By Rachel Puryear
Most people think of camping as a Summer activity – but maybe you’re craving an outdoor adventure, even though Winter has barely begun. You can absolutely enjoy camping and RV’ing in the Winter. This can be a great way to enjoy natural outdoor beauty without big crowds, and enjoy the gorgeous night skies afforded by early Winter sunsets.
If you are considering camping in a location with a mild Winter, here are some tips for staying warm and comfortable while camping in mild (not freezing, or not far below freezing) Winter weather.
Pack Extra Warm Clothes
You already knew to pack warm clothes, but be sure to also pack extra, in case your clothes get wet. That goes especially so for socks – because having cold, wet feet puts a big damper on fun. If it’s cold and rainy out, they will never fully dry.
For sleepwear, a warm onesie can keep you cozy all night, and will be fun to wear. Having at least one that’s non-footed/or where the feet unzip (as much fun as the footies are) can make it much easier to wear shoes so you can walk around outside with your warm onesie on. For instance, a warm onesie with detachable feet was perfect for Harbin Hot Springs. Check out adult-sized onesies here: https://amzn.to/3lR562p Note: These run relatively large and stretch well, so even though it only goes up to 2x, the sizes offer some flexibility.
The Western U.S. Offers Plenty of Mild Winter Weather
Much of the Western region – including most areas near the coast, as well as the Mojave desert – offer relatively mild Winter weather. There’s plenty of gorgeous outdoor beauty for camping out here, where it won’t get heavy duty snow, ice, or below freezing weather.
Have Warm Bedding Over and Beneath You
While you’re packing extra warm clothes, also pack plenty of warm bedding and extra blankets, too. You want to not only have plenty of warm covers over you while you sleep at night, but you also want plenty of warm, thick covers underneath you. No matter how many blankets are on top of you, the chilly ground beneath you can suck away lots of that precious warmth, and leave you shivering and miserable all night long. An effective solution to that is a thick layer of blankets – preferably including a comforter – underneath you, spread over your mattress or sleeping pad. Besides, it’s super comfy laying nestled between two thick layers of blanketing! This will help keep you warm and toasty all night long.
Need an extra comforter? Pick up a soft, warm one here: https://amzn.to/3dDDd9F
Pick up an extra sherpa blanket here: https://amzn.to/2YQavhZ
Safety tip: Change completely out of your daytime clothes and into pajamas or other separate nightwear before you get into bed at night. That goes for socks and underwear, too. Moisture in your daytime clothes will prevent you from warming up at night.
Bring Extra Lighting and Warmth With You
Be sure to bring flashlights, as it will get dark earlier in Winter. A headlamp is a great choice, as it allows you strong light while also keeping your hands free. This headlamp allows you to choose between bright light, or red light to reduce light pollution: https://amzn.to/3c8s4g4
Pick up an emergency candle here; as a source of light, warmth, and heating small amounts of water; and a relatively clean burn: https://amzn.to/33r2B0x
Electric/flameless/battery-powered candles can also give soft, pleasant lighting at night while also not posing a fire hazard.
For a tent, so long as you’re in a place with a mild Winter and not a lot of snow and wind; a three-season tent should be fine, along with using all of these tips. Remember to use a rain fly or tarp to stay dry inside.
When Nature Calls, In Nature
It happens to all of us…you’re warm and comfy in bed, and then you need to go. Some guys can get by with a bottle in the sleeping bag for #1; but for #2, or for the ladies, you may want a simple place to relieve yourself that doesn’t require leaving your tent/camper in the middle of the night. (If you’re in a camper that has a toilet, great, but this is in case you don’t have a place to go.) Here’s an economical portable toilet that’s basic, but will meet that need: https://amzn.to/3DYV0Tk Don’t forget to bring toilet paper, and/or wipes for your bottom and hands.
Bring Food for Staying Warm
Meat jerky will not perish easily and will give you lots of protein, helping you to stay warm. Same for nuts, which are non-perishable, and a great vegan option for protein. Fruit that does not damage easily – bananas, oranges, apples – will also last, and give you fiber. Cans of soup, beans, and other such hearty meals will help you stay full, give you energy, and keep you warm. You can heat your canned food with your emergency candle, or if you will have access to electrical or battery outlets, you can bring a small cooker. If you need a small slow cooker you can use indoors or outdoors to keep food warm, here’s one: https://amzn.to/3ERUc3H
Be sure to also bring plenty of water, and stay well hydrated.
Bringing a Portable Power Source Can Be Helpful
A portable source of power can help give you a place to plug in things like phones and other devices that need charging, C-PAP machines, lights, and small heaters and fans. The Jackery has several USB ports, AC/DC outlets, and you can also get solar panels that can be used with it. Here’s a mid-sized model, and there are varying sizes, depending on your needs (how much you want to plug in): https://amzn.to/3pUAChf
Be Ready for Awesome Night Sky Watching
One of the best things about camping in Winter time is the long nights, and the amazing and gorgeous night sky watching it offers.
For that reason, you’ll want to be up around sunrise in the morning for maximum sightseeing and hiking time, though – the sunsets come quick during this time of year.
Check out this guide to awesome night sky watching in Winter!
Download the free Sky Guide app to help you navigate the night sky, and identify various celestial bodies. It also features a soothing musical theme, if you turn up the volume.
Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to enjoying the beauty of Winter outdoors, while staying toasty.
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