Winter camping tips for beginners

Winter camping for the majority of the people means renting a cozy cabin with a fireplace that keeps you warm 24 hours a day. For others, winter camping is parking the RV in the middle of nowhere and have a weekend on wheels. As for the more adventurous people, winter camping is packing your backpack, your tent and head out on the road. No matter what your favorite way of spending time in nature during the winter, you need to be prepared and to know a few useful tips. If it’s your first time camping in cold weather, following this helpful list will make the most of your stay out in the wintery wilderness.

Pack the snow


Have good snowshoes
Have good snowshoes

Bring snowshoes, or skis if that’s possible, to use to pack the snow and prepare your campsite. Make sure that the area where you want to pitch a tent and around it is even, and the snow is packed solid. You know from experience and common sense that you need solid ground for your tent, therefore don’t leave any soft surfaces. There is a risk that you could tear the bottom if the snow beneath is still soft and the tent floor sinks too far.

Wear a fireproof shell

Winter camping means making a fire, either for cooking, drying your clothes, or to stay warm. You don’t want your clothes to get damaged by the flames, so get a top layer that can stand high temperatures, and won’t melt or burn when you spend hours sitting by the campfire. Avoid down jackets, and choose wool instead. Out of all the natural materials, wool has the best fireproof properties, and it’s perfect for the occasion.

Flip your sleeping bag

Turn your sleeping bag inside out and dry it on the top of your tent during the day. When buying a winter sleeping bag, choose one with a black interior that will absorb solar energy faster and dry quickly.

Bring extra hat and gloves

Have extra layers with you. No matter if you never lose things when you travel, winter camping is something completely different, and there is a good chance that you’ll need a spare hat and gloves at some point. You may not lose them but simply need an extra pair to warm you up.

Meet the pee bottle

Can you imagine getting up at night and unzipping your sleeping bag? The cold weather will make you pee more, so be prepared to use a pee bottle. For women, there are various accessories that will help you pee in a bottle. And for men, well, it should be easier. Mark your personal pee bottle and don’t confuse it with the others. If you think this is disgusting and that you will still go outside in the middle of the night, then just wait to get to the mountain in winter.


Cover any part of your exposed skin with Vaseline. It will help prevent your skin suffering from windburn and frostbite.

Bring the right sleeping pad

Being comfortable at night and staying warm during your sleep is one of the most important things while winter camping. Get a thick sleeping pad, or even two and make sure you don’t feel any cold from the ground. If the temperatures are very low, put your jacket and other clothes below your sleeping bag.

Boil the snow

Boil the snow
Boil the snow

Forget about all the water filters and purification tablets, just boil the snow. Don’t eat it from the ground, no matter how clean you think the environment is because the snowflakes form around small bits of dust, so they are not sterile. Fill your cooking pot with snow and boil it. Winter camping has an advantage that you will never go short of water during the course of the trip. Stay warm and good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival