While most people are getting ready to hibernate during the Winter months, there are some of us who long to be outside in the crisp, fresh air.  Camping in the Winter is so exhilarating!  As long as we have the proper cold weather camping gear,  our winter camping experiences can be both comfortable AND exciting!  Cold weather camping gear is similar to 3-season camping gear, but there is more emphasis placed on warmth and toughness.  We will take a look now at the proper gear for braving the winter elements . . .




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    • Tents  –  It is very important to have a tent or shelter that is able to withstand tough winter weather.

    • A 3-season tent will work if there is no heavy winter weather predicted, and if you will be camping below the treeline.

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    • A 4-season tent is highly recommended if there will be heavy snowfall and/or high winds in your camping weather forecast.

  • A larger sized tent would probably come in handy.  If you purchase a tent larger than the amount of people that will be sleeping in it, this will allow you to have more room to store items that you want to protect from the inclement weather.



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    Sleeping Bags  – It will be to your advantage to err on the side of caution to ensure you will be warm and toasty during the long, cold, winter nights.

  • Cold weather sleeping bags have three distinguishing factors:

  • 1)  They have draft tubes behind their zippers

  • 2)  They have draft collars above their shoulders

  • 3) They have hoods to help hold body heat in the sleeping bags

  • For added protection, you can add a sleeping bag liner.  This extra layer adds anywhere from 5 – 25  degrees of warmth, as well as helping to keep your sleeping bag cleaner and maximize wear.

  • Sleeping Pads  –  Cold weather sleeping pads will provide you with essential insulation and cushioning.

  • For cold weather camping, it is highly recommended to use two full length sleeping pads.  This will ensure you will not lose body heat on snowy or frozen surfaces.  Your best bet would be to use a closed cell foam pad close to the ground, then a self-inflating pad on top.  You will receive the best insulation from the cold ground this way, as well as extra protection just in case the self-inflated pad happens to get punctured.

  • Consider The R-Factor

  • Sleeping pads are rated by R-Value, which is the measurement of insulation.  The R-Value ranges from 1.0 to 8.0, and the higher the R-Value is, the better the sleeping pad will insulate.  Cold weather sleeping pads will usually have an R-Value of 4.0 or higher.



  • Camping/Backpacking Stoves   –

    Most liquid-fuel and some canister stoves are good choices for cold weather camping.

  • Liquid-fuel stoves run on white gas, which burns clean and hot, and they will perform well in temperatures below freezing.  Their disadvantages are that they tend to be heavier and are slower to boil than canister stoves are.   There are some multi-level stoves that also run on unleaded auto gasoline, jet fuel, and/or diesel fuel.  This feature makes them a good choice if you will be traveling internationally with them.

  • Canister Stoves are compact, lightweight, and quick to boil.  Their main disadvantage is that they all do not work well in colder temperatures.  If you decide on a canister stove, look for one that features a pressure regulator.  In extremely cold weather,  a canister may depressurize, which will cause it to produce a weaker flame.  A pressure regulator can prevent this from happening.  A couple more tips would be to keep your fuel canister in your sleeping bag at night, and carry the canister in your coat pocket while you are around camp and getting ready to cook.  Doing these things could greatly enhance your canister stove’s performance.

  • Stove Tips:

  • Bring a backup.  You may want to have a backup stove, just in case your primary stove stops working.  A second stove will also speed up cooking time when preparing larger meals.

  • Bring extra fuel.  You will use more fuel the higher in altitude you go.  Also, remember that it takes extra fuel to melt snow for drinking water.

  • Place your fuel canister in water.  By doing this, you will be keeping the canister temperature above freezing.  You should have a flat-bottomed bowl that is just large enough to fit the canister, then pour a little amount of water in the bowl, and keep the canister in the bowl in your tent or shelter,  away from the harsh, cold elements of the winter weather conditions.

We have covered the very basic cold weather camping gear here.  Hopefully,  this article was helpful in getting you prepared for some exhilarating winter camping adventures.  Please feel free to leave your comments, questions, or any additional information that you would like to add,  in the comment section below, and I will respond as soon as I possibly can . . .  I look forward to hearing from you!!!



In my next article, I will be covering the topic What To Look For In A pair Of  Cold Weather Hiking Boots.  Have a great day, and I hope to see you back soon!

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