleeper van, RVshare can help make that possible. It’s also a great way to try out a variety of different RV body shapes and styles and to learn more about the kind of camping you best enjoy, which is especially valuable if you’re on the market to buy your own rig sometime soon.
Finally, you can always rest assured that the rental transactions you participate in through RVshare are as safe and secure as possible. We take the security of your information seriously, which is why all monetary transactions and communications are orchestrated through our platform. We also cover your rental with a comprehensive insurance policy and free 24/7 roadside assistance throughout the entire length of your trip. In short, when you rent with RVshare, you have nothing to worry about — aside from packing up the RV (please see: the rest of this article) and figuring out where you’re going… and those are the fun parts anyway.
Whether you’re headed to a family gathering, exploring a fun autumn event, checking out the falling leaves, or simply getting away from it all, fall travel is a wonderful way to celebrate this special time of year. And now that you’ve read this post, you’re totally prepared to do it!
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