The height of the camping season is typically in the warmer months. It’s easier to get around, but the best campsites are often crowded at that time of year. If you camp in winter, it’s almost as if the whole park is just for you.
Adding to that feeling of solitude are the blankets of snow covering the terrain, muting the sounds throughout the forest. Everything looks so pristine in the bright white, sparkly snow. With the right winter camping gear, there’s a cozy feeling that just doesn’t happen in summer.
To find out what the right winter camping gear entails, check out the guide below.
The key to warm winter wear is layering. Wool is one of the warmest materials for winter.
First, begin your winter wear shopping with base layers for the top and bottom. If you’re planning any activities for your camping trip, like hiking, skiing, or climbing, you need a high-quality base layer to wick moisture from your body. Again, wool (specifically merino wool) is one of the top choices for this.
The next layer is the mid-layer, which has the purpose of improving insulation. Ideally, it would be polyester fleece or wool for both the top and bottom. Follow this up with a puffy coat on top that has some insulating materials, like down feathers.
Finally, the outer layer needs to be waterproof. This is also known as the shell layer, as it protects the inner layers from getting wet. You’ll need something breathable, but waterproof, for both the pants and jacket.
Additionally, if you have the budget for it, heated clothing options are worth the money. For example, the heated vests listed on campingbuffs.com may promote blood circulation. The heat can also soothe tired muscles and joints.
Winter Camping Gear
The tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pads you purchase are essential to enjoying a safe camping trip in winter.
4-season tents are necessary for windy conditions with lots of snowfall. 3-season tents may be OK for less extreme conditions. Try to place your tent somewhere with some wind protection, like trees or a hill.
The sleeping bag should be a mummy shape, ideally with a hood or drawstrings to keep the heat in. The temperature rating should be even lower than the coldest temperatures you expect to encounter while camping in winter.
The sleeping pads add extra insulation by living you off the freezing ground. You need two pads — a closed-cell foam one and an inflatable one.
Once you’ve purchased your winter wear and camping gear, make a list of all the other, miscellaneous items you’ll need to survive in the cold. This includes equipment for cooking and building a fire.
Make sure to at least pack a gas camping stove, fuel, eye protection, and utensils.
Shopping for Gear
It’s not cheap to purchase a whole new set of winter camping gear, but it’s necessary for your safety. There are many winter hazards — like avalanches, hypothermia, and frostbite — that require careful pre-planning and extra gear, depending on your camping location. Make sure not to skimp out on any potentially lifesaving equipment.
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