Just because summer has come to an end doesn’t mean your camping adventures have to stop, as well. Sure, more gear may be required, but cold weather camping can be just as much fun – and there are a lot less bugs! Check out these tips to keep you warm and safe during your cool weather camping.
Warmth is key here so make sure your camp wardrobe includes waterproof insulated gloves, sturdy waterproof, winter tread boots, and base layer tops and bottoms. Waterproof and/or thermal socks and a wool beanie can round out the winter camping wardrobe. Rule of thumb – dress in layers.
From a gear perspective, your tent should be rated 3-season or 4-season which means it is strong and sturdy enough to withstand heavy snowfall and high winds. One key factor in these tents is that any venting is typically nylon fabric versus mesh to keep drafts at bay.
Don’t mess with trying to pack on the clothes when it comes to sleeping and keeping warm. If cold weather camping really is your thing, invest in a thermal sleeping bag. Marmot and North Face have several options. A good rule of thumb is to look at the bag’s advertised rating and add 10 degrees Fahrenheit to it. So a bag rated to 15 degrees will be good in temperatures close to 25 degrees. Sleeping bag liners are another option for added warmth.
A watertight, weather-resistant camp stove is another good idea for cold weather camping. Check out the Yukon Shelter from Solo Stove. Minimize cook times by making one-dish meals like hearty stews or casseroles and remember, it takes longer to cook food outdoors in cold weather.
Other cold weather camping tips include:
Insulation is key when it comes to prepping your rig for camping when temps dip. This means ensuring windows and doors have a tight seal and weather stripping is in place. Make sure your hoses are wrapped with foam insulation tubes and heat tape. Experts also recommend installing skirting around the exterior base of the RV to keep heat in to help keep pipes from freezing. Indoors, thermal curtains are also on option for keeping the cold at bay.
Consider investing in a holding tank heater, especially if you plan on heading where temps dip below freezing. Holding tank heaters can typically range between $100 and $500. These are simple to install pads that attach to the tanks but are well worth the investment and install time to keep you from a frozen tank disaster.
Invest in good electric blankets and a portable space heater to keep all the campers happy and warm when inside the RV. Two space heater options are available from REI – Mr. Heater Little Buddy Heater which heats up to 95 square feet (approx. cost $105) or the Mr. Heater Portable Buddy that heats spaces up to 225 square feet (approx. cost $125).
Other good items to have on hand for winter camping:
- A cordless heat gun to de-ice stabilizer blocks or door locks
- Tire chains, cables, and traction mats
- A Shop Broom to help brush snow and ice off the rig
If you’re looking for winterizing ideas, check out some of the RV blogs on the internet including posts on outdoorsy.com.
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