Winter is officially here, which means that in most parts of the United States the forecast is looking pretty chilly. In anticipation of spending next weekend in the Big Apple for New Years, I took the opportunity to get outside and enjoy nature (the photos are gorgeous, you’re welcome). If you’ve never camped during the colder months, here are 3 reasons why you should give winter camping a try:
1. Fewer People:
This fact may or may not appeal to everyone, but chances are if you’re someone who enjoys camping…you also enjoy solitude and not being around the general public. When the temps go down, the number of people willing to brave the wilderness tends to as well.
2. Coziness Factor:
Campfires and coffee are excellent. Campfires and coffee with chilly air are superb and encourage you to get even cozier by the aforementioned fire.
As long as you have the correct gear (see below for a few of my favorite recommendations) camping in chillier temps may be the most memorable trips you take, either by yourself or with your beloved companions.
I clearly recommend enjoying freshly ground coffee (we used some of our favorite whole beans and a hand grinder) and an easy campsite meal like my Vegan Campsite Oats .
3. Experience nature in a different way:
Summer camping is cool. Lush green grass and trees, butterflies, wildflowers, ants, spiders, gnats, grasshoppers, mosquitos, humidity. Wait, what?
Winter camping is beautiful and devoid of most of our least favorite hoards of insects while offering some killer sunsets and sunrises.
Unfortunately I was only able to photograph the sunrise during this trip, because of a pretty steady rainstorm during the evening and night. The aforesaid coziness factor of rain on a tent was worth it and I have no regrets.
Gear Recommendations are simply what I’ve used thus far, and are in no way sponsored. The most important gear items for winter camping will be:
- A quality tent: When it comes to wet, cold, and windy weather you don’t want to brave the elements while trying to sleep. ( I use a 2 person half dome tent from REI)
- Sleeping pad: I used to be ridiculously opposed to using a ton of padding while camping, as though it was some sort of badge of honor. Do yourself a favor and buy a proper sleeping pad for warmth and comfort. (Update from 2022: the best and most versatile pad that I found and continue to use is the Nemo Switchback)
- Sleeping bag: This is mostly personal preference, but it’s necessary to have a bag with a cold enough rating for the weather. Most bags say on them what their cold rating is. Check it out, and if your bag isn’t warm enough you also have the option of buying a bag liner to supplement (I have a mummy style bag from REI).
- Jet Boil: This is totally optional, but the ability to quickly boil water is pretty amazing. I just received the French Press attachment for Christmas (thanks, mom), so I’ll get back to you soon on the results. (Edit from 2022: The same exact Jet Boil from 2017 is going strong and I never leave it behind on a trip)
The obvious thing that isn’t mentioned above is selecting a beautiful sight to camp at. One of my favorite places to do that is HipCamp (in fact, I’m a photographer for them). Follow this link to get a discount on your first stay, on me.
Am I missing any essentials? Tell me in the comments!
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See you there 😉