Equip: 12 Cold-Weather Camping Essentials


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Who said that you have to reserve camping fun for the warm weather months only? Right now, it’s one of the safest ways to enjoy a holiday and get away from all the screen time demanded by telecommuting and homeschooling arrangements. 

Before you head out, you need the right gear to withstand the elements. Here are 12 camping essentials that will keep you cozy when the temperature drops.

1. A Waterproof Firestarter Kit

Your fire-starting ability can make the difference between life and death in the wilderness. If snow covers the ground, you won’t even be able to use your damp shoelace to create an effective friction drill. You need to carry supplies with you, like a steel and flint fire-starting set that won’t quit even if it does get wet. 

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2. An Insulated Thermos

The average person requires about a gallon of water each day. While snow may provide adequate hydration, it won’t warm you the way a hot cup of joe will. Prevent frigid temperatures from chilling your beverage in seconds with an insulated thermos. 

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3. An Emergency Survival Mylar Bag

Even if you have a standard sleeping bag, you might not carry it with you if you plan on a short trek. However, even brief winter hikes can turn dangerous if sudden squalls appear. Carry an emergency survival mylar bag in your backpack, and all you’ll need to do is find a sheltering rock face or tree grove to break the worst of the wind and stay safe.

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4. A Second Tent

Maybe you know the trick of using a tarp for insulation, but you can produce a similar effect using a smaller tent inside your larger one to preserve body heat. You can pick up an inexpensive pop-up model for less than $10. It will also come in handy in the summer for short solo treks. 

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5. A Pair of Waterproof Waders

If your clothes get wet, your body loses heat through evaporation and respiration. A pair of waterproof waders keep you cozy while slogging through deep snow, even if you aren’t going duck-hunting. 

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6. Ice Boot Grips

Sometimes, the quickest way between points A and B means crossing an icy lake. You don’t want to slip and break a bone — keep your traction with a pair of grips made for this element. 

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7. Retractable Ice Picks

If you do need to cross a frozen body of water, you need to ensure that the ice can support your body weight. A set of ice picks lets you test the depth of ice every few feet to keep you from breaking through. 

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8. Rechargeable Hand Warmers

Even with several pairs of gloves layered, your hands can get cold. After all, your extremities are farthest away from your warm heart. A set of rechargeable hand warmers plugs into your solar charger when the initial heat dissipates. 

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9. Extra Thermal Underwear

The snow outside isn’t the only thing that can soak your clothing. When you sweat, the layer closest to your body gets damp. Ensure you have a spare pair to dry the wet one when you stop for the night by carrying extra thermals with you. 

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10. Sherpa-Lined Socks

If you talk to nearly any soldier or outdoorsy type, they’ll tell you to take care of your feet. It’s challenging to hike to safety with frostbitten toes, so keep yours toasty with extra sherpa-lined socks you can swap for fresh ones when you crawl into your tent for the evening. 

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11. Touchscreen Gloves

Modern technology makes backcountry navigation a snap, but it’s still challenging to manipulate a smartphone screen with frozen fingers. Keep your digits toasty with a set of touchscreen gloves that you don’t have to remove to check your GPS coordinates. 

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12. Elderberry and Echinacea Tea

Both echinacea and elderberry enjoy stellar reputations among herbalists for easing cold symptoms. Science seems to back this up. Research shows that echinacea increases the number of white blood cells responsible for fighting infection. Keep your backcountry immunity running high with this tea designed to promote germ-fighting. 

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Gear Up With These Cold-Weather Camping Essentials

You don’t have to give up outdoor fun when it gets chilly. Gear up with these cold-weather camping essentials and enjoy the wonders of nature, regardless of the season.

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