2020 Winter Camping Guide for Beginners | How to Camp in the Winter Step by Step

If you’re itching to get outdoors but the temperatures still haven’t thawed to a level that you find comfortable, then you can still enjoy a camping trip. Winter camping is possible provided that you take into consideration the temperature. Unlike camping in the summer, the cold is going to be one of your biggest enemies. Luckily, this winter camping guide will help you stay safe and have fun.

As outdoor enthusiasts ourselves, we hate being locked up inside of the house because of the snow. However, with a few precautions, we can go camping during the winter just as we would in the summer. We just have to make sure that we are prepared in a different way.

This article will cover some of the following topics. What do you need to take with you when you go winter camping? Why do you need to take those items? How do you set up your campsite for winter camping? What are some pro tips to ensure you enjoy your winter camping and are absolutely safe?

Read on to find out how you can winter camp the safe way!

What You Will Need to Follow This Tutorial

To ensure your campsite is ready to fend off the winter cold and survive through any emergencies, you’ll need the following items to make your camp:

  • Winter tent or tents
  • Proper clothing like thick socks and other thick clothes
  • Tent heater that is solar-powered or easily rechargeable
  • Food and supplies to last several days beyond your trip
  • Emergency plan and supplies
Winter Camping Tent in Snow

Step by Step Instructions

To ensure your winter camping is as safe as possible, here are a few steps that you should follow per your winter camping guide.

1. Making Camp

The first step in your winter camping guide is to make camp. Perhaps the most important concept about your winter campsite is that it’s close to the fire. In the event that your tent heater goes out during the night, your campfire should be able to keep you warm enough until you wake up. One of the worst things that can happen is that your heater goes off, and you end up freezing to death. It’s a real danger that anyone who decides to camp during the winter should understand.

Besides moving your tent closer to the fire, it also needs to be in an area with as limited wind access as possible. Wind chills alone can drive the temperature well below zero.

Finally, ensure you place your food and water in a safe area where wild animals like bears cannot reach it.

2. Eating and Drinking

You’re going to need to eat more when you’re winter camping. This winter camping guide cannot stress enough that you need to bring more food and water with you when you decide to camp during the winter. You burn 2,000 more calories performing exercise in cold temperatures than you do during warmer temperatures. You may be starving to death and not even realizing it.

Keeping your energy up is important for your survival in the winter. You’ll also need to stay hydrated. You may not even realize how thirsty you are because you’re cold. When winter camping, your winter camping guide recommends that you bring extra food and eat it. You’ll want to bring food that offers heavy calories and lots of energy.

For meat-eaters, bring meat that you can cook quickly on a grill like chicken. For plant-eaters, bring along casseroles.

3. Staying Warm

One of the most important parts of this winter camping guide is keeping warm. Hypothermia is the biggest threat to you. Luckily, you can stay warm by bringing a tent heater with you. The best tent heater is one that is solar-powered or can be recharged with kinetic energy. Bring extra batteries for heaters that run on batteries.

You can also prepare for the colder temperatures by wearing more clothes. Thick socks, sweaters, and pants are necessary to keep the wind chill from breaking through the fibers and reaching your skin. As you hike around, it will also preserve your body heat better and keep you comfortable.

You’ll also want to invest in heavy boots. Your feet will have direct contact with the cold ground more than anything else. You need water-resistant and thick boots that can keep your feet insulated and warm no matter how cold.

4. Staying Safe

The final step in your winter camping guide is to stay safe. You don’t want to camp or hike alone. The buddy system is crucial for winter camping. Depending on where you’re camping, avalanches may be a real concern. Having someone with you can make you more aware of your surroundings. They’re also there to call for help if you’re injured or trapped.

You can also bring emergency supplies like extra food, water, and satellite phones along with GPS’s. Your smartphone may not be able to receive service, so you shouldn’t rely on it as your sole means of emergency contact.

Every camping excursion should include an emergency plan. With the supplies to back the plan up, that plan can be executed the moment something bad happens. This plan might involve everyone wearing rope with them or carrying walkie talkies.

Wildlife should also be avoided.

Winter Camping fire in cold forest

Bonus Winter Camping Tips

Some other professional tips that you should consider for maintaining the safety of yourself and your family are as follows.

1. Tell Someone Where You Are

Along with following the advice from this winter camping guide, it’s also important to tell someone who isn’t camping with you where you’re going to be. Whether it’s another family member or a friend, someone who is remaining at home should be told about your plans. In that plan, you should inform them where you are going to be every day. They should know when you are leaving for the trip and when you are supposed to be back.

If you are not back by that scheduled time, then they have the authority to call for help. In the event that something happens on your end, you have a reliable source who will find help for you.

2. Don’t Seal Your Tent Closed

One problem that some people fall prey to is sealing their tents completely. It may seem prudent to keep the cold out, but it can actually kill you. This winter camping guide suggests that you still leave some part of your tent unsealed. Otherwise, you can trap carbon dioxide in the tent with nowhere to go. As more carbon dioxide fills the tent, you struggle to breathe. You can end up passing away in your sleep due to suffocation without even knowing it.

This can also be extended to various tent heaters. Heaters that use propane, for example, can release a powerful chemical that shouldn’t be inhaled directly. A broken seal is necessary to vent the chemical and keep you safe.

3. Go Somewhere You Know

While you may be tempted to explore the great unknown, this winter camping guide suggests that you stick with the familiar. You can leave exploring new locations for warmer temperatures. Camping in the winter can be risky in areas that you’re unfamiliar with. You don’t know all of the exits in the area, where park rangers are located, or what kind of animals exist in the park.

For your first visit somewhere, it might be a better idea to wait until the spring or summer season. Instead, save your favorite places for winter camping experiences. Along with your winter camping guide, it will be much safer.

Step by Step Winter camping guide conclusion image person walking in snow with backpacking gear

2020 Winter Camping Guide | Final thoughts

If you enjoyed this winter camping guide, then be sure to share it with others who love the outdoors. Camping in the winter can be beautiful and present challenges that are enjoyable to overcome. However, it also deserves its own merit of caution. Hypothermia is a real danger for all those who attempt to camp during the winter. By following this guide, informing others of your whereabouts, having adequate supplies, and wearing warm clothing, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip.

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