This holiday season, you might not be able to have a big Christmas dinner or get away from it all to a nice sunny beach.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a vacation.
And for a lot of people, this year that means camping.
If you’re terrified of camping (or the cold) or you’ve just never gone camping before, the idea of winter camping might be kind of daunting.
You can rest easy, though, because we’ve compiled some tips to help you take cold-weather camping from frozen hell to winter wonderland.
Plan meals you actually want to eat
Unless you’re a hardcore backpacker, you don’t need to eat freeze-dried food when you’re camping.
Pack your camp stove (or bring a grill to put over a fire) and cook some food that actually looks like food.
Make sure to meal plan and figure out what groceries you need before you go, though. And make sure to put any perishables in a cooler so they stay fresh.
While you’re meal planning, don’t forget to add in some treats! Hot chocolate, smores, and hot toddies make sitting around a campfire much more enjoyable.
Don’t forget to pack any cooking utensils, dishes, mugs, and pots and pans you might need.
Remember all the perks of cold weather camping
If you’re the kind of person who’s terrified of cold weather camping, remembering all the perks it has might help put you in the right headspace.
Here are just a few things that are great about cold weather camping:
- There are practically no bugs. That means no itchy bug bites or annoying buzzing to worry about. And no flies swarming around your food.
- There’s no better time to cozy up around a blazing campfire than the colder months. And you don’t have to worry about campfire restrictions in the colder months.
- Campsites are usually pretty empty in the off season. That means no competing for the best spots, no annoying noises during the night, and no stressing about social distancing in the campground.
- Winter camping gives you a change to splurge on those snow boots you’ve been eyeing. And with all the money you’ll be saving on your vacation, you can afford to treat yourself.
- Snowy camping makes for really great pictures – and so do blazing autumn leaves. Your phone won’t stop buzzing once you post your #campinggoals pictures online.
Bring what you need to be comfortable
Camping shouldn’t mean resigning yourself to misery. Being prepared can make all the difference when it comes to having a good time on your trip.
Here are a few must-haves for cold weather camping:
- A good sleeping pad (or an air mattress if you’re a Princess and the Pea type of sleeper). This will keep you comfortable and insulate you from the cold ground.
- An insulated sleeping bag. Make sure your sleeping bag is rated for the weather where you’ll be going. Most sleeping bags will tell you what temperatures they’re built for.
- Hand and foot warmers
- Wool socks
- Good gloves and a warm hat
- Camping chairs – so you don’t have to sit on the cold ground!
- Lighting. Flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps are all lifesavers when you’re camping. And since it gets dark so early during daylight savings time, good lighting is especially important.
- Activities. Board games and books are great to have during the evening when you’re sitting around the campfire.
- Lots of layers. It always gets colder than you think it will at night. Bring plenty of warm clothes so you’re not caught freezing and miserable.
This isn’t all you need to go camping, of course, but these items will make your cold weather camping experience much more enjoyable. At the end of the day, the most important thing is for you to be happy and warm!
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