These tips for staying warm winter camping will help you realize there is no reason to put your camping gear into storage when temperatures drop, lakes freeze, and snows fall. Winter camping offers no bugs, no crowds, and a whole new perspective on the great outdoors.
These few tips can help make your subzero camping an above average experience.
- My feet have been the warmest with one-inch soft foam liners wrapped around each foot, and covered with air force canvas mukluks.
- Use layers of socks: First, silk or thinner polypropylene socks. Then, thick wool socks.
- I like wool sweaters and wool pants, but polypropylene underwear (such as Under Armour) next to my skin sure is nice.
- Before you jump in your sleeping bag, run down the trail a couple hundred yards and back. If you get your body warmed up – but not up to sweating – when you strip down to your long underwear, you won’t notice the cold.
- When you decide to get up in the morning, scramble out of your sleeping bag, quickly throw on just your boots (keep them next to you), and take another run down the trail and back. Your blood will be warmed up, and you can relieve yourself and get dressed in comfort.
- Before you sleep out in the cold bush, I’d advise some testing in someone’s cold backyard – or some place where you can get warm if it ain’t working – to see what sleeping bag situation works for you.
- I have kept warm at twenty below zero using one sleeping bag inside a heavy nylon outer shell, and also with using two summer sleeping bags, one inside the other. If you aren’t in a tent, spread a tarp over you to keep any new snow off your sleeping bag and other gear. The tarp also adds some thermal protection.
- Wear a wool or polypropylene stocking cap to bed.
- Keep moving, but avoid heavy sweating. Moving is good for warmth, but pace yourself as you gather firewood, build a quinzhee, snowshoe, or perform other camp activities.
- Carry more than one pair of gloves (or mittens) and glove liners. Wet gloves are close to worthless for warmth.
- Now is the time to eat lots of chocolate to keep your calorie furnace stoked.