18 Cold-Weather Winter Camping Essentials

Summer might be over, but camping season doesn’t have to be! With the right winter camping essentials (gear and attitude), there’s no reason you can’t camp in colder seasons. Sure, there’s something special about long sunlit days and falling asleep to the sound of crickets and campfires, but nature doesn’t close up shop for the winter. No matter where you live, there’s always something outdoors to explore and experience.

Both Swedes and the Norwegians lay claim to the snappy one-liner—”There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”—and regardless of its origin, it offers some wisdom that applies to camping too. As long as you’re prepared for the elements, camping in the fall and winter months can be an adventure.

Here are 18 of the best cold-weather/winter camping gear essentials that will help you opt outside even when the snow flies.


For true cold-weather camping (think freezing temps and a chance of snow), you’ll need an extended cold weather winter camping season tent. Most tents that are designed for summer camping have a surplus of mesh panels to allow for adequate ventilation. And while ventilation is important in winter camping too (to prevent a build-up of condensation), you also need a tent that retains heat and blocks the wind. This model from Flytop is a 3-4 season tent that’s designed with winter weather in mind. With sealed waterproof seams, sturdy material, and a snow skirt, it’s a great option for the colder months. (Then again, for the ultimate in winter camping comfort, you could always use an RV instead!)

2. Therm-a-Rest Ridgerest Ground Pad

When the ground is cold (or frozen!), it’s important to have adequate insulation underneath you while you sleep. Place this Therm-a-Rest closed-cell foam pad between the ground and a self-inflating sleeping pad. (Otherwise, the ground will cool the air inside the self-inflating sleeping pad.)

Therm-a-Rest RidgeRest SOLite Camping and Backpacking Sleeping Pad, Regular
  • Advanced Warmth: Patent-pending ThermaCapture surface boosts warmth by reflecting radiant heat back to your body.
  • Light & Durable: Virtually indestructible and light enough to carry anywhere.
  • Unique Design: Soft peaks and heat-trapping valleys provide exceptional comfort.
  • Reg: 20" x 72" / Large: 25" x 75" / Small: 20" x 48"
  • R-Value: 2.8


During the fall and winter, a standard sleeping bag might not cut it. Before you head outdoors for the weekend, check your sleeping bag’s temperature rating. A sleeping bag’s temperature rating indicates the temperature at which the average camper can expect to stay warm. Select a bag that has a rating at least 10 degrees colder than the lowest temp you expect to experience.This mummy-style sleeping bag from Teton Sports is rated to 0 degrees.

4. Baffin Insulated Slippers

Even inside the tent, it’s nice to have a way to keep your feet toasty. These insulated slippers from Baffin have slip-free soles and drawstring enclosures to keep out drafts.

Baffin Unisex CUSH BOOTY Insulated Slipper, Black, XX-Large
  • Warmth And Comfort: These lightweight, above ankle height, slip-on style for ease of entry slippers are made with soft, insulated nylon with elasticized lockable tie with drawstring toggle and slip-resistant, durable nylon bottom to keep your feet warm, dry, and comfortable.
  • Insulation Technology: Fixed-Fit multi-layer inner boot system made of multi-layer PolyWool footbed for breathable warmth and B-Tek Dry Water Resistant to keep your feet dry.
  • Multi-Use: You can use the slippers for house slippers or for many outdoor activities, such as, runs to the mailbox, taking out the trash, walking the dog, traveling, or even winter camping adventures.
  • Find Your Size: S (Women’s 5/6 M), M (Women’s 7/8), L (Men’s 7/8 M / Women’s 9/10 M), XL (Men’s 9/10 M / Women’s 11 M), XXL (Men’s 11/12 M), XXXL (Men’s 12/14 M)
  • Care And Storage: To clean, start by hand washing with warm water to remove all dirt and debris from rubber, nylon, or leather. If dirt persists, use mild detergent. Natural air dry and avoid sun exposure. Ensure the product is dry before storing. Optimal storage in a dark, dry and cool environment.

5. Kelty Insulated Camping Blanket

Sometimes when you’re trying to get warm beside a campfire, you need a little extra help. This insulated camping blanket from Kelty is a cozy addition to a fireside camp chair. When you need to pack it up, simply use its convenient stuff sack.

Kelty Bestie Blanket, Limited Edition - Indoor/Outdoor Insulated Camping Blanket
  • The Kelty Bestie Blanket is perfectly sized for lounging around the campfire or for warming up with a good book
  • Insulated with Cloud loft, this blanket will be sure to keep you and your besties warm
  • Stuff sack includes a handle for easy transport to your cozy moments
  • Insulation: Cloud loft, Shell Material: 75D Polyester Taffeta, Liner Material: 190T Poly Pungee
  • Dimensions: (L x W x H): 75. 5 x 42. 5 x 1 in, Weight 1 lbs 8 oz

6. Base Layers

You’ve probably heard it before, but staying warm in winter is all about layers. Start with a lightweight base layer (aka long underwear) that’s made from synthetic breathable fabric. It’s important that this layer of clothing—since it’s right next to your skin—is able to wick away moisture so you don’t get cold. Consider and this fleece-lined set for women.

Thermajane Long Johns Thermal Underwear for Women Fleece Lined Base Layer Pajama Set Cold Weather (X-Large, Black)
  • Heat Retention: Thermajane womens thermal underwear keeps your body heat from escaping. They provide extra warmth and coziness to make a perfect everyday baselayer.
  • Ultra Soft: Our thermals for women are lined with fleece for extra softness against your skin. They’ll protect you from the cold for added comfort.
  • Moisture Wicking: While at home or at work, our womens long johns will keep you dry and odor free. No matter the activity, you’ll stay confident all day.
  • 4 Way Stretch: The soft and stretchable fabric on these womens long underwear fit snugly against your skin and will keep you moving freely no matter what your activity is.
  • Layer Up: When it comes to style and comfort, our womens thermals is the ideal base layer to wear throughout your day.

7. Wool Socks

If your feet stay warm and dry, it’s more likely the rest of you will stay warm too. When it comes to winter footwear, you can’t beat a classic pair of wool socks for warmth. Try Carhartt’s wool boot socks for both men and

Carhartt Men's Big and Tall Arctic Wool Boot Crew Socks, Heather Black, Shoe Size: 11-15
  • Cold weather boot sock built for extreme conditions
  • Fast dry technology wicks away sweat so socks stay dry
  • The technology fights the toughest odors
  • Wool blend regulates temperature for comfort
  • Stretch material for a superior fit

8. Snow Boots

Of course, having warm socks doesn’t matter if you don’t also have a sturdy pair of waterproof boots. Even if you’re not camping in the snow, boots can help keep you warm. Columbia's Bugaboot Plus III for men is a sturdy waterproof style that still has a flexible rubber sole for comfort. The women's Bugaboot Plus III  is a similar style with an equally rugged design.

Columbia Men's Bugaboot Plus III Omni-Heat, Black/Charcoal, 10
  • Techlite lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return
Columbia Women's Bugaboot Plus Iii XTM Omni-Heat Snow Boot, Black, Dark Mirage, 8.5 B US
  • Techlite lightweight midsole for long lasting comfort, superior cushioning, and high energy return.
  • Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber, Combination of leather, nylon, webbing and metal hardware.
  • Waterproof seam-sealed construction.
  • Techlite shell. Omni-Heat reflective lining.
  • 600g insulation. Rated -65F/-54C.


With shorter days and less sunlight, it can be easy to overlook the need for sunglasses. But even in the winter, UV rays can be damaging to your eyes (plus if it’s snowy, it can be really bright outside). A pair of polarized sunglasses should be included on your packing list.

10. Sunscreen

The same goes for sunscreen. Even in the winter, it’s important to use sunscreen on areas that will be exposed to the sun such as your face and ears. This mini bottle is likely all you’ll need.

Coppertone SPORT Sunscreen SPF 30 Lotion, Water Resistant Sunscreen, Body Sunscreen Lotion, Travel Size Sunscreen, 3 Fl Oz
  • Water Resistant: Coppertone Sport SPF 30 sunscreen lotion is water resistant (80 minutes), and stays on strong when you sweat
  • Free Of: This Coppertone Sport sunscreen lotion is free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, PABA, phthalates, & dyes
  • One lotion bottle, use and reapply as directed
  • Trusted Brand: Voted most trusted sunscreen brand by American shoppers based on the 2022 BrandSpark American trust study
  • One (1) 3 fluid ounce bottle of Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

11. Rhino USA Survival Shovel

Considering that a winter campsite might come with snow, ice, or frozen ground, it’ll be helpful to have a shovel on hand. This easy-to-pack model can transform into a pickaxe and also comes with a carrying case.

RHINO USA Folding Survival Shovel w/Pick - Heavy Duty Carbon Steel Military Style Entrenching Tool for Off Road, Camping, Gardening, Beach, Digging Dirt, Sand, Mud & Snow.
  • Folding survival shovel w/ pick - heavy duty carbon steel military style entrenching tool for off road, camping, gardening, beach, digging dirt, sand, mud & snow.
  • Military style e-tool - 2lbs of powder coated carbon steel, tough pickaxe & sharp rugged saw teeth.
  • Compact & portable - full 23" long extended but only 9" x 6" when folded into included carry case.
  • Multi-functional - shovels = great garden tools, backpacking gear and metal detector accessories.
  • The Last Shovel You Will Ever Need: At Rhino USA, We Stand Behind Our Products. If You Ever Experience Any Defects or Damage, Contact Our Customer Service Team and Receive A Replacement On Us.

12. Insulated Bottle

Whether you want to keep water from freezing or keep your coffee hot, an insulated bottle will do the job. Look for one that’s vacuum-sealed like this insulated bottle from Buzio.

13. Stanley Classic French Press

On a cold morning, there’s nothing better than waking up to piping hot coffee. One way to make sure your morning brew stays at optimal drinking temperature is to make it using an insulated French press. Again, like the insulated mug, choose a French press that’s vacuum-sealed like this model from Stanley. This important design element will help the coffee retain its heat much longer.

Stanley French Press 48oz with Double Vacuum Insulation, Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Coffee Press, Large Capacity, Ergonomic Handle, Dishwasher Safe, Hammertone Green
  • Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of espresso extracted will vary depending on the grind size and amount and refinement may be needed when the size and amount are adjusted
  • MAKE NOW, DRINK LATER: Designed with double vacuum insulation, this French Press not only allows you to make an amazing cup of Joe but you can also keep it hot for up to 4 hours to enjoy as you go It can keep cold drinks cold for up to 9 hours
  • TOUGH AND DURABLE: We designed this with two layers of naturally BPA-free 18/8 stainless steel walls to provide superior insulation The mesh plunger is strong enough to keep animals in their field but fine enough to keep grounds out of your cup
  • EASY TO CLEAN: The last thing you want to do is spend your time cleaning – that’s why every piece of our French Press is dishwasher safe
  • HOW TO USE: Place your favorite coffee grounds in the French Press, add boiling water, and give it about 5 minutes to brew, then press the steel plunger once you’re ready to have a great cup of coffee to start your day

14. Camp Stove

While popular, canister stoves don’t typically work well in cold weather. For winter camping, it’s best to use a liquid-fuel stove like MSR’s WhisperLite Backpacking Stove. (You’ll appreciate the hot food and drinks once you’re out in the cold!) And note, the fuel canisters are sold separately.

MSR WhisperLite Compact Camping and Backpacking Stove
  • Reliable and simple design has been trusted by backpackers, hikers, and adventurers for over 25 years
  • Compact-folding design and flexible fuel line fits in most MSR pots
  • Shaker Jet technology and straight-forward design allow easy cleaning and maintenance in the field
  • Ultralight stainless steel and brass construction weighs only 11.5 ounces
  • Includes fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, and stuff sack (fuel bottle not included)

15. Weatherproof Matches

Being able to start a fire becomes even more important in cold or wet weather. In addition to some dry kindling and firewood, be sure pack weatherproof matches in a protective case.

Zippo Typhoon Match Kit
  • Stores and protects 15 typhoon matches/ floats in water & keeps matches dry
  • Keeps strike pad protected & dry to ensure reliable match ignition/ reusable, Durable & lightweight for long lasting Use
  • Provides attachment point for use in pocket, go bag, or On pack/ provides extra pads for long lasting Use and match refills
  • Matches can survive being submerged in water or rain/ 4" Long; burns up to 30 seconds
  • Lid and storage Chamber; water resistant storage/ O ring seals

16. Sled

A sled isn’t a must-have for winter camping, but it can make toting gear a lot easier if there’s snow on the ground. Consider bringing along an inexpensive plastic sled or this durable model from Shappell that’s designed specifically for hunting and fishing.

Shappell Jet Ice Fishing Sled, Large Heavy-Duty Multi-Purpose Utility Sleds for Hauling Fire Wood, Deer, Duck Hunting, Fishing Gear, Supplies, and Accessories
  • HANDY ICE FISHING SLED – The Shappell Jet Ice Fishing Sled makes it easy to tow your ice fishing gear. A great handy ice sled for hauling your stuff onto the ice. It will protect your gear and not weigh you down while pulling.
  • MULTI-PURPOSE UTILITY CART – Tow everything from ice gear, firewood, traps, or feed in this extra-large ice-fishing sled. It’s a great multi-purpose utility sled for ice fishing, hunting deer, wood, fishing gear, and accessories.
  • EASY TO LUG YOUR STUFF – This ice fishing sled with rope allows for easy hand tow, to lug your stuff to and from the honey hole. Perfect to float a deer across the terrain and haul gear with its specially contoured hull.
  • RUGGED POLYETHYLENE MATERIAL – Made of rugged polyethylene material that makes this ice fishing sled heavy-duty but not to the point where it feels heavy. It measures 54" x 25" x 10" H, tow rope included.
  • MOLDED RUNNERS FOR SMOOTH GLIDING – The molded runners give it strength and allow for smooth gliding. Whether you are pulling through terrain, snow, or ice, this sled for fishing will lend itself well to foot traffic and transport.

17. Minus33 Merino Wool Beanie

Since most of our body heat is lost through our heads, it’s best to cover up when the temperature drops. This wool beanie is made from 100% merino wool and comes in 13 colors.

100% Merino Wool Ridge Cuff Beanie - Unisex Warm Winter Hat - Charcoal Gray
  • QUALITY LIGHTWEIGHT PACKABLE BEANIE: 100% Merino Wool is super soft and extremely comfortable. The best in easy care technology means your merino wool is machine washable and dryable. Comfort, warmth, and breathability make this hat an essential part of your outdoor gear. One-Size fits most. Double fabric for warmth. Simple yet stylish.
  • PERFECT FOR ALMOST ANYTHING: This beanie is perfect for almost any activity. Bring this winter hat for a run, a hike, hunting, ice fishing, skiing etc…This 100% Merino Wool beanie is light and packable, fits under a helmet, and wicks moisture allowing you to stay dry but continuing to insulate when wet. Wear this hat during the winter, spring, or even the fall.
  • EXPERIENCED BRAND: Although there are many copy-cats on the market today, Minus33 has been a trusted brand since 2004.
  • IMPORTED: As the legacy of a 100+ year old USA based woolen company, Minus33 knows quality and comfort in Merino Wool. We are committed to bringing you the best Merino Wool products at a reasonable price.
  • TECHNICAL DETAILS: 100% 18.5 Micron Merino Wool 230 g/m2 Interlock knit construction with flatlock seams. Garment Weight 2.4 oz. (68 grams). UPF Rating 50+

18. Handwarmers

Whether you’re hanging out at camp or burrowing into your sleeping bag at night, hand and foot warmers can help give you an extra boost of warmth. Try classic hand warmers or an  Stay warm out there!

HotHands Body & Hand Super Warmers - Long Lasting Safe Natural Odorless Air Activated Warmers - Up to 18 Hours of Heat - 40 Individual Warmers
  • SAFE, NATURAL LONG-LASTING HEAT - Odorless, Disposable, Single-Use Item, Do Not Apply Directly to The Skin. TSA Approved. Made in the USA using domestic and imported materials.
  • TO ACTIVATE - Remove warmer from outer package, shake to activate. Warmer heats up in 15-30 minutes. If heat decreases, expose warmer to air and shake. After use, dispose with regular garbage. Ingredients will not harm the environment.
  • MULTIPURPOSE WARMERS - Single use air-activated heat packs that provide everyday warmth and are ideal for keeping your body warm when the temperature gets cold. They’re available in several styles designed for your hands, feet, and body.
  • WHEN TO USE: Tailgating at Events, Outdoor Sporting Events, Hunting & Fishing, Camping & Hiking, Working in The Yard, Jogging or Taking Your Pet for A Walk. Convenient, Compact, Portable.