A civil engineer with over 34 years of experience, Chris Tschirhart manages multi-million dollar capital improvement projects for the Upper Brushy Creek Water Control and Improvement District in Round Rock, Texas. When he is not busy with professional endeavors, Chris Tschirhart enjoys spending time hiking and camping.
Though summer is the most popular time to take camping trips, cold-weather camping also can be enjoyable. During the winter months, a camper’s experience is shaped by nearly-empty campgrounds and a landscape that has been transformed by the colder weather.
Cold weather camping requires more preparation than a typical summer backpacking trip. In addition to planning for unpredictable weather conditions, winter-specific gear and supplies are usually necessary to ensure the trip is a success. Cold-weather campers should place a priority on obtaining warm clothing, a four-season tent, and a warm sleeping bag.
When camping during the winter, it is important to have weather-appropriate clothing. Experts recommend dressing in layers to help regulate the body’s heat. Campers should look for wicking fabrics, insulation pieces, and an outer layer that is both waterproof and windproof. Good-quality, waterproof boots are also important.
While it may be tempting to use an ordinary three-season tent on a cold-weather trip, experts recommend investing in a four-season tent. These tents are heavier and more resistant to snow and wind. They are also specifically designed to store items in a cold weather environment.
Finally, finding a good sleeping bag rated for at least 10 degrees less than the expected temperature is a must. Extra sleeping pads are also helpful to further separate the bag from the cold ground.
While additional items will be necessary on a cold-weather camping trip, these basic supplies will help the experience to be memorable for all the right reasons.