Astonishingly Essential: What To Bring Camping In Winter

What to Bring Camping in Winter

When the chill of winter sets in and the temperatures drop, it is still possible to enjoy a good camping trip. While your gear list will be slightly longer, surviving the cold can be an incredibly rewarding experience, especially when you are properly prepared.

As an experienced camper with three kids, I know that no camping trip should be taken lightly – regardless of the season. It’s important to be prepared for anything that nature throws at you. In the winter, the main challenge is to stay warm and dry. Here’s a checklist of all the things you need to bring with you on a winter camping trip.

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Essential Gear for Winter Camping

The most important part of camping is having the right gear for the job. Here are a few items that should be at the top of your list if you’re hitting the outdoors for a winter camping trip.

  • Shelter. If you’re car camping, you won’t need a tent. However, if you’re heading into the wilderness, make sure that you have a winter-ready tent that is designed to keep the cold out. If you’re backpacking, a tent might be too heavy. In that case, consider a lighter option like a bivy sack or a tarp.
  • Sleeping Bag. The sleeping bag is perhaps the most important item that you need for a winter camping trip. You want a bag that is rated for cold temperatures and has a good draft collar to keep the cold air out.
  • Insulated Mattress. The cold ground can suck the warmth away from your body. A good insulated mattress can help keep you warm and comfortable while sleeping.
  • Clothing layers. Layering is key on a cold weather camping trip. Make sure that you have plenty of synthetic and wool clothing to layer up. A few items you’ll want in your wardrobe include base layers, mid layers, a beanie, a warm waterproof poncho or raincoat, a warm hat, winter mittens, and waterproof winter boots.
  • Extra Blankets. It’s a good idea to have a few extra blankets that you can use inside your tent or wrap up in while sitting outside.
  • Heat Source. Going out camping in the winter means you need a reliable source of heat. Consider bringing a camp stove along with you but make sure to use the proper fuel and never light it inside your tent. Also, it’s a good idea to bring some extra firewood and/or a camping lantern.

Kitchen Gear for Winter Camping

Having a hot meal and a warm beverage on a cold camping trip can make all the difference. Here are some must-haves for your winter camping kitchen.

  • Stove and Fuel. Nothing beats a hot meal or a hot drink on a cold winter night. Make sure to pick up a stove that is suitable for winter camping and plenty of fuel.
  • Cookware. You’ll need a cast iron skillet, a pot, a heat-resistant bowl, and a pot lid. Bring along some extra cooking utensils, such as a knife or spatula, to make meal prep a breeze.
  • Food and Beverages. Pick up some non-perishable items and hot beverages, and make sure to pack plenty of water in insulated bottles.
  • Thermos. A good thermos will help you keep your drinks hot throughout the day.

Safety Gear for Winter Camping

  • First Aid Kit. A good first aid kit should include gauze, bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, pain relievers, and any other items that would be necessary in case of an emergency.
  • GPS. In the winter, navigating can be difficult, so a GPS unit is essential.
  • Fire Starter. You want to make sure that you can quickly get a fire going to warm up or to dry out your clothes. A lighter, matches, and a fire starter can do the job.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight. A headlamp or flashlight can help you safely navigate in the dark.
  • Compass. A reliable compass should also be brought along in case your GPS signal fails.

At first glance, winter camping may seem like a daunting task. But with a little preparation and knowledge, you can have a safe, enjoyable winter camping experience.


Camping in the winter can be an exhilarating experience that you will never forget. It’s important to have the right gear to stay safe and comfortable in cold weather. With this checklist, you’re sure to have an amazing winter camping trip. Be sure to check out the Camp Kulin Shop for all of your winter camping and hiking needs.

Check out this handy YouTube video on what to bring camping in winter: