A Guide to Winter Camping

February 22, 2017 0 Comments

Baby it’s cold outside, and what better way to keep the winter blues at bay than sleeping under canvas and campfire cooking?


The winter blues are a very real thing here in the UK – limited daylight hours, dark clouds and less opportunity to get out and enjoy the great British countryside. I say hell to hibernation and stick a middle finger up to SAD. It’s time to get outside, breathe in the winter air and camp amongst the frost to get your outdoor fix. Here’s how to do it like a pro.

Be Prepared

Make sure you check out the weather forecast before setting out and choose your camping spot with a few practical necessities nearby, especially on your first camp. A sheltered spot that’s not too isolated is best if you’re a newbie to the winter camping game, as well as potential firewood and fresh water nearby if possible. Remember that if the elements are too tough, you can bail and go to the pub/home/a B&B if you want!

What kit do you need?

Layers, layers, layers! It’s all about keeping warm and comfortable when winter camping. My kit-list for sleeping under canvas in the colder months is:

  • Down sleeping bag
  • 4 season tent
  • Thermarest
  • Beanie
  • Down coat
  • Gloves
  • 2x pairs of socks (to double up in bed!)
  • Blanket scarf (if it’s cold enough that I’m chilly in my sleeping bag, it acts as a sleeping bag liner)
  • Merino wool hoody
  • 2x merino wool base layers (one long-sleeve, one short)
  • Leggings

We don’t usually bother to lug a camping stove around with us whilst hiking and camping in winter, and have great pleasure in making a fire and cooking over that. If you don’t think you’re up for it, small camping stoves and gas canisters are light and pack down enough to fit in your bag. Remember that gas cannot be taken on planes if you are travelling abroad or far away.

A sense of adventure and positive outlook are priceless when winter camping as it’s easy to get cold and ergo grumpy (I’ve learned this the hard way!) Predict temperature changes and layer up accordingly. Remember that movement is the best way to warm up, so doing some star-jumps outside your tent will keep your temperature high!


Stay safe

Winter weather often means that risks are higher – there are less people about, there is ice on the ground, storms are likely and hypothermia is a real risk. Stay safe, take out insurance (the Camping and Caravanning Club offers good plans) and make sure your phone stays charged up so that you can contact someone in an emergency.

Happy camping everyone!