Want to know how to keep your tent warm? Then you need this guide! Inside you’ll find 20 winter camping tips for keeping your tent warm.
Would you believe me if I told you that winter camping does not have to be gloomy and harsh? So, if you have this kind of mindset, you are in luck because we are going to discuss some of the best ways to savor all the peaceful moments that winter has on offer. Additionally, we will discuss the vital winter camping tips to ensure that you remain warm and consequently enjoy your experience in these subzero winter extremes. If you’re new to camping? You need this guide! You will find 45+ hack and tips for the first time camping.
1. Prepare for winter camping
You need to set up your tent in a secure location that is flat, relatively dry, protected from the elements. If the conditions permit, you should clear away all the snow to uncover the dirt and subsequently use your boots or tools to flatten the spot.
Enter into your tent and using your knees, smoothening out the location where you intend to sleep to prevent snow from melting and then refreezing as it is more challenging to manipulate.
You can create a shallow trough so that you do not roll around as you sleep. Moreover, this shaping method assists in reducing the ambient space as well as the potential heat loss from exposure to cold as well that could result in early stages of frostbite or hypothermia or make your night terrible.
Always check the weather conditions and hazards
Before you leave for winter camping, always check the weather condition, with this being the golden rule for all outdoor activities. Furthermore, get to know the extreme temperatures you may experience, like cold-weather desert variations, research on any recent terrain changes, weather trends for the region and season, incoming weather systems, trail closures, and such hazards. Thus, to remain updated, contemplate on contacting the nearest ranger station. Lastly, always inform the proper authorities of your whereabouts, when to be expected back plus creating a trip plan.
2. How to setup a campsite in the cold weather
Speed through the setup
How you carry out the setting up of your camp in winter determines how warm you will be during your stay. Therefore, when you arrive at the camping site, you should as swiftly as possible start working on your tent set up. Additionally, you need to be always prepared in case it does rain by putting on a rainfly. Implementing these two steps provides your tent with plenty of sun before it sets and subsequently, plenty of heat gets trapped inside.
To enjoy winter tent camping, location is another vital component which needs preparation. So, you need to find an area which is sheltered from the wind whereas still within the sun’s sight. When looking for an ideal location, some of the questions to ask yourself include;
- Will I be able to create in the snow a flat spot for the tent?
- Is this spot well-sheltered from the wind?
- Does this spot enable my tent to receive enough sunlight?
- Are there great spots around where I can guy out my tent?
- Does this spot expose me to hazards like potential avalanches or other reasons snow buildups in excess?
Tie up creatively
Ensure you carry along a small hammer and robust tent stakes to assist you in pitching the tent to the frozen ground. Also, having the “deadmen” anchor, an essential winter camping tips will be significantly helpful in getting your stakes into the ground. Creating these anchors requires you to tie the guy of your tent to a bulky object like a small branch, rock or a snow-filled stuff sack.
To set up your tent, you need to pull out your line and cover the item you are using with snow and not a stake. Usually, the snow freezes around the object hence is a strong anchor that firmly holds your tent in place. Additionally, a tent that is well-staked needs to offer proper ventilation thereby assisting you in keeping dry and averting condensation build-up.
3. Essential gear for winter camping tips
Get a seasonal tent
Having a shelter which can handle the winter weather is critical, and when you are deciding on a tent for winter camping, these are some of the issues you need to consider;
- The usual 3-season backpacking tent – It is an excellent option if you do not expect there to be stormy weather and are camping underneath a tree line.
- A 4-season tent is recommendable if you expect heavy snowfall and high winds – In comparison to 3-season tents; 4-season tents have bulkier fabrics and stronger poles to endure the strong gusts of wind as well as weighty snow loads. Additionally, these tents come with less mesh, and the rainfly spread close to the ground to prevent spinning snow from getting inside.
- You will require additional space – Getting a tent which has room for one more person than the number who will be sleeping in it is an extraordinary idea. It is because this provides you with the room to store your equipment away from the elements.
Whenever you are backpacking and winter camping, you need extra gear as well as warmer, heavier clothing. Thus, you need to make use of a bag which is bigger than what you usually would use in the summer. Likewise, pack as lightly as possible, while still adequately preparing yourself for the winter conditions.
- The rough guidelines for a two to four-day winter camping trip;
- Lightweight – at least a 65-liter backpack (3,967 cubic inches)
- Deluxe – a pack of at least 80-liters (4,883 cubic inches)
If you intend to carry snowshoes or skis, guarantee that your backpack can secure these big massive items or have last points.
To safeguard that you still are comfortable even on chilly nights, get a bag with a minimum rating of 10o F, with this usually lower than any temperature you will encounter. If you get too warm, you have the option to vent the bag.
It offers you with all the necessary cushioning and insulation. Below is some useful information about sleeping pads:
Make use of two pads – Use two full-length pads for winter packing to prevent your body from losing heat to the snowy surfaces.
Consider R-value – Pads typically are rated by R-value which is the insulation measurement and ranges from 1.0 to 8.0. The higher the value, the better the insulation. Pads meant for winter or all-season commonly has an R-value of 4.0 or higher.
Liquid-fuel stoves – These run on white gas that burns hot and clean while still producing heat excellently even below-freezing temperatures. Nevertheless, unlike canister stoves, these stoves are slower and bulkier; therefore, requiring you to prime them before you start cooking. Other multi-store fuel stoves run on kerosene, diesel, jet fuel, and auto gasoline thus making them an exceptional choice for traveling globally.
Canister stoves – They are compact, lightweight and swift to boil despite not working well in cold temperatures. Therefore, if you opt for this stove for winter camping, ensure it comes with an in-built pressure regulator which helps the canister stove from producing a weak flame and depressurizing.
Snowshoes, Skis Or A Snowboard and sled
If planning to go in an area that often receives plenty of snow, hiking is not a convenient way to get around. Subsequently, this compels you to get some floating to make your traveling easier, and the options are;
Snowshoes – Snowshoes are perfect for you if you are not into snowboarding or skiing, and getting the hang of it is relatively simple since it is a lot like hiking.
Skis – If you are going through a smooth terrain, a cross-country touring ski is appropriate, but for the steeper slopes, a backcountry ski is essential.
For long expeditions and trips, you will require a sled which assists you in minimizing the weight on your back. Subsequently, you can carry more equipment. However, sleds usually are not useful for every terrain, like narrow trails and steep slopes; hence you need to search for the trail conditions and route beforehand.
Pack a stove for extra heat
Carrying a stove with you is necessary as boiling snow will possibly be the most efficient method through which you can get water because other filtration systems are considerably slowed down by cold weather. Moreover, you also have the option of having insulated water storage.
4. Right type of clothes for sleeping
When winter camping, having suitable clothing as well as managing the layers are fundamental to your comfort. The primary layers and accessories are;
Basic Layer – It is the underwear layer that goes next to your skin. For winter camping, the mid-weight long underwear is an excellent choice for general use. The heavyweight is perfect for below-freezing temperatures and lightweight ideal for mild conditions. Opt for fabrics like wool or polyester which ensure your skin is dry by wicking sweat away and dries hastily.
Middle Layer – It acts as your insulating layer with its central role being to assist you in retaining your body heat. Generally, thicker materials are warmer; therefore, this layer often is found in synthetic insulated or puffy down jacket which winter campers love.
Outer/ Shell Layer – Usually is breathable and waterproof to defend you from sleet, snow, wind, and rain. It prevents you from getting chilled after the penetration of moisture into the inner layers. Being breathable also enables perspiration from your base layer to escape.
Having a synthetic or wool beanie will be opportune and ensure it covers your ears. Also, contemplate on a balaclava or facemask if your face gets cold.
Gloves and mittens
Fleece gloves offer warmth, whereas insulated gloves that have breathable and waterproof shells are better. Mittens provide your fingers with warmth, but you lose a bit of dexterity, and it is advisable to always carry an extra pair for whichever of these two that you prefer.
Goggles and glasses
It is vital you always protect your eyes from the wind and sun and getting suitable glasses is necessary depending on whether it will be sunny or cloudy.
You should wear non-cotton socks with the proper size determined by your boot fit.
5. Keep warm both inside and outside of the tent
Fill up to avoid freezing
When winter camping, you need to have a heavy meal for both breakfast and dinner as it assists you in keeping your body warm and your energy levels up. Therefore, whenever you are camping in the cold, always have enough to eat and warm beverages are significantly beneficial too.
Layers, Layers, Layers
The choice of clothing you choose to keep you warm both outside and inside of the tent is crucial. So, confirm that you out on multiple layers and this should include the mid-weight base layer, thick socks, a hat covering your ears, and mittens. Also, a down jacket, a couple of layers of wool, and a waterproof layer are also ideal for ensuring you remain warm.
6. Food and drink tips for winter camping
Enjoy hit and simple meals
While winter camping, a hot meal is gratifying, but you need to keep your meals as simple as possible so that you do not have lots of utensils to clean up in the cold.
Take short lunch breaks
Quick-grab snacks or simple sandwiches and energy foods are excellent for lunch as they offer you with the needed carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
Remember to drink
It is crucial that you sip water throughout the day despite not feeling thirsty to ensure you remain hydrated appropriately. You can supplement this with making hot drinks like hot chocolate, soup or herbal tea.
To ensure you always have water to drink, you should make use of an insulated water bottle cover that attaches outside of your pack.
Winter camping tips 7-20
7. Secure your campsite and flatten your sleeping surface
After securing a place that is relatively flat, dry, and sheltered from the elements, you should set up your tent. Additionally, if the conditions are suitable, clear away the snow to expose the dirt and flatten the spot using either your boots or tools. Subsequently, go inside your tent and using your knees, smoothen the ground area where you plan to sleep to prevent snow from melting and later refreezing, and is now harder to manipulate.
8. Warm up with a hot water bottle
A hot, non-insulated stainless-steel water bottle inserted in your sleeping bag at night radiates heat comparable to a sauna. Try to tuck this makeshift heater close to your neck, your inner thigh, and your core since these are the most crucial areas.
If you do not like stainless steel, you can use BPA-free material although when heated, dangerous elements leak into the water inside this container. It is for this reason that it is preferable to use 100% stainless steel bottles.
9. Winter camping tips – Protect your electronics
During cold weather, battery power gets drained very fast, or at times they can be permanently damaged. Always store your batteries, fuel canisters or any other electronic gadget in your sleeping bag to prevent them from freezing and still consider purchasing an extra length sleeping bag for this duty.
Most of the electronics have minimum and maximum storage capacity as well as temperature range to operate on therefore always check these before going into the wilderness. Furthermore, charging or even running an electronic gadget outside the designated temperature can lead to irreparable damage.
10. Managing tent camping during high-wind nights
Always consider checking the tent’s rigging after every hour whenever there are high winds. Likewise, waiting for an extended period before checking and tightening the line on your tent may damage the tent making it impossible to control. Having a smaller surface area where the gusty, cold air and wind are pushing against your rigging is much better.
Whenever you go on an adventure in areas that features unpredicted high winds consider purchasing a tent that has a maximum wind rating.
11. Sleeping with boiling water at your feet
You can boil some water for drinking in the morning and store it in a container, then put on socks and place the container at your feet for warmth.
Always consider using containers that are specifically designed to carry hot water and be careful when draining the water into the container.
12. Winter camping tips – Do not cook in the tent
While in camping tents, using a stove is considered to be a recipe of destruction. Cooking in a tent can lead to fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, carbon monoxide removes oxygen from the body, and this leads to somebody parts such as the brain which depend on oxygen to suffocate.
Always consider choosing a spot to cook outside the tent, and you can use a waterproof tarp. During severe weather, you can consider cooking in the tent but ensure that there is sufficient ventilation.
13. Exercise before going to bed.
Going to bed without doing any exercise is a sure way of shivering throughout the night. Therefore doing some 50 jumping jacks and jogging or even chasing your friends around the camp will help you to generate some heat. This heat is as a result of your heart pumping and assists in creating warmth.
14. Eat to generate warmth and energy
Adapting to eating food will eventually help in keeping you warm all night long. Furthermore, when the body burns sugar, it produces heat which will then help to keep you warm throughout. Whenever we take a warm porridge, it helps in generating heat; hence you become warmer. You should always keep in mind that our body needs to maintain a certain level of temperature and calories to survive camping during winter.
14. Creating a space heater for your tent.
Consider creating a space heater for the tent before putting off your camping fire during the night. Once you have a heating space for your tent, you will receive extra warmth from the fire. Besides, you can use the fire to boil some water and store it in a non-insulated stainless steel bottle or a hard-plastic bottle as well, and it will help to radiate heat just like a sauna.
15. Always sleep in clean clothes –
winter camping tips another important is always sleep in clean clothes. To prevent our sleeping bags from losing its insulation power consider sleeping with clean clothes since our body oils, dirt, as well as sweat, affects the insulation power of the bad over time. Before sleeping, consider putting on long clean underwear and socks for added warmth.
16. Keep your boots in the tent
When you keep your hiking shoes in the tent, they will become warmer by some degrees unlike leaving them outside. Likewise, this will make the boot more pleasant to wear in the morning. So, if the boots have a removable liner you can put them in your sleeping bag this will help in keeping them warmer and more comfortable to put on in the morning.
17. Keep your matches in a metal, not plastic container
We all know the importance of fire in our daily lives Because It helps us cook food and stay warm. If you’re one of those people who love cold weather camping, it is advisable to keep the matches in a metal container. Plastic can break when exposed to cold.
18. Winter camping tips – charge your battery fully
Since winter nights are long, always ensure that your GPS, headlamp as well as phone batteries are fully charged. Make sure you carry extra batteries while going out for camping. Furthermore, lithium batteries perform typically well in cold weather, but at times they can overpower some electronic devices like a headlamp. You can use alkaline batteries if your device can not work with lithium batteries, but the alkaline batteries drain power faster in comparison to lithium batteries.
19. Fill spaces that are in your tent floor
The interior space will become warmer when you have a bunch of space on the floor of your tent. Furthermore, always have your backpack inside and other belongings this will help in creating extra warmth since your belongings will act as an insulator against the cold that comes from the ground.
20. Use your backpack as a sleeping bag add-on
if you’ve turfed most of your tools out of your backpack and it’s just sitting to your tent, you could pull it up over your feet and knees after you’re in your sound asleep bag for a bit of more warm temperature.
What are you waiting for? Go out and enjoy one of our winter camping tips! Try winter camping once and you won’t be able to do without it. Tell us what you think about these winter camping tips by dropping your comment in the comments section below!