Yup, you read that blog title correctly. Winter camping. Now I’m a lover of summertime camping and the fun memories that go along with. But, when my husband, Bryce, brought up this newest idea of a winter camping and a quick ice fishing trip, I was a little apprehensive at first…
With Nebraska’s track record for crazy weather, I was nervous we might have more severe temperatures than what the weatherman had predicted. Especially with it being the last weekend of January!
With Bryce’s outdoorsy insight and careful planning, we were well prepared for the forecast of 25 degree low.
Check out some tips and advice below to make sure you’re prepared for your next camping adventure!
This is the foundation for any great camping trip. This is what protects you from all elements of the outdoors and insulates you from the frozen ground below. That being said, having a durable, good quality tent is VERY important.
A few years back, during his stint of being a salesman at Scheels during college, Bryce bought a small two person tent. The North Face Stormbreak 2 Tent.
We have used this tent countless times on camping trips! It’s simple design makes setting up/tearing down camp go so fast. The waterproof material makes it ideal for any weather you’re facing.
And, the addition of the rain fly on top of the tent allows you to control the amount of ventilation within the tent. If you’re winter camping like we were, I HIGHLY suggest putting that rain fly on!
One perk with this style of tent was it’s size. For a two person tent, it is comfortable and roomy.
However, it is still a two person tent, be cool with being in close proximity to your camping budding. The small size of this tent works great for winter camping since there is less space you’re trying to warm up with.
To really retain the body heat you’re throwing off and help heat the tent up, Bryce retrofitted the tent with an emergency thermal blanket in between the top of the tent and below the rain fly.
The thermal blanket was just another layer of insulation between us and outside, as well as helping reflect our body heat to keep the tent a little warmer.
Besides the tent, this is another major component to the success of your camping excursion. A heavy duty sleeping bag that can withstand cold temps is definitely a make-it or break-it part of winter camping.
For our excursion, we used the Browning Camping McKinley -30 Degree Sleeping Bag. This bag was wide enough to snugly fit both of us in, conserving a little more body heat.
To insulate us from the frozen ground and snow beneath of us, we padded the floor of the tent with a multitude of blankets! And even had our collie, Gus, sleep on top of our feet!
With low temperatures and high calorie burning activities, such as staying warm and enjoying the outdoors, it’s especially important to consume energy dense food and drink.
Carbohydrates are the easiest foods to convert into energy to stay warm and should account for a majority of your winter camp diet.
Fatty foods take longer to convert into simple sugars to be converted into energy for your body. However, with the longer conversion process, fats enable you to generate energy over a longer period of time.
Proteins help to curb that “hungry” feeling as well as help repair any muscle tissue that may have been tired out from all of those outdoor activities.
I will admit though, that in a pinch, a frozen pizza over a fire grate tastes pretty good!
If you’re looking for additional ideas on menu planning for your next outdoor excursion, see the link at the bottom of the page!
Camp Set Up.
When setting up camp, make sure to position your tent behind trees or something else that could be used for a windbreak. This is incredibly important to help protect you from any other weather that may blow in.
A tent spot with plenty of south sun helps to warm the tent up faster in the morning.
Before pitching your tent, pack down the snow where you’ll be setting up your tent. Loose snow can be melted by your body heat in the tent, leaving uneven ground to sleep on.
After setting up your tent, push a little bit of snow over the gap between the ground and the edge of the rain fly on the tent. Covering this gap with snow, allows extra insulation from the cold and elements.
It may seem like a lot of extra hassle making sure you’re prepared for the weather with winter camping versus summer camping.
BUT, it is highly rewarding to be able to “brave the elements” and continue on with your outdoor hobbies, despite the season!
Hopefully these few tips and pointers help you plan your next camping excursion!
Feel free to drop your own advice and success to these outdoor excursions in the comments below!