If you have never been camping in the fall or winter months, you should! It’s a great experience that you will enjoy – as long as you stay warm. Let’s go over the camping checklist necessary to have a safe, warm, and memorable time!
The Essential Guide to Cold-Weather Camping
Camping is a favorite past time in all seasons. Spring and summer camping, of course, is the most enjoyable for some people. But, there are some that absolutely love to camp in the winter months. I have been camping in the late fall and it was pretty chilly! I did, however, enjoy myself immensely! It was much like camping in the spring and summer but, with a few adjustments to my camping checklist such as warmer clothes and bedding and of course there was always a fire going. I can’t wait to do it again!
Be sure to pack the appropriate supplies for fall and winter camping – here are some suggestions:
- Pack a 4-season dome tent. This will provide adequate protection against the snow and/or wind.
- Pack a portable stove and cooking fuel.
- Bring plenty of food.
- Consider using a cargo sled to haul your supplies if snow is expected.
- Bring a snow shovel if snow is expected. This will help you clear out any snow around your tent or vehicle.
- Bring plenty of water.
- Remember to bring iodine tablets or a water filter to clean untreated water in the event of an emergency.
- Bring matches or another form of a fire-starter to light a campfire. I personally recommend packing a ferro rod. Matches and lighters can get wet which can present a huge problem.
- Pack plenty of gloves and socks, as these are the most likely to become wet.
- Pack enough warm clothing for the duration of your camping trip.
- Bring a flashlight with extra batteries for use at night.
- Bring a portable toilet and toilet paper if your campsite will not have restroom facilities.
- Pack a first-aid kit. Check out our article, Must-Have First Aid Kit Contents, for some great suggestions on what to include in your first aid kit.
Cold-Weather Camping Gear
- Wear a sturdy pair of hiking boots. The boots should be waterproof.
- Wear a thermal shirt and pants along with socks that are made from wool or synthetic materials as your base layer. Do not wear clothing made of cotton, as it dries slowly and will make it difficult to remain warm if it rains or snows. I recommend packing at least 2 thermal shirts and 2 pairs of thermal pants. It’s always a good idea to have extra!
- Wear a layer of fleece clothing as the second layer.
- Wear a waterproof and windproof outer layer. You can always ask an employee at a sporting goods store for such clothing if you are unsure of what will work.
- Wear a winter hat and gloves. Again, pack extras if you can.
Other Things to Consider
- Keep in mind that it often takes twice as long to walk or hike in winter as it does in warmer weather, as snow or ice may be present. So, allow enough time to walk to your campsite before nightfall.
- Bring a road map of the area. Also, having a map of the campgrounds is a great idea as well. You can usually obtain these maps at the main office of the campgrounds.
- Note that winter days are shorter than the days in any other time of year. This will affect the amount of time you have for hiking and any activities you would like to do.
- Check the weather forecast before you leave. Consider postponing your trip if there is severe weather in the forecast.
- Pack a compass (or two). Google maps is useful but, consider that you could lose your cell phone signal or your phone could die on you. If you have never used a compass before, check out our useful article, Using A Compass 101, for detailed instructions.
If you have a great camping tip you would like to add to our camping checklist, please share with us in the comment section below. Happy camping everyone!
In need of some reliable winter camping gear to complete your camping checklist? Check out these options!