15 Winter Tenting Ideas

A hiker situating a sleeping bag in a 4-season tent on a winter camping trip.


Winter tenting is a novel expertise that creates life-long recollections. We love snowshoeing, constructing camps, and gathering with pals in our snow kitchens over steaming meals and scorching drinks. Winter tenting may appear tough at first, however it’s really fairly easy and surprisingly snug with the suitable gear.

We hope the following pointers encourage you to get out and take a look at winter tenting for your self.

The Osprey Atmos Backpack has plenty of support and capacity for a load of winter camping gear.

The Osprey Atmos Backpack has loads of help and capability for a load of winter tenting gear.

1. Watch the forecast – It’s essential to pay shut consideration to the climate and plan round it for a secure and profitable winter tenting expertise. We choose to discover a string of days with clear skies or mild snow. Sub-freezing temperatures may be nice you probably have the suitable tools, however the hot button is understanding the bounds of your gear and setting your self up for fulfillment. Proceed to monitor the temperatures, wind, and anticipated precipitation as your journey dates strategy. If situations look too intense, it could be greatest to reassess or postpone your journey.

Snowshoeing with a backpack on is a ton of fun, but it saps energy quickly, so keep mileage goals short.

Snowshoeing with a backpack on is a ton of enjoyable, however it saps vitality shortly, so maintain mileage targets brief.

2. Hold journeys brief & candy – It’s greatest to maintain day by day mileage targets brief for winter tenting journeys, even when you’re in fine condition. Trekking by means of the snow saps your vitality shortly, and also you’ll want to avoid wasting pep to construct your camp while you get there. It’s often fairly straightforward to search out a fantastic, snowy place to arrange a dispersed camp inside a number of miles in Nationwide Forests and wilderness areas. It’s additionally sensible to maintain the size of your journey brief when you’re new to winter tenting. One or two nights out is an efficient take a look at, as a result of damp clothes and kit will get harder to handle the longer you’re out within the components.

Dress in wool or synthetic layers so you can adjust your temperature easily when your activity level changes.

Costume in wool or artificial layers so you may modify your temperature simply when your exercise degree modifications.

3. Study to thermoregulate – Thermoregulation is all about consciousness and understanding the best way to proactively handle your physique’s temperature. Meals, water, clothes, shelter, and bodily exercise are all instruments you need to use to extend your warmth manufacturing and keep in charge of your physique temperature. Put on efficiency clothes that’s made with supplies that dry shortly (like synthetics and wool) and layer to be able to add or take away objects simply when your exercise degree modifications. You’ll overheat shortly when you’re overdressed whereas lively, so costume accordingly to keep away from sweating. When you’re chilly, it’s time so as to add a layer of clothes, get shifting, or gas your physique with meals or a scorching drink. For extra info on layering, head over to our Backpacking and Climbing Clothes 101 submit.

Sipping a hot drink is a great way to raise your body temperature and get your blood flowing when you start to feel chilled.

Sipping a scorching drink is a good way to lift your physique temperature and get your blood flowing while you begin to really feel chilled.

4. Know the indicators of hypothermia – Staying secure and comfy in chilly situations is simple, however it requires you to remain conscious of what your physique is feeling. Hypothermia could be very critical, and happens when the physique’s core is shedding warmth quicker than it may well produce it. If somebody is displaying progressing indicators of hypothermia like uncontrollable shivering, lack of coordination, or modifications in character, it’s time to get them to shelter to vary out of moist clothes and hop right into a heat sleeping bag.

The Therm-a-Rest NeoAir XTherm is the best sleeping pad for cold weather adventures.

The Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XTherm is the perfect sleeping pad for chilly climate adventures.

5. Test temperature rankings on gear – Because you’ll be sleeping on high of the snow, it’s extra essential than ever to have an adequately heat sleeping pad and sleeping bag to insulate you on winter tenting journeys. Most sleeping baggage use EN or ISO rankings, that are standardized methods that maintain temperature rankings constant throughout the trade. The quantity listed with most sleeping baggage (instance: Magma 15) is the decrease restrict, which is the temperature a warm-sleeper will possible nonetheless be snug. We discover that the consolation ranking, which is the temperature a cold-sleeper will sometimes nonetheless be snug, provides a way more reasonable concept of how a bag will carry out. If no consolation ranking is listed, we often estimate an additional 10-15° to the decrease restrict for sleeping baggage. Selecting the best temperature ranking is not a precise science, however taking a look at these numbers is an efficient place to start out. We like to make use of the REI Magma 15 or Western Mountaineering Versalite 10F sleeping baggage with the Therm-a-Relaxation NeoAir XTherm sleeping pad for our winter journeys.

The Feathered Friends Down Booties are a comfy reprieve from your boots while in camp & they can be worn in your sleeping bag to boost warmth.

The Feathered Mates Down Booties are a comfortable reprieve out of your boots whereas in camp & they are often worn in your sleeping bag to spice up heat.

6. Increase sleep system heat –  Carrying a down jacket with a hood inside your sleeping bag will considerably increase your heat. You too can sleep in base layers, a heat hat, gloves, and even your raincoat and pants if issues get really frigid. In case your ft are inclined to get chilly at night time, down booties are an actual recreation changer. We love Feathered Mates Down Booties as a result of they’re tremendous heat they usually have a detachable weather-resistant shell, so you may put on them round camp and in your bag. For notably chilly journeys, we additionally deliver the NEMO Switchback closed-cell foam pad to throw beneath our Therm-a-Relaxation for further insulation.

A foam  pad, like the NEMO Switchback, can be used with an air pad to maximize the warmth of your sleep system.

A foam pad, just like the NEMO Switchback, can be utilized with an air pad to maximise the heat of your sleep system.

7. Insulate your self from the snow when inactive –  A light-weight closed-cell foam sleeping pad, just like the NEMO Switchback, can be utilized together with an air pad to maximise the heat of your sleep system, however it’ll additionally are available clutch while you’re exterior of your tent. Standing, sitting, and kneeling on a foam sleeping pad or sit pad avoids direct contact with the snow and prevents warmth loss.

the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is a bit heavy & has less headroom, but it’s strength & weather protection are excellent for winter trips.

the Mountain Hardwear Trango 2 is a bit heavy & has much less headroom, however it’s energy & climate safety are glorious for winter journeys.

8. Use a 4-Season tent – Winter tenting requires a robust tent with stout poles and thicker material that may stand up to robust winds and the load of a snow load. Snow could be very heavy, and even a skinny layer of it weighs sufficient to buckle many 3-season backpacking tents. 4-season tents are often heavier, have much less headroom, and aren’t as breathable as 3-season tents, however the superior sturdiness and safety they supply is well worth the tradeoff in harsh winter situations. We suggest the Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 and Trango 2, which have a fantastic stability of weight, energy, and climate safety. When you’re in search of an ultralight tent that can be utilized year-round, the Hyperlite Mountain Gear Ultamid 2 is a superb possibility, although it takes a bit of apply to arrange because it’s not freestanding.

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 has ample headroom, a great vent system & a large front vestibule to keep gear out of the snow.

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 has ample headroom, a fantastic vent system & a big entrance vestibule to maintain gear out of the snow.

9. Forestall essential stuff from freezing – The temperature drops dramatically as soon as the solar goes down, leaving consuming water, moist clothes, boots, and liquids (sunscreen, and many others.) inclined to freezing. Batteries additionally are inclined to operate poorly in sub-freezing temperatures, so that you’ll wish to maintain your electronics (like your telephone and headlamp) in a heat pocket near your physique to forestall them from changing into ineffective. We maintain small objects beneath our hats or in inside jacket pockets in the course of the day, and use trash baggage or waterproof stuff sacks to retailer essential moist gear near our our bodies in our sleeping baggage at night time. You too can tuck damp objects, like socks and liner gloves, between your pores and skin and your base layers to dry out. That is barely uncomfortable, however it’s a lot better than placing on frozen garments within the morning!

avalanches can occur on any slanted surface in the right conditions, so it pays to be aware and know your stuff

avalanches can happen on any slanted floor in the suitable situations, so it pays to remember and know your stuff

10. Know avalanche security fundamentals – Avalanches are plenty of snow that move quickly down a hill or mountainside after being triggered, they usually’re one of many largest threats to winter backcountry vacationers. It’s essential to know the best way to spot the purple flags of avalanche hazard so you may keep away from placing your self and others in a harmful scenario. That mentioned, avalanches often occur on steep slopes and are a lot much less possible on mild features. So when you’re simply getting began with winter journey and tenting, you may achieve some expertise with out worrying about avalanche hazard in areas with flat or rolling terrain. Check out your map earlier than you head out. In case your route traverses steep terrain, you must carry an ice axe and know the best way to self arrest. Avalanches can happen on any slanted floor in the suitable situations, so it pays to remember and know your stuff.

A lightweight shovel, like the Backcountry Access B-1 EXT Bomber, is an essential tool for the winter camp.

A light-weight shovel, just like the Backcountry Entry B-1 EXT Bomber, is an important software for the winter camp.

11. Take a shovel – A light-weight snow shovel is without doubt one of the most important objects for winter tenting. Having a shovel might save lives in an avalanche scenario, however it may also be used to degree and pack tent websites, construct a snow shelter, and create a bunch hangout space to cook dinner and collect in. The blade of your shovel may also be used as a platform to stabilize your range. The sky’s the restrict in terms of designing your snow camp, and it’s plenty of enjoyable to construct elaborate camps as a bunch with options like a cooking space with a counter and a seating space with a wind block.

The sun can be really intense on snow camping trips, so make sure to protect your skin & eyes with sunscreen & sunglasses.

The solar may be actually intense on snow tenting journeys, so ensure to guard your pores and skin & eyes with sunscreen & sun shades.

12. Put on sunscreen and sun shades – Don’t underestimate how highly effective the solar is, even in the course of the winter. The solar may be extraordinarily intense at excessive elevation, and it’s magnified because it displays off the brilliant, white snow. Sunburns and eye accidents are widespread pitfalls of winter adventures and the injury can final a lifetime. Fortunately, these hazards are straightforward to forestall with a little bit of diligence. Apply a high-SPF sunscreen to your face, lips, and any uncovered pores and skin every single day. Defend your peepers with high quality sun shades, ideally some with protection on the sides.

An insulated water bottle, like the Lightweight Hydroflask is a luxury item you won’t want to live without on winter camping trips.

An insulated water bottle, just like the Light-weight Hydroflask is a luxurious merchandise you gained’t wish to reside with out on winter tenting journeys.

13. Eat, drink, and be merry – A hydrated and well-fed physique is much better at staying heat. And, you’ll be burning a ton of energy whereas winter tenting, so it’s a good time to bask in your favourite wealthy meals. Hold your metabolism firing on all cylinders by consuming loads of snacks all through the day and chasing them down with a number of liters of water. A hearty dinner and a high-calorie snack at bedtime will assist maintain you good and toasty. Simply bear in mind, meals weight provides up shortly, so be picky about what you deliver. Take a look at our Finest Path Meals Information for all of the meal-planning ideas you can ever want. When you are inclined to get chilly simply, sipping heat drinks will heat you from the within out. Take into account bringing an insulated water bottle, just like the Light-weight Hydroflask, and loads of range gas so you may maintain the recent drinks flowing. Study which stoves work the perfect within the snow on our Winter Tenting Guidelines web page.

A Nalgene bottle makes an excellent space heater for your sleeping bag.

A Nalgene bottle makes a wonderful house heater on your sleeping bag.

14. The recent water bottle trick – A plastic water bottle with a screw-top lid, like a Nalgene, makes a wonderful house heater on your sleeping bag. Boil a liter of water, pour it in, and also you’ve bought a brand new winter tenting snuggle buddy… simply ensure your bottle is heat-resistant and at all times take a look at the lid for leaks earlier than you get it anyplace close to your sleep sack. Place scorching water bottles in strategic areas the place deep blood vessels move near the floor of the pores and skin, such because the groin, palms, ft, or armpits for fast warming. Be certain that your water bottle is BPA-free, so you may drink the water within the morning with out dangerous chemical leaching.

Stay busy & upbeat on winter camping trips to combat the cold.

Keep busy & upbeat on winter tenting journeys to fight the chilly.

15. Have a superb angle – Having a constructive outlook and a humorousness makes mountaineering in chilly winter situations far more gratifying. You could be a bit uncomfortable at instances, however journeys with challenges are typically a few of the most memorable. An additional dose of enthusiasm will go a protracted strategy to lifting you and your campmates’ spirits. When you’re struggling to remain heat, needless to say you may at all times modify your clothes, get shifting, take a break to make a scorching beverage, have an impromptu dance celebration, or hop in your sleeping bag if it’s essential to.

Check out our Winter Camping Checklist for more details on gear that performs well in the cold

Take a look at our Winter Tenting Guidelines for extra particulars on gear that performs properly within the chilly


Not all gear performs properly within the chilly. Take a look at our Winter Tenting Guidelines for suggestions for the perfect 4-season tents, sleeping baggage, sleeping pads, stoves, headlamps, clothes, and extra to prepare on your subsequent winter journey.

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 is one of the best 4-season tents on the market for weight, strength & livability.

The Mountain Hardwear Outpost 2 is without doubt one of the greatest 4-season tents available on the market for weight, energy & livability.


We hope you’ve loved these fundamental winter tenting ideas. If you wish to know extra, we recommend taking a deeper dive. Snow science is fascinating! We’re massive followers of Allen & Mike’s Actually Cool Backcountry Ski E book, which is a enjoyable and interesting useful resource stuffed with hilarious cartoon drawings that educate about snow security, winter tenting, the best way to construct snow shelters, and the ins and outs of backcountry snowboarding. You might also like a few of our different content material that’s related to winter tenting:

Gathering in our snow kitchen in the evening for food, hot drinks, and good conversation.

Gathering in our snow kitchen within the night for meals, scorching drinks, and good dialog.

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