How to Keep Warm on a Winter Campout

About: I'm still working on my electronics skills. If you see a flaw in any of my crazy plans, feel free to let me know!

I love to go camping in the winter.  But a crucial part to having fun on these campouts is staying warm.  Everything can go bad real fast if you get wet or extremely cold.  I follow these basic rules to stay warm.

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Step 1: Bedding

Crucial to keeping warm is having a warm place to sleep.  You should always have a warm sleeping bag, as well as  a good pad to insulate you from the cold ground.  Blankets are always a good thing to have, as you can use them as padding inside your sleeping bag, as well as to keep warm.  Fleece blankets are good to keep warm, but most often they won't be big enough.  I usually bring an extra blanket to go with that.  Personally I like to bring pillows, but some people just consider them a waste of space.

Step 2: Clothing

Clothing is a huge part of winter camping.  The trick to staying warm is being like an onion, so you can peel off layers when it gets too hot.  Another key is keeping sweat off your body.  If you get sweaty, then you will become extremely cold.  Always keep extra socks, shirts, and underwear on hand in case you start sweating.  Good boots with extra socks are key to keeping your feet warm.  Gloves, coats, jackets, and snow pants are all a good choice.  

Step 3: Other Things to Keep in Mind.

Other things that will prove useful include hand warmers, a good tent, a pack, wood to build a fire, food, and, if you hike in, a sled.  I currently am working on a guide on building campfires as well.  If you think I forgot anything, comment and I will add it.

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    12 Discussions


    5 years ago

    I have personally found it harder to start a campfire in the winter, I look forward to reading your post.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Instead of a tent, try making a quinsee, they are made of snow and are actually warmer (hovering around freezing) than a tent. Snow is an insulator and holds in quite a bit of warmth. It is kind of hard to explain.


    7 years ago on Step 3

    Brilliant instructable, thanks for sharing. With regards to building a campfire, check out these links:

    The second link has specific instructions for lighting a fire in the snow or cold weather.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love going out all year long and winter is even better due to the emptiness of areas. Nothing better than a campfire and a warm drink under the stars even when the temps drop. Try using wool for blankets and socks. I even have a pair of old wool pants that are not going to win any fashion awards but are great for the camp. The best thing about wool is it will still keep you warm when it is wet unlike many synthetics or cotton. If it is itchy, use of some hair conditioning products will make it softer (lots of info about this online). Have fun.

    2 replies

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Also found digging out the snow and laying plywood or pallets down with plastic and then back fill with snow helps hold in heat.

    4 replies

    In past I used the plywood as a sled and make sure you use waterproof plywood or it will delamdate. And make sure you tie everything down good. And happy camping :-)

    Just got back. Me and my friend shared a tent and we both brought a bunch of blankets. We put them under, over, and in our sleeping bags. Stayed nice and warm.