Winter is ever-changing and unpredictable. One day it’s spitting sleet, and the next day it's sunny and 0 degrees. Typically camping is saved for the first warm spring day or those cool summer evenings, but there are perks to getting out in the winter. These seven tips will get you out of the house, under the stars, and prepared for everything winter have to offer—good and bad.
1. Find Your Destination
Many campgrounds are seasonal. A site you frequent in the spring might not open until April, so it’s always a good idea to check the park’s website to be sure. If the park doesn’t specify dates most likely it’s open.
2. Travel Safely
In photo: OROS Orion Parka perfect for any winter hike.
If anything is certain it’s that you don’t know what the weather’s going to do. The weather forecast can’t always be trusted and with that comes the possibility of hazardous travel. When looking for a weekend spot to camp, choose a campground that is close to home and/or not too off the beaten path. A safe and stressless drive will make for an awesome trip.
3. Gear Up
This is probably the most important part of prepping for a winter camping trip. If it’s a weekend in the 60s with a 50 percent chance of rain, your best bet is to pack light layers and a good shell (see the OROS Rover Hybrid Jacket). For colder days and nights, bring thicker layers (like the Essential Quarter Zip or the Discovery Jacket). Always bring fire starters, like lint, because most likely you’ll be needing to dry off some wood. When gathering wood look under brush and leaves for the driest stuff. Bring liquid fuel stoves and extra fuel in case you can’t get the fire hot enough
4. Stay Warm While You Sleep
If the forecast is showing lows in the 20s and 30s at night, be sure and pack your warmest sleeping bag. Keeping warm while you sleep is essential. If it’s one of those snowy days, the four-season tent is a must, along with thicker layers and long johns. We suggest layering up with our warmest fleece on the market: the Discovery Fleece. This fleece is made with SolarCore Technology Insulation. Designed from NASA, this technology will keep you warm in any condition.
5. Protect Your Feet
Keep those socks dry. A good wicking, merino wool sock and waterproof boots will be your best friends. Keep them in the tent at night so they’ll stay dry. Remember that wet boots and socks will freeze even if the low is only in the 30s.
6. Place Your Tent With Intention
With unpredictable weather comes random blasts of high wind and short, torrential downpours. Place your tent in a spot that has good wind coverage, keeping in mind the direction of the wind as to not have smoke billowing into the tent. Always have the rainfly ready or already on to avoid those midnight surprises.
To play it safe, bring all of your gear (especially boots and clothes) into the tent when you go to sleep. Waking up to soaking bags and gear is never fun and can make the rest of the trip much more difficult than necessary.
7.Have a Positive Mindset
The best thing to do going into a winter camping weekend is to decide early on to keep a positive mindset. Sure, you may wake up in the middle of the night to crazy wind or snow flurries, but if you prepare yourself and look at everything positively, you’ll always receive good things back. Camping in the winter is worth all of the hardship it may bring, so get out there and camp away.
Adventure on explorers.