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Best Winter Camping Gear
Winter camping: the concept can seem off putting at first. Won’t it be cold? But honestly, winter camping can be a blast — not to mention a serene experience, there is just something about a snowy forest landscape that does the mind and body good. You just need the right gear.
Here are my seven essential picks for what to bring on a winter camping trip, from what to wear to the kind of tent.
1. Baffin Boots and More
I am loving Baffin’s products for winter camping. The Canadian company has been making technical clothing and footwear since 1979 and their products stood up to the cold. I found their baselayer top and baselayer bottom to be comfy and breathable. I also liked the anti-microbial feature and the seamless sides that contributed to the overall comfort quality.
For my outer layer, I went with the softshell hooded jacket. It is great for winter camping thanks to being fully waterproof. I also stayed warm thanks to the fleece lined interior. Other features include an adjustable hood and vented pockets to better regulate body temperature.
Never neglect your feet! For boots I choose Baffin’s Snogoose. Seriously the warmest boots I’ve ever worn. The boots are designed to stand up in -40ºF degree temps, which is incredible. They have a removable liner as well as a fastening toggle that keeps snow from getting inside.
Pair these boots with the company’s Polar Expedition Socks for the ultimate in toasty feet comfort. For gloves, try the Guide Glove. I like that they come with a removable liner so you can take the main glove off when you need extra dexterity. They are also waterproof.
The right sleeping gear is as important to a successful winter camping trip as the right clothing. If you are laying in your sleeping bag with teeth chattering because it isn’t warm enough, you’ll never try this sport again.
The Polar Ranger™-20F/-30C Sleeping Bag by Therm-a-Rest was designed in part by polar adventurer Eric Larsen. The bag keeps you super warm thanks to an 800-fill Nikwax Hydrophobic Down™ stuffing. It also has a snorkel hood that helps prevent breath condensation. If you get too warm there are side zippers to open.
Underneath the sleeping bag you will want a sleeping pad or air mattress. I like using the lightweight RidgeRest® SOLite™ and the NeoAir® XTherm™ Sleeping Pad, in combination. Both of these products help to keep you comfortable and warm by redirecting your body heat back to you.
3. Winter Camping Tent
A tent that can stand up to harsh elements is another essential for winter camping. Check out the Remote™ 2 Two-Person Mountaineering Tent from MSR Gear from MSR Gear if you’re in need of a good tent. Designed to withstand strong winds and heavy snow, this two-person tent has a double wall feature and a sturdy central-support frame that makes it very durable.
I stayed warm all night in here and found it relatively spacious. It was also practical with places to store my gear. The snow flaps were also great for sealing out spindrift. The tent is designed for all four seasons, however, so you can also use it in the summer.
MSR Gear also makes some great camping cookware. I liked their Deep Dishware Bowls. They also do a range of skillets, pots and even super lightweight cookware designed for backpacking trips.
4. Citizen Watches
You can’t always rely on your cell phone to stay charged to tell you the time on a winter camping trip, but you can rely on a classic timepiece like the Citizen Promaster Tough. A perfect gift (my husband loves his) for the outdoor enthusiast it is made for the extremes and is made from a black ion-plated stainless steel casing that keeps it from rusting no matter how wet you get it. I also love that it never needs a battery the watch is recharged by any light source. The camo strap on this model is another unique touch.
5. Cold Case Gear
Ever had your cell phone battery drain super fast thanks to the cold? Well, that stops being an issue when you travel with The Pouch from Cold Case Gear. The company, which is based in Colorado, creates products designed to insulate everything from food and water to fuel and electronics.
The Pouch is a super versatile product that can store everything from snacks to smartphones and will keep both from freezing regardless of the outdoor temperatures. What I love is that this bag also useful in summer, keeping your trail snacks (chocolate bars anyone?) from melting.
6. Nite Ize
Light is another essential to winter camping, especially since it gets dark so early. I recommend packing a headlamp you can wear as well as a lantern that can be used to light up cooking areas, in your tent or eve to carry with you to the bathroom (although headlamps are really good for this task). I like the Nite Ize rechargable headlamp.
It runs for up to 36 hours straight and can beam out some 239 feet! It also features five different LED modes and is impact and water resistant, which is another plus for winter camping. Also check out the Boulder, Colorado company’s rechargeable lantern.
My favorite feature is the built-in powerbank that lets you charge your phone directly through its battery. The lantern can also run for up to 96 hours on one charge.
Another great camping brand is Stanley, which has been around for more than 100 years and is known for changing the way hot drinks have been consumed over the century. The Stanley brand is the creation of inventor William Stanley Jr. who fused vacuum insulation and steel into one portable bottle in 1913.
It revolutionized how we carry hot drinks today. For camping I like the Unbreakable Trigger Action Mug to keep my coffee hot in the mornings, although it also works to keep drinks cold. They also do an excellent food jar and an amazing thermal bottle that can keep warm drinks hot for up to 40 hours and cold drinks cold for up to 35 hours.
Onscreen host and author: Carri Wilbanks is a freelance travel writer for USA Today, Gannett Newspapers, AAA Encompass and several regional magazines with a focus on adventure and active travel. Wilbanks is also a TV host & video producer for USA Today and Xfinity Comcast. When she’s not living out of a suitcase, Carri resides in colorful Colorado where she publishes a multi-media magazine at catchcarri.com.