Winter is my favorite time to hit the road and get outdoors. Cold weather camping is pretty much the only time I want to be outside because I detest the heat and the mosquitos. It’s also the perfect time of year to get the good crunchy leaves under your feet and not sweat to death over a campfire.
Some basics you will need if you decide to go camping in the cold are obvious, like warmer jackets and gloves, but if you want to keep it a positive experience, be sure to account for some of these items:
- Thermals/base layers that should fit snug enough for under clothes
- Wool socks, at least 2 pairs
- Outerwear that truly warms made from down (sweatshirts and hoodies don’t cut it)
- Warm hats that cover the ears.
- Rain gear, just in case … you will be miserable if you are wet and cold.
- A good quality sleeping bag. I prefer down.
Of course, these basics will seem obvious to any of us sharing a roof with a Louisiana Sportsman who spends his time in the duck blinds, but as the moms doing the packing, we might think that Old Navy fleece is warm enough because it holds up great for the kiddos on the playground. Eh, not really.
We have winter camped everything from Chicot State Park in a tent to Moab, UT in our pop up camper … where it snowed. My daughter would not have been a happy camper without the right warm clothing. Since it can get pricy to pick up high-quality kid outdoor goods, I like to see what Sugarwolf Outdoor Exchange has secondhand for sale. They tend to have some good finds for adults, too.
If you’re tent camping at a site that has electricity, you could also bring a heating blanket to warm up everyone for bedtime. I always have them handy even now in our pop-up because sleeping cozy is one of my favorite things about camping.
Pack everyone’s favorite warm treats like hot chocolate mixes and coffee for mom and dad and plan to cook a warming meal like soup or chili over the fire. I like to freeze some gumbo ahead of time to reheat on the camp stove and then boil some rice. And of course, end the night with s’mores.
If you plan ahead and bring the right stuff, everyone will have a good time even if it’s 29 degrees out. Camping is my favorite low-budget trip with my family and in these pandemic times, it feels extra good to get in the outdoors. Go see the stars without the background of the city lights … it’s the perfect recharge we all need.