Are you ready to brave the cold and explore the beauty of winter camping? If so, then you’re in for a treat. Such an activity can be an incredibly rewarding experience, giving you access to stunning snowy lands and experiences that are only possible this time of year. From gorgeous frosty mornings to nights spent around a crackling campfire, a winter camping trip can be an amazing adventure.
Winter camping can involve activities such as backpacking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, or ice climbing. No matter what type of activity you choose, there are special considerations that need to be taken into account when embarking on a trip. Here are some recommendations for every tourist.
20 tips for the best winter camping experience:
1. Check the weather
Checking the weather before winter camping is an essential step for any outdoor enthusiast. Going out without knowing what to expect can mean a night full of surprises, and not always pleasant ones.
By checking the forecast beforehand, you can stay informed about potential storms, heavy snow, or dangerously cold temperatures that could put your safety at risk. Doing so can also help you prepare with the right gear and supplies to ensure a successful and enjoyable winter experience.
Don’t forget that bad weather can affect road conditions so if you were having some specific destination in mind, it’s better to learn some alternative routes.
2. Pick the site carefully
Choosing the right site for a winter camping trip requires careful consideration. Not all sites are created equal – some lands may be too exposed to the elements, especially, if you’re staying on the mountain peak. Others may be at risk of flooding due to melting snow or ice, which is also bad.
It's important to take into account nearby trails and access points that you'll need in order to reach your destination. With the right planning, however, you can have an amazing time exploring nature during the coldest months of the year! Winter camping can provide an incredible experience, but it’s important to choose a site that’s suitable for the season and your needs.
3. Winterize by dressing in layers
It can be really tough to stay warm if you have a single layer of clothes underneath your jacket. Clothes that are too thin or too heavy won't cut it out in the cold and will leave you feeling uncomfortable at best, and dangerously cold at worst.
The first (and arguably most important) layer is long underwear. You want something lightweight yet warm that will keep moisture away from your skin but still provide insulation. Wool is a great choice since it traps air to keep you warm while also wicking away moisture so you don't get chilled when sweat accumulates under your clothes. If you’re planning to winterize, cotton is a bad choice since it retains moisture and will make you feel cold even in mild temperatures.
The next layer is your insulating layer, which can be anything from a fleece to a down vest or full-length coat. It's important to choose something that offers good breathability so you don't overheat during the day. Look for items with zip locked vents for extra airflow if you plan on being active.
Your outermost layer should be waterproof and windproof since this will protect you from any harsh weather conditions like snow or rain. This could be a technical shell, like a Gore-tex jacket, or even just an old trusty raincoat. The key is that it keeps the wind and snow off of your other layers and provides an additional layer of insulation. If you’re a parent, make sure your child has the same protective layers of dry clothes.
Don't forget about your hat, gloves, and a scarf to cover your neck. Choose warmer yet not bulky materials so you don't look like the Michelin Man!
4. Wear waterproof shoes
A single pair of waterproof shoes can make all the difference between a fun and successful winter trip and one filled with misery. Whether you’re a trekker planning to do some light hiking in the snow or just walking around your campsite, having a reliable pair of waterproof shoes is an absolute must. There are several key features to look for when shopping for hiking shoes, such as insulation and breathability.
Some of the great options for winter adventure are The North Face Thermoball Versa Waterproof Boots, the Vasque Snowburban II UltraDry Men's Boot, and the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX, Timberland Field Trekker Low. These boots are designed for cold and wet weather, with a waterproof membrane to keep your feet dry and insulation for warmth. They also feature an outsole for traction on snowy or icy surfaces, plus a gusseted tongue to help keep debris out.
No matter which pair of shoes you decide to go with, make sure they fit properly and are well-constructed for maximum protection against the elements.
5. Choose a proper sleeping bag
When it comes to cold-weather camping, the quality of your sleep will make all the difference. Choosing the right sleeping bag and pad is essential for ensuring a restful night's sleep in temperatures as low as -20°c (or lower).
The first step when choosing a sleeping bag is figuring out what temperature rating you need. It’s important to take into consideration the type of winter activities you plan on doing, as well as the weather conditions in the area where you will be camping. If possible, choose a sleeping bag with a temperature range that is lower than what you anticipate experiencing. You can also purchase an insulated blanket, for example, Crua Culla™ Blanket by Crua.
Finally, look for fabrics and materials such as down feathers or synthetic fillers for peak insulating performance. Be sure to read the label of any sleeping bag you’re considering to make sure that it’s suitable for cold weather.
6. Pick a good sleeping pad
For your sleeping pad, there are several factors to consider. Choose an insulated pad that is rated for at least -10°c, and one that is comfortable enough that you won’t be sleeping on the cold ground. Consider whether your pad will serve as insulation from the cold ground or if you want a separate layer of insulation beneath your pad. You may also want to look for a pad that is lightweight and easy to transport, as well as one that won’t take up too much space in your pack.
7. Invest in a hot and safe tent
To ensure a safe and warm environment throughout your stay, choosing the right shelter is essential. There are many options for winter camping: from yurts and canvas tents to hot and insulated shelters.
Yurts provide superior insulation from cold temperatures, as they have thick walls that help keep the heat in and the cold out. Yurts are also incredibly spacious, making them great for 5 or 6 person groups.
Canvas tents can also work since their material is water-resistant and designed to block the cold. Canvas models are also lightweight and easy to set up, so you don’t need to worry about lugging a large tent around with you.
The best option is, of course, 4-season tent designed for the extremely snowy winter. One of the best products on the market is RBM Outdoors tents which are designed specifically for cold weather and winter conditions. All of the RBM Hot tents are made with waterproof Oxford fabric and the shelter's frame’s durability is provided by all-metal bars made of aviation alloy B95T1. This high-strength alloy restores its initial shape even after bearing a heavy load.
These shelters have built-in stoves and heat-resistant smoke pipes, which help to keep a comfortable temperature inside your haven all night.
There are 5-layer windows, removable mosquito nets, detachable pouches for your everyday items, zippered and detachable floor. There is also plenty of room – for example, 'Cuboid 4.40' can easily accommodate a 6 person group and 'Hexagon' model can also fit in a 6 person company.
8. Insulate from the ground
One of the most effective ways to keep your tent warm is by insulating it from the ground. If your tent is not insulated, consider adding additional insulation gear like foam mats or a carpet, for example, Crua Camping Carpet.
Also, lay a waterproof groundsheet under your tent to prevent moisture from entering. Then, add a layer of blankets, foam pads, or even an air mattress on top. This creates a barrier between you and the cold ground which will help to keep you warm.
9. Use a heating device
Space heaters are a popular choice for cold winter camping. While they may require some extra power, most outdoor-focused space heaters can be safely used in well-ventilated tents and cabins. Portable propane heaters are one of the most efficient models that offer reliable warmth without taking up too much room. They provide adjustable temperature settings and a wide range of heat output levels, perfect for simmering through those long winter nights. Best of all, they can be powered by propane tanks or even small butane/propane canisters so you don't have to worry about carrying around heavy fuel cans.
Another great way to keep warm is a wood-burning stove. Wood-burning stoves radiate heat throughout the tent or cabin and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some wood-burning stoves are even lightweight and compact, making them easy to take along on your camping adventures. With the right precautions and maintenance, they can provide you with a much-needed source of heat during those cold months.
10. Ventilate your tent each morning
It is important to ventilate your tent properly, especially if you’re with a large group of people, like 5 or 6 person. Make sure you open up all of the zip locks and flaps that you can, allowing for a good flow of air. An open tent will create a warm and inviting atmosphere and will also help to reduce moisture and condensation. This will also help to prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your tent.
Additionally, you can use a small fan or heater to keep warmer air circulating, ensuring that you and your belongings stay cozy. Ventilating your tent in the morning will also help to ensure that your tent stays dry and that you can enjoy a comfortable, safe night's sleep. Taking some time to ventilate your tent in the morning will pay off in the long run, keeping you comfortable and warm all night long.
11. Protect your skin
Once you have the necessary supplies and gear for a trip, it's important to remember that your skin needs protection from the cold. Cold temperatures often leave our skin feeling dry and dehydrated. A single moisturizer or lotion on hand is a great way to winterize and keep your skin hydrated throughout the day. If possible, opt for a thicker moisturizer for added protection from the cold. Additionally, you can also apply lip balm regularly to prevent your lips from drying out.
Even during winter months, it's important to remember that sun exposure still poses risks to our skin-especially at higher altitudes. Make sure you're wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or more when spending time outdoors during the day. Additionally, wearing a wide-brimmed hat or sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV rays.
12. Eat food that is high in calories
Eating food that is high in calories is essential when facing extreme temperatures and long hours of physical activity while on the trails. Pack foods that are packed with energy-boosting ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, avocados, and peanut butter. These nutrient-rich snacks will help keep you fueled throughout your adventure or any sports activities.
To ensure that you stay warm and energized, don't forget to include high-calorie meals in your meal plan. Hearty soups and stews are a great way to get heat and calories quickly. Opt for heavier grains such as quinoa or barley, which have longer-lasting effects than white rice or pasta. Additionally, be sure to include protein sources like legumes and lean meats for long-term energy. With the right combination of nutrient-dense foods, you'll stay warm on your winter adventure.
13. Stay hydrated
Make sure to bring plenty of water and drink it throughout the day. Warm drinks are a great way to keep warm and cozy. Hot chocolate, coffee, and tea are all great options. If you can get a campfire going, even better!
Make sure to bring the necessary supplies to make your favorite drink, as well as some snacks to enjoy while you cozy up with a warm cup. If you don't have access to a campfire, you can still enjoy warm drinks with a portable stove or camp heater. As an added bonus, they'll help keep the chill away while you enjoy your surroundings.
14. Plan fun activities
If you’re looking to make the most of camping you should plan your activities ahead. Just because it's cold doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors. With a little extra preparation, winter camping can be just as fun as summertime camping. This is especially true for parents who camp with their kids.
There are plenty of activities to do in the snow: if you’re a trekker, try snowshoeing for a unique way to explore the terrain in the cold weather. If it's available, sports like skiing and snowboarding offer an adrenaline-filled day out on the slopes. If you’re looking for something more relaxed than extreme sports, why not try birdwatching? You can see a variety of birds flying around in the winter months and many species migrate to warmer climates.
If you’re looking for a family activity, build a snowman or try sledding. Such a fun way to spend time is perfect for responsible parents. You can also bring along some of your favorite books or board games for 3-6 person group.
15. Forget about the outside world
One of the greatest gifts that camping can offer is the chance to completely relax and forget about your problems and the outside world. When you're out in nature, with nothing but an unspoiled land all around you, it's easy to let go of stress and worries.
Camping gives you the opportunity to truly let go and just be in the moment. You can take long, peaceful hikes on the mountain peaks or simply sit on a log and watch the sunset over the snowy mountains in the distance. There's something calming about being surrounded by nature that can help you to reset your mind and recharge your spirit.
Spend time enjoying the simple pleasures that come with camping such as stargazing, toasting marshmallows over the fire, or listening to the peaceful sounds of nature. Taking time to just unplug and slow down is one of the most important ways to relax.
Enjoying a little comfort and entertainment during your camping trip will help you really kick back and forget your worries for a while.
🏕 What are some good foods for winter trip?
Bring foods that are packed with energy-boosting ingredients such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, avocados, and peanut butter. Don't forget to include high-calorie meals. Soups and stews are a great way to get heat and calories quickly.
📦 What to wear for winter camping?
It's essential to wear several layers of clothes. The first layer is long underwear. You want something lightweight yet warm like wool. The next layer is your insulating layer, which can be anything from a fleece to a down vest or full-length coat. Your outermost layer should be waterproof and windproof since this will protect you from any harsh weather conditions like snow or rain.
💡 What tent is the best for winter?
The best option is the 4-season waterproof tents. One of the greatest products on the market are RBM Outdoors tents, designed for extremely cold conditions.