It's winter again, that time of the year when you get to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of a pure winter wonderland. It can, however, be cold and difficult if you are not prepared.
As you brush up on your fair-weather camping skills in preparation for freezing temperatures, snowy terrain, and unpredictable weather, you also want to know what to bring camping.
If it is your first time, knowing what to buy might seem a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, we have a comprehensive camping gear list for beginners and also for experts.
Essential camping gear such as tents and sleeping bags, safety gear, camp kitchen essentials, cold-weather clothes, and other items you won't want to forget are all included here in our camping equipment list:
Camp Kitchen Gear
Winter Travel Equipment
Avalanche Safety Tools
Cold Weather Clothing
Other Important Items
Stove, Fuel, and Base
First Aid Kit
The most critical must-have camping gear is unarguably a camping tent. After all, having a winter-proof shelter will keep you and your gear from freezing out there.
If you're camping below tree line and don't expect particularly stormy weather, a standard three-season backpacking tent will suffice.
However, the three-season tent is recommended in high winds and heavy snowfall. Four-season tents contain stronger poles and fabrics than three-season tents, allowing them to endure strong winds and large snow loads.
2. Sleeping Bag
A sleeping bag should be part of your overnight camping checklist for a most comfortable night. To assure comfort on chilly nights, use a sleeping bag rated at least 10 degrees Fahrenheit lower than the coldest temperature you expect to face. If you get too hot inside the bag, you may always vent excess heat from the bag using the ventilation grills.
Goose-down or synthetic insulation is usually used in winter camping sleeping bags. If your bag is made of down, keep it dry because down loses much of its insulating ability when wet.
3. Sleeping Pad
A sleeping pad provides the necessary insulation and padding.
Use two full-length pads for winter camping to avoid losing body heat on snowy surfaces. To gain the optimum insulation from the chilly ground, use a closed-cell foam pad next to the ground and a self-inflating pad on top. The foam pad also acts as protection if the self-inflating pad is punctured.
Also, think about the R-value. R-value is a measurement of insulation that ranges from 1.0 to 8.0. R-values of 4.0 or higher are common in all-season or winter pads.
Your overnight camping checklist will not be complete without a dry bag.
It's easier to set up camp in inclement weather if you can store your sleeping bags, extra clothes, and other essential camping gear in a dry place until you need them.
Remember that lightweight dry bags aren't meant to withstand severe handling. Although thicker dry bags are more durable, they should still be kept away from sharp objects. The good news is that dry bags can be patched and fixed using similar fabrics and a flexible, waterproof glue, but the reliability of a repair is always in doubt.
Winter backpacks are more specialized than regular camping backpacks. With a focus on larger weight loading, external attachment points, and toughness for carrying bulky gear with sharp points like snowshoes, skis, ice axes, and crampons, they are great for carrying essential camping gear when you're on the move.
Packs with additional pockets provide you the ability to rapidly access and put away gear so you don't get cold standing about between gear transitions. Backpack capacities can range from 50 to 100 liters, with 50 liters being adequate for a weekend trip and 100 liters for a longer stay.
6. First Aid Kit
There are many things you can put in your first aid kit, but these are the absolute necessities for winter camping:
Bandages in various sizes. And for wrapping, gauze, sticky tape, butterfly closures, sterile treatment pads, and dressings
Scissors and tweezers
Cotton swabs, antibacterial towelettes, and lidocaine cleansing cloths
Plastic bags, non-latex nitrile gloves, and a micro shield mask for CPR
Aloe vera gel, triple antibiotic ointment, PVD iodine 10% solution, burn ointment, hydrocortisone cream
Pain relievers (ibuprofen and aspirin), antacids, upset stomach, and antidiarrheal drugs.
Duct tape or moleskin (for placement over blisters as soon as they start)
Suction syringes, irrigation syringes, and thermometer
Aside from this, other winter camping essentials are a strong light source, spare batteries, a space blanket, and safety pins, which can be used in a variety of ways, such as securing an arm sling.
7. Solar Generator for camping
Who says camping can't involve your digital devices? If you plan on packing a number of electrical devices, you'll need a little more electricity than your power pack can give. Thus, a portable generator should be part of your essential camping gear, especially if you want to run a heated blanket or a camping fridge cooler as well as your smartphone other handy gadgets.
The Acevolt Campower lifepo4 portable power station is solar rechargeable, making it a reliable power source once you have a little sun.
It can provide 700W / 672WH of electricity, equivalent to charging an iPhone 12 forty-four times! It has multiple output ports, which means you can plug in as many gadgets as you want per time. With this quick charge, portable power source, your devices won't run out of power any longer.
Camp Kitchen Gear
8. Stove, Fuel, and Base
For winter camping, most liquid-fuel stoves and certain canister stoves work well.
White gas, which burns hot and clean and works well in sub-zero temperatures, is used in liquid-fuel stoves.
Canister stoves are small, lightweight, and quick to boil, but not all function well in the cold. If you plan to go winter camping with a canister stove, be sure it has a pressure regulator built-in because canisters depressurize in cold conditions, resulting in a feeble flame.
Setting a gasoline canister in water is another approach to protect it from getting too cold. This will assist in maintaining a temperature above freezing.
As for fuel, it's essential to bring extra. When melting snow for drinking water, keep in mind that it takes more fuel. At higher elevations, you'll also need more fuel.
Your camping equipment list will not be complete without a stove base. A base will keep your liquid-fuel stove or canister stove with a remote burner from sinking into the snow and becoming unstable as it heats up. You can purchase a base or improvise with a piece of plywood or old sleeping mat cut to fit your stove as a base.
9. Cooking Utensils
To prepare and eat your food, your must-have camping gear should include: a cooking set, pot lifters, eating utensils (a spork usually comes in handy instead of taking a fork and spoon separately), dishes, and insulated mugs.
And to clean up afterward, a trash or recycling bag, sponge, and a little biodegradable soap should suffice.
Bringing items that don't need to be refrigerated is a fantastic method to equip the camping kitchen. Nutrient-rich bars, canned soups and vegetables, jams, dry pasta, and some tea (for the early mornings and before bedtime) are great food items that will contribute to your essential camping gear.
While winter camping, you burn about twice the number of calories you burn camping in the summer, so don't hesitate to scarf down a lot of food. To this effect, you might want enough food and snacks to a go-between, as well as one or two extra meals in case your trip extends for any reason.
Winter Travel Equipment
No camping equipment list is complete without some winter travel gear. Generally, you would need some snowshoes, skis, or a snowboard to move around. Hiking is a great method to get around if only a few inches of snow are on the ground. However, if you're going to a snowy area, you'll need some sort of float to make navigation easier. The following are your primary choices:
Snowshoes are your best bet if you're not a skier or snowboarder. Snowshoeing is similar to hiking, so it's simple to pick up.
Cross-country touring skis are ideal for mild terrain. But if your winter camping adventure takes you to steeper slopes, carry along with your backcountry skis.
You can utilize a split board for climbing hills, split into half lengthwise and functions as skis. You can also carry a normal snowboard in your backpack and trek uphill with snowshoes.
Avalanche Safety Tools
If you're going to be in avalanche territory, the best things to take camping are avalanche safety equipment. You'll need to bring three items with you and know how to utilize them:
14. Avalanche Transceivers
These tools emit a signal that helps rescuers use track victims who have been buried in an avalanche. Before venturing into avalanche territory, you must have one and know how to use it. This necessitates thorough training and practice. You can get adequate instructions on YouTube.
A probe is a telescopic pole with depth markers that are usually up to 10 feet long. Following an avalanche, rescuers can swiftly probe the snow to aid in the recovery of victims.
It is required for avalanche victims to be dugout. It can also be used to level a tent site, dig a snow shelter, or melt fresh snow.
Cold Weather Clothing
Of course, your essential camping gear has to include clothes, doesn't it?
To dress for chilly weather, you'll need three layers of clothing that all work together to keep you warm. These are your base, middle and outer layers.
This is your underwear that sits adjacent to your skin. Midweight long underwear is a superb all-around choice for winter camping, while heavyweight is best for temperatures below freezing when you're out winter camping. Look for textiles that wick sweat away from your skin and dry rapidly, such as polyester or wool.
18. Middle Layer
This is your insulating layer, which is primarily meant to assist you in maintaining body heat. A puffy down or synthetic insulated jacket is preferred by most winter campers for the upper body. If you want to wear fleece, get a heavyweight fleece jacket. Fleece pants or heavy-duty long underwear are excellent for protecting your legs, and this should make up your essential camping gear.
19. Outer Layer
This is your breathable and water-repellent barrier against snow, other elements you can expect to encounter during your winter camping trip. In the winter, it's more necessary to have a fully waterproof jacket and pants rather than just water-resistant ones because moisture can get into your inner layers and make you very cold. However, this clothing must be breathable in order for sweat absorbed by your base layer to escape.
If you want to stay warm on chilly days, the following accessories should be part of your must-have camping gear:
20. Winter Cap
A basic beanie made of wool or synthetic material would suffice. Ensure your hat can protect your ears from the cold. And for when your face gets cold, consider a face mask or balaclava.
They are a great way to keep your hands warm in the winter. Warmth can be found in fleece gloves, but insulated gloves with breathable waterproof shells are preferable. Mittens are one of the best things to take camping because they keep your fingers warm without sacrificing dexterity. It's always a good idea to have an additional pair of shoes in case your first pair becomes wet.
Always wear goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from the sun and wind. If you're going to be outside on a bright, sunny day, you'll require glasses or goggles with dark lenses and visual light transmission (VLT) of 0–19%. A VLT of 20–40%, or even greater, can be beneficial in gloomy situations.
You haven't ticked off your winter camping essentials if socks are not on the list.
The fit of your boots controls the thickness of your socks. An extra-thick sock will not keep your feet warm if your boots are too tight. Whatever you do, avoid cotton socks because cotton absorbs moisture and its little insulation value goes south when cotton is wet.
Other Important Items
While our list contains the necessary items, the best things to take camping are not limited to those mentioned above. To make your winter camping adventure most comfortable, you will need to pack up some more things, such as:
- Repair kits for sleeping equipment and tent
- Notebook and pen
- Power bank and spare batteries
- Phone or emergency communication device
- Water bottles
- Lip balm
- Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and biodegradable soap
- Disposable wipes
- Toilet papers
- Hand and toe warmers (to be inserted into boots each day)
- Lighters or waterproof matches
- Knife or multitool
- Ice ax
- Indoor entertainment such as cards, books, or board games
Winter camping in the great outdoors can be appealing. However, it might be a little lonesome and poses certain risks. Getting set for the trip might be a little overwhelming, but hopefully, our camping equipment list has made it a lot easier for you.
Now that you have all the tools you need for a great camping experience in the snow, ensure you play it safe trust your intuition and most of all, have a blast.