“Camping in winter? Are you mad?”
For many, camping is thought of as a summer activity.
However, winter camping has its selling points that you never experience when going camping in summer such as fewer bugs, cool weather, snowy scenes, and so on.
Just make sure you prepare everything carefully since camping in this season is not for everyone.
So, if you are truly ready, here are the top 15 winter camping tips to make your upcoming trip more comfortable.
- Essential Cold-weather Camping Gear Checklist
- 15 Winter Camping Tips You Should not Miss
- #1 – Remember to check weather conditions before setting off
- #2 – Dress in layers
- #3 – Find a good place to set up your tent
- #4 – Be wise to choose your tent spot
- #5 – Get rid of morning frost from the tent
- #6 – Get a fire going
- #7 – Warm yourself up with a hot water bottle or an insulated, closed-cell foam sleeping pad
- #8 – Sleep with your boots
- #9 – Sleep with the appropriate getup
- #10 – Avoid breathing or burrowing deep into the sleeping bag
- #11 – Eat lots
- #12 – Melt snow for water
- #13 – Go pee when you need to
- #14 – Keep your electronics safe from the cold
- #15 – Never go alone
- Avoid Putting Yourself at Risk of Hypothermia and Frostbite While You Sleep
- In a Nutshell
Essential Cold-weather Camping Gear Checklist
Preparing the right gear is extremely important when you are going to be out in the cold.
Now take a look at our checklist as a reference.
- A waterproof tent
- Grooved wind-resistant tent stakes
- Wool or synthetic base layers
- Sleeping bag include a proper lower-limit temperature rating
- Closed-cell foam sleeping pad
- Coupler straps
- Gloves, socks, and a technical cold-weather hat
- Hiking boots, snowshoe, skis or snowboard (depending on how many inches of snow on the ground)
- Goggles and glasses
- Backpacking stove (liquid-fuel or canister stove)
- Nutrient-dense snacks
- Stainless steel water bottles
- Bottle insulator
- Avalanche safety equipment including probe, avalanche transceiver, and snow shovel
- A sled (reducing weight on your back if you have a longer trip)
- Female urination device
15 Winter Camping Tips You Should not Miss
#1 – Remember to check weather conditions before setting off
Wherever you are going to camp, checking the conditions is a MUST.
You need to update information on weather systems or weather trends for the season and region as well as researching recent changes in the campsite. Additionally, don’t forget to save the contact information from the closest station.
#2 – Dress in layers
For the outfit, a close-fitting base layer is ideal since it traps your body heat well. A down jacket, lightweight fleece, a wool sweater (if you like), a pair of polypropylene pants and a wrapping layer will do the job.
Make sure the outermost layer needs to be weatherproof to protect you from snow, rain, and wind. And never opt for cotton because it is easily wet and then can cool you quicker.
#3 – Find a good place to set up your tent
Your campsite should be flat, dry and protected from the elements. Remember to avoid the top of hills as well as the bottom of hills.
Then start setting up your tent. If the weather is good, remove any snow and flatten the site with your boots or tools.
After that, enter the tent and use your knees to smooth out the ground instantly or everything seems to be harder if the snow melts and refreezes.
#4 – Be wise to choose your tent spot
Setting up your tent near trees is important to cut down on the wind.
But if it’s windy, you need to do some extra work to ensure you are secure. Always make sure your tent is tucked in firm lines as well as use wind-resistant stakes.
Additionally, don’t forget to prop your snowshoes or skis upright so that they won’t sink under a blanket of snow.
Choose the place to set up your tent wisely
#5 – Get rid of morning frost from the tent
You easily catch water vapor on your tent’s inner wall or the door cracked. And when it melts, it easily soaks your gear. Hence, you should keep your gear inside garbage bags and then sweep ice crystals with a tent brush before they melt.
Keep in mind to dry out your gear frequently if the condition allows. Or in case you are hanging out for the day, please invert your tent and let dry wind or sunshine remove the moisture.
#6 – Get a fire going
Among winter camping tips, getting a fire going is a necessity since it will not only offer warmth but also boost morale like nothing else.
But in case of firewood becoming wet or worse frozen, try two ways below to get any wood to light easily.
- Prepare cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly as they quickly start a fire.
- Or you can buy a Firestarter pack to light wood in any weather no matter how it is wet or frozen.
#7 – Warm yourself up with a hot water bottle or an insulated, closed-cell foam sleeping pad
One of the main culprits for your heat loss is conduction that happens when you sleep on the cold ground. Even if you are in a “heated” cold-weather sleeping bag, it is the cold one.
What should you do?
The easiest way is to put a hot stainless-steel water bottle in the sleeping bag. And it works like a sauna stone to radiate the heat and keep you warm. Make sure to tuck it next to one of the crucial areas such as your inner thigh, core, or neck.
Or you can consider an insulated, closed-cell foam pad underneath your sleeping bag to keep you insulated well.
#8 – Sleep with your boots
Put your boot liners at the bottom of the sleeping bag to keep your feet warm. In case you only bring single-layer boots, you should put them in a waterproof stuff sack to prevent frozen boots in the next morning.
#9 – Sleep with the appropriate getup
The proper base layers include warm socks, fingered gloves, a comfortable cap, and wool/synthetic fabrics.
Never wear any tight-fitting outfits because they might restrict blood flow to your body parts. Additionally, you should not wear too warm since moisture might get trapped in the bag and increase the risk of hyperthermia.
In sum, the best thing is to dress for the occasion and LEAVE all your cotton clothing at home.
#10 – Avoid breathing or burrowing deep into the sleeping bag
People often try burrowing deep into their bag to keep them warm; however, this is similar to wear too warm.
When moisture forms, it will make the bag wet, lose its insulation and take much time to dry. Hence, we suggest you should snap the draft collar and then close the hood down surrounding your nose and mouth so that you can breathe through.
#11 – Eat lots
Your body creates heats when it digests food. So, if you are feeling cold, grab high fat, high calories foods and eat to keep you warm as well as replacing the extra calories.
Before going to sleep, it’s a nice idea to munch on a little snack and leave a candy bar nearby in case you get cold in the middle of the night.
Eat more to supply energy
#12 – Melt snow for water
The truth is that there is no guarantee for melting snow for water. It’s because snow might be infected with other pollutants if it’s close to a trail, road or campground.
For drinking or cooking, the best thing is to look for an untouched patch of white and clean-looking snow.
In some cases, eating clean snow is safe; however, your body has to spend energy to melt the snow. Instead, try melting it first by putting some snow in a cooking pot and melting it with your campfire or stove.
#13 – Go pee when you need to
Never idle when nature calls, even in the middle of the night. Or this makes you colder since your body needs to burn calories to keep urine warm.
It’s best to empty your bladder so that the body uses less energy to stay warm.
Try to keep an extra bottle in the tent or a urination device for the ladies so that you don’t need to go out for a cold midnight pee.
#14 – Keep your electronics safe from the cold
The best place to protect your electronics, batteries, fuel canisters or anything else is the bottom of the sleeping bag (make sure to bring the bag with a little extra).
And don’t forget to check the minimum and maximum operating and storage temps before using so that you can easily use or you can cause permanent damage.
#15 – Never go alone
If you are going to camp in the backcountry, don’t go alone.
Try to invite your friends who are mentally and physically, suitable for this kind of challenge. Ideally, your partners should have “a variety of winter skills” such as finding routes, navigating, setting up the tent, etc.
Besides, you need to make a plan that is within your capacities. Plus, don’t forget to share it with someone who doesn’t go with you for unexpected cases like getting stranded or lost.
Find and go with your fellows
Avoid Putting Yourself at Risk of Hypothermia and Frostbite While You Sleep
The first and foremost thing is to know the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Get a clearer look at our table below now.
|Description||Your body temp will drop under a safe level (370C).||Your ears, nose, cheeks, chins, fingers, and toes are easily frozen in the cold.|
● Slurred speaking
● Lessened cognition or confusion
● A weak pulse
● Shallow or slowed breathing
● Drowsiness and lethargy
|● The first stage won’t cause any serious damage to tissue. It’s described as mild tingling, paleness or no feeling of the affected parts.
● The second stage happens when your skin color may be visible and water blisters might appear.
● The third stage is described as cold, hardened skin, permanent nerve damage, loss of sensation and cell death. Moreover, your skin might turn blue or black.
|Treatment||● Ask for instant help
● Call and bring the person to a hospital as soon as possible
● Move the person to a warm and sheltered place
● Lift the affected areas
● Take off cold clothes
● Avoid walking on affected feet or toes
● Avoid massaging the affected skin
● Give the person a warm drink(not wine)
● Apply cotton balls or first aid dressing to separate the affected digits
● Avoid rewarming the affected area if the body is refreezing or at risk
● When the person is safe, use warm water or body heat to rewarm the area
In a Nutshell
No matter how you want to stay in a cabin heated by a wood stove or on snowmobile trailers or simply grab your pack with all the necessities to a remote place for your upcoming winter trip, don’t miss our winter camping tips above.
And bear in mind to keep yourself warm all the time while you are enjoying your camping or whatever you are doing.
Good luck and have fun, guys!