Camping under the starlit summer sky is magical but so too is waking to a winter wonderland outside your tent or camper trailer door. If you haven’t experienced a frosty morning, you should add it to your bucket list, but only if you’re adequately prepared!
Winter camping isn’t for the faint of heart. It requires a lot of forethought and proper planning so you can enjoy the cold without fear of turning into a popsicle!
A Guide to Walking in a Winter Wonderland
Just because the sun has set on warm weather camping doesn’t mean you should hang up your gear until next season, you can brave the cold for some winter camping! Here’s your winter camping checklist.
Plan for it
Before you hit the road on your next camping adventure, you’ll need to pack your bags and make arrangements!
- Packing Your Bag: Before you’re ready to go, don’t pack light – in fact, pack more than what you’ll need. Just in case a rogue snowstorm strands you. Extra clothing and food are essential to braving the cold. If you’re new to camping or if this is your first-time winter camping, be sure to consult a proper checklist, so you know what to pack.
- The More the Merrier: Don’t go it alone, winter camping can be dangerous so bring some company along!
- Campground Background Check: Research the campground and the surrounding area beforehand as certain campgrounds may have winter fire bans. And know the neighbouring community so should you encounter a problem you now how long it’ll take you to get to town.
- Share Your Itinerary: Pass along your camp plans to a friend or family member.
You’ve made it to your campsite, it’s time to bundle up and setup!
Clothing: Brave the cold in proper winter clothing.
- Layer Up: You’ll need three layers: a base to trap in the heat like merino wool, a middle to insulate like fleece and a waterproof outer shell to brave the elements.
- Socks: Wear thick socks throughout the day with a thinner pair beneath and remember to sleep with socks on too to keep those toes toasty! Bring plenty of socks so you can swap out any sweaty socks for fresh ones.
- Hat and Mitts: Opt for a windproof hat for daily wear and a warm hat for at night to trap in the heat. Finger gloves are ideal for inside the tent usage and thick ones for outdoors.
Gear: The essential winter must-haves.
- Sleeping Bag: Don’t just rely on a temperature rated sleeping bag, it’s not enough to keep you warm for a good night’s rest. You’ll also need an air mattress to separate you from the cool ground and a sleeping bag liner as another line of defence against the cold.
- Tent: You’ll need a sturdy waterproof tent with extra tie-downs to keep you dry. Pitch it during daylight hours so you can examine the campsite for the safest location (avoid things like avalanche areas or other natural hazards). And throw down an extra groundsheet to keep the dampness out. Or use your camper trailer for winter to keep you warm, dry and off the ground!
- Stove: For boiling water, cooking meals and of course making hot chocolate.
Winter Camping Extravaganza!
Get out and enjoy the winter months, instead of hibernating inside while eating bonbons and binge-watching Netflix! Yes, it’s cold, but with a good plan in place, you can be sitting by the campfire in no time watching it crackle with a hot cup of cocoa to keep you warm and happy!