Winter Camping Checklist

When snow falls and temperatures drop; campsites get less crowded. Naturally, the fear of being cold prevents even the most avid campers to set up their tents in the freezing weather.

But there is no reason why you should cancel your camping adventure only because it’s too cold outside. When you invest in the right gear that keeps you comfortable and warm, you can have a great time camping outdoors even during the winter season.

In addition to having all the essential winter camping gear, you must bring all accessories that you would need throughout your camping adventure to withstand cold temperatures.

Another important aspect of winter camping is to decide whether you are planning a trailer or a tent camping adventure. Both types of camping work with different checklists. Trailers are highly recommended to camp in winter since you may not be able to use a propane or gas heater in the tent during the cold season.

If you are planning as a couple, you may not require a lot of gear to fuel your camping pursuits. However, when you are heading out with a large group of people, make sure you have packed all the basic equipment to enjoy an exciting winter camping experience

Here is our checklist for a memorable winter camping trip.

Ultra-warm Sleeping Bag

There is no camping without a sleeping bag, especially in winter. When you want to curl up and close your eyes after a long hike, a warm sleeping bag welcomes you with the warmth and comfort you seek.

Invest in a good sleeping bag that will keep you toasted and soothe your tired muscles. Choose a sleeping bag that gives you a temperature rating below than what you are likely to experience on a campsite. This is because the assigned ratings are usually approximations.

Buy a sleeping bag that is large enough to suit your built. Make sure your sleeping bag has enough space to let you layer up in freezing cold conditions.

You will also have to choose between a natural down and synthetic fill. Consider the climate of your campsite before buying a model. Synthetics are recommended in went environments whereas natural down is more appropriate for dry winter.

Never settle for cheap or mediocre sleeping bags that fail to provide the comfort you are looking for to keep you warm on a cold camping night.

Four-Season Tent

A four-season tent is another indispensable item that you must include in your winter camping checklist. Purchase a robust model that offers the maximum protection against the forceful winter winds. A good winter camping tent has solid walls to keep you insulated and provides a covered place. It also serves as a valuable shelter to keep all your gear safe and accessible.


Since you will need some extra room to stack accommodate winter accessories; invest in a product that offers maximum capacity. This will help you to stores all your supplies and additional clothing items without carrying too many bags. Go for a 70 or 80 plus liter bag to let you enjoy multiple camping nights in the cold.

Telescoping or Folding Shovel

First-time campers can easily forget this handy tool, which serves a great deal for scooping out snow. You can also use it for gathering snow for melting water and to create a snow shelter in case of an emergency.


Your winter camping venture can never go wrong when you have the right clothing gear to keep yourself warm and safe. The only thing to remember about camping in winter is layering.

Go for moisture-wicking and long-sleeved base-layer, a fleece mid-layer and an outer shell, which can also be a puffy jacket. You must also include other winter accessories such as a wool hat, gloves or mittens. Carry an extra pair if you lose any of these accessories along the trip.

It is also recommended that you go for wool or synthetic socks to manage moisture throughout your camping trip. Most campers opt for wearing two pairs of socks. You can wear a liner-style to wick the moisture and then layer it up with a thick wool pair for adding some comfortable cushioning.

Moreover, also include waterproof boots in your checklist, particularly with removable liners. Campers can also choose plastic boots if they are fond of skiing. Opt for gaiters to add extra warmth to your footwear. Campers like to sleep wearing wool socks that keep their toes warm in a sleeping bag. This also relieves tired and achy feet after a tiring day of trekking.

Carry extra jackets, socks, base layers, and hats to keep you and family protected. Always check for weather updates before planning a winter camping trip so you have no chances of being caught in unexpected weather conditions.

Snowshoes or Skis

It is not uncommon for winter campers to rely on skis or snowshoes to move around. These are efficient for staggering through the drifts and also serve as deadmen-style weights to anchor your tent.

Cooking and Eating

Regular campers are aware of the fact that butane gas canisters are useless in winters since they freeze.

This is why most campers prefer busing a large liquid fuel camp stove to cook throughout the camping experience. These are also more reliable and easier to light. When it comes to food; it is important that you pack all vital ingredients to provide you enough fuel during the entire camping venture.

It is natural for the body to burn more calories in an attempt to keep your core temperature at a healthy level. Make it a point to pack healthy ingredients and prepare meals that keep you fuller for longer periods of time.

Drink plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated. You can also prepare chicken broths, soups and snacks at home and freeze them before your camping trip. This way you can just heat them up for fixing a quick snack or dinner if you are camping for just a day.

It is also highly recommended to start off the day with a power-packed white chia porridge breakfast. You can also have oatmeal or eggs to give you enough calories to sustain the cold.

When you are camping in winter, make sure you have fatty and carb-rich recipes to keep you warm inside your tent. If you plan to ski or hike throughout your camping trip; make sure you are carrying enough food to help you enjoy all these activities without feeling drained out.

Moreover, cooking isn’t a great idea on a cold and chilly night when all you want to do is to curl up inside your sleeping pack. Save your cooking and preparation time by planning simple recipes that do not take too much of your time. You should also make it a point to conserve fuel in case you need it for melting snow for water.

There are plenty of freeze-dried meals that are immensely popular amongst winter campers. They are easy to prepare and will also help you to use as less fuel as possible.


Most campers forget how important it is to stay hydrated when camping in winter. Rigorous physical activity such as skiing, shoveling, and hiking can leave you dehydrated and affect you before you know it.

Bring enough water to help you stay hydrated. You can also bring insulated water flasks for the whole group to make sure everyone is having enough water to face the challenges of winter camping.

Other Items to Add to your Checklist

Apart from insulated and waterproof clothing, a good food supply to fuel your camping adventure and other important accessories; there are many things you would need to camp out in winter. You must keep things dry during the entire trip. This is why it is recommended that you keep matches in a plastic airtight container or a ziplock bag. Moreover, keep some duct tape on hand which is immensely helpful when you are outdoors.

We all love solar power. But this is not the time to rely on your solar powered devices to offer any convenience. Go for traditional and conventional charging methods to keep your devices alive when you are camping out in winter. Don’t forget to keep spare batteries for your flashlight or torch in case you have to spend more time as expected at a campsite.

Final Thoughts

Staying warm is the key to enjoying a fun-filled camping adventure in freezing cold. Moreover, also pay attention to conserving fuel and carrying all the necessary items you would require to protect yourself from the freezing cold. Campers who plan to camp in an RV or trailer must make sure they have winterized their vehicle to sustain the freezing temperatures. This is important for preventing freezing water lines at low temperatures, which can be a nightmare for campers.

One of the best ways to stay warm is to light up a campfire. Since it is difficult to find firewood on the ground in the winter season; make sure you have enough to keep you warm on a cold chilly night.

Jim Sabellico
Author: Jim Sabellico

Jim Sabellico is the founder of, and an avid outdoors fan who loves traveling the world with his family, cooking over an open campfire and all things outdoorsy. When Jim isn't camping, he's running his marketing agency J. Louis.

Jim Sabellico

Jim Sabellico

Jim Sabellico is the founder of, and an avid outdoors fan who loves traveling the world with his family, cooking over an open campfire and all things outdoorsy. When Jim isn't camping, he's running his marketing agency J. Louis.

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