Tips On Staying Warm While Winter Camping

winter camping - man in snow

Everyone should experience winter camping at some point in their life. There’s a rush of excitement and thrill to get out in nature and camp outside when it’s cold. With the right equipment, it’s possible to stay warm and enjoy your winter camping experience.

Lets dive into some of the ways we can stay warm below:

Dress in layers

Layering is crucial for staying warm while camping in the winter. Start with a base layer of moisture-wicking material to keep sweat away from your skin, add a mid-layer of insulation, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer. This will trap warm air close to your body and protect you from the elements.

When layering, it is important to use a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin, a mid-layer of insulation such as fleece or wool, and a waterproof and windproof outer layer. This will help to keep you warm and dry, and to protect you from the elements.

You can also always take off layers if you get too warm, but it’s harder to add layers if you are cold. So, it’s better to dress in more layers than less. A warm hat, gloves, and socks can make a big difference in keeping you warm.

Buy a good quality sleeping bag

When choosing a sleeping bag, you want one with a temperature rating that is appropriate for the lowest temperature you expect to encounter but also fits your needs in terms of size, weight, shape and insulation. It’s also a good idea to read reviews from other customers to get an idea of the quality and performance of the sleeping bag you are considering.

man in sleeping bag on the ground
Man in a sleeping bag bundled up on the ground

Here are some other things to consider when buying a sleeping bag for winter camping:

Temperature rating

Look for a sleeping bag with a temperature rating that is appropriate for the lowest temperature you expect to encounter. Sleeping bags are rated based on the lowest temperature at which they will keep the average person warm.


Sleeping bags come in two main shapes: mummy and rectangular. Mummy bags are tapered at the feet and have a hood to keep heat in, making them more efficient for cold weather. Rectangular bags are more spacious and better for warmer weather or for those who prefer more room to move around.


Sleeping bags are insulated with either down or synthetic material. Down is warmer, lightweight and compressible, but it loses its insulating properties when wet. Synthetic insulation is bulkier, heavier and less compressible, but it will still keep you warm even when wet.

Size & Weight

The size and weight of the sleeping bag is important, especially if you plan to backpack with it. If you are doing dispersed camping, you might have to travel pretty far and don’t want the extra weight. Look for a bag that is lightweight and packable without compromising on warmth.

Brand & warranty

Look at the brand and warranty when buying a sleeping bag. Look for a reputable brand that offers a warranty and good customer service.

Use a camping pad

Camping pads are a great addition to your camping gear, especially for camping in the winter. They provide insulation from the cold ground and help to add an extra layer of warmth to your sleeping setup.

Camping pads come in a variety of materials and designs, including self-inflating pads, closed-cell foam pads, and air pads. Self-inflating pads are the most convenient option as they inflate themselves with the twist of a valve, while closed-cell foam pads are lightweight and durable. Air pads are lightweight and packable but require manual inflation.

One of the main benefits of camping pads is that they provide a barrier between your sleeping bag and the cold ground, which can significantly improve your comfort level while camping. Camping pads can also help to reduce heat loss by trapping warm air close to your body.

Camping pads are an essential piece of gear for winter camping, providing insulation, comfort and protection from the cold ground. I recommend choosing a camping pad that is rated for the lowest temperature you expect to encounter and that fits your needs in terms of weight, packability, and durability.

Use a tent with a rainfly

A rainfly is a waterproof and windproof cover that attaches to the outside of a tent and creates a barrier between the tent and the elements. It can help to reduce the amount of wind that enters the tent and can also help to trap warm air inside the tent.

father and son setting up tent and putting on the rainfly
Father and son putting up rainfly on tent

Rainflies are typically made from a waterproof and breathable material, such as nylon, and can be attached to the tent in a variety of ways, such as with snaps, buckles, or hooks.

When setting up a tent with a rainfly, make sure that the rainfly is taut and that there are no gaps or flaps that can allow wind to enter the tent. Not all tents come with a rainfly, so if you are camping in an area that is known for high winds, you may want to purchase a rainfly separately.

A rainfly can help to block wind, it is not a guarantee of total protection. If the wind is strong enough and the tent is not properly anchored, the tent may still experience some wind penetration. We recommend to properly anchor your tent, using the right stakes, guylines and guyout points.

Here’s an article by REI on how to set up a tent and rainfly –

Eat high calorie foods

Eating high-calorie foods such as nuts, cheese, chocolate, dried fruits, energy bars, and beef jerky can provide your body with the energy it needs to generate heat and stay warm while camping in cold weather. Along with hydrating regularly, these foods can make a big difference in keeping you warm and comfortable.

Here are some high calorie foods that can help keep warm while camping:


Nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and cashews are high in calories and healthy fats, which can help to keep you warm. They also provide protein and fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.


Cheese is high in calories and fat, and can also provide a good source of protein. Hard cheeses like cheddar and gouda are great options as they keep well and don’t require refrigeration.


Chocolate is high in calories and is a good source of carbohydrates, which can give you a quick energy boost. Dark chocolate is a healthier option as it contains less sugar than milk chocolate.

Dried fruits

Dried fruits such as apricots, cranberries, and raisins are high in calories, and provide a good source of carbohydrates and natural sugars. They are also easy to pack and don’t need refrigeration.

Energy bars

Energy bars provide a convenient and easy-to-pack option for camping. They are high in calories, and usually provide a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

Beef jerky

Beef jerky is high in protein and calories, and it’s easy to pack and keep.

high calorie beef jerky
High calorie beef jerky


The key to staying warm while camping in the winter is to stay dry, block the wind, and trap heat close to your body. With the right gear and preparation, you can enjoy the great outdoors even in the coldest of temperatures.

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