winter camping

winter campingDon’t let the cold months keep you from sleep­ing in the moun­tains! Win­ter camp­ing requires more plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion than sleep­ing out­side in the sum­mer, but with these sim­ple tips you can avoid the shiv­er-bivy and camp in style all year round.

Plan Ahead
A suc­cess­ful win­ter camp­ing trip begins long before you hit the trail­head. Pick a mod­er­ate des­ti­na­tion, stay­ing close to a road if it’s your first time sleep­ing out in snow. Watch the weath­er fore­casts care­ful­ly, and con­sid­er being flex­i­ble with tim­ing or hav­ing a Plan B in case of an apoc­a­lyp­tic storm front. Learn to rec­og­nize and avoid avalanche-prone areas, and check the local fore­casts before you go. If you’re trav­el­ing through or camp­ing on any snowy slope that’s pitched more steeply than 20 degrees, your crew should have avalanche training.

Plan Your Site
Once you get to your camp­site, look around before you pitch your tent. Where will you be the most shel­tered from the wind? Is there any over­head hazard—snow-covered tree limbs, ice, or rocks that could fall? When the team has agreed, pitch the tent togeth­er, mak­ing sure that some­body always has a hand on every piece of the tent so noth­ing blows away. And be very care­ful about where you put things down in deep snow, because it’s eas­i­er than you might think to lose a glove, tent pole, or camera.

Get Off The Ground
If there’s one key to stay­ing warm while camp­ing on snow, it’s this: do what­ev­er you can to insu­late your­self from the cold stuff, which sucks the heat of your body. Con­sid­er bring­ing two sleep­ing pads—an inflat­able pad for com­fort and a closed-cell foam mat for insulation—and make sure your sys­tem has an R‑value of at least 5. Try not to sit direct­ly on snow or ice either; opt to sit on a back­pack instead.

Make Water
It seems counter-intu­itive, but when you’re camp­ing on snow it can often be hard to find run­ning water. If you’re not pos­i­tive that you’ll have access to a lake or stream for potable agua, be pre­pared to melt your own. If there’s enough sun­light, you can make a solar still out of a black plas­tic trash bag; oth­er­wise, crank up your stove. Just be sure to put a lit­tle water in the pot before you add snow, because—believe it or not—it’s actu­al­ly pos­si­ble to scorch snow and ice, which will leave your water with a burned taste.

Keep Elec­tron­ics Warm
Any­thing with a lithi­um-ion battery—including smart­phones, cam­eras, tablets, recharge­able GPS devices, GoPros, etc.—will lose charge when exposed to cold tem­per­a­tures. To pro­tect your battery’s usable charge, keep small devices and extra bat­ter­ies in a chest pock­et where they’re close to the warmth of your body, and tuck them into your sleep­ing bag at night. Min­i­mize expo­sure to cold air, and car­ry back-up bat­ter­ies for any­thing essential.

Always leave a detailed trip plan and emer­gency con­tact infor­ma­tion with some­body at home. Dou­ble-check that you have the ten essen­tials. And always be extra cau­tious when you’re out­side in the win­ter months.


Fjall­raven lit­er­al­ly invent­ed the framed back­pack in 1960. Built to with­stand the rugged envi­ron­ment of north­ern Swe­den, all of their packs are rein­forced for excep­tion­al dura­bil­i­ty. The Men’s Abisko 55 is no excep­tion. The 210D HD Rip­stop polyamide pro­tects the sup­port­ed base of the pack for when you put it down on the side of the trail, and pre­vents absorp­tion through the base when you put it down in mud or snow.

This is a pack built for inclement weath­er. Large, expand­able pock­ets with over­sized zip­pers make this a great pack to use while wear­ing gloves in the win­ter months. The 55-liter car­ry­ing capac­i­ty is roomy enough for week­end trips into snow-cov­ered moun­tains, but the slen­der sil­hou­ette and sim­pli­fied design make this pack an all-around win­ner dur­ing any month of the year.

Mem­bers, click through below for exclu­sive sav­ings on today’s fea­tured brands:

SOREL: Fash­ion­ably bold, unapolo­get­i­cal­ly dar­ing, and beau­ti­ful­ly brave con­tem­po­rary footwear inspired by stun­ning frozen land­scapes, styled for city streets.

Sug­oi: Sug­oi designs gear that helps ded­i­cat­ed ath­letes push the bound­aries of per­son­al per­for­mance. This col­lec­tion includes cycling sin­glets, jack­ets, and more by the respect­ed brand.

Lucky Bums: With the com­fort­able depend­abil­i­ty of Lucky Bums out­door gear, kids can focus on the impor­tant things, like per­fect­ly roast­ing a marsh­mal­low. Fea­tur­ing sleep­ing bags, back­packs, snow gear, and more.

De Marchi: Found­ed in Italy in 1946, De Marchi is one of the old­est known design­ers of per­for­mance cycling appar­el. Dis­cov­er tech­ni­cal gear informed by a life­time of expe­ri­ence with these bibs and jerseys.

Immer­sion Research: When your heart drops into your stom­ach at the size of the approach­ing wave train, take com­fort know­ing that you’ll be nav­i­gat­ing that watery gaunt­let with pri­mo dry tops and insu­lat­ing layers.

Fire­side Footwear: After a full day bomb­ing pow­der, your quads quiv­er­ing, and your feet just begin­ning to thaw, is there any­thing bet­ter than kick­ing back next to the fire? Unwind with this col­lec­tion of slip­pers and socks.

Native: State-of-the-art tech­nol­o­gy in rugged, fash­ion-for­ward frames, Native polar­ized lens­es block 100% of UV rays and fea­ture exhaust vents that vir­tu­al­ly elim­i­nate creep from fog and condensation.

Win­ter Camp­ing: Expand your camp­ing sea­son to expe­ri­ence the cold nights beneath Ori­on with this col­lec­tion of warm down sleep­ing bags, tents, and more from top brands like Grand Trunk and Sier­ra Designs.

Men’s Win­ter Col­lec­tion: When the snow flies this win­ter, be the last man stand­ing with some help from this col­lec­tion of jack­ets, fleeces, vests, gloves, and more by top brands includ­ing Fjall­raven, C.A.M.P, and Columbia.

Wom­en’s Win­ter Col­lec­tion: Some gals see a storm and head inside; oth­ers see it and head out­doors. Har­ness the awe­some of inclement weath­er in bomber win­ter gear includ­ing down jack­ets, vests, gloves, and more by top brands.