Camping is an ideal diversion from our daily lives. Most people enjoy camping in the summer, while some like the survival concept of camping in the winter season. One can only experience the tranquility of frozen water bodies and snow-covered mountains when camping in winter. Every advantage has a corresponding disadvantage. In the same way, camping in winter has its perks and drawbacks.
The constant fear of frostbite and freezing your toes off in the winter camping is enough for even the experts of campers to back out. However, don’t let this fear stop you from experiencing winter mornings in snow-covered mountains and the crisp smell of alpines.
All you need to do is prepare yourself with winter camping essentials beforehand. Read on to find tips on keeping warm camping in winter – from layering clothes and sleeping bags to cooking and setting up the tent.
Tips on How to Keep Warm Camping in Winter
1. Winter Camping Gears
Whether going on a camping trip or any other winter outdoor adventure, it is important to carry essential winter gear. To keep track of winter camping gear, make a checklist. Winter camping gear will keep you warm and make your trip stress-free. You can prevent cold injuries and avoid healthcare conditions like hypothermia, frostbite, trench foot, and chilblains.
Here is a checklist for your winter camping gear:
- Insulates or weather-appropriate tents
- Insulated sleeping bags
- Extra layers of clothing
- Nutrient-dense snacks
- Hot water bag
- Bottle insulator
- Tent brush
- Snow shovel
- Stainless steel cooking utensils.
- Ski pack
- Emergency first aid kit
- Health and hygiene items
2. Setting up a Tent
A clever way to set up your tent is to find a good sheltered spot. A great spot for tenting is under a big tree or in the middle of the woods; using such a spot protects the tent from the winter wind. Another tip for a safe spot is to ensure you are not camping on an avalanche. There is a higher risk of tents sliding on slopes. Avoid setting a tent on vegetation; instead, opt for bare-ground campsites.
Most first-time campers opt for oversized tents to secure all their belongings inside. However, a bigger and open space takes longer to warm up. Get smaller-sized tents to insulate them and minimize heat loss. A clever way to insulate your tent is by placing sleeping bags next to each other.
Moreover, pack all your camping gear around your sleeping bags to further insulate. Another tip is to use carpeted tents, or adding a rug or carpet in your tent will increase warmth. Additionally, you wouldn’t have to step on snow first thing in the morning. Some of our favorite winter tents include The Black Diamond Eldorado and The North Face VE 25
3. Bring Insulated Sleeping Bags
For a terrific camping trip, you need to be well-rested. Winter camping asks for insulated sleeping bags. These sleeping bags keep you warm and avoid the risk of winter healthcare issues. Investing in sleeping bags rated at least 10 degrees colder than the actual temperature you are camping in is best. Winter camping sleeping bags keep you warm as they have synthetic insulation or are filled with goose down.
Ensure you keep your sleeping bags dry since they lose heat when wet. If you still feel cold in insulated sleeping bags, add a sleeping bag liner or layer with quilts or another sleeping bag. A clever hack to ensure maximum warmth is to shake your sleeping bag before using it; sleeping bags tend to trap tiny pockets of air that absorb the heat from your body, leaving you cold. Our top picks for insulated sleeping bags include Marmot Gallatin 20° Sleeping Bag, Kelty Cosmic Down 20, and Sea to Summit Ascent Down Sleeping Bag.
4. Layering Clothes
Wearing the right clothes for winter camping is crucial. Winter camping requires dressing in the base, middle, and top layers. Your base layer includes undergarments. It should be lightweight and of excellent quality to cling to your body. Synthetic fabrics are the best base layer since they evaporate sweat and restrict body odor.
The middle layer is your insulating layer. Most winter campers prefer puffier and thick jackets to keep them warm and retain heat. For the bottom, synthetic overweight fleece pants are a good option. At the same time, the top layer is supposed to protect you from rain.
Waterproof jackets and pants are an ideal choice as they are water resistant and restrict water from penetrating other clothing layers. Some of the best brands that offer winter outdoor adventure apparel include The North Face, Marmot, Patagonia, and Arc’teryx.
5. Keep Yourself Warm While Sleeping
Our bodies lose heat from evaporation, conduction, radiation, and convection. Sleeping in sweaty clothes will contribute to feeling cold. It is best to change into a fresh and dry outfit before bed—a smart way to fight condensation inside your tent is by having proper ventilation. Let the zipper of your tent down a few inches to allow airflow.
Keep your mouth and nose outside to avoid moisture in your sleeping bag. Cover your head with a balaclava or a woolen hat for extra warmth. You can use a hot water bag to keep yourself warm. However, placing the hot water bag close to your core is crucial. Warmth at the core heats the blood; this way, the blood travels to your body’s extremities and warms the whole body faster.
6. Cooking in the Snow
Cooking food in the snow can be a challenge. Since our bodies use calories to keep warm, filling yourself with high-fiber meals is essential. Moreover, high-fat meals burn slower than carbs. For cooking in snow, camp stoves work the best. However, if you are using fire, protect it with a wood plank at the base to avoid melting ice from drowning the fire.
Another tip is to use plastic and wooden utensils as steel cool down food faster and requires more fuel. Additionally, it is best to pack pre-made and pre-cut food to avoid spending more time cooking.
Our Final Thoughts
Camping in winter is a great way to level up your camping trips. However, it can be challenging if you are unprepared for the cold. In our article, how to keep warm camping in winter, we have some tips and tricks for your next winter camping trip – from setting tents to cooking.