Many campers carefully pack away their gear after Labor Day, but we’re here to inspire you to dig it back out for a snow camping excursion. Snow camping is often relegated to the domain of hardcore climbers, backcountry skiers, and adventurous snowshoers. But it doesn’t have to be a frigid, unpleasant experience. With a little bit of extra planning and ample layers, you can create a cozy basecamp. There are many ways to enjoy the snow, but our tips will help you create an elevated car camping experience. We’ve also highlighted a few of our must-have gear items, so load up your car (don’t forget your chains!) and get ready for a winter escape!
Do: Pick Proper Shelter
Simply put, the shelter you choose will make or break your trip. Winter tents and tarps are essential for a warm night’s sleep or protected gathering space. We’ve included a few suggestions below – but be sure your shelter is classified for three or four-season use. Don’t forget to tamp down the snow before setting up your tent! Also, tent positioning is extra important during the winter – avoid trees with heavy, snowy branches and try to find a spot in the direct sun.
Do: Pack Layers
Insulated outerwear and warm base layers are crucial for an enjoyable winter camping trip. Select garments that are comfortable and easy to layer. Fleece, down and items from our Flexible Insulated line are optimal fabrics. Waterproof outerwear is important, especially if you’re planning any backcountry recreation. Don’t forget to pack a blanket or two for staying cozy by the fire. The NanoLoft Takibi Blanket is an ideal addition to any snow excursion.
A few of our favorite layers: Printed Recycled Nylon Pants or Flexible Insulated Pants, Printed Recycled Nylon Ripstop Down Cardigan, Flexible Insulated Cardigan, MM Thermal Boa Fleece Relax Parka, and Recycled Nylon Ripstop Down Coat. For sleeping, the Bacoo Mummy 550 and the NanoLoft Takibi Blanket.
Do: Plan Hearty Meals
What better way to warm up than a filling stew or chili? Snow camping is the optimal time to source hearty meals that will keep you full and happy all day long. Read our collection of comfort food recipes for inspiration. Consider cooking over the fire in a Dutch Oven or using the Field Oven for some camp pizza. We also recommend packing ingredients for hot beverages such as hot cocoa, tea, apple cider, or coffee. Add your preferred liquor for a bit of extra warmth. Bonus: you don’t need ice for your cooler!
Do: Leave No Trace
Leave nature better than you found it. Wherever you’re camping, hiking, or skiing – pack your trash out. Don’t be the person who attempts to bury any toilet paper in the winter – the ground is too hard, and some poor spring camper will likely make a gross discovery. Also, remember to Recreate Responsibly! Research site availability ahead of time, as some areas are closed during the winter months. Use common sense and avoid risky behaviors that could result in injury.
Don’t: Skimp on Firewood!
Takibi or bonfire is the center of any outdoor gathering, but it takes on new importance in the snowy winter months. A toasty and crackling fire is key to the snow camping experience. Pack more wood than you need because you’ll want to keep the fire going, especially if you’re using it for cooking. Pro tip – the Folding Torch is perfect for drying out damp logs for a less smokey fire!
Don’t: Forget Your Enthusiasm
An enthusiastic attitude is key to any outdoor adventure, but it’s critical in the winter. Bring your winter cheer, your cozy vibes and there’s snow doubt you’ll have an excellent time.