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Staying warm while winter camping

Just because the colder months are coming in doesn’t mean you have to sit at home and stop exploring. Winter camping can be just as fun as summer camping if you know what you’re doing. Being prepared for whatever unpredictable winter weather can throw at you is key to camping and keeping warm no matter the climate.

Layer up

Layers are critical to keeping warm in winter. Wearing multiple layers helps you stay warm by trapping warm air between them and drawing moisture away from your body. When layering, you’ll want to start with a base or thermal layer and build out from there until you’re warm enough. Having a quality outer layer is also important, as with the onset of colder weather often comes rain, wind, and depending on where you’re going, snow. This means having a waterproof, windproof, and warm outer layer will be sure to keep you cosy and dry.

In winter, especially if you’re heading somewhere that is prone to rain or snow, having a solid pair of waterproof shoes and quality socks is another way to make sure you avoid the cold. There’s nothing worse than having wet socks and cold feet. Wool, acrylic or polypropylene socks are the best options for keeping your toes warm and dry when it gets especially cold. Packing an extra pair of clothes somewhere you can guarantee they won’t get wet means you’ll never be caught short should you get rained out. You also shouldn’t overlook the sun in winter either, having sunblock and a hat on hand no matter when you’re travelling means you’ll always be protected.

Stay warm while you sleep

Camping in winter doesn’t have to be a cold, miserable experience, and no matter what your setup is you can make sure you’re as warm and comfortable as possible. If you’re heading into the winter wilderness, you’ll want to make sure that whatever accommodation option you choose is waterproof in case of rain. If you’re planning to sleep on the ground, either inside a tent or swag, using foam tiles or a tarp underneath it is a good way to insulate yourself from the cold that can seep up from the earth.

If you’re looking to take your winter camping to the next level a 12V dual battery system means you can run a whole variety of home comforts including electric blankets, coffee machines, and portable heaters.

Having a sturdy outdoor shelter is another necessity for winter camping. Winter can be unpredictable and even if no rain is predicted, it can often show up without notice and leave you stuck inside a cramped tent or having to go home. A sturdy awning or gazebo means that you get a bit more space to spread out and stay dry while you wait out the rain.


Another overlooked thing that can make camping in winter that much better is a nice, hot meal. Nothing beats sitting around the campfire on a cold night and enjoying a steaming bowl of food or waking up to the smell of bacon and eggs on a chilly morning. With a DC to DC battery charger, you can easily run a 12V fridge meaning that you aren’t limited to eating non-perishable ingredients or having to fish soggy food out of the esky. With the right gear and planning you can take all the fresh ingredients needed to make your favourite camping meal or perhaps cook up something new with a little inspiration from Campers Pantry or Fire To Fork.

Responsible campfire use

One of the best aspects of winter camping that you often don’t get to experience in summer is relaxing around a campfire. There’s nothing better than keeping warm, having a few beers, sharing stories, and even cooking around the campfire. Before you light a fire though it always pays to check the campsite or national park rules and regulations to make sure you’re not endangering any flora or fauna. It’s also important to know whether you must bring your own firewood so you can account for this extra weight. For all the information you’ll need about campfire safety, check out the Smokey Bear website.

Recovery gear

If you’re planning to hit some remote trails this winter, having a chainsaw on hand is always a good idea. With many tracks becoming less travelled over the winter months, coming across a fallen tree or two is not uncommon. Having a chainsaw on hand means that you can easily clear your path and even cut the wood into small enough chunks to use for a fire.

Having recovery gear and knowing how to use it is also another must have if you’re looking to get stuck into some muddy 4WDing. Mud can be just as tricky as driving through sand and so having gear you’re confident using, whether it be MaxTraxsnatch straps or a winch means you’ll always be able to get out of a sticky situation.

With the unpredictable winter weather being prepared for anything is critical, especially if you’re towing. Having an electric brake controller that can handle anything means you won’t get caught out by any shock weather. The REDARC Tow-Pro Elite has two modes of braking, proportional and user-controlled, meaning you’re always in control of your trailer both on and off-road. Check out our snow driving tips and tricks blog for all the information you’d need on travelling through snow.

With enough knowledge and preparation, camping in the winter can be just as fun and rewarding as any summertime adventure. We hope we’ve inspired you to brave the cold and get stuck into exploring this winter. If you’re looking for some destination inspiration, check out our recommendations for travelling in the Midwestsouthwest, or east coast.