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Winter camping: planning part one

What kind of snow do you have?
What kind of snow do you have?
Photo by author copyright 2009

Winter may not be officially here until just before Christmas but in many parts of the nation, winter weather has already settled in to stay. What does that mean for the camper? For those in the Northern states especially, it means wet, cold camping that is exhilarating, tranquil and beautiful.

Camping in the winter can also be dangerous if you don't plan, prepare and take appropriate precautions. In this series, you will learn tips on how to winter camp safely and enjoy all the wonders nature has to offer in these cold months.

Many campgrounds close after Labor Day due to weather conditions but many more are still open. The Old Forge campground in New York stays open year round as do a number of campgrounds in Wisconsin, Colorado, Oregon and many more. SOLAR (School for Outdoor Leadership, Adventure and Recreation) based in Michigan even offers classes on winter camping.

Once you decide on a location, you cannot do any further planning without a little research into the weather conditions that they are likely to have at the time you plan on going. Do they have light snow, heavy snow, deep snow, wet snow, powder snow, no snow or a variable? Do they expect high winds generally or is it a mellow place? All of these will affect what you bring and how you plan and prepare for your trip.

Once you have all of that figured out, you are ready to plan part two!


  • Willi Gutmann 5 years ago

    Quinzhee are the way to go for winter camping fun.
    Much, much warmer than a tent with no flapping material in wind.

    School Outdoor Leadership Adventure Recreation (SOLAR)
    sleeps outdoors for 4-5 days in quinzees every Michigan winter.

    Detroit Kayak Examiner ... still paddling in December