Winter doesn't have to be the end of your camping season. Sure, during the summer, many of our camping gear tips focus on staying lightweight and trying to be as minimalist as possible. In winter, some of this goes out of the window. After all, winter camping means more than just throwing in an extra insulated jacket and a few beanie hats. It means long nights under the stars, freezing temperatures, and changeable weather to contend with.
Now, we haven't put together this list of the best winter camping gear as an exhaustive camping packing list, and what you take with you will depend on your
Mountain Hardwear Trango 2
Tents are your escape from winter weather. Four-season tents, in particular, need to be strong, dry, and easy to pitch. When the wind starts to howl and it’s raining sideways or dumping snow, the tent should be a safe place to wait it out. Mountain Hardwear's Trango two-person tent is an excellent place to spend a night in the snow. Color-coded poles help you set up quickly in terrible conditions, and a large vestibule allows you to store your wet gear outside while protecting it from the weather.
Sierra Deisgns Nitro 800/0 Degree Sleeping Bag
When the temperature drops, there’s nothing worse than shivering all night. A lightweight sleeping bag that will keep you warm is essential for winter camping. Wearing extra clothes, adding a hot water bottle, or putting a thicker liner inside the sleeping bag will add some extra warmth but can only go so far. The Nitro 0-Degree sleeping bag from Sierra Designs is a far better option than hypothermia.
The Nitro bag is rated down to 15 degrees Fahrenheit for cold sleepers and 2 °F for warm sleepers. You’ll be toasty in this bag, and if it gets too warm, you can stick your feet out the Self Sealing foot vent. The PFC-free, 800-fill, water-resistant Dridown will expand more than most down, packing down better and drying faster. This comes without breaking the bank, considering how comparable bags are hundreds of dollars more.
Mountain Hardwear AMG 75
All this winter camping gear doesn't come without its bulk, so you need a backpack to fit it all in. The Mountain Hardwear AMG 75 is an all-season, expedition-ready hiking pack, designed to haul heavy loads whether you're trekking,
Crescent Moon EVA Foam Snowshoes
If you’ve ever experienced a posthole — one leg falling into the snow up to your knee or even hip — then you know how much easier walking on snowshoes can be. Crescent Moon has a radical new design that is easier to slip on and get hiking (or running) with. Instead of rigid metal and plastic setup, the Eva foam snowshoe is just two layers of foam with a hook and loop binding on top. The binding is fast and easy to get in and out of. The top layer of foam is squishy for more comfort when walking, whereas the bottom is hard with big tire-like lugs and metal spikes for traction. The whole thing is curved to roll you forward with each step. If you don’t need them for a rocky section, they are lightweight and lay flat to strap to your back.
Stio's Men's Wilcox Fleece Jacket
Your choice of mid-layer is just as crucial as any base layer or outer shell. Stio’s Wilcox Fleece Jacket is a versatile, four-season piece that works great as an outer layer in the fall or as part of a complete layered winter apparel kit. The Wilcox is made of 100% recycled Lofton sweater fleece. So, it looks like wool but with the same soft, cozy feel and rugged, technical properties of fleece. The full-zip design is easy-on, easy-off when the weather suddenly changes. Zippered hand and chest pockets provide plenty of additional space to stow your wallet, smartphone, or electric hand warmers.
Beyond Clothing Trek Glove System
In winter, keeping your hands warm is almost as important as warming your core. Numb fingers are useless for outdoor essentials like starting a fire, making dinner, or pitching a tent. Beyond Clothing’s Trek Glove System is designed to keep you moving in even the coldest conditions. The two-glove system relies on a modular approach. The interior layer consists of a lean work glove to keep your hands warm but nimble so you can tend to your winter camping tasks. The outer layer is made of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation Eco for extra warmth. Wear both layers when you’re trekking and need to maximize warmth on the go. Take the outer layer off when you arrive at camp and need to dig in for the night.
VSSL First Aid Kit
A first aid kit is essential, no matter where you are or where you’re headed. It’s doubly important when trekking outdoors in the winter. The VSSL First Aid Kit packs 46 tightly rolled first aid essentials and a four-mode LED light into a tube about the size of a 9-inch-long flashlight. The virtually indestructible military-grade case is watertight and takes up as much room as needed with no wasted space. It’s small enough to toss into your pack and forget it’s there until you need it.
BioLite Campstove 2+ Complete Kit
What's better than a camp stove that doesn't need gas? What about one that generates electricity to charge your devices while using it? The BioLite CampStove 2+ is a wood-burning firepit with a cooking pot and a grill for multiple cooking options. No matter what you want to fire up — whether you're making your morning coffee with the press, grilling yourself a wilderness steak, or want a quick and dirty cowboy casserole — you can do it on this stove. What's more, once you've finished cooking, you've already set up your campfire for the evening to keep you warm.
Fiskars Norden N7 Hatchet
In the backcountry, few tools are as versatile and functional as a well-made hatchet. Fiskars’ Norden N7 Hatchet is an ideal companion for any winter adventure. The 14-inch design is lightweight and compact enough to strap to your pack yet substantial enough to tackle everyday tasks around camp. The tumble-varnished hickory wood handle with FiberComp overstrike protection is both durable and handsome. An over-molded axe head guarantees a strong shaft connection, while the carbon steel blade stays sharp for as long as you need it. For car camping and other adventures where weight isn’t as much of a concern, Fiskars offers the larger Norden N10 17-inch Chopping Axe and the flagship Norden N12 19-inch Splitting Axe.
Sea to Summit Stuff Sack
All that extra winter gear requires extra organization. It’s no fun rifling through an overstuffed pack every time you need to retrieve the smallest bit of kit. Available in a wide range of capacities up to 30L, Sea to Summit’s Stuff Sacks are the ideal system for wrangling your gear. The XXS sack holds just 2.5 liters and is great for small toiletries, first aid essentials, or loose gear cables. The flagship XXL Stuff Sack will hold an entire bedroll if need be.
SOL Fire Lite Fuel-Free Rechargeable Lighter
Winter camping has its own set of challenges. It’s colder, wetter, and just plain harder than almost any other climate. That’s why the ability to start a fire — both for heat and cooking — is critical. In addition to waterproof matches and a lighter, the new SOL Fire Lite Fuel-Free Rechargeable Lighter is a high-tech firestarter worthy of any outdoorsmen’s pack. The dependable dual arc design guarantees instant ignition of anything flammable that it touches at the press of a button. The watertight electric lighter works in wind, rain, and sleet regardless of temperature or altitude.
Zippo Electric Rechargeable Hand Warmer
Pairing your expedition-level winter gloves with hand warmers is the best way to keep the blood flowing to your digits. Disposable hand warmers work fine, but they’re bad for the environment and only last so long. Zippo’s Rechargeable Hand Warmers boast five settings with a max temperature of 120°F. Indicator lights show how much life is left on the included 5,200mAh lithium-ion battery with a run time of up to six hours. Placed in the foot box of your sleeping bag, they also work great as “hot rocks” to keep your feet warm at night. Add a small solar panel to your winter camping kit to keep these charged, and you’ll have reliable hand heat any time.
Black Diamond Moji Lantern
You have long nights out under the stars while camping in the winter. That means plenty of time without really being able to see what you're doing. Sure, headlamps are great for cooking and setting your fire, but sometimes you want a bit of ambient lighting. The Moji lantern from Black Diamond gives off 200 lumens, enough to see around camp without ruining the ambiance you're building from your campfire. What's more, they're affordable enough to grab one each — if you're
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