Winter Camping Equipment List

Winter Camping Equipment ListWhether you are simply camping at higher elevations above the snow line, or taking advantage of the outdoors at a time when few other campers will be present, camping in winter provides special challenges that warm weather camping does not. Special considerations must be made to avoid hypothermia and injuries due to the cold including frostbite, trench foot and chilblains. Because of this, your equipment should be geared toward keeping you warm and dry.


At its most basic, a shelter provides protection from wind, cold and wet. A shelter is designed with survival in mind, and not to provide for comfort. You may choose to pack your own shelter, or build one. However, a tent with a fly will provide you with an option for a shelter should your attempts to build one fail. Must haves for equipment include an axe, a pocket knife, a camp stove, a cook set including a tin cup and spoon, waterproof matches or a flint kit, a sleeping bag rated for cold conditions (below 40 degrees Fahrenheit), a flannel sleeping bag liner and a backpack. A pack with an internal frame is recommended, because it is warmer than an external frame pack.


Clothing should be designed with three things in mind: It must keep you warm; it must breathe so that you stay dry, and it must dry quickly. For any trip, it is wise to pack at least three pair of socks and sock liners and two pair of underwear. Underwear should be silk, which breathes well and dries quickly, socks should be wool and sock liners should be wool or silk. You should pack at least two pair of pants.

If possible, avoid cotton pants such as denim or flannel. Cotton does not dry quickly, or wick moisture away from your body. A waterproof shell pant cover, such as the kind made of Gore-Tex that skiers favor is also advised. You should also include a heavy wool sweater, and a jacket made of Polertec. A hat with a face covering and mittens is also recommended. Mittens are preferred over gloves because they do not separate your fingers, which keeps them warmer.


There are two important considerations to take into account when planning food for a cold weather trip. The first is that food takes twice as long to prepare in cold conditions and the second is that the faster your body can convert food to energy, the faster that energy can be used to keep you warm. Because of this, the best foods to pack for cold winter camping are foods that are high in carbohydrates that take little time to prepare.

Dried foods are recommended, because they weigh less than fresh foods. Cereals, pastas, instant oatmeal and powdered milk, rice and wheat, baked goods such as brownies and cookies and freeze dried foods, lunch meat and trail mix are good options for high-carbohydrate foods that are quick to make.

Foods that are higher in protein and fats are a good option for dinner, because they take longer to break down and provide you with heat energy while you sleep. These may include beef jerky, tinned meat such as tuna and deviled ham and powdered soups. You may also want to include a waterproof bag and a length of rope to suspend your food from a tree to keep wildlife away.

Article Written By Tracy Morris

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.

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