Camping in Wintertime

friends camping in winter next to a mountain

Ah yes, winter. That time of the year when people tend to spend more time inside, warming themselves by the fire with a hot drink and slapping on layer after layer of warm blankets and clothing.

Generally speaking, people aren't thinking about venturing into the outdoors too much. In the middle of winter, a lot of daily life is spent keeping warm inside out of the wintery conditions.

Which makes a lot of sense. We all like being warm.

There are, however, many fantastic experiences to be had going out for an outdoor adventure during wintertime.

Just because the temperature is colder and the conditions are different doesn’t mean you can’t have a camping experience of a lifetime. In fact, it presents a new set of opportunities that you wouldn’t have during a summer trip!

For one, it’s generally a lot quieter at most campgrounds when it’s wintertime, as people aren’t as willing to go outside and pitch up a tent compared to the warm summer period. Don’t worry about bugs or insects either, as they aren’t big fans of the cold.

Granted, there are a few extra things to consider when you venture into a winter wonderland for your next adventure.

Have a read through these handy tips and instructions and soon enough, you’ll be having the time of your life on your next winter expedition. 

Food and Water

One thing I'm sure that you’ve noticed before is that doing most things during wintertime takes up a lot of energy. If anything, it’s even more the case when you’re camping.

Hiking, setting up camp, collecting firewood. These things all take up a lot of energy, and doing these within snowy, wintery conditions and environments can burn your energy pretty fast. In fact, your body keeping itself warm uses a TON of energy.

So you’ll need to make sure that you’ve got all the supplies you need to keep yourself going (and pack extra just to be safe)

Bring a lot of water with you and make sure you can store it on your campsite safely to ensure that you’ll always be hydrated.

man pouring coffee in snow


When you go hiking or are traveling away from your campsite for a while, always remember to take a decent amount of water. You never know how much you'll need and you don't want to be dehydrated in the cold.

In regards to food, make sure you take items that can easily be made in one pot over the fire, full of nutrients. Non-perishable food items in cans and similar packaging are a great idea, as they are easy to store and can easily be used to make a hearty, warm meal.

Think soups, stews, and noodles. Get creative with it! 

Layer Up!

It’s all about wearing the right clothes and layering up when it comes to camping in winter.

Whenever you go outside, you want to be covered and well insulated, as winter conditions can be super unforgiving.

Let’s start with the underlayer and work our way up. The innermost layer of your clothing should be made of a material that can draw the moisture away from your body and transfer it to the outer layers where it can dry out.

Materials such as cotton are not advisable for this purpose as they absorb moisture, which in conditions such as rain can be disastrous. No one, and i mean no one, likes wet underwear in the cold.

Use synthetic materials like polyester or material such as wool, as they can insulate your body from the heat and are great at transferring moisture.

Thermals are always a fantastic idea.

The middle layer is the one that provides the most insulation from the cold weather and will retain your body heat. Consider wearing jackets, jumpers, and coats that are made out of materials such as fleece, wool, or down.

Adjust the number of layers and insulation you need accordingly depending on how cold it is, however it’s always a good idea to have extra layers in case you need them.

The final outer layer is the thickest layer and the one that offers the most protection from the elements, especially the wind, rain, and snow.

You’re probably going to come across wet conditions while camping in the snow or colder temperatures, so choose something that is thick and waterproof.

For the warmer end of the spectrum a windbreaker for the wind and rain is sufficient, but in the colder weather wear something such as a snow parka and pants. 

Equipment

As with any camping trip, sometimes the make or break is what you bring with you on your adventure.

This is especially important in cold conditions because forgetting something essential like a sleeping pad or a blanket could turn out to be very uncomfortable.

Check that your equipment is suitable for the winter elements, as there are a lot of tents out there that offer barely any insulation, so do some research on your current equipment and check if you need an update.

If you know the conditions will be harsh, bringing a 4 season tent is always a good idea.

two tents in the snow


Bring other essentials like a good quality sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and pillow, to make sure that you’ll be warm and comfortable all evening.

There are plenty of other items you can bring on a winter camping trip that will make things much easier. Here’s a fantastic list you can use for reference.

Keep Warm and Dry

Ok, this may seem pretty obvious to all of you because it is.

But things can get unpredictable and preparing for whatever situation may come to pass is the best way to ensure you’ll be safe and comfortable in the winter.

The first and most important way to keep warm and dry is to build a quality fire within your campsite and ensure that you keep it running. If you want more info, check out our article on building a fire.

Once you've got that taken care of, it's important to monitor how you're feeling at all times.

If your fingers, toes or any part of your body is starting to feel cold or if you're starting to feel any symptoms of hypothermia or cold-related ailments, get yourself warm and treat the issue right away.

Small issues while camping can very readily snowball into big ones (no pun intended)

When you put on your clothes for the day, try and make sure every part of your body is covered. Gloves, beanies, and winter goggles do wonders. 

Camping in Winter

Camping in winter doesn't have to be a distant thought. Don't let the winter conditions put you off getting out of the house for the weekend and going exploring.

There are still plenty of great experiences and memories to be had camping in the winter. I hope that you found this guide helpful and you'll be sitting by the fire with hot chocolate telling stories in no time.

Build a snowman while you're there as well!