11 Essential Items for Camping in the Snow

Camping during the winter is vastly more different from camping in the summer. From the cooler temperatures to the abundance of snow and ice, you’ll want to pack gear that keeps you warm and allows you to stay safe.

Everyone should have a winter camping list of essentials, though. Even if you don’t plan on going deep into the woods, being caught in a blizzard without the proper gear can be dangerous and even deadly.

Here are essential items for winter camping:

1) Snow Saw

Heavy snowfall can sometimes make it tough to cut down firewood using regular tools. To account for this, consider bringing a snow saw with you on your camping trip. This will allow campers to quickly cut through the snow to make easier access to dead logs or branches which they can use for their fires.

To use a snow saw, hold it at a 45-degree angle with the teeth pointing downwards. Make sure that you’re using your entire body when swinging down on the log; this will give you more leverage and keep you at a safe distance.

2) Winter Clothing

Camping in the winter can be dangerous if you’re not wearing the proper attire. Not only should you dress appropriately for the weather, but it’s also important to make sure that you’re dressing in layers. If you’re planning to hike up a frost-covered mountain, then you’ll need these layers to stay cozy and warm despite the dropping temperatures.

In terms of specific articles of clothing, it’s ideal to bring the following during your next trip:

  • A winter hat
  • Ski goggles
  • Scarfs and mittens
  • Midweight base layers
  • Waterproof jacket and pants
  • Fleece pants
  • A puffy coat
  • Extra socks

Of course, your mileage may vary. Depending on how long your trip will take and the temperature you’ll be exposed to, you may need different layers of winter wear like the ones you can find in Botanex.

For instance, you might find that bringing a puffy coat and pants is enough for your trip if you’re planning to return home the next day.

3) Cooking Gear & Fire Starter

While granola and pre-packed meals are convenient snacks, you’ll need nutrition from cooked meals. And, the most convenient way to cook food outside is by using camping stoves or heat-resistant grills.

If you’re bringing along a stove, then you’ll need to make sure that it can stand up to the freezing temperatures and also be lightweight enough for you to carry around. Many experienced mountaineers opt for gas stoves over electric stoves; gas is easier to transport than electricity.

But bringing a stove is not the only way you can cook your food. If time isn’t on your side, then consider bringing along fire starters so that you can start up a fire in the dead of winter without hassle or issues. This way, you can enjoy a hearty meal in the snow.

3) Ice Picks

Many areas in the woods can be covered in ice and navigating them can become a challenge. With an ice pick, hikers can safely cross over icy areas without having to worry about slipping and falling.

Ice picks are usually between 12 inches and 18 inches long, giving you plenty of leverage when crossing a sheet of ice. They can also be used to pick out snow from underneath boots or your equipment.

4) Crampons

Crampons are small spikes that can be attached to your boots or winter camping gear. They provide you with better traction when hiking across snowy landscapes, meaning that you won’t have to worry about slipping and falling when crossing a slippery area in the woods.

Attach these accessories to your boots, and you’ll find it much easier and safer to travel through wintery areas. However, do remember that crampons are mainly for use on ice; if there’s no snowfall, don’t wear them.

5) Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are essential if you plan to spend the night outdoors in your camping tent. In the winter, it’s even doubly more important since it will ensure that you stay warm enough no matter how low the temperature dips during the night.

To keep you warm, sleeping bags have been designed with external and internal insulation that works together to trap heat. In general, a higher fill power means more warmth and insulation, making down-filled sleeping bags a good choice for colder trips.

6) Hiking Backpack

Camping in the snow might require a slightly different approach from what you’re used to. This is because if it’s snowing, then your backpack can become incredibly heavy as you carry around extra camping gear and supplies.

To make your trip easier, opt for a bag with a waist strap or side compression straps that’s suitable for hiking. These will help you carry your camping gear more easily and will ensure that you have a stable weight distribution across your back.

7) Backcountry Ski Poles

Backcountry skis are long, thin planks that are attached to boots to make it easier for you to move through the snow. They allow skiers to push back against their weight and control their movement, but they can also be used for walking or hiking should the need arise.

If your hike demands you to ascend and descend varying levels (like in a mountain), then you might want to consider bringing a pair of backcountry ski poles with you. These will help you get through the snow faster and more easily.

8) GPS or Compass

If you are not familiar with the area they’re going camping in, it’s ideal to bring a map and compass with you. This way, they can track their progress and ultimately know where they’re going at all times.

While many hikers prefer to use GPS as a navigational tool, others opt for using a compass instead as they feel that it’s more reliable and less likely to malfunction.

Alternatively, if you plan to camp in a familiar location, then you can also bring a local trail map or trail guide book with you.

9) Snow Shoes

Snow can be tough to navigate through, so purchasing a pair of snowshoes is the perfect solution if you find it difficult to trek through heavy snowfall. They help you stay balanced and upright when walking through the snow-covered forest, ensuring that you make it to your destination in one piece.

Most snowshoes are made out of lightweight plastic, metal, and other synthetic materials. You’ll want to make sure they are relatively easy to carry so that they can be brought along on your camping trip.

Select snowshoes based on the type of terrain you plan on walking through. If you’re going out for a day trip, then using lightweight snowshoes is probably fine. However, if you’re going into rough terrain, then investing in more durable and heavy-duty snows may be a better option.

10) Multipurpose Knife

While a multipurpose knife is not necessarily an essential item to bring on your camping trip, it can still be useful depending on the situation.

In case of emergency, for instance, you might find that a simple blade can get things done much faster and more efficiently than if you tried using a hunting knife. So long as it’s fixed with a full tang, a multipurpose knife will be just as efficient as a hunting knife when it comes to cutting through ropes, branches, and firewood.

In addition to this, they can also be used for cooking or building shelter from scratch. Plus, these knives are easy to clean after use and they won’t rust easily – which is a bonus.

11) Water and Food Supplies

Proper sustenance is an essential part of a camping trip, which is why you should always bring at least 2 days’ worth of food and water with you enclosed in containers that can withstand cold weather. That way, bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances won’t get in the way of your nutrition supply.