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Hi, we're Georgina and Nathan, college friends turned travel partners. We're coffee and animal-loving adventure enthusiasts here to share our favorite travel tips with you! Our goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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  • Georgina D'Angelo

What to Bring Camping in Winter

Updated: Feb 8

FREE Winter Camping Checklist for Car + Tent Camping

What to Pack for Camping in Winter

This article may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through one of them. Alpacka My Bags is by no means responsible for any products or services purchased with any third-party provider.


Yes, camping in winter can be fun.

You might get crazy looks when you tell people you're going camping in winter. In fact, you might be a little crazy, but don’t worry, you’re not alone! We think winter is still a great time to go camping. This helpful camping checklist is for those who plan on going car camping, tent camping, or rooftop tent camping at an established campsite in winter.


Sure, it gets really cold in winter pretty much everywhere, but it can still be very fun. For example, December, the middle of winter in the US, turns out to be a great time to visit Guadalupe National Park. Because it gets quite chilly, no one wants to go camping. Which for you means empty trails, plenty of space at your campsite, and generally no noisy neighbors.


Read Also: Car Camping Checklist


While camping in the desert is a great option for winter camping, it still gets really cold at night. So be prepared, stay warm, and you’ll enjoy your winter camping trip immensely! Let’s get to the details now; what to bring camping in winter.


Winter Camping in Guadalupe Mountains National Park - How to Pack for Camping

Please keep in mind, this is for winter camping where it stays above 20°F. Plan for freezing weather, and then bring more warmth just to be safe. Make sure you print our FREE camping checklist available below!


How to Pack for Camping in Winter


Layers

You want to pack layers when camping in winter. They will be your best friend. While it will most likely be "cold" all day and night, it can range from bitter cold to chilly and everywhere in between.


You don't want to only pack thick heavy clothes and have no other option to wear. If you get sweaty during winter camping, your sweat will freeze or get very cold, in turn making you very cold. So bring layers you can add to; you still want to be able to stay cool when camping in winter.


camping in winter

Blankets and More Blankets

Your next best friend, after warm, comfy layers will be blankets! Having an extra supply on hand will come in very handy. You might need an extra layer in your sleeping bag. Or maybe you want to sit around the campfire, but you still need some extra warmth. Grab a down blanket, wrap yourself up like a burrito, and let campfire relaxing commence.


These also come in handy when waking up early for a hike or sunrise. It's so much easier to get out of bed and get going when you're warmer. Wrap a blanket around yourself and get cooking breakfast while staying warm.


Read Also: Camping with Dogs


Check Campsite Rules on Fires

Rules vary depending on location so take a look at your campsite's rules on fires before you head out. If campfires are allowed, you'll definitely want to prepare for them. Will there be a firepit? Will you need to find firewood? A great alternative to a classic pit fire is a portable firepit that can go everywhere with you!


Knowing you will always have a firepit with you is awesome, especially if you plan on camping often. Whether it's to warm up, cook, make s'mores, or tell ghost stories, having a campfire is always fun (when it is allowed!!!).


camping in winter

Packing Essentials for Camping in Winter

  • Stove

  • Pan

  • Cooking Utensils

  • Spices

  • Food + Snacks

  • Lighter or Matches

  • Propane

  • Utensils

  • Dishes

  • Biodegradable Soap

  • Collapsible Sink

  • Scrubber

  • Trash Bags

  • Sleeping Bag

  • Sleeping Pad (for tent campers)

  • Pillow

  • Tent (for tent campers)

  • Water Bottle

  • Drinking Water

  • Warm Thermal PJs

  • Coat or Thick Jacket

  • Long Pants

  • Thick Socks

  • Long Sleeve Shirts

  • Sweatshirt or Sweater

  • Beanie

  • Warm Boots

  • Gloves

  • Headlamp

  • Lantern

  • Batteries

  • Down Blankets

  • Sunglasses

  • Hand + Feet Warmers

  • Portable Fire Pit (check campsite rules)

  • String Lights (battery operated)


So now you’re prepared for your winter adventure, and you know how to pack for camping! If anyone gives you a hard time for planning an incredible camping trip during the winter, tell them they don’t know what they’re missing. So many people hate on winter, and yes it's cold, but nature is beautiful and deserves admiration in every season.


Are you looking for a great place to go camping in winter? Head to Colorado, home of Rocky Mountain National Park. You can read all about visiting Rocky Mountain National Park in winter on Avenue to Adventure, our friend Sarah's blog!


What to Bring Camping in Winter

Camping in winter is honestly really fun if you prepare correctly. If you have the right clothes and the best sleeping gear, then you’ll be set and you’ll enjoy it! While some places get really dreary and sad in winter, deserts and mountains shine during this time of year. It usually warms up during the day, even in winter, which makes for great hiking. Also, cold weather generally means smaller crowds at campsites!


Happy Camper TIP!

The BEST tip for staying warm and happy during winter camping? Stuff your clothes for the next day in your sleeping bag with you. For starters, it provides more warmth in your sleeping bag, but it also heats your clothes up so they're nice and toasty when you put them on in the cold morning. It's also a good idea to become a pro at changing in a sleeping bag; it's so much nicer than changing in the cold air.


What to Bring Camping - Winter Camping Checklist

So if you want to go camping in winter, but you’re not sure where to go, head over to Guadalupe Mountains or Rocky Mountain National Park! You won’t regret it. Download and print our free camping checklist so you will be well-prepared for your next outdoor winter adventure. Have you ever been winter camping? Let us know below!


Get your own FREE camping checklist now!


Winter Camping Packing List
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aboutus

We're Georgina and Nathan, two adventure enthusiasts and creators of Alpacka My Bags. We're here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 

 

We've been exploring this insane planet that we call home together for over 3 years now. After college, we knew the "traditional career path" was not for us, and honestly the "traditional life path", in general, just wasn't for us.

 

We needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer, it sounds cliché but you do only live once. So we made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that we wanted to share them with others so they can enjoy them too! 

Our passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join us, and often our dog, JoJo, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as we have, we hope you find our tips useful for any and all of your future travels.

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