Winter Camping Tips
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When it comes to camping, there’s a few things we’ve learned about camping in the Winter. Firstly: It’s cold, and secondly, how to keep ourselves warm. And we have a few tips to make the most of it.
In fact, we have 25 of them.
Knowing how to stay warm when camping comes with a few noggin nuggets and a hint of preparation in order to make sure it’s comfortable.
How to Stay Warm When Camping
So, heres out top tops to keep you snug when Winter camping:
Arrive Early for Daylight Pitching
First on the list is a pretty vital consideration. The last thing you want is to be trying and failing to pitch a tent in the dark. And, with it being Winter, it’s likely you’ll lose daylight by 4PM or 5PM. Another thing to have at the front of your noggin would be to have a sloping-side pop-up tent just for ease. This, by the way, really helps when you’re learning how to stay warm when camping with kids.
Be Sure to Layer Up the Thermals
This one might seem like a given, but they’re called thermals for a reason. A lot of them (when you take a closer look at the label) are made out of soft heat-conducting materials like merino wool. So, don’t miss out. Heck, try and layer up with a couple of thermals to reach the ultimate Winter camping benefit.
Be Sure to Take a First Aid Kit
Again, this one is a bit of a given. Plus, it should be a part of your camping kit no matter whether you’re heading out in the Sumer, Spring, Winter or Autumn. That said, there are a few extra things to pack to ensure everyone is safe. For example, a thermometer, a space blanket, extra painkillers, absorbent compress dressings and some heat cream.
Consider an Electric Hook-Up and Portable Heater
While we suggest using heightened caution when camping with electricals and heating elements, they can be a lifesaver for knowing how to stay warm when camping. To find out more about using an electric hook-up (whether you’re gathering
Winter camping tips for a tent or a van), have a read of our other article; “How to Make an Electric Hook-Up for Camping”.
Don’t Sleep in Every Item of Clothing
This one might sound counterintuitive. However, the last thing you want to do is sleep comfortably in all your clothes and then wake to a cold breeze without any option for layering. As well as this, when you’ve found the right sleeping bag (such as a season four sleeper insulated with down), you’ll conduct your own heat during the night. So, remove a few layers to survive camping in Winter outdoors and reduce the night sweats!
Get Yourself a Sleeping Bag Liner
A sleeping bag liner is an extra layer that goes into the sleeping bag and separates you from the cold ground. It’s worth noting that a couple of groundsheets won’t do the trick but can be a good addition if you can carry them. You can grab yourself a blow-up sleeping bag liner that adds some extra height for comfort, too. That way, making sure you survive camping in Winter is just as much about comfort as it is being safe.
Here’s our top picks
Have Clothing That Uses Down Insulation
Thinking back a couple of Winter camping tips, we’ve already touched on this point. Choosing things such as jackets, mittens and sleeping bags that are made using down insulation provide a great heat to weight ratio. This means you’ll only have to think about the one or two layers without having to carry a number of heavyweight clothing items like a woollen jumper.
Keep Your Head Outside the Covers
This one might be a bit of a surprise when thinking about how to stay warm when camping. It can feel instinctual to put your head under the sleeping bag to help generate some heat. Which, at first, is a good idea. However, when you’re falling asleep, make sure your head stays out of the bag. This is because your breath generates moisture which can lead to a sweaty and condensation-filled sleeping bag and an even colder wake-up in the morning.
Lay Underneath Your Sleeping Bag
Even if you’re warm when you first head to bed in your season four Winter tent, there’s a chance the temperature will significantly drop when you nod to sleep. It could be electrical devices or your movement that increases the temperature. But the temperature does drop throughout the night, especially when there’s no
movement or electrical devices working in the background. So, one of our Winter camping tips is definitely to make sure you’re in or under your sleeping bag!
Make Sure You’ve Got In-Tent Activities Planned
Especially when you have little ones huddling around you under the snowy night sky, you need to have an armada of inside-tent activities planned. You might want to hike outside but change your plans when you experience the cold (or potential rain). So, having a good book will make your night when you survive camping in Winter!
Also see: Indoor camping activities for kids
Never Forget the Sun Protection Factor 50
We did say this was in our list of Winter camping tips! SPF is something that far too many forget or overlook. When it comes to the Winter sun, it’s just as strong as in the Summer. Sometimes, it can be stronger. When you have a sheet of snow or ice greeting you with the camping sunrise, it can reflect UV rays and cause sun damage to exposed skin such as on your face.
Pack a Wind Breaker for Shielding
Winter winds can be fierce. So, a good consideration for how to stay warm when camping is to remember a wind breaker. They can come in many forms from being an extra tent cover to being a one-sided sheet that extends out of the snow to – literally – break the wind. Luckily, as they can come in a variety of sizes, they don’t necessarily add too much to your backpacking weight.
Pack With the Worst-Case Scenario in Mind
We know what it’s like, the forecast is looking good, the plans are in place and you’re excited for your escape into the British Winter wonderland for a magical camping experience with the snow. Although, even if it seems everything is set for a good trip to survive camping in Winter, things can go lob sided. So, it’s important to be prepared. Whether this means taking extra water-proof layers, getting the Winter tyres on the car or packing extra snacks, be prepared!
Survive Camping in Winter
It’s cols camping in Winter. There’s non getting around it, but it’s really fun, and if you do it right, you don’t have to spend the whole time shivering. Here’s some more ways to make sure that doesn’t happen!
Pick a Smaller Tent for Heat Retention
Physics 101 states that how to stay warm when camping in Winter means making
sure the sleeping area is kept small. The more space you have, the more air you have
to heat up and maintain warmth. Of course, if you’re not heading out on a Winter
adventure alone, don’t opt for a one-man tent. But if you are a lone wanderer,
maybe even consider a bivvy bag.
Place Your Water-Holding Items Upside-Down
One of our Winter camping tips relates not just to keeping yourself warm but
keeping the rest of your items warm. With the crisp Winter air, it can be dry. That
said, you might need extra water to keep yourself hydrated and maintain energy
usage. So, it’s important your water (or any other liquid supply) doesn’t freeze in the
cold. And, because ice forms from the top to the bottom, turn your things upside
down. That way, when you go to have a drink, you’ll at least have a drinkable layer of
Put Your Shoes in Plastic Bags Overnight
This one actually makes two tips to survive camping in Winter. The first is that you
shouldn’t keep your dirty shoes outside or in the tent hallway as you would with
Summer. The second is that you should put your shoes in plastic bags and by your
side. This helps to keep dirt outside of the tent, maintain the warmth within the
shoes and keep any smelly feet odours from seeping throughout the tent during the
Research the Area for an Escape
When we say this, what we mean is making sure you know what amenities are
closest to you, which direction you need to head in, whether you’ll have phone
signal or not and the legalities of your camping. You never know when you might
need to escape the escape. Plus, if you’re wanting to know more about the legalities
of camping, we’ve got it right here in “Where Can I Go Camping for Free in the UK?”
Shake Your Sleeping Bag Before Getting In
Heading back into the physics lesson for our Winter camping tips, we’ve got kinetic
energy and our sleeping bag. When you want to know how to stay warm when
camping in the cold, it means getting to grips with movement. When you shake your
sleeping bag, you’re removing pockets or air and increasing the kinetic energy
around the sleeping bag (which generates heat).
Stomp-Down Any Snow Around You
This one is less about knowing how to stay warm when camping and more of a
general tip for how to survive camping in Winter. When you’re wild camping on a
sheet of snow, you’ll want to stomp it and compact it. This secures your sleeping
location for the night while removing pockets of air that could make you colder!
Take a Hat to Protect Your Head
- In the past, people have said that 50% of heat is lost through the head. And, while
- it’s certainly a large percentage, it’s been found to not be so high. That said, we’ve
- made the mistake of not protecting that heat. So, we suggest making sure you’ve got
a nice hat or two (such as a woollen beanie). When you wear them throughout the
day and while you sleep, you’ll be ensuring your body heat stays with you. Also, with
the hat hair that will follow, you might not want to take it off, anyway.
Take an Abundance of Hand Warmers
We cannot say this enough. Take hand warmers. If you’re questioning whether
you’ve got enough, you’ve not got enough. One for each hand multiplied by every
few hours in the in the day will do. This makes sure you’ve got extras to place around
you to survive camping in Winter nights while keeping the all-important finger
dexterity. That said, you should invest in reusable hand-warmers to help save the
nature you’re camping in!
Take an Easy-Access Onesie for Toilet Trips
You won’t see this in many of the other hundred sites providing you Winter camping
tips, but this one is a personal favourite. First things first is knowing that your body
uses vital body heat and energy holding in your pee. So, when nature calls, let it go!
As well as this, we’ve found that easy access onesies are the warmest option for
heading out of the tent for that vital call while giving optimum heat-inducting
Take High-Energy Food and Snacks
High energy foods like nuts, energy bars and chocolate (yes, this is your complete
hall pass to indulge) are perfect for knowing how to stay warm when camping. When
in the wild, you use more energy hiking, pitching, cooking and maintaining body
heat. So, it’s vital you top-up your energy stores. In fact, heading over your
maintenance calories can help keep you comfortable and warm overnight.
Take Your Essential Camping Stove
A camping stove isn’t just a useful camping tool for heating up dinner in the wild. It’s
a key part of knowing how to stay warm when camping. This is because it boils water
to sterilize, gives you a hot meal, allows you to have a morning coffee and lets you
reset those hand warmers we mentioned earlier. One extra consideration in our
Winter camping tips is to think about taking two. The last thing you need is to be
stranded with a broken or empty gas camping stove!
Try Not to Camp Alone
Last on the list of 25 Winter camping tips is to try and camp with those you love.
Whether it’s your friends, your family or just your cubs, the more people you have,
the more body heat there is to share and the more bodyweight there is to help carry
the Winter packing list to wherever you decide to pitch. Plus, having company (especially seasoned Winter campers) will make your secluded escape all the more fun.