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13 Winter Camping Hacks That Will Keep You Coming Back for More

camping hacks
Outsmarting Fish

Sure, winter has its challenges. But these camping hacks will keep you comfortable no matter what.

If you’re used to only summer camping, you’re going to need to make some adjustments to your gear and routine. But once you do, you can rest assured that your winter camping adventures will be some of the best you ever have.

These simple winter camping hacks don’t require much effort and they are guaranteed to keep you warm and comfy.

1. Layering

You need to keep yourself from sweating too much when winter hiking or camping. If you get wet during the day, you’ll freeze during the long night. And nobody likes hypothermia.

Wear several light layers and adjust them as physical activity dictates. Your goal is to avoid sweating in the first place.

2. Clothing Choice

Speaking of staying warm, you need to use the right clothing material or you’ll freeze anyway.

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The Sportsman’s Guide

One of the most important camping hacks is to not use cotton clothing; only use wool, silk, or synthetic (polyester) options, as these will keep you warm and wick sweat away from your body at the same time.

3. Correct Gear Options

Don’t expect to bring your summer sleeping bag along and stay comfortable. You need a serious upgrade if you want to make it through the night.

A good zero degree mummy-style bag is almost a necessity. Synthetic fill is better than goose down in that it will still perform if it gets a little wet, but goose down has the upper hand in that it’s much lighter.

camping hacks
REI

4. Water Bottle

While hiking or hanging around camp, keep your water bottle upside down. It will freeze from the top down, so by flipping it on edge, the top doesn’t freeze shut.

5. Fire

Bring along far more matches than you think you’ll need. You definitely don’t want to run out of fire while winter camping, as you use it to stay warm, melt water, and cook your meals. It’s also a good idea to keep them in at least two places, should one of them get lost.

camping hacks
Sunny Scope

6. Protect Your Body

One of the most painful lessons you’ll learn while winter camping is not having some form of barrier between your body and the frozen ground.

You can quite literally feel the life draining from your rear and back. Carry along a foam or blow-up thermal pad to sleep on. In a pinch (and where legal), you can even use spruce or pine boughs underneath the tent.

7. Keep Your Metabolism Hot

One of the best camping hacks I ever heard from a friend was to consume some high protein/fat foods and snacks before bed. Protein is more difficult for your body to digest and fat packs a lot of calories into small servings. Eat a piece of cheese, some jerky, and nuts before bed, and your internal fire will keep roaring all night.

camping hacks
Bliss Tree

8. Pound Out Some Reps

Another good one to keep you warm before you enter your sleeping bag for the night is to do a little physical exercise before bed.

Outside your tent, do 15 reps of pushups, jumping jacks, and squats, and then proceed to get into your bag. The extra effort will warm your body up quickly so you’re not starting at a loss.

9. Hydration

When melting snow, don’t start with just snow in the pot as you can actually burn the pot. Add a little liquid water to the pot and then pack with some snow. As it melts, add more snow.

You’ll need to melt far more snow than you think to fill your bottle! Pour the water through a coffee filter into your bottle to keep out odd bits of leaves and branches.

camping hacks
The Shooter’s Log

10. Empty Your Bladder

It should go without saying, but you need to urinate immediately before bed. Every ounce of urine your body holds inside means your body has to expend energy to keep it at body temperature. In the middle of the night, use a pee bottle or funnel so you don’t have to leave the tent.

11. Warm Water Bottle

Fill your bottle with warm water before bed and keep it in your sleeping bag. It will both keep you warmer throughout the night and ensure you don’t have an ice block in the morning.

12. Sleeping Bag Dryer

Keep wet socks, the next day’s clothing, and even your boots in your sleeping bag at night if you have room. It seems counterintuitive, but your body heat will actually dry them and keep them warm for the next day.

13. Ventilation

Regardless of the weather, always make sure to open your tent’s vents at night so any condensation from your breath doesn’t freeze on the tent ceiling. Also don’t hide your mouth and nose within your sleeping bag, because you’ll wake up in the middle of the night with ice particles all over your sleeping bag.

camping hacks
Gear Junkie

Have fun using these camping hacks this winter. You’ll soon enjoy it tremendously.

NEXT: 7 Reasons Why Winter Camping is the Best Kind of Camping

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13 Winter Camping Hacks That Will Keep You Coming Back for More